the free man is a warrior

My Concept of Freedom.—Sometimes the value of a thing does not lie in that which it helps us to achieve, but in the amount we have to pay for it,—what it costs us. For instance, liberal institutions straightway cease from being liberal, the moment they are soundly established: once this is attained no more grievous and more thorough enemies of freedom exist than liberal institutions! One knows, of course, what they bring about: they undermine the Will to Power, they are the levelling of mountain and valley exalted to a morality, they make people small, cowardly and pleasure-loving,—by means of them the gregarious animal invariably triumphs. Liberalism, or, in plain English, the transformation of mankind into cattle. The same institutions, so long as they are fought for, produce quite other results; then indeed they promote the cause of freedom quite powerfully. Regarded more closely, it is war which produces these results, war in favor of liberal institutions, which, as war, allows the illiberal instincts to subsist. For war trains men to be free. What in sooth is freedom? Freedom is the will to be responsible for ourselves. It is to preserve the distance which separates us from other men. To grow more indifferent to hardship, to severity, to privation, and even to life itself. To be ready to sacrifice men for one’s cause, one’s self included. Freedom denotes that the virile instincts which rejoice in war and in victory, prevail over other instincts; for instance, over the instincts of “happiness.” The man who has won his freedom, and how much more so, therefore, the spirit that has won its freedom, tramples ruthlessly upon that contemptible kind of comfort which tea-grocers, Christians, cows, women, Englishmen and other democrats worship in their dreams. The free man is a warrior.—How is freedom measured in individuals as well as in nations? According to the resistance which has to be overcome, according to the pains which it costs to remain uppermost. The highest type of free man would have to be sought where the greatest resistance has continually to be overcome: five paces away from tyranny, on the very threshold of the danger of thraldom. This is psychologically true if, by the word “Tyrants” we mean inexorable and terrible instincts which challenge the maximum amount of authority and discipline to oppose them—the finest example of this is Julius Cæsar; it is also true politically: just examine the course of history. The nations which were worth anything, which got to be worth anything, never attained to that condition under liberal institutions: great danger made out of them something which deserves reverence, that danger which alone can make us aware of our resources, our virtues, our means of defense, our weapons, our genius,—which compels us to be strong First principle: a man must need to be strong, otherwise he will never attain it.—Those great forcing-houses of the strong, of the strongest kind of men that have ever existed on earth, the aristocratic communities like those of Rome and Venice, understood freedom precisely as I understand the word: as something that one has and that one has not, as something that one will have and that one seizes by force. ~ F.W.N.

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