Freedom, by definition, is the ability to think for oneself, to choose or alter your own personal way of life without outside interference. It is the ability to decide your own path in life-the results you want rather than the path society wants you to take. Freedom, essentially, is the ability to think for yourself. If you are free to be who you are, then others are also. There is no one forcing you to do something against your will. Freedom is the ability to think for yourself, and it is a beautiful thing indeed.
Now, what is freedom, if it is not individual freedom? If freedom is about the ability of an individual to think independently of the state, society, or the individual themselves, then what is freedom, if not total freedom? The concept of freedom, according to the most advanced theories of classical liberalism, revolves around the idea of a “self-regulating” system. The “self-regulating” ideal, basically, is that an individual’s personal and social behavior is determined by what that individual believes to be true. If what that individual believes to be true is false, then they do what is necessary to either correct the error or become a better person (or, in some cases, both). So, this leads to a conflict between what is freedom and what is the will of the people or the masses?
Socialization theory maintains that individual choices are determined by the power of the state through what is called the economic base. Therefore, all of the ideas that are held by the so-called defenders of freedom are really held by the classes that constitute the state itself, the classes that benefit from the institution of capitalism through what is called the wage labor process, and the classes that exist through socialized production via what is called the state. The idea of what is freedom according to these theories of classical liberalism are nothing more than the ability of a social group to control the productive forces of the state through its ownership of the state machinery. This would result in the conception of a class system through which the rich can buy the arms and equipment necessary for the wealthy class to defend itself against the poor, but this is only because the state and its apparatus have become the weapon and shield of the powerful classes within the present society. This is just as absurd as the idea that what is freedom for the masses is actually slavery for the few.
This brings us to the concept of “illusory freedom” which is the concept that upholds the idea of freedom as something that exists only as an ideal, a false reality, and as a product of a society that is capitalist in nature. The word “illusory” comes from the Greek word “illus”, meaning “not real”, and “freedom” from the Latin word “fide,” meaning faith or allegiance. In the modern era, the two concepts are often used interchangeably. For instance, the writer Aeschylus, who are the most famous Greek philosopher, and his play, Sophocles, also use the term “illusory freedom” in order to bring forth the idea that individual freedom is a product of societal slavery. And this can be further extended to justify any action, even the most ruthless and vicious, by the capitalists.
In the modern era, “illusory freedom” can now be extended even further to justify any action whatsoever, not just the most hideous and criminal, by the so-called freedom loving, freedom-loving, capitalist. This means that anyone, including people like John Locke and the character of the character presented by Jean Paul Rappes, can believe anything they want, including outright nonsense. Of course, this extension of freedom becomes even more hilarious when we realize that this freedom does not actually exist anywhere in the world except in the abstract. For instance, in our modern society, people do not have to defend their actions in the court of law because they can simply adopt the ideology of “rights” and “wrongs” and make up their own personal “justice” system. Therefore, we have people who break the most fundamental laws of the land (such as those that protect animal rights) simply because they feel that these laws hurt them. Similarly, the prosecutor has no right to tell a defendant what crime he is guilty of unless the defendant decides for himself or herself.
Now then, let us return to the original meaning of the term “freedom”. Freedom for the bourgeoisie is not the freedom for which they wish. Freedom for the bourgeoisie is neither respectability nor prosperity, nor social acceptance. Freedom for the bourgeoisie is neither honor nor dignity. The freedom sought by the bourgeoisie is a mental freedom, and it is not political freedom.
In his paper, John Locke presents the argument that “the natural rights of man are those which he is entitled to enjoy in his own house, and to exercise without interference”, and that “no man can legally deprive his neighbor of these rights”. In other words, the natural rights of the bourgeoisie are not the rights enjoyed by the family, the working class, or the community at large. Instead, the natural rights of the bourgeoisie are those which they can enjoy in their own house, their private property, and to which they never have to answer, or even to respect, the others. This leads to a dialectical conclusion: the less the state protects its citizens from the economic activities of other classes, the more freedom the members of the bourgeoisie enjoy themselves. Locke concludes that this is the proper course of action for a free population.
The problem with this conclusion is that it obscures the reality of how the modern state protects and advances the interests of the capitalists over the interests of its citizens. The natural rights of the bourgeoisie are not the same as the natural rights of any other group. The interests of the creditors and the interest of the working class are entirely different things. No genuine liberte will ever support the continuation of an economy in which the interests of the creditors are subordinate to the interests of the working class. So we see that the question of what is freedom is an important one, but it is not one which can be answered in a simple equation.