Some object to the classification of Right and Left as order and individualism respectively, since they presume that the bipartite division of politics is like so many other things a phantom of symbolism and interpretation.
In a more analytical state of mind however, the breakdown makes sense: we either ally with nature or with the human ego. This is a binary choice between doing what makes every species survive and deciding that we are unique and can afford to be “above” nature.
For the past thirty years, I have advanced another useful narrative, which is that our problem consists of inversion of our purpose through the dominance of social pressures over the ability to notice reality, an ability parceled out unequally by nature.
This theory, Crowdism, explains the breakdown of human groups through a co-dependent relationship based on peer pressure away from standards:
The belief, whether known in language to its bearer or not, that the individual should predominate over all other concerns is Crowdism. We name it according to the crowd because crowds are the fastest to defend individual autonomy; if any of its members are singled out, and doubt thrown upon their activities or intentions, the crowd is fragmented and loses its power. What makes crowds strong is an inability of any to criticize their members, or to suggest any kind of goal that unites people, because what makes for the best crowds is a lack of goal. Without a higher vision or ideal, crowds rapidly degenerate into raiding parties, although of a passive nature. They argue for greater “freedom.” They want more wealth. Anything they see they feel should be divided up among the crowd.
Crowdism strikes anyone who values individual comfort and wealth more than doing what is right. People of a higher mindset leave situations in a higher state of order than when they were found. This requires that people form an abstraction describing how organization works, and create in themselves the moral will to do right, and thus embark on a path that is not accessible to everyone: the smarter and more clearsighted one is, the greater likelihood exists that one is realizing things that an audience of average people have not yet comprehended. For this reason, Crowdists hate people who leave situations in a higher state of order than when they were found.
In my view, this pathology arises when society loses a sense of direction, and consequently begins repeating methods instead of finding goals. This usually happens when the clever-but-not-quite-intelligent realize that they can scheme and overthrow the actually intelligent who are required to start a civilization, but not strictly needed once it is established.
The only way to stop this is to have actually intelligent people who do what is against their character, namely eugenic removal of the clever-but-not-quite-intelligent who are prone to rebel against good things. Almost all of the religious meditations on good-versus-evil have targeted this situation, since killing murderers and stealing the time of thieves through imprisonment are commonsense and done everywhere.
A society which wishes to endure will be strictly eugenic. That is, it will invite good people into its higher echelons and eject the bad, meaning those who are both incompetent and agitating for power. Even more, it will smash down anyone who rejects the wisdom that some are born kings and some, peasants.
If not, it goes down the path of what Isaac Asimov partially correctly diagnoses:
Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’
The essence of the Crowd comes from the idea that the individual can choose on the basis of whim, meaning whatever he or she “wants” instead of what is called for by the situation. This produces an infinite neurotic abyss where those without purpose try to choose what they “want,” resulting in an endless flow of distractions, deflections, amusements, justifications, hobbies, postures, and other deceptions, as described by Plato:
This, then, seems likely to be the fairest of States, being an embroidered robe which is spangled with every sort of flower. And just as women and children think a variety of colours to be of all things most charming, so there are many men to whom this State, which is spangled with the manners and characters of mankind, will appear to be the fairest of States.
See too, I said, the forgiving spirit of democracy, and the ‘don’t care’ about trifles, and the disregard which she shows of all the fine principles which we solemnly laid down at the foundation of the city –as when we said that, except in the case of some rarely gifted nature, there never will be a good man who has not from his childhood been used to play amid things of beauty and make of them a joy and a study –how grandly does she trample all these fine notions of ours under her feet, never giving a thought to the pursuits which make a statesman, and promoting to honour any one who professes to be the people’s friend.
Yes, I said, he lives from day to day indulging the appetite of the hour; and sometimes he is lapped in drink and strains of the flute; then he becomes a water-drinker, and tries to get thin; then he takes a turn at gymnastics; sometimes idling and neglecting everything, then once more living the life of a philosopher; often he-is busy with politics, and starts to his feet and says and does whatever comes into his head; and, if he is emulous of any one who is a warrior, off he is in that direction, or of men of business, once more in that. His life has neither law nor order; and this distracted existence he terms joy and bliss and freedom; and so he goes on.
Why do they “take a turn” at such things? For them, activities serve a single useful purpose: to explore their whims and to make them look important to their social group. For this reason, the activities themselves are not important, only the appearance of being committed and enjoying the process.
To a person raised under democracy, nothing is worth doing for its own sake. Everything exists as a tool, weapon, justification, rationalization, or other leverage used to argue for what the individual wants.
On the flip side, of course, the individual has no idea what he wants, because without some goal other than the self, no direction exists and so the individual flits from one distraction to another, never finding satiation.
Future human societies will record among their learnings the notion that directionless humanity becomes toxic and parasitic much as organisms which never find a niche in nature tend to become parasites on the more successful.
Equality and individualism constitute statements against purpose. The individual, they argue, must be freed from purpose by liberalizing the social standards used to achieve it. Then, he or she can choose a path.
In a laboratory setting, which exists beyond time or multiple cause-effect relationships and therefore resembles reality only as much as symbolism does, this situation seems optimal: each person finds their own way.
A social setting approves even more. “If it makes them happy let them enjoy themselves,” say the seemingly wise guys at the hipster bar. But what about when there is a tragedy of the commons that sacrifices social order for individualism?
No one wants to address that one because it requires that we end the co-dependent and manipulative relationship with the Crowd.
Joining a Crowd creates an unstated social contract, much as joining a cult, gang, sect, mafia, clique, or cabal does: we will defend you if you defend us. Each of us gets what he wants then, with only the overhead of defending the gang.
Over time, the gang goes from requiring simply equal treatment under the law to demanding ideological obedience to equality as a life-philosophy, including parasitic socialism.
This produces denialists — those who fight against realizing that their system is in trouble — who find themselves enraged by how their manipulation has resulted in themselves in turn being manipulated.
On top of that, they have become purposeless, since to them any activity has value only as a method of further rationalizing the absence of goal, often called “freedom” or “liberty.”
Consequently, nothing fills the inner void. Without purpose or goal, they range around the dystopic wasteland possessed only of an impulse to destroy. They are not nihilists; they are individualists.
They remain however addicted to the burden of equality. No taxes are too high if they subsidize the poor, no racial grievance too extreme, and no amount of bureaucratic red tape or ridiculous public pretense and ceremony annoys them.
To them, their freedom is all that they have, and so they cling to it even as it destroys them.