Individualists and their Liberal friends

We would all probably agree that every individual is in some way or another unique. Everyone of us has inside a potential, a certain predisposition, both due to inborn and socially-given qualities. As formulated by the first conservative thinkers as Edmund Burke or even those more radical like Joseph de Maistre, the role of our peers, those closest to us, of our nearest community, is to help us understand and then to develop this potential. This does not serve only to the particular person whose qualities are discovered, but ultimately to the development of the particular community as a whole. An individual as such is ‘nothing,’ only in a process of interaction with his natural and nearest communities he gains the sense of himself. Each fulfills one’s role, each gives his best, according to his qualities, in order to ‘build’ and ‘create’ above himself. One participates in what is interchangeable called ‘society’ or ‘community’ (in a sense of daily, journalistic use, while in the academic literature these terms are distinguished, mainly as ‘negative’ in the first case, and positive in the latter – F. Tonnies, O. Spengler, S. Freud). This society or community to call it freely for the moment is truly an organism, as true conservatives rightly for decades pointed out – an intellectual, worker, teacher, politician – all have certain functions, ‘social roles,’ as it is in an organism where a brain, muscles, senses, instincts also fulfill certain duties without which the organism could not function. Even those less able are not condemned because they can find their purpose in being a part of a larger whole – in this higher creation of all called community.

This conservative view of the society (not the liberal mutation manifested in the so-called conservatism of Thatcher or Reagan) is opposed by liberalism. Liberalism argues that for atomized society – society of autonomous, self-serving, Benthamite ‘utility maximisers,’ who seek above all else ‘their own way to happiness.’

But is this liberalism really that liberal as it tries to convince by its very name? There is ‘liberal’ democracy, ‘liberal’ market and so on, but what is the real meaning, the real content behind these powerful and bold phrases?

The ‘liberal’ democratic principles tells us that they uphold the individual as the most sacred thing of all, yet, no single thing in fact has been devalued in their thought more than him. An individual according to them is supposedly ‘free’ to gain such social position as his abilities allow him – this is the so-called meritocracy. Nevertheless, this social position is equated with the sum of money one is able to collect. The amount of money one is able to gather is in turn clearly connected with one type of the individual who makes money the best – selfish, unscrupulous, cunning, predatory creature who is willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in order to ‘outcompete’ the opposition. Those whose abilities are different – artisans, workers, teachers, doctors, state servants, agriculturists, authors of literary works, painters, musicians, philosophers – simply those who do not possess entrepreneur-like qualities are destined to low wages and only to be evaluated by these supposedly ‘the best types of peoples.’

Thus, even though ‘human civilization’ has supposedly advanced, although according to liberals ‘humans’ ‘progress’ by every millisecond to a better world, formerly highly esteemed professions like teachers are now even laughed at by their own pupils because they are only children’s ‘servants’ who provide them with ‘services’ their parents paid for.

There is no sense as in conservative thought that education can be good as such – for instance that it gives children wisdom of past generations and teaches them how to build a stable society – order and respect for authority. Liberal thinkers perceive it only as one of goods that can be bought, that can in an abstract sense enhance an individual – i.e. that it gives him knowledge to better pursue material goods, better position to compete with others. Liberals, completely distanced from all historical and empirical observations and from real world, being lost in their abstract myths and ideas drawn from their sleeves and long meditations above books read in darkness of their rooms think that this social order is nothing except this abstract social contract of ‘free individuals’ who agreed to form a society because it will ‘best serve their interest.’ Therefore for instance compulsory education, and in consequence the undisputed authority of the position of teacher is for liberals only restrictions on their ‘freedom.’

With this attitude of liberalism is tightly connected the phenomenon of ‘individualism’ and the ideal of an ‘assertive person’ which is supposedly the best way how to act towards others. Individualists pursue career. Individualists are ‘cool’ happy consumers who drink Coca-Cola, buy clothes at GAP, carefully watch new adverts and buy what is actually in ‘trend.’ Individualists do not care for family, friends, mutual-interest groups, community outside their ‘sphere of interest’ – i.e. if it does not bring them ‘greater happiness’ or serves their ‘interest.’ An individualist lives his little enclosed life solely for himself, solely ‘to enjoy.’

An individualist does not realises that it is exactly the idea of community which allowed men to manage any greater enterprise. As Spengler mentions in Man & Technics it was exactly the will to create more sophisticated creations that resulted in the division of labour and creation of first human groupings. Where one man was not enough, two made difference, and when even more were organised into a unit they were able to manage what would for one last years. In its most primitive sense, this is precisely to what conservatives refer when they mention ‘the wisdom of past generations.’ This point in history where men realised in this way the effectiveness of groups is also mentioned in works of Sigmund Freud (Totem and Taboo, Civilization and its Discontents) although he mentions rather different example (brothers realising that together they can overthrow the hated figure of the father) the core argument remains.

The effort of Liberals to argue for ‘atomized society’ (the phrase itself is a contradiction) thus cannot be perceived as nothing else but a reverse to primitive times. To Hobbesian war of all against all.

What is needed is to reassert the principle of community. Starting by family and ending by the community most distanced – the state. Every community must be perceived as a grouping united towards an external goal. The realisation inside the community is what is liberty. Be it a family, or for example a company where every worker helps with his abilities to better the services of the company and in consequence, of the whole community in which the company provides its services.

European Union might well be the first starting point to realise this philosophy. It would be necessary to curb down the power of the transnational foreign companies and support what is the ‘local’ to counter the liberal effort to make from the whole world one Disneyland. To built federative Europe on the principle of communities where the role of families, local communities, regions – would be reasserted and strengthened – where everyone would be able to find true freedom in this one gigantic project of us all. ‘European dream’ would be then truly possible and it would lead to new decades of prosperity and the rise of new, powerful, European culture.

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2 Responses to Individualists and their Liberal friends

  1. James Rogers says:

    My thoughts exactly. Very well put!

  2. Faust says:

    Thanks a lot, I appreciate it from a pro writer like you.

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