2018/05/01

Individualism Is Kill

Having consistently pointed out that individualism is a noxious acid eating away at the social bonds, family ties, and institutions of the West, I was pleased when a Libertarian ideologue showed up in my Twitter feed to provide a wealth of colorful examples.

Individualism 1

Individualism 2

Individualism 3

Radical individualists' white-knuckled clinging to their self-contradictory ideology never ceases to amaze me. Then again, errors come in twos, and as Russ soon demonstrates, individualism--specifically Libertarianism--is really just the error that's equal and opposed to Communism.

Individualism 4
 
Individualism 7
As Dustin tried to explain to Russ, individualism as a political philosophy is a non-starter since some form of collective action is in practice unavoidable. There is no such thing as a truly self-made man, and it's a fixed feature of human nature that people live in community, starting with the family.

Insisting on the primacy of the self-sufficient, atomized individual is not an antidote to the disintegration of the family and the dissolution of Western institutions. Indeed, individualism has weakened the West's Christianity-based resistance to collectivist subversion.

Binary thinkers whose only model consists of the individualism or collectivism false dichotomy fail to realize that what's really needed is the proper balance between the complimentary ideas of subsidiarity and solidarity. Only by learning to cooperate as a movement while valuing the inherent dignity of the individual can we preserve what's salvageable of Western culture and build new, lasting institutions.

The arts remain one of the most important yet most overlooked cultural institutions. That is why I direct the lion's share of my own efforts into writing fun adventure stories that take a Western, Christian world view for granted without lecturing my readers.

The Ophian Rising - Brian Niemeier

35 comments:

  1. "...what's really needed is the proper balance between the complimentary ideas of subsidiarity and solidarity. Only by learning to cooperate as a movement while valuing the inherent dignity of the individual can we preserve what's salvageable of Western culture and build new, lasting institutions."

    I'm not familiar with subsidiary and solidarity in this context. Have you written about this elsewhere?

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    1. Probably in passing. I do need to write an in-depth post on those concepts. Thanks for the reminder.

      The short version: subsidiarity is addressing problems at the lowest organizational level possible. For example, I'm pretty convinced that healthcare assistance should be handled by counties instead of the feds.

      Solidarity is collective action for the common good, but not to the exclusion of individual contributions.

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    2. Or point me towards something if you don't have time...

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    3. Thank you. Not only informative but inspiring.

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  2. "Only by learning to cooperate as a movement while valuing the inherent dignity of the individual can we preserve what's salvageable of Western culture and build new, lasting institutions."

    This isn't hard to understand.

    What is hard is putting aside your ego to realize it is even an option.

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    1. Its even more basic than that. I don't know what subsidiarity is.

      Wikipedia says this:


      "Subsidiarity is a principle of social organization that holds that social and political issues should be dealt with at the most immediate level that is consistent with their resolution."

      Is that right?

      It's a concept that I haven't heard about and genrgener the dictionary definition of a thing is different than how people us a word, nor does it provide connotation. So I'm looking for more information, that's all.


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    2. @JD: That's the rub, isn't it? The fact that so few people even know about solidarity/subsidiarity is a pretty clear sign the powers that be don't want them to.

      @Jared: Fair question. See my reply to your comment above.

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  3. "Binary thinkers whose only model consists of the individualism or collectivism false dichotomy fail to realize that what's really needed is the proper balance between the complimentary ideas of subsidiarity and solidarity."

    I should note that those are complementary ideas. Complimentary ones are ones that pay compliments.

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  4. I will always be a Libertarian at heart but when you have the entirety of tech, politics and media against the free and decent populace the time comes to grab a battle axe and unite with your brothers to stand against the mongrel horde. Viva la Christendom.

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  5. Communism’s fantasy: the world can be made into a giant family. It will provide the losers and secret gamma Kong’s the daddy who never challenges them and a mother who loves them no matter what a loser they are.

    Communism’s result: the sh*ttiest and meanest orphanage possible.

    Libertarianism fantasy: humans are all upper middle class, college educated white people who live in 93+% White gated communities and if we just got out of each other’s way, we could all have that.

    Libertarian result: death by the Huns.

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    1. But what about the triumph of applied Libertarianism that is Somalia?

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    2. Yemeni's sending you a case of free burn ointment as a gift for your targets as thanks for not being named over Somalians.

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    3. It was the first place that came to mind.

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  6. Brian.

    2 comments:
    Libertarianism is nothing but Anglospheric anarchism.
    We need to use the image of the mosaic. Each tile is unique and wonderful but together they make something even more beautiful.
    One sardonic observation: Libertarians can't explain the formation of families

    xavier

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  7. You define both libertarianism and individualism as entirely different things from how I've always used those words. So I would have to agree that what you are describing is not workable.

    My political philosophy is based on the sovereignty of the individual, because I don't see where else it can come from. If one person alone doesn't have the right to self-governance, then 100 people combined don't have that right, either, or a thousand or a million.

    That doesn't mean that people can't choose to work together. The United States did not cease to be an independent nation when it chose to join with the Allies in World War Two. Nations can enter into trade agreements without ceasing to be sovereign.

    I have control over my own actions and responsibility for them. Nothing you or anyone else can do can change that. If you put a gun to my head, I still have the choice to obey or not, and my actions are still my responsibility.

    What you are calling individualism is what I would call sociopathy. When I choose to cooperate with another individual for our mutual benefit, I don't stop being myself.

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    1. "If one person alone doesn't have the right to self-governance, then 100 people combined don't have that right, either, or a thousand or a million."

      In the sense of "regulating one's actions", self-government isn't just a right, it's an obligation.

      If by "self-government" you mean "absolute autonomy", it not only isn't a right, it does not and cannot exist.

      To be human is to live in a society. The preferences and needs of others always place checks on one's pursuit of one's own personal preferences. In practice, attempts to square that circle always lead to tyranny. See: the civil rights movement leading to "Bake the cake, bigot!"

      Scaling up from the individual to 100, 1000, and a million people only compounds the problem.

      The people are not the source of legitimate authority. The social contract was always a fairy tale devised by Enlightenment philosophers telling each other stories about what they imagined man was like in his natural state. Subsequent archaeological and anthropological findings have long since disproved Hobbes, to name just one.

      Authentic political authority doesn't come from the grassroots up. It comes from God down.

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    2. "That doesn't mean that people can't choose to work together. The United States did not cease to be an independent nation when it chose to join with the Allies in World War Two. Nations can enter into trade agreements without ceasing to be sovereign."

      That's a bait and switch. Read my post and original tweets again. I didn't argue that personal or national independence is incompatible with collective action. I pointed out that individualism and collective action are mutually exclusive by definition.

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    3. Well, again, whatever you are calling "individualism" is nothing that I've ever encountered before, so I can't say what it might be compatible with.

      "The preferences and needs of others always place checks on one's pursuit of one's own personal preferences." On what basis do you decide which person's preference takes precedence over another's? Is it just a matter of numbers?

      I've never met "society". Everyone I've ever met has been an individual. 100 men working together can have the physical authority to impose their collective will on one man, but I don't believe that gives them the moral authority to do so.

      One can be in agreement with one's fellows and still be wrong.

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    4. Misha, what are your definitions for individualism and Libertarianism?

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    5. "...whatever you are calling "individualism" is nothing that I've ever encountered before..."

      Then you've never known what individualism is. I'm just cutting through all the Libertarian obfuscations and looking at the actual word. In English, the suffix -ism appended to a word denotes an ideology that proposes the root term as an absolute. Thus, "Individualism" means "upholding the individual as absolute".

      "On what basis do you decide which person's preference takes precedence over another's?"

      Exactly my point. That question only poses a paradoxical dilemma to Classical Liberals and their Libertarian cousins. If you accept that freedom, like individuality, is not an absolute, the answer is to prioritize those preferences which are most ordered toward the good.

      'I've never met 'society'."

      Boilerplate Libertarian rhetoric grade: B-

      "Everyone I've ever met has been an individual."

      CCC 1879-1880: The human person needs to live in society. Society is not for him an extraneous addition but a requirement of his nature. Through the exchange with others, mutual service and dialogue with his brethren, man develops his potential; he thus responds to his vocation.

      A society is a group of persons bound together organically by a principle of unity that goes beyond each one of them. As an assembly that is at once visible and spiritual, a society endures through time: it gathers up the past and prepares for the future. By means of society, each man is established as an "heir" and receives certain "talents" that enrich his identity and whose fruits he must develop. He rightly owes loyalty to the communities of which he is part and respect to those in authority who have charge of the common good.

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    6. "If you accept that freedom, like individuality, is not an absolute, the answer is to prioritize those preferences which are most ordered toward the good."

      A sweet deal for the people who get to define what "good" is.

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    7. "A sweet deal for the people who get to define what 'good' is."

      Showing once again that post-Enlightenment philosophies lead straight to moral relativism.

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    8. Let me boil this down to the essentials. Do you believe that if your own conscience is in opposition to the opinion of the majority you should follow the majority rather than what you believe to be right?

      And if you do follow the majority, do you believe that the fact that everyone else was doing it absolves you of the moral consequences of your actions?

      I am not a moral relativist. I believe in an absolute, objective, and unchanging standard of right and wrong. I also believe that I have the obligation to use what reason and evidence I have available to determine that standard.

      When I stand before God in judgement, I will stand alone. I will not be called to answer for what anyone else did, or what anyone did to me, but only for each action of my own.

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    9. "Do you believe that if your own conscience is in opposition to the opinion of the majority you should follow the majority rather than what you believe to be right?"

      No.

      "And if you do follow the majority, do you believe that the fact that everyone else was doing it absolves you of the moral consequences of your actions?"

      No.

      "I am not a moral relativist. I believe in an absolute, objective, and unchanging standard of right and wrong."

      Good. Be aware that your acknowledgement of absolute, objective right and wrong binds your conscience.

      "I also believe that I have the obligation to use what reason and evidence I have available to determine that standard."

      Also good. One small but important correction: Humans don't determine moral principles. We discover them.

      "I will not be called to answer for what anyone else did, or what anyone did to me, but only for each action of my own."

      Wrong.

      When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Ez. 3:18

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    10. The quote from Ezekiel at the end refers, I believe, not for being judged for another's actions, but being judged for one's response to another's actions. The obligation to call the wicked to repentance is a personal obligation. Once I have fulfilled that by giving a warning, then your death is on your own head.

      Other than that, we are in agreement, although we don't use the same words to mean the same things.

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    11. Misha, what are your definitions for individualism and Libertarianism? Also, can you please elaborate on what you mean by “sovereignty of the individual”?

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    12. "Other than that, we are in agreement, although we don't use the same words to mean the same things."

      Good to know.

      "The quote from Ezekiel at the end refers, I believe, not for being judged for another's actions, but being judged for one's response to another's actions."

      Your exegesis has merit as it pertains to that passage in isolation. In light of the whole content and unity of Scripture, a more robust standard regarding our responsibility for others' conduct emerges.

      Consider Jesus' warning that one who causes another to sin would be better off having a millstone placed around his neck and drowned. the Church teaches that anyone who commits scandal, i.e. intentionally tempts another to sin, bears not only the guilt of giving scandal but also of the offense he tempted his brother into committing.

      The answer to Cain's question, "Am I my brother's keeper?" is yes.

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  8. Brian,

    Can I recommend Louis Dumont's Homo hieerarchicus (VOl I) and Homo Aequalis (vol II) and Essais sur l'indivdualisme?

    I fond them quite instructive and very interesting. I believe they're available in English.

    Misha,

    I understand your point but I think we do see society in the form of parades, processions, riots and demonstrations.
    Granted they're not the WHOLE country but still represent a sizable or notable cross section of what constitutes a society.
    xavier

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    1. Bowing to the will of a majority and joining a mob is also a choice. It is still individual people who are responsible for their own actions and no others. The fact that they all decide to do the same thing does not mean that they are doing some mythical "will of society", simply that a group of people all chose--as individuals--to preform a certain action at the same time.

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  9. Misha

    I don't disagree with you about indiviual responsibility or will of society is a myth. But how do individual subordinate their individual goals for a common one and sustain it for generations?
    I wish I was better acquainted with the Salamanca school as they discuss these very issues

    xavier

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