Hyper-Individualism and Alienation

The modern, uniquely Western outlook on man’s relationship to others as well as the environment around them can be summarized as an individualist one. In recent years, I have come to the realization that individualism should not be the be-all end-all for the self-actualized person. This statement might run in contrast with statements I have made in the past which, although not entirely missing the mark, take an extremely simplistic view on the way in which one ought to interact with society. That being said, I will still leave those opinions written some years ago unedited, as it seems counterproductive to retroactively change the thoughts of my former self, as we are not entirely the same person. I will therefore not be changing articles I have written in the past at any point in the future unless they contain inaccurate statistics. Lastly I would also add that the term collectivist as used in this article is not entirely in adherence to the “official definition” of the term. If we search “collectivism” on a dictionary website, it returns:

“The political principle of centralized social and economic control, especially of all means of production.”

However, I would like to make things simpler and define collectivism as something like:

“The principle by which any defined group of peoples may interact with one another for the purpose of advancing their own interests.”

I guess one could try and break this down ad infinitum and say “there’s no such thing as defined groups of people,” and that “definitions of groups are made arbitrarily.” These statements often go hand-in-hand, and we can call them out for what they are – fallacies – the continuum fallacy to be more precise. There might be jagged edges around categories, but that does not cease the categories themselves from existing. I know everyone cites this as an example, but it’s the best, so I’ll use it anyways; look at the color spectrum.

 

Colour Wheel Rainbow Spectrum Color Wheel

Maybe we don’t know precisely the point at which blue becomes green or yellow becomes red, but that doesn’t necessitate that there is no blue, green, yellow, or red.

You don’t have to “deconstruct” everything.

There is one notion that I’d like to address as a precursor to a critique of individualism. This is the notion that group cohesion (i.e. collectivism) and individualism are mutually exclusive. We have reached a point in history 28 years removed from the existence of the U.S.S.R. – what is often seen as the inevitable outcome of an embrace of collectivism in any of its forms. No, this is not an assertion that “real collectivism hasn’t been tried yet,” or even that “collectivism is good.” It is only an assertion that collectivism ≠ communism. More among older generations, but present still in many younger generations is the mutually exclusive dichotomy between capitalism and communism;  individualism and collectivism;  the Western way or the Eastern way. I dispute the merit of this dichotomy, not to be a subversive, not to make others follow a doctrine of exclusive collectivism, but rather to express that this dichotomy is outdated.

For better or worse, many Western capitalist countries are protectionist, nationalist, or prioritize the growth and happiness of their own peoples before the GDP or currency value. Does this make them wholly collectivist? Of course not. Yet the former examples (protectionism, nationalism, populism) are a sort of strain of collectivism.

The natural inclination of many is to assume that if one maintains a stake in group interests – particularly political group interests – one is a radical. This inclination is one of many which bring out some inherent issues with this sort of hyper-individualism.

I don’t believe that there is a soul on earth that thinks that all individualism is bad, so for the sake of what I’ve written, it might be easier to call this phenomenon “hyper-individualism.” Obviously individualism is a critical part of being. Man cannot be truly self-actualized if his degree of actualization is determined by the group. Put more simply, no human being is equal (naturally speaking) to another. All humans are equal before God. All citizens of a country (should) be equal before the law. Equality, however, is a false god. People are not “naturally” equal, and they never will be. The more one tries to forcefully equalize, the more harm one does. It is for this precise reason that communism or “true socialism” will never be attained. Human beings are not equal, and trying to make them equal will not turn out well.

Either way, it seems that one needs to be an individual, yes, but to coerce one away from his group is a mistake. Let’s take an example that we can see in America. I won’t be specific about it, so I hope it’ll be obvious. There are several groups, but for the purpose of this example, let’s say that Group X and Group Y are categories which easily fit over portions of the American population. Group X believes in hyper-individualism while Group Y decides that group cohesion will get them what they want. Whereas Group X may (within the group) vote for different candidates, consume different product, speak different languages, or live in geographically distant areas, Group Y does the opposite. Group Y clusters in geographical areas, they speak the same language, consume the same product, and vote for the same candidate. Group Y, as a constituency, has far more leverage over politicians, zoning, corporations, etc. precisely because they can function as a unit.

I do understand the appeal to individualism. Stop grouping together. The less you group together, the more efficiently this thing will run. If you consider yourself only a group member, you’re only an automaton. Choose your own ideas, don’t follow the herd. Generally speaking, I agree with this idea in theory. However anyone with a brain can see that this appeal simply does not work. There will always be people who will conform to a group, and that group will use their unity (or perceived unity) as leverage against you. It is useless to continue to try and convince everyone to just be an individual for one reason – nature. Human beings are tribal animals. It is in our DNA. Everything we do reflects an interest in one group over another. This cannot simply be reasoned out of people, and any attempt to will fail just as much as forced Soviet equality did.

Not to mention, what we’re beginning to see with the hyper-individualism promoted in the West is a total breakdown of community. Even the most ardent of individualists would agree that the family is the very cornerstone of a nation. Yet what has become of the family? Absent fathers, neurotic single mothers, hedonistic and self destructive daughters, and drug-abusing sons consumed by video games? How is this family supposed to work? We can take this concept to the ‘macro’ scale and see that no community exists anymore. Who even knows their neighbors now? Who’s still in a bowling league, a sewing club, or a football team? All of these things are broken, and I would wager that a lot of it has to do with an atomized populous, addicted to drugs and Netflix because no one else wants to go outside. It is not the recipe for a stable society.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of other causes of unhappiness and alienation in society. For many an explanation, I would highly recommend Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putnam as it utilizes statistical information and comes to reasonable, demonstrable conclusions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image source:

https://www.google.com/search?biw=1920&bih=958&tbm=isch&sxsrf=ACYBGNSL1DewpfHMiCugYJVKEnoXZ1GX1g%3A1568144387624&sa=1&ei=A_x3XbTaJcexggegmLXwBQ&q=alienation+in+society&oq=alienation+in+society&gs_l=img.3..0i24.17441.22478..22786…5.0..0.67.1564.28……0….1..gws-wiz-img…..0..35i39j0i67j0j0i8i30j0i10i24.AUkQ0KgV9Tk&ved=0ahUKEwj057iJgcfkAhXHmOAKHSBMDV4Q4dUDCAY&uact=5#imgrc=Y7kAtcwDNGOabM:

 

 

 

 

 

The “Losing Right”

As an introduction to this article, I would like to state outright that within this article, I use the words conservative and conservatism a lot. I mean no direct offense to those who call themselves conservative as it should be noted that I am speaking about the average consensus within a political movement and trying to take an objective stance for analytic purposes. This is but another in a string of experimental articles, and will be edited further in the coming days.

I have always found conservatism – in the most modern sense of the word – to be a sort of reaction to the perceived infringements of a number of (primarily) economic, and (occasionally) ethical structures. Though I may address the difference at some point, it is again important to point out that the meaning of reaction should not conflated with, or muddled by the (often Marxian) concept of the reactionary. Modern-day conservatism is a constant, yet ever-changing force of reaction to the most extreme and hyper-modern social conventions that are slowly, yet deliberately nudged into the public consciousness; this primarily from far-left institutions, universities, or any other place which might incubate the production of those leftist social theories born from “analysis of power relations and hierarchy,” or some other foolishness designed to corrode the very roots of our society. These social theories like “racism, misogyny, homophobia, white privilege, transphobia, Islamophobia, bigotry,” and on and on it goes.

We find that conservatism has no offensive push for anything to the contrary, that is besides some highfalutin abstractions about how people have lost religion or the family structure is gone, along with a few other idiosyncratic phrases and mannerisms about your bootstraps. While these may actually and honestly be true, conservatism is, generally speaking, impotent in disseminating these solutions to the point by which one might actually take action, i.e. go to church, rebuild my own family, start my own business, etc. It is quite possible and indeed probable that the libertarian social element present in (particularly American) conservatism prevents these very actions. The above-mentioned obstacles, along with the cowering and grovelling at the proverbial feet of leftism to repent for transgressions, and the constant reset of the terms of victory – or acceptability for that matter – have congealed into a weak, deferent, and cowardly bastardization of a once revered movement.

For you reading who might call yourself a conservative, fret not – as I know many in my personal life, and when I define conservatism as weak and cowardly, I speak of the movement itself, not any one individual person. I would also contend that many who would dub themselves conservatives are much closer to what we would now consider a paleoconservative or perhaps a right-winger generally speaking. For example, when the term neocon or neoconservative comes up, it is received as a pejorative under almost any circumstances. Yet the distinction between a neoconservative and a conservative becomes smaller and smaller as time wears on. Lastly, this is not to say that right-wingers, generally speaking, are weak and cowardly – rather the contrary; much of the right wing is a principled and serious group. Perhaps it would be easier to explain some of these things if we’re to take them one by one, as opposed to rambling on in large blocks of text.

Socially Liberal – Fiscally Conservative

Although this claim may be the most contentious, it seems as good place to start as any. I know that many, including myself, had once referred to ourselves as socially liberal – fiscally conservative – expressed more often than not when in the public eye, or under the scrutiny of a “political enemy,” as it were. For the conservative, I would ask only this:

Are you really “socially liberal?”

For example, I know that I am most certainly not “socially liberal.” Sure, I care very little about what happens hundreds of miles away within groups that I have no relation to, but that does not mean that I find such things conducive to a properly functional society. You know the kinds of things I’m talking about – the kinds of things that a social conservative would reject; I won’t be spelling this part out. I want to be employable in the future. Being socially conservative does not make you an authoritarian. It does not make you a Fascist, or a Nazi, or any other silly label that has been given to such people by their own enemies. The goings on in other societies, in other nations, in other cultures, is not my problem – that does not mean that I will tolerate it in my own. There is not much use in continuing to delve into this question, as I have two other articles about the strangeness of the “socially liberal – fiscally conservative.”

How ‘Reaction’ as a Primary Source of Unity Sets the Terms of One’s Defeat

Dear reader, I apologize that I must be so vague.

Conservatism in the 21st century is marked by reaction after reaction after reaction. All of which have failed. The leftward trend of society begins by carefully and gradually introducing a concept into public consciousness. Such a concept is usually put forth as only a humble suggestion – just something we should think about. From there, it is picked up and dragged through the media and universities, from which it trickles down to the everyman. We can observe this in a string of related examples. In the 2000s and 2010s, one hot cultural topic of many revolved around the issue of the right for homosexuals to marry. Imagine this idea was put to a purely democratic vote in the 1960s. Would it have passed? Of course not. This is why these most deliberate suggestions for more ‘equality’ or other egalitarian measures must be, at first, voiced by the vocal few, and spoken of sparingly and in whispers. Was it solely an issue of cultural wrongdoing or other unnecessary societal violations that homosexuals were eventually allowed to marry? No. Up until only a few short decades ago, the American society was largely Christian, and generally would not accept this not for any reason of blind hatred, but for the fact that their religion – the bedrock upon which almost their whole worldview is based – did not allow it. This religion, which had been passed down specifically to them by their ancestors for millennia, made another concession. The concession is made, and one feels better; the weight imposed by reading the newspaper articles and watching the television series about how incredibly difficult it was for homosexuals to cope without a Christian marriage – the weight is gone. You are no longer held emotionally hostage for some proposition for equality that would end after your concession.

Now, you dare not refuse to bake the cake, lest you be tied up in the court system for the next seven years.

Here is where things get interesting, and the parameters of victory change. As a conservative, you say okay, things are fine here. We’re far enough. No need to go further. This is until we find yet another radically egalitarian concept to have somehow miraculously appeared – white people are inherently privileged. As a conservative, one’s natural position is to go on the defensive – to say look at all we’ve done and all the concessions we’ve made. There is no need to continue. The conservative has no outlet to express his truest opinions. He cannot be genuine, for being genuine as a STRAIGHT WHITE MALE OPPRESSOR is to be absconded for your beliefs in tradition. Let’s say, for example, a homosexual man (otherwise white and male) appears, and he says look, I’m white, I’m a man, I have no privilege that is not afforded to everyone else – this man is king. Let’s use Milo Yiannopoulos as the example here. Though short lived, he became one of the behemoths of the “slightly right of conservative,” perhaps alt-lite movement. Why was Yiannopoulos so successful at expressing his moderately right-wing (albeit not exactly ‘conservative’) views? He was successful because he is a homosexual. He is a member of a victim class that was heralded by the left just a decade earlier, and as such, he is a weapon to use against the left, as if to say do you see? This man is on your side, yet you deny him everything you deny me. He is as good a candidate as any to tell you what it is that I really want to say. And so, it is in this manner that the conservative believes the left’s own “weapon” can be used against them. Furthermore, this cycle becomes a competition to decide who is more liberal. The competition whereby a conservative might find himself defending a transgender person in a debate against a radical communist because the transgender is more conservative.

Kneel Before the Altar of Your Enemy

Following the previous section, this is what seems to be the most frustrating thing for the average conservative to see from a public figure or office holder. It begins with a statement that is, given the climate, perhaps a bit too spicy – a little bit too provocative. Leftist institutions immediately excoriate the subject in question for his racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic/islamophobic/bigoted statement and relentlessly pursue an apology. This is where the mistakes are made. I would assert that when it so happens that one of these ultimatums are given, the average conservative sincerely hopes that no quarter is given to the mob of hysterical journalists and self-righteous professors commanding an apology. This is, of course, because this average conservative has seen this movie before, and knows quite well the outcome of a concession to the standards of the enemy, for as sincere such a concession may be, we all know there is no forgiveness. Nothing is forgiven, and nothing is gained. Of course, one could understand the pressure bearing down upon an individual to bend the knee, acknowledge his wrongdoing, and repent for it, as traditionally the entire point of an apology is to seek forgiveness so that one might be relieved from the constant castigation of the enemy. Yet the consequences of bending the proverbial knee are far, far worse than standing one’s ground.

Before I begin with the next section, I’d like to make it perfectly clear that I do not advocate that you say things that ruin your life. I would implore you, dear reader, to speak the truth at all times*, and defend what you know to be true. That being said, I will contradict myself to express what we all inherently know – sometimes it is better to keep your mouth shut. There is no point in ruining your livelihood by saying something, out of the blue, that will get you fired and lose you family and friends. I’m 26 years old, which is why my articles are not adorned by graphs of what different groups do on average, and how often they do it. I don’t want to lose everything before I have anything, and I’m sure you don’t either (unless you’re retired, in which case you should be going all in).

Bending the Knee: “Please, Just Make This Go Away.”

We can begin by analyzing the process and aftermath of the plea for forgiveness. Firstly, to make an apology in the public space is (quite obviously) an admission of guilt. To make confession before your enemies is to admit not only that you are wrong, but to admit that they are, at least partially, right. Even an apology on the grounds that it could have been phrased better or my favorite, this was taken out of context is to give an inch, and we know quite well what happens when you give an inch to the mob.

So let’s say you said something and happened to offend a whole bunch of people.

niggerguysouthpark

Is it something you truly believe? Is it provocative for the sake of being provocative? If it is, who cares? Did you say anything illegal? Unless you called for violence, you probably didn’t. Did you say something defensible? Most likely.

Note – this all goes out the window if you are a European, but you guys can’t get fired for saying things on the internet unless its illegal, so I don’t want to hear it.

You can’t turn on any technology, lest you be bombarded by thousands of threats to yourself, your family, and generally anyone around you. You will be publicly doxed. Your employer will be harassed, and you will most likely be terminated. People will show up to your home, and so on and so forth.

You obviously don’t want this, so even though you said something defensible – something you believe to be true – you will back off and admit that somehow, you were wrong. What happens then? Anyone who supported you (in plentiful numbers, no doubt) in your defense against the mob will drop you like a rock. They’ll tell you that you suck, and that you should’ve defended yourself from saying what’s on everyone else’s minds. But that’s okay because the harassment will stop now. It won’t; if anything, it will only become worse. Now you have admitted yourself that you were wrong, thus accepting the premises of their worldview and as such, you must atone forever. One apology is never enough.

Defending Yourself: “**** You, I’ll Say What I Want.”

Conversely, if one refuses to make a single concession under the same circumstances, an entirely different game emerges. Of course, the barrage of attacks and threats on your person and livelihood will remain the same, at least in the beginning. But you know what you said is both true and justifiable. Upon your defense of your statement, those who supported you will rally to the cause; they will identify with you and push you to continue standing your ground. As for the harassment, it won’t stop, but it will decrease by many orders of magnitude as it is seen that you are not a pushover and do not accept the premises by which you are “the bad guy.” You will most likely be labelled as a racist/sexist/homophobe, etc. and perhaps relegated to certain corners of the internet, but you will continue to have a loyal following of those for whom you spoke.

What Does This Have To Do With Conservatism? A Whole Lot.

This is, more or less, a sort of microcosm of the modern conservative. He does not say what he means, and he speaks euphemistically. While the modern left writes articles encouraging others to reconsider allowing their children to be friends with whites, the modern conservative wouldn’t dare ask the opposite question, let alone ponder if diversity is actually our greatest strength.

It shows weakness and ineptitude to refuse to pursue the interests of one’s constituency as a public figure. This is what you were elected to do, and you can’t (or perhaps won’t) even recognize this simple fact; and you will certainly not actively pursue lawmaking in the interest of said constituency, and we all know why that is – you’re scared of being called mean words.

Putting aside the question of collusion between the parties and large donors, the “right wing” if you could even call it that, is too afraid because they operate within the premises of the enemy because looking like Randy from South Park on an episode of Jeopardy would “ruin their careers.”

Do Not Operate Within the Parameters Your Enemy Has Set for You

This is the crucial take away from everything I’ve said above. I’m not claiming to know everything, but as someone who is ostensibly right wing, I cannot express the absolute state of my disappointment in those who are elected by people just like myself all over this country. Even assuming the question of collusion between the parties and the trustworthiness of career politicians have been answered (as we believe they might be) it is difficult for me to fathom that there are virtually zero representatives who truly and staunchly go on the offensive for anything other than economics. Small government economics are great and all, but when your constituents are becoming hopelessly nihilistic suicidal heroin addicts, replaced by machines and low skilled and underpaid immigrants, something has to be done. You can’t lose your base and expect to remain in power.

That tangent aside, we mustn’t get bogged down in our fear of social ostracism. When we play board games, we don’t play by all the rules that the other guy makes up, contradicts, and addends on the fly. We play by a consistent set of rules that both parties have agreed upon before the game has begun – otherwise we would always lose.

Let’s take on the big one and make an example. Let’s say Person A is a conservative, and Person B is a leftist.

Also note that I use the word ‘leftist’ often and the word ‘liberal’ quite sparingly, as traditional liberalism, though it might be different from conservatism, maintains the same goals as conservatism, generally speaking, and there are a good many honest liberals who are good, consistent, and open minded people.

Person A believes that racism is prejudice and prejudice alone, while Person B believes that racism can only be a consequence of both prejudice and power – i.e. without power, a group cannot be racist – this does not apply to individuals. Furthermore, Person A and Person B have wildly different conceptions of what “power” is, and while Person A may believe that power can be rightly obtained through meritocratic methods (thus spread out precisely as it should be according to ability and competence), Person B believes that power is something of an inheritance that only the majority group and/or descendants of settlers can wield.

So let’s say that Person A holds a rally. The vast majority of the people at said rally are of a certain, unnameable racial group. Person B sees the overwhelming homogeneity in Person A’s rally and decides that it is more proof that Person A is indeed, a “racist.” There are a few options Person A can take to redress such a statement.

  1. Entirely ignore or deflect the claim.

This is what I believe should be done under the circumstances. Why must one defend an accusation based on a foundation that is not universally accepted? By universally accepted, it is not meant that such a thing does not exist, rather that the definition of such a thing and the requirements for violating the terms of such a thing do not exist.

2. Attempt to defend and explain yourself.

Responding in turn to a claim made by Person B, Person A might say “I’m not a racist, and here’s why…” But does this make Person A any more favorable in the eyes of Person B and Person B’s constituents? No, it does not. Person A and Person B have never agreed on a definition of what “racism” even is, and therefore Person A can try all he likes to defend himself, but he has institutional power, and because he is a member of a racial group, he is inherently privileged and is always a racist.

Perhaps the worst response, similar to #2, is for Person A to level the accusation back towards Person B, perhaps claiming “your constituency is made up of almost all of one group, therefore it is you and your constituency that are racist.” In other words: I’m more liberal than you. or perhaps: I can play your game better than you can! Person B sets the rules for his game, and he’ll change them whenever he likes. You can’t beat him at his own game.

This is all to say that pejoratives such as “racist,” are nothing more than tools of political power and leverage. These words and phrases are (almost) never deployed for the betterment of society or the righting of actual wrongs. They are but metal rings, thrown around one’s neck one after another for the sole intention of drowning you faster.