"The public weal transcends the interest of the individual."
Religion and individualism have long been at odds. Individualists, just as homosexuals, or atheists often can’t see their own worst enemies and will even join in with them to their own detriment. Many religionists have collectivists’ mentalities. They’re gluttons for organizations. Our social aspects make this understandable even if the attribute is a little mindless, conformist and cowardly. Although, after all, we’re social creatures.
For the animal in us, there is comfort in numbers – an illusion of immortality and power – a sort of sense of free public life insurance in the herd. For rational man – that lone individualist – the crowd has always been trouble. As reason has threatened to expunge wishful thinking and supernaturalism from modern man’s psyche, three archetypes of people with deep psychological interconnectedness have allied against it: religionists, statists and artists. They attempt a final assault – a killing blow – before it’s too late and humankind embraces reason and science in some decisive lasting way.
Time was that the heroic individual winning over the society and government seemed immoral and impossible unless the hero was crucified young and died for others or unless he was a Napoleonic figure sacrificing others to his canvas. We entertain the idea lately that a rational moderate life led by a self-reliant economic-independent individual who abides by his own rational judgement is more than a little possible, many in fact are living it. The rational individual refuses to be enslaved by the modern morass of mediocracy. Religious bromides about sacrifice and duty mean nothing. Political platitudes about collective moral values, social capital and the beauty of servitude to the state are a joke. The sublime tragedy of all the beautiful mis-managers he leaves to the poets although perhaps he doesn’t judge them too harshly; ill-fate and poison love can strike anyone.
The collectivists decisively lost the intellectual battle centering around The Cold War, yet they’ve regrouped, and reformed with moderate anti-communistic social-democrats. They have re-fortified their embattlements and sharpened their sabers. For years they waited for some sign from Providence. It came in spades: God sent them The Bushes, neocons, Michael Moore, Osama bin Laden and The Financial Crisis. This perfect concurrence of events was brought on by religionists, statists and artists all working together to overthrow liberty, which like reason is under attack on all fronts. The egalitarians are moving in for the kill; they are gleeful. For centuries they’ve distrusted reason and freedom two concepts which are interconnected. Reliance on reason for an individual’s judgement leads to individual sovereignty, human rights and individual borders that cannot be breached for collective expediency, or in other words, to liberty. (This is expanded elsewhere, Atheism, Skepticism and Philosophy and my many articles).
The recent great leap forward around the globe with massive government intervention is putting us in an egregious spot. Soon, we’ll be in need of a situation of lasting crisis or war to justify the government’s wholesale appetite for egalitarianism. Just as the Bolsheviks had permanent revolution and unvarying purges, so we’ll see a constant economic recovery which will never come and a steady devaluing of our real wealth.
It Will be the End of the West as We Know It
The first liberty to go will be property rights; they will incrementally erode through over-regulation, taxation and disdain for all things of self-interest. Others will slowly follow.
As economic crises worsen, more wars may come. There’ll be grassroots resistance to the state. However, the bureaucracy never retreats. It’s a living evolving organism. What strength it takes, it does so from liberty and nourishes itself for the next assault which will appear in the form of some other explosive event, maybe another terror attack like 9/11.
The state grows bigger and stronger . . . more defiant. It has little to do with Left and Right, Democrat and Republican or anything like that. We can’t fight it with the vote, at least not while the religionists control the conservative parties around the world. No matter what the conservatives say, they’re foresworn enemies of liberty. They’re interested in large powerful states that can deliver the government into the hands of their own cultural revolutionaries. They don’t demand liberty for all. They only want it for religionists; the rest of us are going to hell, and we can start by going there right now.
This most severe perspective is held by Christian Reconstructionists who try to inflict Metaphysical Biblical Law throughout the West. Like the Sharia Law in Muslim countries, these activists implicitly share a theocratic goal with Islamists. An expectation of dhimmitude in Muslim countries under sharia law is not so far different than a biblical metaphysical expectation in the Western pluralistic societies under the influence of Chrisitianity. While Cultural Conservatives deny any desire to impose a theocracy and destroy pluralism or democracy, they define their view as something like the essential, unassailable and causal relationship between traditional Judeo-Christian values and the secular health of Western societies. They venomously call upon the state to play an active role in preserving the traditional culture which they see as rooted in specific theological values of The Old Testament.
In other words, while denying that they are anti-democratic, they are working full-time to diminish it. This then is the essence of The Christian Right, and by bedding with them, Fiscal Conservatives and Libertarians have become infected with the charge of crass statism and Taliban-like moral fascism.
As for progressives and egalitarians, they control the liberal parties and press. The individual to them is not a reasoned, self-managed citizen, but an emotional, needy and exploited victim who without the state’s assistance would perish. The individual, especially the wealthy meritocractic enterprising one, should be sacrificed to the crowd. However, the rich never really relinquish their wealth, they move abroad. Instead, the process is forgone to the state with everyone forfeiting to everyone, and human sacrifice as an ultimate moral ideal.
This then is why conservatives and liberals are dangerous to civilization: conservatives don’t understand liberty, the one and the same they advance, and liberals don’t understand the swelling state, the very thing they promote. Liberty cannot tolerate the furtherance of positive values by government, it doesn’t work that way. Moreover, on the other side, the state doesn’t fundamentally respond to directly helping victims. Through its own growth, it creates more victims. The state has its own agenda. Both sides offer the illusion of a great struggle between Right and Left, when in fact they’re both pro-government factions fighting over the mess they have made.
"The public weal transcends the interest of the individual." Adolph Hitler. The appearance of Marxist ideology in particular was a historical tsunami that is breathtaking in its total human impact. It led to the dekamegamurders by Marxist regimes in the Soviet Union and China, and more circuitously, it contributed to the one committed by the Nazi regime in Germany. Hitler read Marx in 1913, and although he detested Marxist socialism, his National Socialism substituted races for classes in its ideology of a dialectical struggle toward utopia, which is why some historians consider the two ideologies “fraternal twins.” Quoted from, Better Angels.
See, Talking to Strangers, Good Strategy, Bad Strategy, The Evolution of Everything, The Upside of Irattionality and Loserthink.
See also, The Revolt Against Reason, Reason and Religion, Reason and Myth and Reason and Skepticism.
“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.” – Ayn Rand
© 2020 - E. A. St. Amant