Starting in the late 1980s, my writing focused on heavy metal music and how its spirit got corrupted. This was important because bands “broke,” selling out either for money, crowd approval, or ideological goodwill, and never regained whatever former glory they had.
This naturally morphed into writing about philosophy because the concepts had become too abstract and penetrating for an entertainment audience (they want fun, philosophy is homework, sorry). That in turn modulated into writing about politics because politics is how we apply philosophy in modernity.
What a long strange trip it has been… starting in the early 1990s, when the ancestor of these sites was hosted on an anonymous FTP server before moving to Gopher and then the WWW, these writings advanced a few very controversial thoughts.
My views on race and class — that diversity works in form, that ethnic groups have different behaviors and average IQs, that Cro-Magnids are the origin of humanity and everything else admixture and mutation — are barely controversial, although “offensive,” compared to a handful of insights.
One was that liberalism did not work because it never addressed the causes of problems because equality was its proxy for reality. Another was that diversity, not Africans, was the source of our “race relations” problem. But the third was the most controversial and most widely resisted.
The writings of that time, some on USENET and some on FTP, focused on where modernity went wrong, which my writing identified as individualism, or “me first before all else including history, culture, genetics, continuity, nature, tradition, reality, and the divine.”
As often happens with actually different (one hesitates to say “new”) ideas, these notions took a few decades to grow into. At some point they were partially formalized with a critique of individualism that pointed out that collectivism was in fact simply individualists united in groups.
To understand individualism, you have to think like a philosopher: an “ism” means “this thing is the central principle and comes first before all else.” Naturalists defer to nature, idealists pursue thoughts parallel to reality, and individualists prioritize the individual above all else.
That includes reality itself.
That identifies the core of individualism, which is that each individual wants his own interests first without anything in his way, and he extends the same freedom to others so that they support him. It effectively abolishes civilization that is not enforced by money, law, or peer pressure.
All of these are philosophies of the human ego and socializing impulse. People have needs, so they agree to mutually support these needs by denying that something exists, forming a little cult based around negative impulses toward reality.
In this way, we can see individualism as a form of anti-realism based in the desire of the individual to be free from tradition, social order, civilization, and even nature itself:
individualism, political and social philosophy that emphasizes the moral worth of the individual.
Following the upheaval of the French Revolution, individualisme was used pejoratively in France to signify the sources of social dissolution and anarchy and the elevation of individual interests above those of the collective. The term’s negative connotation was employed by French reactionaries, nationalists, conservatives, liberals, and socialists alike, despite their different views of a feasible and desirable social order.
The French aristocratic political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–59) described individualism in terms of a kind of moderate selfishness that disposed humans to be concerned only with their own small circle of family and friends. Observing the workings of the American democratic tradition for Democracy in America (1835–40), Tocqueville wrote that by leading “each citizen to isolate himself from his fellows and to draw apart with his family and friends,” individualism sapped the “virtues of public life,” for which civic virtue and association were a suitable remedy.
Trust de Tocqueville to add the vital part: individualism opposes the center of society, public life, and social trust because it wants the individual to be more powerful than these. When individualism comes about, the glue that holds civilization together gets weaker.
Individualism comes with an accompanying philosophy of methods. In this approach, called “means-over-ends,” what matters is not results in reality but the methods used to get there. The opposite, “ends-over-means,” says results matter and to get good ones we use any means necessary.
For example, a means-over-ends approach would be pure pacifism: violence is bad. An ends-over-means approach would ask whether the violence produced a good result, and if so, shrug it off. People try to control others by limiting their means like violence, speech, knowledge, and traditions.
Individualism is inherently a means-over-ends approach. Its goal and method are the same, which means it has no goal, only methods: make society more equal because theory says it leads to Utopia. It never defines the Utopia nor how we will know we are there, so the goal has been replaced by method and image.
Not surprisingly, individualism is hostile to all forms of social order, since these would limit the individual so that civilization could thrive and all individuals could inherit its benefits. Instead we get endless liberation without a real purpose:
Individualism endorses the principle that the ends or purposes of the human individual possess dignity and worth that take precedence over communal, metaphysical, cosmological, or religious priorities.
Individualism is commonly seen by both its proponents and opponents to be the creation of the modern Western world, a development of Enlightenment liberal values.
The Enlightenment™ formalized the idea that had been kicking around England as the middle class rose: the individual should define his own activity, instead of attempting to fit within a tradition and its roles, rituals, and hierarchy.
To a middle class bourgeois normie, the idea of having anyone know better than him is offensive. He wants total control. At the same time, he keeps noticing that reality is different than his fantasies, so he becomes narcissistic and self-destructive in rage at his actual powerlessness.
Individualism naturally leads to narcissism and self-destruction. Whenever there is something to rebel against, the rebel plays the victim, and this entitles him to revenge himself upon society, so he acts like a petit sociopath and consequently, becomes alienated from everything.
The end result of individualism would be someone with no obligations except to his job and taxes, living alone without a family, separated from culture and genetics, but still questing for the meaning those once provided as well as replacements for the kings who made his people powerful in the first place.
Ironically, individualism implicates collectivism because for the individualist to feel validated, he or she must believe that everyone else sees the world the same way, and has the same motivations, only filtered through whatever situation in life each person has.
In this way, individualism denies inner character and, with it, individuality. In order to justify and rationalize his individualism, the individualist renders people into blank slates, and in doing so, removes any need for exploration of his inner self or development of a personality.
People in cities tend to be very similar and differentiate each other only in tastes in entertainment and hobbies. They lack individuality, but make up for it in aggressive self-interest to the exclusion of everything else.
Some research in the past has found that escaping individualism requires leaving behind the idea of “objective reality” which is universal to all peoples, since individuality means differing perceptions, some from different abilities and levels of experience, but some also from personality:
There are five distinct arguments for anti-individualism in Burge’s work. The order in which they were published is as follows. First, Burge argued that many representational mental states depend for their natures upon relations to a social environment (1979a). Second, he argued that psychologically representing natural kinds such as water and aluminum depends upon relations to entities in the environment (1982). Third, Burge argued that having thoughts containing concepts corresponding to artefactual kinds such as sofas is compatible with radical, non-standard theorizing about the kinds (1986a). Fourth, Burge constructed a thought experiment that appears to show that even the contents of perception may depend for their natures on relations to entities purportedly perceived (1986b; 1986c). Finally, Burge has provided an argument for a version of empirical anti-individualism that he regards as both necessarily true and a priori: “empirical representational states as of the environment constitutively depend partly on entering into environment-individual causal relations” (2010, 69). This final argument has superseded the fourth as the main ground of perceptual anti-individualism.
The individualist claims that he is a product of his environment; someone with individuality sees that he is a product of his inner self that adapts to his environment. When you read past the jargon above, Burge is saying what Nietzsche noted: different minds see different worlds in the same space.
That, however, would offend individualists, because it places the onus on us to understand the world instead of receding into atomized egotism, which is the bourgeois ideal because it allows the individual to stop struggling to keep civilization and to just go with the flow of decay.
Individualism tends toward utilitarianism, or “whatever most people say they think makes them happy is good,” because this allows the individualist to continue existing in a world of himself. The utilitarian idea is of each human as a little god in his own kingdom or planet:
Bentham’s understanding of human nature reveals, in short, a psychological, ontological, and also moral individualism where, to extend the critique of utilitarianism made by Graeme Duncan and John Gray (1979), “the individual human being is conceived as the source of values and as himself the supreme value.”
This clashes with the idea of civilization, which is that whether arbitrary or heuristic or not, a group selects values, behaviors, and goals and works toward them even if these cannot be objectively, universally, and absolutely “proven.”
Individualism requires a sense of victimhood, or scapegoating some single authority in the world for all of the problems one experiences, something that usually happens when that authority defeats most of the problems and makes life pretty good.
At that point, the city-dwellers feel empty because they have nothing to struggle against, so in order to keep cognitive dissonance at bay — balancing their knowledge of their irrelevance with their self-image of relevance, related to the DKE — they scapegoat.
In the West, this victimhood-scapegoat cycle gave rise to liberalism as the herd scapegoated the kings and demanded negative power — the ability to say “no” to anything — instead:
That is to say, although no one classifies Hobbes as a liberal, there is reason to regard Hobbes as an instigator of liberal philosophy (see also Waldron 2001), for it was Hobbes who asked on what grounds citizens owe allegiance to the sovereign. Implicit in Hobbes’s question is a rejection of the presumption that citizens are the king’s property; on the contrary, kings are empowered by citizens who are themselves, initially, sovereign in the sense of having a meaningful right to say no. In the culture at large, this view of the relation between citizen and king had been taking shape for centuries. The Magna Carta was a series of agreements, beginning in 1215, arising out of disputes between the barons and King John. The Magna Carta eventually settled that the king is bound by the rule of law. In 1215, the Magna Carta was part of the beginning rather than the end of the argument, but by the mid-1300s, concepts of individual rights to trial by jury, due process, and equality before the law were more firmly established. The Magna Carta was coming to be seen as vesting sovereignty not only in nobles but in “the People” as such.
All of our problems today track back to this approval of individualism, which in groups forms collectivism and always goes further Left as time goes on. Until we reject the “Big Lie” of equality, thereby ejecting individualism, we will serve the lemming herd as it marches toward suicide.