Regarding the Russian aggression in Ukraine /// Photo: Is Free Will an illusion? livescience.com
FREE WILL, JUST AN ILLUSION, A DANGEROUS ONE!
A basic truth, among the few basic truths, should be that every individual has the right to decide over his own destiny and every country has the right to its sovereignty, that is, the right to free will. In practice, this free will is only an illusion, a dangerous one. The German sociologist and philosopher Jürgen Habermas believes that a secularized state power should decouple justice from the good in order to protect all its citizens "regardless of ideas about the cosmos and the structure of society".
The justice, in the case of Ukraine, is to be able to decide whether they want to be a sovereign nation with the right to be with NATO. And that the state does everything to safeguard and maintain its sovereignty, even if this would require the bloodshed of tens of thousands / hundreds of thousands of innocent lives or an economic loss of hundreds of billions of dollars. The good, however in the case of Ukraine, could have been that the secular state did everything to protect every member of society, regardless of "ideas about the cosmos and the structure of society".
Let's take a few examples. The justice should be that Hong Kong should have the right to its sovereignty, which means that the Hong Kong people themselves choose through a democratic referendum whether they want to be with China or not, the same applies to Taiwan, Kurdistan, Somaliland, and also the people of the Donbas. The good, in all these cases, should be that those in power do everything so that their members are not harmed.
In fact, free will is only a harmful illusion, even if it is absolutely a fair idea. Unfortunately, we are very much influenced by ideas about the cosmos and the structure of societies. Russia considers the Ukrainian people to be historically an extension of the Russian people without, in principle, emphasizing their desire to be an independent nation. The same goes for Hong Kongers and Taiwanese who are overwhelmed by ideas about the cosmos and the structure of societies through the Chinese state, which sees them as an extension of the Chinese people, without caring a bit about justice, that is, what the nations themselves want. If we adhere to free will and justice, we will then witness extensive wars with enormous human and economic suffering that will affect our entire ecosystem as a planet. But if we act on the basis of the good, then we do everything to ensure that innocent people are not harmed.
There is an old Kurdish saying that goes: "your neighbor is closer to you than your cousin". The Ukrainian government completely ignored the fact that they have a neighbor who possesses one of the world's greatest military powers, which is also governed by a totalitarian and dictatorial group that does not even hesitate to murder its own people, its own citizens who oppose the regime. The Ukrainian government naively trusted the United States, across the Atlantic, and ignored its strong and crazy neighbor for justice. We see the result of this policy in the loss of tens of thousands of innocent lives and a devastating economic catastrophe, such as an inevitable impact on the entire planet. The Ukrainian government could choose a different policy based on the good. It was known that the time was not right for NATO membership. One could then create a very close and nice relationship with the "brother people" Russia and wait until the time was ripe for a NATO membership. It might take decades before the time was right, but it would have been worth the wait, instead of this carnage.
We historically see that acting on the basis of good and not having the illusion of free will and justice has worked in the past. The Federal Republic of Germany became a united nation when the time was ripe in 1990, more than 40 years after Germany was divided into West Germany (BRD) and East Germany (GDR). The unification took place after decades of political talks between the great powers, the United States and Russian Federation. The two countries were eventually able to reach a consensus on the merger. The Federal Republic of Germany was formed without a drop of blood being spilled. Had this unification been forced when the time was not ripe, we would have risked a bloodbath with hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of deaths and destruction without its equal and perhaps a new world war. Free will does not exist. One must be able to adapt, both as an individual and as a nation, in a hostile environment, surrounded by wild animals (humans) in order to survive. I'm thinking of America's latest move. Attempts were made to use Finland and Sweden to draw them into the conflict with Russia by offering the countries to quickly apply for NATO membership. Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson intially ignored the idea of free will and justice and based her decision on the good, ie to protect the Swedish people by rejecting the offer of a NATO membership.
An example of another nation that ignored the idea of free will and justice is Nicaragua under the rule of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), led by José Daniel Ortega Saavedra. Daniel Ortega was president of Nicaragua between 1985 and 1990. The counter-revolutionary forces (Contras) with the full support of the United States created many problems for the country through terrorist attacks and explosions and more. The United States threatened to attack Nicaragua from neighboring countries by supporting a military takeover of Nicaragua via Contras. Free will and justice did not exist. It was a powerful enemy, the United States, that dictated the terms through its economic sanctions and military actions. Daniel Ortega then thought of the good, ie to save his people from a bloodbath and the already very poor country from a total economic misery. He chose, very wisely, to let the US-backed Violeta Barrios de Chamorro win the election and become Nicaragua's president. Through this initiative, Daniel Ortega managed to keep his party as the second largest political force in the country without supplying the country with a bloodbath. He succeeded in regaining power when the time was ripe many years later.
Yes, in the best worlds everyone's existence should be based on free will and justice, but we are not even close to the best worlds. The human being is, by nature, still the wildest animal that ignores free will and justice. It requires an adjustment in order not to go under.
© Samuel E. Rajeus, Editor, S.E.R.P. & Publishing
Stockholm, March 19, 2022
Samuel E. Rajeus