Freedom’s Renaissance: Reviving a Culture of Liberty

by | Mar 22, 2024 | Philosophy

Culture is a term that refers to the beliefs, customs, practices, and social behaviours shared by a particular group or society. It encompasses the knowledge, art, language, philosophy, and social institutions that characterise a group of individuals. Culture can only be alive to the extent that people practice it. Cultural changes don’t happen by chance, and culture is always changing, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, but it is always people who are acting to change the culture or to preserve it.

In the 20th century, we witnessed significant cultural changes in several Western countries, and in the 21st century, the changes are even more abrupt, once the left has created an anti-Western culture. It’s not difficult to find young people in Western countries, typically educated in universities, who dream of destroying their country’s culture and imposing a socialist society on others.

They live in a left-wing culture, propagate a socialist culture, create socialist literature, films with a socialist ideal, music with socialist lyrics, occupy spaces in society with their left-wing culture, and change our world with their ideals, producing even more leftists. The left is also perceived as having a high status, as it includes very fashionable people who advocate left-wing views. And the reason everything is like this is because leftists have never stopped deliberately creating their culture and actively spreading it.

The point of this article is not exactly to talk about leftists, but to acknowledge that they have created a culture and actively propagate it. There are also other groups reacting to the abrupt cultural changes imposed by cultural Marxists, such as traditionalists who try to revive much of the culture that preceded this contemporary post-modern period strongly rooted in cultural Marxism.

After the end of the Soviet Union, there was a belief among some intellectuals, like Francis Fukuyama, who advocated the idea that we had reached the end of history, as seen in his essay published in 1992, ‘The End of History and the Last Man.’ Fukuyama believed that the ideas of democracy and liberalism had triumphed over other political ideologies.

Although this essay did not accurately predict the future of the world, it is undeniable that Fukuyama’s work sparked many discussions among politicians and within the academic community. This work is considered one of the most important of the past century and has even gained the attention of controversial figures like Jacques Derrida, who criticized Fukuyama.

It is not possible to quantify the exact influence of Francis Fukuyama’s hypothesis on the end of history, but at least Fukuyama meticulously observed the perspective of many people in the West who consider socialism and communism to be ghosts and believe that the model of ‘American free democracy has triumphed.’

Due to this way of thinking, a significant portion of the Western population has stopped seeing political and ideological changes, ignoring other changes that continue to threaten this American democratic model. Gradually, some groups that have never stopped waging a cultural war have gained ground in so-called ‘free’ countries, exploiting the apathy of the inhabitants of these nations. Now it is clear that the West is undergoing radical changes, abandoning its fundamental values that make the West, the West.


Going back in time is not possible

In the aftermath of the French Revolution, particularly in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, French intellectuals sought inspiration from classical antiquity, especially the Roman Empire, as they sought to define the new political and cultural identity of France. This period is often referred to as the Napoleonic era, marked by the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte.

In the artistic and architectural realm of the same period, and likely influenced by similar ideals, Neoclassicism, inspired by the Renaissance, attempted to recreate the glorious past of Greco-Roman societies of antiquity. Several sculptors created marvellous snow-white marble statues. The colour palette used on buildings by architects was consistently light, employing shades of grey, white, and beige, resembling the ruins of buildings in Rome and the Parthenon.

It is undeniable that Neoclassical artists and architects produced remarkable creations. The interest in their works is evident when millions of tourists visit them each year, generating billions in revenue for several European countries, fuelling businesses, and creating tens of millions of jobs. However, in trying to reconstruct the Greco-Roman antiquity, these talented artists and sculptors also gave birth to something new.

Contrary to popular beliefs, the Greco-Roman world was not white, grey, and beige like Neoclassical buildings and sculptures. It was coloured with vibrant hues, but over time, ancient buildings and statues lost their colouring. Today, thanks to laboratory techniques, archaeologists and scientists can identify traces of ancient polychromy (the use of multiple colours in a work of art or architecture) and present hypothetical reconstructions of the statues.

In attempting to recreate the past, Neoclassical architects, artists, and the French intellectuals of the French Revolution mentioned earlier gave rise to a new kind of art, architecture, and contributed to shaping a new reality for France, very different from what they had idealized.

In Plato’s philosophy, notably presented in his work “The Republic,” the Greek philosopher introduces the concept of the “World of Ideas.” According to Plato, the physical world perceived through our senses is merely a reflection or imperfect copy of a higher reality, a non-material realm of perfect and eternal Ideas.

In the World of Ideas, everything is considered perfect and immutable. The physical world, on the other hand, is characterized by imperfection, change, and transience. Plato believed that true reality exists in the World of Ideas, and the physical world is only a shadow or imitation of these perfect and eternal Forms.

As in Plato’s World of Ideas, reality differs from what we imagine, especially when discussing human societies composed of individuals who constantly change their preferences subjectively based on their individual needs. Being the opposite of the ideal world, people cannot be planned; they are mutable, not immutable.

Whenever a group of people has tried to recreate an ancient period, they invariably produced something new because the circumstances surrounding the recreation of the past had already evolved. They did not have the same worldview, the same experience as ancient peoples, and the world around them was not the same as in the ideal they had imagined. They were already influenced by new things that had occurred.

The reason people today look to the past for a solution to the present is that the present is moving away from the ideal minimum, and the future is not promising. Some recent changes have been less favourable for most individuals in the West, such as censorship, the reduction of general freedoms with each new law and regulation, increased insecurity, the housing crisis, a rise in social instability, the fact that a single income was sufficient to meet the needs of an average family in several Western countries, the skills crisis, judicial systems becoming absurdly unjust, etc. If you are over 25, you may have perceived an objective change for the worse in the world around you, and all of this is a consequence of cultural change.

We cannot alter past events in our societies or attempt to rebuild a bygone era exactly as it was in the past; that is impossible. This is not the goal of libertarians either because we recognize that even before the Western decline, there were already problems related to the existence and anatomy of the State. However, we have the opportunity to draw inspiration from the past and incorporate new good ideas to create a new and better world. This could materialize through a cultural change based on freedom and ethics.


The Future

The only way to change the future of Western countries and steer them away from the path of destruction is through a cultural shift towards freedom. Even though libertarian ideas may seem extreme to the contemporary “Average Joe,” whose way of thinking is rooted in statist ideas, foreign to the roots of Western Civilization, the principles of freedom promoted by libertarianism are based on the foundations that have contributed to defining the West as it is.

We cannot put the cart before the horse. Thus, before observing economic, social, and political changes, it is necessary to build a solid foundation at the level of ideas. To accomplish this, it is crucial to develop and put into practice a culture of freedom.

By creating a culture of freedom through the production and dissemination of art, philosophy, general knowledge, and all other things in the cultural domain, and by practicing this culture of freedom, we will create new generations of individuals who love and value freedom, supporting works of art, literature, and cultural initiatives focused on libertarianism that creatively communicate the values of freedom.

Many artists, authors, and filmmakers have once highlighted freedom, emphasizing its importance and criticizing taxes. Today, they contribute to a culture that promotes socialist values, criticizes the free world and capitalism, advocates for egalitarianism, and identity politics. This cultural shift began with intellectuals and early artists who popularized values opposed to freedom and Western civilization, making them popular.

Similarly, through the deliberate creation of a culture of freedom, we will succeed in making it grow organically. And this is already happening. We see individuals who are creating and spreading a culture of freedom. For example, in the field of animation and children’s literature, we have Tuttle Twins, but we also have several libertarians creating original articles, podcasts, and videos, translating books and articles, producing memes, and making efforts for freedom.

The libertarian cultural revolution is already underway worldwide, and it will not be limited to a single country. We are still in the early stages of this process, but there is still much work and opportunities ahead. Let’s abandon totalitarian values, embrace freedom, practice freedom, create a culture of freedom to achieve a new world that is free, prosperous, and just.

With only a fraction of society based on the principles of freedom, we have built the greatest and most prosperous civilizations. It would be extremely foolish to surrender and destroy it for nothing. Let’s build the pillars upon which a time will be built that will be even better than the greatest civilizations we have ever built.