It is natural in the midst of chaotic lockdown restrictions that people consider the nature of freedom. And it is understandable that they choose in some cases to make their stand on that alone. But there is less discussion of what people intend to do with that freedom should they have it, should they keep it, should they achieve it. If it were all over tomorrow, how would the majority of people behave? Go back about their business as though nothing had happened, go on voting in the same pattern, go on living with the same shortsightedness? Go on talking about liberties while losing them year by year and decade by decade?
If we consider freedom with regard to the situation we are living through, the principle point is not that we have been confined, restricted or denied in the things that consist our material freedoms. It is not that we have suffered injury against our rights and liberties. It is not that totalitarianism has somehow reared its head and left us in its shadow. It is something else. It must be. For it is not enough to want freedom or even to have freedom. There must be something else.
It will take the shattering of many illusions before we see real change emerge from this situation. And this change must manifest not only in the majority, for whom there is only ever so much hope, but in the crucial minority. The majority may learn that they have been lied to, but the minority must accept that in some cases they have lied to themselves. As nationalists we must learn the right lessons. We must heed the right warnings. We must envision the right way forward. And that means facing the bitter reality and the icy truth.
If a turning point comes, it is not because we have been reduced in our ability to live our lives, but because we have been forced to confront the great heresy of liberty for liberty alone. For the salient point in all this commotion is not the erasure of our material freedoms but the cold hard fact that we —as a people at least —have not been doing anything worthwhile with those material freedoms.
The Irish population, back in January and February, were not widely engaged in any great project of national revival. No great effort of Irish self-assertion was stopped in its tracks on March 27th, 2020. We may be sure that the Irish a year ago were materially more free than they are today; that is more free in their movements, in their luxuries, in their ability to socialise, commute, congregate etc. Our small businesses were less close to annihilation. And yet the mass of people were demonstrably enslaved. As enslaved as they are today, if not more so. In that sense, the lockdown and the various restrictions have not revealed tyranny so much as they have revealed slave-mindedness.
If the forces of globalism have consolidated their reach, it does not stand in any great relief to the period of “freedom” which preceded it. Indeed, virtually every process which is said to be accelerated by this grand commotion, was well underway without it. Not only underway, but fully accepted and faced with little or no resistance. The world-era we are living through has not changed. So what has changed then?
The forces of progressivism have lined up on one side, supporting every measure and restriction in deference to a “greater good.” The conservative movements have by and large either opposed the restrictions or remained sceptical about them, usually with reference to civil liberties and constitutional rights. There are of course people who conform for the right reasons as there are people who rebel for the wrongs ones and vice versa. People who do the wrong thing out of duty or the right thing out of pigheadedness. All in all, we see an “old normal” battling with a “new normal”. Rarely though do we see what is needed. An upturning of the whole bloody lot. It is only among nationalists that there is an acknowledgment both of the necessity of destroying the prevailing order and the necessity of replacing it.
Face facts. The freedoms taken from us, were not freedoms which we were in large part availing of. The Irish people, as a whole, were allowing their country to die around them. The vast majority were not raising a finger of resistance. The project of global liberalism was so triumphant that people were virtually cheering on their own destruction. What freedom was there in the Ireland of 2019, other than the freedom to achieve slavery? Or else to be counted the vanguard of a fringe resistance?
Keeping all that in mind when we cry out for our liberty, we must not make liberty our end. We must seek freedom not merely. “Freedom,” said P.H. Pearse, “is a condition which can be lost and won and lost again; nationality is a life which, if once lost, can never be recovered.” Freedom in and of itself is not enough. The cause of our future is nationality. For beyond that there is no future.
Justin Barrett, Leader of the National Party, has said of our cause, that we must seek not “freedom from” but “freedom for.” That is, we must seek a positive idea of freedom. A freedom which is not enough in itself but must be followed up by duty and fidelity. Freedom, I repeat, is not enough. If we are not prepared to do something meaningful with our liberty, then liberty be damned.
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