I dare to call this activity in the Arab world a "libertarian impulse" because I think it is indeed something rising out of human nature. Many of our writers and "talking heads" imply something of the same thing. They suggest that there is a momentum of energy pouring out of the peoples' deep longing for freedom and relief from their despots. This longing is innate, observers are saying, and the longing is of such force that it could be seen as a rising tide washing up on the arid shores of twenty-first century life in general and the castled shores of dictators in particular.
This reminds me of one of John Adams' succinctly eloquent statements:
Human nature itself is evermore an advocate for liberty. There is
also in human nature a resentment of injury, and indignation against
wrong. A love of truth and veneration of virtue. These amiable passions
are the "latent spark"... . If the people are capable of understanding,
seeing and feeling the difference between true and false, right and
wrong, virtue and vice, to what better principle can the friends of
mankind apply than to the sense of this difference? (Liberty-Tree.ca)
John Adams can refer to liberty in this sense as a principle, and he has already acknowledged that it sprang out of human nature -- much like Athena sprang out of the head of Zeus, hitting the ground running with her war dance. It was a war dance, truth be known if we peel away all the cultural dynamics surrounding her mythology, it was a war dance in behalf of liberty. That is why Athena often is associated with Lady Libertas and why liberty appears in most other societies and cultures in a feminine form representative of those particular peoples.
For instance, we have our own form of Athena in the Statue of Liberty, a gift from the French people who, like us, have treasured the grand epic of human liberation. So our Lady stands tall with a torch of enlightenment and a tablet of the Law which records the date of our own Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. And the official name of the Statue of Liberty is "Liberty Enlightening the World."
Which brings me back to the title of my musings today. In brief, my point is this. In agreement with John Adams, I too think that human nature itself is the substrate out of which liberty takes form. I believe the human impulse for manifesting and experiencing and enjoying liberty is archetypal.
Liberty arises in the mind and longing of human beings because it is centered in the three great archetypal systems of the human brain. These systems strongly encode human nature in the following three ways: (1) to seek meaning in life, out of which comes consciousness; (2) to experience empathy with other beings, which is the basis for compassion; and, (3) to claim one's power, which makes possible the experience of courage. These patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving are based in the brain's neo-cortex, its limbic system, and the primitive brainstem.