You Are Already Free

You are free. The application of that freedom already exists. Through social indoctrination, you do not see your freedom or the potential of its everyday application. The historical ventures to secure this freedom have been based in coercion and confused with subordination, repression and slavery. These ventures violate what exists in nature.

You are already free. The security of your freedom lies in the recognition and respect of it from individual to individual. By this action alone the boundaries of your freedom are established and secured. It is not open to interpretation, for freedom is equally possessed by every human being.

Social institutions have a vested interest in your continued subordination to their authority, which is a Ponzi scheme. Even if you reach a high position within the Ponzi scheme, with many privileges and riches, you remain a slave, subordinated within the system. There are no advantages to power within a group that exceed the power of free individuals apart from coercive groups ' in voluntary association with other free individuals.

Every form of coercive social organization reduces the security of your freedom, in exchange for your subordination. They promise a reward of security, but the consequence is enslavement ' by everyone to everyone else ' and they take away your natural freedom (the very thing they have promised to protect).

You are free. You are free without the permission of any 'superior' authority or power. You are free through the recognition of your freedom and the respect of it by other individuals ' in exchange only for the same respect given by you for their freedom. Nothing more is needed to secure freedom.

The cost of such an arrangement will be measured in the loss of chains that your present social organizations use to bind you to the group and to one another. These chains are composed of illusions of power and unearned rewards that are stolen from other slaves, including the status of your position itself. You will feel this loss very deeply, as you have been indoctrinated to value these things above your own freedom, health and well-being.

The reciprocal respect of one another's freedom is already a common, everyday experience for the species. We do this automatically in every voluntary engagement with one another throughout the world. The mechanism of reciprocal respect is not a new technology nor a sophisticated one. It is inherent to the primordial interaction of individual human beings.

The reciprocal mechanism of security is old technology, low technology, and is already applied in large degree by every individual. It requires no special training. It requires no special education. It does not matter if you are rational or illogical. The common sense, experiential reality of reciprocal respect is second-nature to every human being.

You can apply this mechanism immediately ' as, in fact, you already do most of the time anyway. You can tell other people of this mechanism, and show them that they already use it. Then explain to them that this is all that is needed. Why don't they believe you?

The reason your freedom has never been secured before, despite the self-evident power and daily use of this mechanism of reciprocal respect, is that it has never been formally acknowledged by the species. There is no group, institution or existing authority ' including your highest educational institutions and your brightest research institutions ' that will ever acknowledge the truth of this mechanism. The existence of a group depends upon subordination, by misrepresentation and force. The application of this principle would make groups and institutions, empowered by the use of force, redundant.

Your freedom is real. The security of your freedom lies in yourself and in other individuals . . . and in no group, organization, institution, or program. The application of freedom already exists in your everyday encounters with other human beings. It is diminished by group rules and group values (mores), both of which are imposed by force.

Freedom is inherent to your nature. The security of that natural property is within the means of every individual human being. The only affect that a social group ' organized to promote, effect, create or secure freedom ' can have upon your freedom is to diminish it. It is not possible to organize for freedom.

Nor is it necessary to engage empowered groups in a contest to reclaim your inherent freedom. You are already free. The security of that condition requires no force and no cunning. Anyone who tells you that we need an organization to implement this freedom either does not understand the concept, or seeks to perpetuate subordination in some 'milder' form.

There are only a few things missing from the equation. One is the recognition that this mechanism, alone, is all that is needed to secure your freedom. Another is the recognition that every group empowered with the use of force is designed to diminish your freedom ' in exchange for no values, not even material, that can match the power of the cooperative efforts of voluntary associations by free individuals.

But this much will accomplish little against the view of 17th Century philosopher Thomas Hobbes, who asserted that all people are natural brutes and need force to restrain them. This view, unfortunately, permeates the warp and weft of our existence. It is a misperception, but one which is perpetuated by the chronic use of force.

Subordinated people have been brutalized, and they react as brutes. This gives rise to the popular notion that people are inherently brutes. Free people, containing robust energy, react violently to the coercive diminishment of their freedom. This is a natural, healthy reaction to being subordinated ' violated ' which is the chronic condition in every acculturated, civilized person ' straining, with submerged rage, against the leash.

Overcoming this view and this condition cannot be accomplished by reason, argument, persuasion or debate. Only the experience of reality will change this view. And we cannot achieve that reality except by the elimination of coercion from our lives.

To overcome the lie of Hobbes, and the experiential consequence of brutalization (which presumes to prove Hobbes' thesis), we must throw the Hobbesian universe a bone. But a bone without coercive power ' which in no way diminishes freedom by its use or existence.

We formulate the reciprocal mechanism as a contractual agreement and we sign it. The document does not protect your freedom. The natural mechanism of reciprocal respect is what secures your freedom. But the contract ' the agreement to this mechanism ' with and amongst other individuals, does not diminish your freedom. It includes clauses dealing with breach of contract, which is the primary concern of the Hobbesian universe. This superstitious fear cannot be overcome except upon the guarantee of such a clause. But the clause itself is designed to leave the sovereignty, autonomy and freedom of the individual intact.

The contract binds the sovereign signatories to their agreement, and to a penalty for breaching that agreement (by the action of disrespecting the freedom of another), such as to effect restitution to the victim of the breach and to the integrity of the contract.

The contract is not a social contract. It does not bind the signatories in any kind of enforced social unity. It is designed to secure reciprocal respect for our individual disparity. It is a contract of boundaries ' or of respect for boundaries ' between and amongst individuals, forming no group in its own right, and having no authority beyond that of each signatory.

Reciprocal respect for the freedom of one another is the natural mechanism by which freedom is secured. You are already free. The contract is not the mechanism. The mechanism exists in you. You apply it every day. Now. Already. You rely upon it every day. Now. Already.

The contract is a formulation of the mechanism needed to transition out of the Hobbesian world, out of brutality. It is, perhaps, no more than a set of training wheels on a bicycle ' needed by some and not by others. But even those who do not need such training wheels would sign it, because those who need it are demanding reassurance against the view of Hobbes.

In a generation's time, the contract may become redundant, without having caused any damage, diminishment or derailment to individual freedom. But to leave a Hobbesian universe behind us, we must eliminate the brutalization which produces the brutes whom Hobbes complained of, and we must concede to these 'brutes who fear other brutes' the reality of their damage sustained through the experience of coerced subordination, and the reality that their nightmares have to them in consequence.

The Hobbesian universe is upon us. Within us. Each one of us has been 'civilized,' subordinated, and tamed ' and taught that such submission is in our best interest ' from a very early age. Within each one of us, a quiet rage simmers. Brutes walk the land. The rage is rarely focused or comprehended. It is an internal, inchoate, returned disrespect toward a 'world' that has violated our natural freedom.

No institution of psychology will touch this with a ten-foot pole. Those institutions are mandated to make the slaves docile and productive, adjusted to your lack of freedom; to your eviscerated birthright; and to the circumcision of your soul. Conspiracy does not cover this activity, because it is performed by people very much like yourself . . . people who are already functioning in the enforced hierarchy of the system, thinking they are free, even as they employ force over others.

And when you explain to people that reciprocal respect is all that is needed, do you wonder why they don't believe you? Do you believe it yourself? Ah, you understand their fears all too well, don't you? Your own rage gives you vivid insight into the fears of others, doesn't it? Confronting the fear does not take much intellectual understanding, but it will take guts. It demands an unwillingness to 'go along with' the perpetuation of this social program that first creates brutes through the use of coercion, and then proclaims that we need coercion to deal with the brutes, with the rebels, and with the rage carried in all of us. You do not need to be a genius to declare, 'Enough!'

Presently, you can contribute to the design of such a contract at, or you can design your own ' or do both. This is not to encourage degenerative discussions of contrary views engendered by social indoctrination (with subconscious fears of freedom). If you are too Hobbesian to do more than criticize, without making a contribution to the effort, then go your way in peace. I empathize deeply, but this venture cannot be swayed by those who would, in their fears, argue that we must continue to use force to control the products of force, and perpetuate our enslavement into an endless future. The abuse cycle must end.

'Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.' ' Thoreau

'The [radical antistatist] is a 'button pusher' who would blister his thumb pushing a button that would abolish the State immediately, if such a button existed.' ' Rothbard

'First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you . . . then you win.' ' Gandhi

You are already free.

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Richard Rieben's picture
Columns on STR: 14

Richard Rieben was a world traveler, house remodeler, and sometime author and philosopher. The thesis of his manifesto, Reciprocia, is, briefly: “Sovereignty is the base; reciprocity defines how to make it work.” Aside from harping incessantly on the theme of liberty, he led a fairly normal life in middle America, where he scouted for silver-linings. His internet articles are featured at  He passed away sometime after 2005.