The Passion of Liberty: Part Six - The Symbol of Liberty


'This 'bringer of glad tidings' died as he had lived, as he had taught ' not to 'redeem men' but to show how one must live . . . . The history of Christianity, beginning with the death on the cross, is the history of the misunderstanding, growing cruder with every step, of an original symbolism . . . . Jesus could not intend anything with his death except to give publicly the strongest exhibition, the proof of his doctrine . . . .

'His disciples were far from forgiving this death ' which would have been evangelic in the highest sense . . . . Precisely the most unevangelical feeling, revenge, came to the fore again. The matter could not possibly be finished with this death: 'retribution' was needed, 'judgment' (and yet, what could possibly be more unevangelical than 'retribution,' 'punishment,' 'sitting in judgment'!) . . . .

'And from now on an absurd problem emerged: 'How could God permit this?' To this the deranged reason of the small community found an altogether horribly absurd answer: God gave his son for the remission of sins, as a sacrifice. In one stroke, it was all over with the evangel! The trespass sacrifice ' in its most revolting, most barbarous form at that, the sacrifice of the guiltless for the sins of the guilty! What gruesome paganism! . . . .

'Jesus had abolished the very concept of 'guilt' ' he had denied any cleavage between God and man; he lived this unity of God and man as his 'glad tidings.' And not as a prerogative! . . . .

'[They] no longer endured the evangelic conception of everybody's equal right to be a child of God, as Jesus had taught: it was their revenge to elevate Jesus extravagantly, to sever him from themselves ' precisely as the Jews had formerly, out of revenge against their enemies, severed their God from themselves and elevated him.'

[Frederich Nietzsche, The Antichrist, 1888; original italics]

Nietzsche thus tells of the revenge of the herd. A furious protest by the clan against the prospect of walking the Path they had been shown. And cloaking that Path for millennia. Cast off this intricate, vengeful subterfuge and LOOK at the crucifixion of the Christ. What do your eyes tell you? What does your heart tell you? Here's my take: The message is as unmistakable as it is almost unbearable, but for the enormous love that underscores the entire event.

The crucifixion should remind people of their own sin of clan or group indoctrination, their own sin of authority worship, and their own predilection to perpetrate the same abuse as was suffered by the Christ on any stray individual whose values, choices and life are contrary to the authority of their clan.

The crucifixion symbolizes the ever-present capacity for human beings to gang-up, to conspire and collaborate against individuals, and to abjectly go along with abuses perpetrated by thugs in their name, making themselves culpable for the abuse, the same as if they had held the whip.

I have never thought highly of the reproductions of the crucifixion before. They have always struck me as symbols of group-sanctioned self-righteousness, hypocrisy and evasion, worn by bigoted collectivists who would perpetrate the same act again ' and worse: do so in the name of the crucifixion (and the authority of the institutional gang behind it). Every aspect of the group (the church, the government or any institutional, authoritative, and empowered body) is an ongoing reenactment of that symbol.

I am now contemplating buying some crucifixes for myself, to wear, as a badge of the dishonor of my species, of our capacity to treat one another disrespectfully, of our cowardice against the authority of gangs, of our complicit willingness to destroy any person who stands apart from our group, of our weakness to defend what is good, true or right, of our failures to respect the inherent humanity of all others, of our readiness to destroy what we do not understand, of our thoughtless betrayal of ourselves and our personal sovereignty, and of our compassion for the poor or other social or economic victims that has no respect in it for their humanity, their sovereignty and the dignity of their choices.

I will wear this symbol as a reminder to myself, and as a signal to others that I will not ' and that no one should ' tolerate such behavior toward any human being on the basis of any group, of any authority, or of any religious convictions.

I will wear this badge not in shame, for myself or others, but in honor of the one man with the courage and dignity to set an example of how to live and how to die. I will throw the sins of my group programming against this symbol, this standard, this measure of all things human ' and say: No.

Against my humanity, against the humanity of my fellows, and against the patent lesson of the crucifixion, I will not abide the standards of the group, though they be governmental, religious or any authoritarian clustering of cowards, as an excuse to evade my personal responsibility and culpability for crucifying my fellow men. I will not be tempted by group values, regardless of any petty material, sensual, protective or ego-validating rewards that are offered in return for my betrayal of the example of Christ, of my own sovereignty, or of the sovereignty of my fellows. There is no reward that can or will compensate such betrayal, or alleviate its consequences.

I am not a Christian, Jew, Muslim, or Buddhist. The message of the crucifixion is a warning against all institutions, indoctrinations, and collaborations in the name of the sovereignty of the volitional will of the individual to stand apart from any group on any grounds, as such.

I will not answer the twisted theological interpretations of organized religions, members thereof, or hucksters there-for to evade knowledge of what this symbols stands for, and their interest, as authoritarian groups, to advocate, perpetuate and justify the continual persecution and crucifixion of sovereign individuals in the name of any organization, institution, authority, doctrine, idol or god.

The symbol presents to us the face of how we, as members of any group, and upon the authority of a group, will treat one another.

We make a choice upon that pivotal point, to either embrace the whips with Roman, thug-like glee, or to repudiate the authority of the group to suborn our humanity, and, upon the value of our own lives, qua sovereign and accountable individuals, stand upright, apart, and in defense of all such violations, for 'verily, I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it to one of the least of my brethren ye did it unto me.'

Let the crucifix be a symbol, then, of our refusal to allow its recurrence, in any form, to any person, upon any grounds. Let it symbolize respect for the sovereign boundaries of all persons, bar none. And, finally, let it stand opposed to any group, institution, or body of authority (including those of a religious nature) in our refusal to suborn our judgment, our sovereignty, or our humanity such as to blind us to the daily, ongoing crucifixions that institutions, authorities and religions perform continuously in our name and with our support.

If people were to take this symbol seriously, take the Christ seriously, take the crucifixion and its cause seriously . . . then Rome would be a ghost town in the space of a week, followed by every national capitol in the succeeding month.

I'm sure that the powers-that-be won't allow this to happen. They've successfully hidden Christ in a closet for nearly 2,000 years.

Mel Gibson let Him out again. If ever there were a window of opportunity for liberty, now is the time to strike the chains ' clearly, cleanly and irrevocably.

'Only Christian practice, a life such as he lived who died on the cross, is Christian. Such a life is still possible today, for certain people even necessary: genuine, original Christianity will be possible at all times.' [Nietzsche, The Antichrist]

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Richard Rieben's picture
Columns on STR: 14

Richard Rieben was a world traveler, house remodeler, and sometime author and philosopher. The thesis of his manifesto, Reciprocia, is, briefly: “Sovereignty is the base; reciprocity defines how to make it work.” Aside from harping incessantly on the theme of liberty, he led a fairly normal life in middle America, where he scouted for silver-linings. His internet articles are featured at  He passed away sometime after 2005.