Breaking Free: World War Me - Part Three
All images are lies.

This is Part IV of the series World War Me. Part III can be found above.

There is nothing at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self Reliance

Abstract Slavery and the Spoils of the New Hobbesian War

The permanent war, began in essence, with the Protestant Reformation and accelerated into and through the Industrial, French, & American Revolutions, involves wars of nations, but truly seen, is a more fundamental social conflict within each and every Western society.

That is to say, it is a class war.

The classes are not rich and poor, educated and uneducated, but rather, free and slave.

It is not haves vs have-nots, but the cans vs have-tos.

Since before antiquity, and we do not know exactly how far back, there has been the practice of slavery. The master-slave distinction of mind can be characterized by a non-egalitarian view of the self and other by both. The master sees himself as subject, which is to say, the source of agency and action, and his slave as object — and the slave is forced to reciprocate: to see himself as an object, and his master as subject.

To really internalize the understanding of this, think about it grammatically: the subject of a sentence acts, the object is acted upon, or the ‘recipient’ of the action.

This psychological distinction between master and slave represents the essence of the relationship far more than our modernist, two-dimensional concept of slavery which is people in physical chains. We must understand that slavery pre-existed the European enslavement of Africans in the Americas. That is a particular, quite contemporary manifestation of the psycho-economic reality of historical slavery.

Systems of slavery were not always based on race. In Babylonian society, slavery was the consequence of failure to pay debts, and especially tax debts, which were assessed per capita and not based on economic means, creating a steady supply of new slaves.

While we hear talk about Greece as the origin of democracy, we must remember that Athenian society was based on a system of slavery, and implicitly endorsed by Plato in his Republic: The intellectually superior, the philosopher-kings should rule, and everyone else should obey. Omitted from most educational curricula about both history and philosophy is the fact that Plato spent a significant amount of time in the court of Dionysius, the Tyrant of Syracuse, an absolutist dictator who ruled the ancient Sicilian city.

Plato was a totalitarian fetishist, and his truest intellectual heir is not Aristotle, but Augustine of Hippo, a neoplatonist philosopher who later converted to Christianity and (mis)interpreted the totality of Christ’s teachings through Plato’s idealistic lens of forms. Augustine is, in particular, guilty of the rather grotesque interpretation of the Garden of Eden that remains standard amongst most self-identifying Christians, that is as a story of “the fall of man”, a phrase that does not appear at all in the text itself (only in the modern editions with headings).

Augustine adapted the Genesis story to fit Plato’s progression of ages from a perfected ‘Golden Age’ through stages of decline (a theoretical framework that remains exceedingly popular in spite of a total absence of historical evidence to support it in any era), which constantly leaves us enthralled to life-nullifying nostalgia, wishes for bygone eras, and the alway-false assumption that the past was better than the present.

There is no time in history better or worse than any other — only different. Every people have had their problems, and each generation’s struggle is unique to itself. This is inevitable. Just as there was no utopia in some past Golden Age, there will be no future one either. All ideologies that look to the past or hope for the future to deliver perfection are propagated by charlatans and false prophets.

The truth is that life is difficult — and always will be.

We must leave a comprehensive discussion of Augustine’s platonic crimes against Christianity for another day, but it is important to trace the lineage of institutional Christendom’s totalitarianism to their proper origin: in Augustine, and thus in Plato.

Karl Popper, the philosopher, epistemologist, and great advocate of democracy observes the full extent of the insidiousness of Plato’s totalitarian ideology thus:

Individualism, equalitarianism, faith in reason and love of freedom were new, powerful, and, from the point of view of the enemies of the open society, dangerous sentiments that had to be fought. Plato had himself felt their influence, and, within himself, he had fought them. His answer to the Great Generation was a truly great effort. It was an effort to close the door which had been opened, and to arrest society by casting upon it the spell of an alluring philosophy, unequaled in depth and richness. In the political field he added but little to the old oligarchic programme against which Pericles had once argued. But he discovered, perhaps unconsciously, the great secret of the revolt against freedom, formulated in our own day by Pareto; ‘To take advantage of sentiments, not wasting one’s energies in futile efforts to destroy them.’ Instead of showing his hostility to reason, he charmed all intellectuals with his brilliance, flattering and thrilling them by his demand that the learned should rule.

Although arguing against justice he convinced all righteous men that he was its advocate. Not even to himself did he fully admit that he was combating the freedom of thought for which Socrates had died; and by making Socrates his champion he persuaded all others that he was fighting for it. Plato thus became, unconsciously, the pioneer of the many propagandists who, often in good faith, developed the technique of appealing to moral, humanitarian sentiments, for anti-humanitarian, immoral purposes.

And he achieved the somewhat surprising effect of convincing even great humanitarians of the immorality and selfishness of their creed. I do not doubt that he succeeded in persuading himself. He transfigured his hatred of individual initiative, and his wish to arrest all change, into a love of justice and temperance, of a heavenly state in which everybody is satisfied and happy and in which the crudity of money-grabbing is replaced by laws of generosity and friendship. This dream of unity and beauty and perfection, this æstheticism and holism and collectivism, is the product as well as the symptom of the lost group spirit of tribalism.
— Karl Popper, The Open Society and its Enemies

The Roman system of turning vanquished populations into slaves was translated into Catholicism by turning them into converts and supplicants. The rule of bishops over the minds and spirits of their wards, who in turn funded the bishops by donation, was simply an evolution of the parasitic mentality, an adaptation to circumvent the teachings of Jesus and Paul, who explicitly repudiated the notion of any person’s superiority over any other.

There was never anything Christian about Catholicism, precisely because it was just a perverse (if successful) attempt at baptizing the authoritarian ideology of Plato.

When Paul declares that “in Christ, there is neither slave nor free,” he is not making an empty ideological statement, but saying that all people are capable of moral agency and self-determination. In context, his statement is more far-reaching, for he also declares “there is neither male nor female, Greek nor Jew” — that is to say, all distinctions of race, gender, and class are non-existent within the realm of LOGOS, universal reason (the law of reciprocity), moral agency, etc.

Love does not eradicate such distinctions, but it ought to transcend them.

It is easy to see how those who had been born into the master class of Roman society chaffed at the spread of early, pre-Catholic Christianity, which, unsurprisingly, was popular amongst the slave class. Those in chains clung to the hope of the promise that truth alone, and not money, could set one free. The freedom of mind available to the Christian slave was, of course, an incomplete moral revolution. The master class would need to gain an ethical awareness that it must relinquish their claims over other individuals.

This remains a work-in-progress, even after 2,000 years. The elites of Roman society eventually capitulated to the names and customs of populist Christianity, and, like all parasites that have encountered an effective immune response in their hosts, adapted. Those who would have been Roman Senators in the previous era subsequently became Cardinals, and the whole history of slavery was doomed to repeat through this evolutionary adaptation.

The peasant systems of medievalism were ‘softer’ forms of enslavement compared to Egyptian, Babylonian, or Roman slavery, but they nevertheless did not represent fundamental or essential progress. They simply hid the insidiousness of parasitism under the guise of (marginally) better treatment.

The Protestant Reformation posed a true challenge to the parasites. Lutheran and Calvinist theology refuted the notion of the priesthood as a distinct class: Christ obviated the need for a human intermediary between the individual and GOD. Indeed, the symbolism of the curtain separating the area accessible only by priests from the rest of the Temple being rent asunder during the crucifixion represents the essence of Christ’s egalitarian revolution perfectly.

LOGOS, or cosmic-universal reason, showed that divinity resides in everything, and therefore in all of us, everywhere and all the time.  The incarnate LOGOS, in the person of Jesus, was the living proof of this: we did not need temples, sacrifices, or burnt offerings to please GOD, we needed only to live in harmony with our neighbor, and within ourselves, to please GOD.

This of course is only possible with what the Psalmist describes as the only sacrifice acceptable to GOD: a contrite heart and a broken spirit.

Simply put, GOD is only pleased by humility, and the master-slave ethos is its opposite. There is nothing contrite about a person who believes they have the right to dictate how others should live. There is no brokenness in the spirit that sees itself as having the right to force others to labor on its own behalf, or restricts their freedom of movement, and so forth.

Sadly, this egalitarian revolt lasted for less than an historical split second. The parasites, as always, evolved and adapted quickly. No longer being able to maintain integrity of mind enslaving and overpowering their neighbor, the protestants went off to other lands to find people they didn’t really consider to be people (Africans) and put them in chains across the ocean, out of sight, out of mind, and benefited monstrously from their forced labor, slaughtering other people they didn’t consider people (Native Americans) and taking their land in the process.

The Catholics continued their par-for-the-course oppression throughout Latin America, sometimes paired with African slavery, and sometimes not. The relative economic and social success of protestant colonialism has to do with the inherent enhanced egalitarianism of protestant theology, but it was obviously never an adequately effective deterrent against enormous non-egalitarian harm.

The French Revolution represented the next major attempt of the slave class to throw off the chains of oppression and assert themselves over the parasitic master class. Unlike the Protestant Reformers, the French Revolutionaries saw as essential to their aim the actual physical extermination of the parasites. The guillotine eliminated many, but as we should not be surprised to learn, the parasites quickly consumed the revolution itself, and within a short period of time, they were fully back in charge, wearing different hats, bearing different titles, and their aims undifferentiated from those of their predecessors.

The supposed father of America, first president, and symbol of liberty George Washington and his  psychopathic Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton (why he is praised by the elites of New York in Broadway Plays tells you a lot about them) personally led an army to torture and murder Pennsylvania farmers who refused to pay a tax on whisky. Perhaps no other event in early independent American history better evidences the fact that the American “revolution” was no revolution at all, but a mere coup d’etat: the overthrow of one elitist system by another.

That the Declaration of Independence (written by a slave-owner) and the Constitution (which audaciously considered slaves ⅗ of a person) make grand poetic claims about the liberty of the individual, rights guaranteed by GOD, etc.,  was nothing whatsoever of substance, but merely marked the birth of America’s only true industry and achievement:


The extension of the slave system, the genocide of many Native peoples and relocation of the rest of them, and the budding parasitic banking & financial system (designed by the same Hamilton) all betray the so-called American ideal as a fraud from day one.

There is no America to make great again, because it was never great to begin with.

Over and over throughout history, we find that the blood stains have barely faded on revolutionary uniforms, or the ink dry on new constitutions, before the same old parasitic elements reassert dominance over the majorities of populations in every age and race. The ideals of freedom may survive longer than its substance, but only detrimentally.

The maintenance of an ideology of freedom in the face of an unfree reality is only possible in a decrepit and fractured mind — and this brings us to the core of the Hobbesian war in which we find ourselves today.

The master and slave mind have two things in common: the first is the absence of coherence or internal integrity of thought, and the second is a tacit commitment to deterministic outcomes, or what Jacques Ellul would call the path of necessity, which he positions against the path of freedom.

Interestingly, the psychologist Eric Fromm titled his analysis of Europe succumbing to fascism: “The Escape from Freedom.” Supporters of fascist ideology did not want to be free, and therefore responsible — they wanted to be secure without taking personal responsibility.

Seen this way, we can understand virtually all modern ideologies are derivatives of fascism, and that it is intellectually dishonest to reduce fascism to mere racism, xenophobia, and homophobia. Rather, we should see that fascism is an anti-freedom reaction to fear. It says “let us becomes slaves to you, if you can deliver us from fear.”

For the contemporary Right, that fear is indeed of immigrants, foreigners, queer folk (I’m gay, so I’m not using this term pejoratively), etc. — basically anybody who does not look like they do.

For the contemporary Left, that fear is of the Right, or basically anybody who does not think they do.

Both sides are willing to trade their freedom in order to deprive freedom to the objects of their fear. Both sides are choosing a path of necessity because the fear the uncertainty inherent to the path of freedom.

In the path of necessity, there are masters and slaves. In the path of freedom, there are only the free.

The slave is bound by their chains, physical or metaphorical. The wage-earners in the Americas and Europe are bound by extractive systems of rent, interest payments, and credit scores which keep them in paper chains that are every bit as strong as chains of iron. That is plain enough to see.

But their masters are equally chained — for they are chained to the necessity of the slaves remaining enslaved. Their ability to carry on their way of life not only requires others laboring on their behalf without adequate compensation, but the inability for them to escape it, too. Thus, like any parasite, they must (ironically) work furiously to evade detection, and if detected, to rapidly evolve to evade extermination (usually by finding a new way to extract without detection).

Indeed, if we think about parasitic microorganisms, the ones that are the least noticeable are the most dangerous, precisely for the foregoing reason. A seed tick carrying disease is more perilous than a blood-sucking leech. The leech will not remain attached to you for long before you notice it. The tiny little tick could take much longer, depending on how attentive you are, and where it managed to lodge itself.

The healthier the organism, the more attentive to the detection and removal of parasites. A healthy immune system eliminates most without the organism needing to be consciously aware of it. Every minute of the day, your body is doing battle against all manner of pathogens trying to invade and find a foothold somewhere inside you, and for most people, most of the time, most of those pathogens are eliminated before they even begin to pose a threat. The unhealthier and more compromised the organism, the less this remains true.

The more integrated a system is, the more its parts work together to defend the system. That is why Emerson declares that what is ultimately sacred is “the integrity of your own mind.” Without internal integration, there is no possibility of survival, physically or psychologically, precisely because you, as an organism, will have lost the ability to defend yourself.

I would say that Emerson’s phrase needs only one tweak to be truly accurate — he should have said:

“Nothing is at last sacred by the integrity of your own mindbody.”

Too enthralled to Plato and Neoplatonic ideology, Emerson had not adequately shaken off his own dualism. There is only the one self, and it is a conscious body — it is not a body with a consciousness.

The reason that nothing else can be sacred except that inner integrity is that nothing else can sustain its life. The more dis-integrated you are with yourself, the less likely you will detect threats to your life, inside or outside. The more dis-integrated you are with yourself, the less likely you will find the joys of life to motivate your will to live. The more dis-integrated you are with yourself, the less competent you will be in commanding your various parts to act consistently in a way that is actually in your interests.

How often do you do something you later regret? How often do you do things that turn out to be against your interests?

These are failures attributable to dis-integrity. One or more of your faculties of perception or judgment failed you, most likely because it was not adequately connected to some other faculty that could have provided counterfactual evidence or reasoning to correct the decision.

Medical literature plays us false by talking about this or that thing causing cancer. More accurately, we should say that environmental toxins compromise the body’s ability to detect and/or kill cancerous cells. Cancerous cells appear all the time in healthy organisms, and are detected and destroyed in due course of the immune system’s proper function. Thus, it’s not even so much that somebody gets cancer that is the problem, but rather that fail to rid themselves of it.

In our physical lives, evolving pathogens are making our antibiotics increasingly unreliable, and our fatigued, unhealthy bodies are becoming incapable of fighting off chronic disease. We are soon going to be faced with the worst of both the ancient and modern worlds: unstoppable infectious and chronic disease.

Our social and political malaise is a projection of our individual and physical malaise. The corruption and failure of our mimetic defense systems (traditional religion) has permitted the rampant infection of our minds with all manner of life-affronting ideas, such as the inversion of the abstract and concrete realms I described in Part III of this series.

In the absence of a functioning detection & removal system for dangerous ideas and false information, half the population has simply given up trying and accepted all manner of nonsense and lies coming into their system (The Left). The other half has instead developed an allergic reaction: reflexively inflamed by anything and everything new or different (The Right).

both are death.

A peanut allergy turns a harmless legume into a deadly pathogen — and this is no more or less dangerous than an immune deficient body that fails to deploy its defenses to fight off an invading bacterial or viral infection.

Both are the result of a system that has lost internal integrity.

If the cells of a system, and the systems of an organism are not healthy at each layer, then there is no way the organism as an integrated whole can possibly be healthy. If our mitochondria are dehydrated, we cannot be surprised when our renal system malfunctions. If our arteries are clogged, we cannot expect our brains to work well. It shouldn’t require too much explanation for this point to be clear.

Likewise in our society, if our neighborhoods are sick, so our capitals will be. Our legal system will be no fairer and more impartial than the individuals who must enforce and interpret its laws.

If we want a free society, that is, a society without masters and slaves, then we must first address the causes of slave societies, namely the desire to be a master, and the willingness to be a slave.

So long as anyone wants to be a master, we must expect there will be dynamics within our societies that result in the creation of slaves. But this is much harder if there is nobody willing to consent to it.

It is naive to think that laws, constitutions, regulations, and so on, will ever deter this — especially given they are almost universally written by the master class to begin with.

It does not matter whether the desire to be a master manifests as the aspiration to be a corporate executive or a bureaucrat, a senator or a dictator, a landlord or an interest-earning depositor — all forms of extractive parasitism are master mentalities. Legitimize them with elections, or with ‘voluntary’ contracts and you will have only permitted them to operate with less irritation, not less devastation.

Other than the conditions themselves, the primary benefit of abstract slavery over chattel slavery is that once the slave recognizes his condition, he has a bit more possibility of escaping it. The disadvantage is that he has a harder time recognizing his condition to begin with.

Indeed, so much of elite (parasitic) adaptation in our society has been dedicated to ensuring that the slave does not recognize his condition, just as viruses mutate to evade the physical body’s immune detection. The inversion of the concrete and abstract worlds, the new primacy of informational reality over formational reality described in Part III of this series, has been integral to the success of this adaptation in the past half century.

Slavery is not, as is commonly conceived, merely work without compensation (volunteers work without compensation, but they do so without being forced).

Slavery is work for another without choice.

Throughout history, slaves have received various forms of compensation for their labor, from housing and food to even wage compensation in many societies. But what is critical about the distinction between the slave and the free person is that the free person can always leave.

The reason this distinction must be made explicit is that it is at the core of the elite deception of the middle class and the masses — but the middle class in particular, or what in some periods of history would have been known as “house slaves,” those slaves of a high enough combination of trustworthiness, submissiveness, and competence that allowed them to be trusted with children, and even money (yes, in that order).

Corporate employment has been the most adroit development by economic elites for maintaining the veneer of a “freedom to leave” for those in thrall to them. You are free to quit your job — and go find another. Different master, slightly different conditions, perhaps, but more or less ‘new boss, same as old boss.’ This hardly counts as being able to leave.

The commodification of labor is, in fact, an essential quality of slavery. For thousands of years, slaves were bartered for other goods, bought & sold in marketplaces, auctioned off, and used as settlement for peace treaties in warfare.

So-called “acquihires,” where startups are sold mostly for their labor force, are a grand example of this aspect of warfare abstracted to the economic realm.

Properly understood, a startup is a sort of mercenary force of freed slaves vying to maintain their freedom by battle (read: ‘market competition’) with an existing kingdom (read: ‘corporation’), which ends either in their own defeat where they are resold into slavery (or sell themselves back into it voluntarily), or victory, wherein they become masters themselves (depending on how early they joined the startup and the extent of their equity holding).

While the physical chains may be gone, the added burden of forcing the slave to find their own master is a particularly cruel plot twist of our abstracted slave system. That is certainly the reason I find LinkedIn to be the most vile of all social networks, and deleted my account many years ago: I refuse to participate in a perverse system of slaves being forced to sell themselves, and compete with each other in a grotesque game of self-objectification (“personal branding” in the Orwellian language of our markets).

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
— T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

All of this perversity requires the voluntary compliance of the vast majority of its participants in order for it to perpetuate. We are not being held in iron chains at gun-point, but in paper chains at rent-point, and mortgage-point — not because people do not want to be free, but because at this point, few people have any idea what freedom really is, and hardly have the mental or physical capacity for it if they did know what it was.

The past half-century has seen a concerted effort to destroy both the understanding of individual, family, and community-scale freedom, as well as the physical, psychological, and spiritual capacity to pursue it. Much of this has been accomplished through ideological abstraction, transforming concepts of freedom into political objects that can be hurled around as verbal weapons, but never actually lived or practiced in real life.

I must note that my vision of freedom is decidedly not an Ayn Rand dystopia of hyper-individuals, but something that could be called “Shireism” — a land of happy Hobbits, tending their gardens and taverns, living simple, but free lives, and lacking the avaricious striving that characterizes the permanent state of warfare engendered by capitalism.

Likewise, it is not a society that trades its competitive economic elites for a group of conspiring-jockeying political elites who perform the same oppressive function — a Soviet or European Union dystopia of technocratic regulation and micromanagement of daily life in the name of “safety” or “prosperity”.

Indeed, in order to understand the real war, we should acknowledge the nature of the sham war. The Capitalism vs Socialism, American ‘Free Market Democracy’ vs European ‘Social Democracy’ dichotomies are an essential part of the elites’ lies and evolutionary adaptations since the 19th Century.

GK Chesterton puts it best when he says “the party system is popular in the same way that a football match is popular, in that the masses are kept quiet with a fight."

The fight between these two parties is designed to be eternal, and unwinnable. One side can advance, but never win definitively precisely because their total victory would immediately expose the whole scam. Each side maintains the promise that their victory would eliminate the problems experienced by roughly half of the population so that, every so often (whatever interval a particular country holds general elections), that victory can be palpable, and just within reach — but never quite complete.

There is much more to say on this, but the discussion of modern democracy will be the topic of a future installment in this series. Nevertheless, the concept must be introduced in order to see the full extent of the stakes at the individual level, and that there is not, and can never be, salvation at the ballot box.

The individual, the family, the community must all take up arms in the Hobbesian war, first to defend themselves and their interests, establish an effective bulwark against the perpetual onslaught, and then to make meaningful ‘territorial gains’ that secure genuine freedom in spite of what happens in broader society.

If this does not sound terribly optimistic or grandiose, it is because after 20 years of belief in more idealistic outcomes, your writer has concluded that they will only be possible in the much farther future (likely 2-3 generations), and only if enough people are willing to pursue more humble objectives and accept more modest gains in the current generation.

What I underestimated in my 20s and 30s was the extent and scale of the social upheaval that industrialization, the world wars, and digital computation have caused, how much strategic inequality they created, and how far into this story we already are. I must be forgiven, having been born in the ‘80s in Middle America — I was saturated with American Dream propaganda and convinced anyone could do anything they set their mind to.

While I still believe this is true, I now understand that setting one’s mind to something is much more difficult than I previously thought, for the reasons I am describing here.

Moreover, I am far less idealistic about how freedom can be attained. One cannot truly be a pacifist in the midst of the Hobbesian war and expect to live life as a free person, with a free family, in a free community.

This does not mean one must resort to physical violence in order to fight in the Hobbesian war — quite the opposite — nonviolent resistance is actually the only sustainable means of engagement in this war. It is no less true today than it was 2,000 years ago that “he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.” No violent revolution ever gave rise to a peaceful successor state, which is why we remain stuck in endless cycles repeating themselves.

Nevertheless, the conflict is real, and cannot be wished away by maintaining naive, happy-go-lucky, pretenses about the world’s reality.

In the next installment, we will explore the ways and means of escaping slavery, and defending oneself, family, and community from future enslavement. It all begins with the integrity of the mindbody in a life-affirming context: health, vitality, independent thinking, robust attention to mutual self-interest, cooperation, alliance-building, and awareness of the myriad ways modernity is trying to destroy your autonomy, agency, and thus status as a free person.

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