Life among Idiots and Serfs
If the Opposite of Serfdom Isn’t Freedom but Idiocy, Then What Is Freedom?
As a teen, I went to a Catholic ‘gymnasium’, which is a Dutch highschool variant that educates kids in classical languages such as Latin and ancient Greek. There, I also received my scientific education, graduating in chemistry, physics, mathematics, and biology — alongside being inculcated with the scientific worldview. But the manner in which my teachers taught me differed in nothing from an otherwise strictly Catholic enterprise. Namely, without question.
I wasn’t supposed to think for myself. Reflecting back upon that strangely unbudging ‘scientific’ education system, I began to realize I had been conned. The scientific worldview, to a large degree, echoes the story of Genesis. It tells of a world created from nothing, with animals and plants evolving “after their seed”, the whole governed by immutable laws and constants. Consequently, I wrote a book titled Eternal Struggle, which deconstructs the scientific worldview and exposes it as both a religious and political fraud.
Today, my former school still raises kids to be highly functioning serfs to the scientific curriculum but certainly not to be free-thinking individuals. Yes, even in a supposedly progressive-liberal nation such as The Netherlands, authorities rely heavily on a docile and obedient though educated population. ‘Educated’, here, means something like domesticated but with a degree. With good reason — most children, even those of somewhat privileged parents (unlike mine), will never develop the imaginative thinking skills needed to live a free and autonomous life. The whole idea of human society revolves around a complacent if not compliant population.
Idiots aren’t free, either. They are idiots because they cannot grasp the rules and, therefore, they remain incapable of thinking for themselves. Serfs, at least, can think of reasons why they should or should not act in a certain way, or why things ought to be done in a certain way. But serfs then defer their personal responsibilities to some other (or higher) authority, for example, an algorithm, a king or a god — or a cosmological constant. Scientists and Catholics alike belive in a rigid order of things governed by unchanging, eternal, and ubiquitous laws. They still fear freedom as much as idiots fear coming to their senses.
Those who follow the rules are serfs, but those who cannot grasp the rules are idiots.
With serfs, one can build an advanced civilization on the condition that governing powers command a sense of authority, such as the Biblical God (conservatism, nationalism) or the authority of the physical sciences (scientific progress, liberalism). With idiots, one can only build a very primitive society that, as it were, requires the installation of street bumpers so that people randomly flailing their arms around don’t end up crashing into walls. Such people have to be restrained by society. There are only very few behaviors the uncontrollable are permitted to engange in, and most of them involve sexual acts that leave no offspring. As long as it exhausts them, society can then proceed to ignore the idiots.
With a society full of idiots, you end up living in a sort of dairy farm where people are herded into jobs and places that require no more than a toddler’s level of thinking. Algorithms and machines designed by a handful of ‘tarded’ people (in the parlance of Idiocracy) constantly have to watch over the dumbed-down masses. Such idiots aren’t even in charge of their own reproductivity. The overwatch state takes care of everything. Idiots will still feel they are free, precisely because they lack the ability to think.
Instead of moving forward from feudal serfdom toward a society of free-ranging individuals, we have moved backward toward idiocracy. Serfs who used to be citizens have now become mindless cattle ready to be immunized against their freedoms.
If we imagine serfs as people able but not willing to think for themselves, and idiots as people willing but not able to, then the group of people both willing and able to think for themselves have long abandoned ship. Why would anyone want to live among serfs and imbeciles?
People neither willing nor able to think are animals. For the love of God, we seem to have few of those among our ranks. Indeed, it has come to this. Society no longer serves the free. Today, the people in charge of the idiots are themselves serfs — and thanks to the dissolution of God, there is no one left to guide the serfs. Truly free spirits are neither idiots nor serfs and have, therefore, long turned their backs to society. They are working on their own pursuits above and beyond what we call civilization. The free have no need for it.
Idiots, so to speak, ejaculate uncontrollably wherever they are, without thinking. Serfs, by comparison, fear their ejaculation, for they never know when is the right time. Freemen, and women, make love to each other when the mutual need arises, but will have more important things to attend to other than engaging in week-long orgies such as most idiots would like to do. The free have other desires, the desire to create, for example, to leave a legacy, to explore and have seen the world, to have understood something about something.
The free, then, are a paradox. They are both capable of ignoring insensible rules in favor of new insights about the world, and of following rules that make perfect sense to them. They bend the rules if necessary. One thing they don’t do. They don’t chisel the rules in stone. They take responsibility for their own actions and, when needed, for the actions of others (serfs, who can be controlled). The free understand that idiots are best herded into their places and jobs. The labor performed by idiots frees the free from having to do menial and mindless work.
The free created the gods, if you will. They created the gods for the serfs to believe in, and to justify ruling over the idiots. The free created societies in order to put serfs and idiots in their place, i.e., to get them out of the way of more important things the free enjoy pursuing. Consequentially, that means the free often find themselves in charge of a society they themselves have no need for. They govern society only to guard their own freedoms, to keep the idiots out of their way.
Truly free people are nothing liek politicians (serfs) or populists (idiots). The free are neither journalists (idiot serfs) nor economists (serving idiots). They are men and women who live as gods, and usually out of sight. When the free show their faces it is to remind the rabble that they better behave.
The free in charge of society are precisely those people who don’t need one. And they shall have no regrets when the whole thing vanishes again.
Postscript 1: The Idiot
I went to pick up a parcel in town. I waited outside a small hexagonal cigar store. An old woman— without a facemask— was just finalizing a purchase of her cigarettes. She left and I met the store clerk inside, who was safely protected behind his counter and behind a plexiglass windshield, supposedly to keep viruses out. Like the old woman, I didn’t wear my facemask either. I informed the clerk about my business, and he went to fetch my parcel from the back.
When he returned, he required to check my ID. It was at this point he remarked that I should put on my facemask. “It’s the law.” I refused. All of a sudden, the man became visibly upset, but didn’t say anything. After he handed me the parcel — with his bare, unsanitized hands — he quipped, “Well, Mr. K., you better get out of here, quickly!”
This man was willing but not able to think for himself. He was an idiot. He didn’t really fear the virus. He didn’t care about the old lady without her facemask before me. He didn’t sanitize his hands, nor my parcel, before handing it over to me. But he was willing to think about the consequences of a virus when I showed up. He was just not able to. That man feared freedom more than any virus. And so, he allows society to herd him behind a counter where his stupidity can’t harm anyone.
Postscript 2: The Serf
I took the train to Amsterdam one day. I didn’t wear my facemask, which is legally required even when waiting in the open air on the train platform. Right when I boarded the train, a female train conductor confronted me. She was wearing her non-medical facemask which, according to the precription leaflet, has no protective function against viruses whatsoever. The masks don’t work and yet commuters don’t catch the virus.
Neverteless, the conductor had been hiding inside her 3x3 feet conductors’ cabin all day, fearing the virus might catch and kill her. She was in her late forties, short and overweight. She stumbled to warn me that I ought to put on my facemask. I refused with nonchalance and waited for her to come up with a reason to make me.
When she asked me whether I was perhaps exempted from wearing a facemask, I told her the so-called ‘exempt status cards’ people have been downloading from the internet are illegitimate. Our government nor our doctors supply any exempt statuses.
She was baffled. All this time, people had been fooling her with fake, photoshopped facemask exemption cards that carried no official status. She didn’t say anything more. I shrugged my shoulders and went to my seat, leaving her behind in total shock. She got off the train and as the train left, I watched her discuss my case with another conductor on the platform. He didn’t care, though. But she was absolutely terrified.
Though she proved to be able to think, she was unwilling to do it for herself. She didn’t fear the virus. She was only terrified of the fact there were men out there willing and able to think for themselves. She, too, feared freedom much more than the virus. She feared the fact that there are people who won’t listen to what the government tells them to do.
Humanity, it turns out, isn’t all that interesting.