When societies grow, they adopt terms for the things they usually do, and then start seeing their activities as solely defined by those methods.
In the modern time, we debate politics entirely in the language of the Left — that is, egalitarianism, which is a form of collectivized individualism — and this blinds us to any other options. Political correctness just takes this to its furthest point.
This means that you have several bad options to choose from, all of which are deceptive.
Take for example the case of “freedom” versus “slavery.” These two terms are absolutes, which makes them easy to banter about, since no one wants to be enslaved. However, they are false categories, since just about every existence contains bits of both.
The free person in the modern West, for example, must work for his monthly few thousand to pay off the taxes, insurance, and mortgages of modern life. Free? He can choose his job, perhaps, but he never has much of a chance to know himself, shuttled from school to job to retirement home.
The slave in the Old South had a great deal of free time to just hang out with other slaves. He worked when he was told, the rest of the time was for himself, and he had guaranteed medical care and retirement. Some aspects of freedom live in that.
We must ask then what it would be to be truly free. In the purest of definitions, this means that every act you do you have chosen, independent of all others. Unless you own a spacecraft with its own power supply, you can have no such existence.
In the modern West, we are raised on blather like the following:
“I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery, ” Thomas Jefferson
Looking more critically at these terms, we see that they are a false dichotomy unless absolute states like “freedom” and “slavery” exists. To have a civilization is to be partially enslaved to it, and to have freedom is to do everything yourself, leading to the need for civilization.
We are missing the excluded middle here, and that is social order. We need “freedom” in the sense of being able to do what is constructive without others impeding us because of their needs which go against what is constructive.
In any civilization, we will have some kind of labor, some obligations, and some participation. The people of importance do more than simply go through the motions, like most people; they aim to make their lives significant by contributing something from their unique abilities.
When we declare absolute “freedom,” it means that everyone else has freedom too, and that dooms you to suffer their bad decisions and to subsidize their bad results. Externalized costs are passed on to everyone in a society.
Freedom makes sense for those who can control themselves, but this is a relatively small group, and the vast majority simply turn freedom into anarchy with grocery stores and state benefits. That is their “freedom,” too, to vote for insane things and hope that you and the future will pick up the tab.
People are different. There is no universal correct category for all of us. Some need more freedom than others. Some need more slavery than others. If we do not guide them toward what is right and useful, they will enact a “tragedy of the commons” and consume everything, as we see daily.
In a traditional society, this is understood, and so some end up as higher caste people who have a high degree of freedom and a great chance of losing it through unethical, immoral, or unstable behavior. Those who are lower have less and can lose less.
Perhaps the bigger point is simply that we are brainwashed by equality. People are not equal because they are not even approximately the same. We need different solutions for different groups, and for different strata within those groups.
People under 115 IQ points worldwide end up in conditions like slavery because their judgment skills are biologically poor, so giving them freedom results in the destruction of your society.
For those above that point, in sane societies, great care is given to their rearing and education so that they do not become deluded and lost in navel-gazing. They need to separate from the rest for this to occur.
In our search for the universal solution, we have become divided between nonsensical absolutes thrown around by people for the sake of manipulating others. Freedom is slavery, and slavery is freedom, but neither compares to having a working social order which recognizes human variation.