1.7 Freedom to be yourself in society

A fully mature and adult human can choose the life they want to live for themselves and should be able to do that from a diverse range of options. But here is the really really hard part. If a human being spends their whole life challenging every custom, avoiding every norm and choosing whatever unusual pronoun they want to be addressed by, will they grow up to be a mature human being? At some point in time you must stop demanding change of yourself, be what you want to be (so long as I am minimizing harm) and live your life. But also, at some point in time I must stop demanding change from everyone else just so I can live the way I want to live. The enviable outcome of this process is that we humans must choose our own tribe and belong to it. There must be an us and there must be a them.

If each and every person I meet in society is just another chance to offend someone by speaking to them in the wrong way, can I ever belong in society? With constant social criticism of people life choices, can we still ever produce adult human beings? Is endless reacting against customs the same as choosing to be yourself? Is perpetual outrage about the traditions of yesterday the same as knowing how you want to live today? A man must be given the liberty to live his individual life the way he wants to (so long as it minimizes harm to others). This liberty includes the liberty to be left alone to hold whatever belief he wants to hold. That allows him to actually be whole and to choose to join society in a meaningful way. It is only through this method that society will be in possession of strong men that have chosen to join a society and lend their strength to the collective. Ice changes to water, water changes to steam. When it is ice, we keep it in the freezer and can put it into a bucket to cool a bottle. When it warms to water, we can pour it the sink and it will run down the drain. As it makes its way out to sea, it will evaporate and serve us again as rain in the future. But it is because H2O stays as ice/water/steam under predictable and controllable circumstances that we can use it at all. If it was continually changing from ice to gas for random reasons, it would be useless to us. This is how society must be for freemen to prosper. Society will become useless if our values must be entirely flexible so as not to offend whoever walked into the room last. Having said that, values should be as inclusive of all society as possible. This means we will have the most freemen as possible to stand tall and serve the tribe.

Clearly, reducing all harm to others while being yourself is easiest in a society where those around you hold the same values that you hold. We might say that a society that has the most homogeneous set of values has the best chance of producing freemen that can be free to be themselves without harming or offending others. But a society with a narrow set of homogeneous values will not appeal to many men if all men, after challenging traditions, customs and fashions, have a diverse set of values. And here lies the pressing issue of our times.  Will freemen tend to choose a homogeneous or diverse range of values? The answer has big ramifications for multiculturalism. I think the answer will be “we will choose that which gives us the best chance of survival”.

At some time in the past men and women decided to live together in a cave or community of mud huts or something similar. The only reason we were able to coexist was that we all believed in a similar definition of what was good. It might be said that the stability of those moral principles is essential to human survival. It might then be said that an attack on those moral principles does harm to everyone in the society. A society cannot have all moral principles at once. It will struggle to function if it has contradictory ones as well. It is inevitable that your society will have to make decisions about the moral codes it chooses. It is inevitable that those choices will offend someone. A freeman should not let this bother him. He should make the moral choices he needs to make, as part of a society, and accept that those he offends in doing so will voice their opinion. His freedom to continue to do so must be defended.

The freedom to be yourself will both make you happy but also risk your expulsion from your present tribe. In being yourself, you must weigh individuality against brotherhood and make a choice.

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