It became a value.
The value became a concept.
The concept became a political slogan.
The political slogan became an ideal.
The ideal became individual, collective and universal.
The universal ideal became law.
The collectivist ideal became a social motto.
The individual ideal became a belief.
As law, as a social motto, and as a belief, it developed into a revolutionary weapon.
Croce characterised it as a « religion ».
J. Evola called it a « fetishism ».
It is no longer more than a word, neurotically parroted by the masses and cantillated on all the media 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Its pathological character cannot be doubted.
What J. Evola points out in the introduction to `The Myth of the Blood’ about race in antiquity can also apply to freedom at that time : « … in aristocratic traditions [racism was not theorised, but experienced]. As a result, it is very rare to find the term `race’ in the ancient world : the Ancients did not need to speak of race in the modern sense, since they had race, so to say. »
This absolutely fundamental fact has been well discerned by K. A. Raaflaub in his examination of the scarce occurrence of the term `freedom’ in archaic Greek literature : « the free – or, more precisely, the noble elite… – did not ordinarily regard their freedom as a fact worth noting. Freedom was thus either unimportant or taken for granted. » In this context, it is normal that « members of Homeric society seem to have thought and talked of freedom only when they perceived a threat to their own freedom, which they had hitherto taken for granted. » The two explanations offered to account for this fact demonstrate a deep understanding of ancient Aryan-derived traditional cultures : « first, generally, the status difference between free and unfree may have meant less in Homeric society than it did later because other social distinctions and criteria were more important and contributed to minimizing that difference. Second, in particular, the scant attention paid to freedom reflects and is based upon specific traits of the elite. Their social organization and relationships, norms and values, ways of thinking, and relations to the community apparently afforded no means by which freedom could attain a high value. » `Freedom’ did not play any part in the political life and institutions of the early Hellenes either. « Freedom of speech was no formalized right ; it was simply taken for granted by those who enjoyed it. Freeman status was not recognized as a criterion to determine `rights,’ such as participation in assembly or debate ; and the freedom of individuals or the community was no issue of public discussion. »
The community was homogenous and organic, and its homogeneity and its organicity were due, as insightfully explained by J. Evola, to the regular and closed hereditary transmission of a force that as a magnet established contacts, created a psychic atmosphere, stabilised the social structure and determined a system of coordination and gravitation between the individual elements and the centre in view of the regular development on the part of single individuals of prenatal determinations on the plane of human existence. It was a racial community, the only community worth of the name, and this explains why, even though full awareness of individual freedom and of its value may have existed from early times, it did not, and could not, transcend individual feelings to the point of leading the `polis’ to value highly `freedom’ and to conceptualise it. Even better, it was one of the « deep-seated condition in the aristocratic way of life which prevented freedom, in whatever context, from being brought to general attention and entering the political arena as a programmatic rallying cry in its own right. » There was a higher concern, which was the `autonomia’ of the `oikos’ and of the `polis’.