“Liberty.—The worth of a thing often lies, not in what one attains by it, but in the difficulty one experiences in getting it. The struggle for political liberty, for example, has done more than any other one thing to develop strength, courage and resourcefulness in the human race, and yet liberty itself, as we know it today, is nothing more or less than organized morality, and as such, is necessarily degrading and degenerating.
“It undermines the will to power, it levels the racial mountains and valleys, it makes man small, cowardly and voluptuous. Under political liberty the herd-animal always triumphs.” But the very fight to attain this burdensome equality develops the self-reliance and unconformity which stand opposed to it, and these qualities often persist. Warfare, in brief, makes men fit for real, as opposed to political freedom.
“And what is freedom? The will to be responsible for one’s self. The will to keep that distance which separates man from man. The will to become indifferent to hardship, severity, privation and even to life. The will to sacrifice men to one’s cause and to sacrifice one’s self, too…. The man who is truly free tramples under foot the contemptible species of well-being dreamt of by shop-keepers, Christians, cows, women, Englishmen and other democrats. The free man is a warrior…. How is freedom to be measured? By the resistance it has to overcome—by the effort required to maintain it. We must seek the highest type of freemen where the highest resistance must be constantly overcome: five paces from tyranny, close to the threshold of thraldom….
Those peoples who were worth something, who became worth something, never acquired their greatness under political liberty. Great danger made something of them—danger of that sort which first teaches us to know our resources, our virtues, our shields and swords, our genius—which compels us to be strong.””
— H. L. Mencken Seven Book Collection: The American Credo; The American Language; The Philosophy Of Friedrich Nietzsche; A Book Of Burlesques; A Book Of … Calumny (Alpha Centauri Philosophy 14451) by H. L. Mencken