The Individualism of the Herd


It is fair to say, that many of the values and viewpoints understood as being normative in Western society today, represent a near total inversion of those regarded as such by our recent forebears. Indeed, such marked reversals of thought and attitude are not apolitical or happenstance, but are taken in the contemporary period as reflecting some fundamental or underlying ideal; of indicating just how far society ‘has come’ as it partakes of its inevitable, onward march towards ‘progress’, and in doing so, casts off the apparently repressive and authoritarian systems of control that have come to define its prior conditions and forms.

Inversion, Decay and Reversal

This tendency towards inversion and reversal is recognisable in the hostility with which many of the cultural structures that hitherto underpinned and oriented Western civilisation are nowadays treated. Discourse therefore surrounding questions of European identity, of masculinity and femininity, of the family, and of spiritual and religious traditions tend broadly, in public discussion, towards abject nihilism; towards abnegation and masochism at the individual and communal level, where to critique and decry the traditional structures inherited through one’s own cultural-historical framework (as opposed to assert them) is taken as a sign of great intellectual advancement and personal virtue. It is this cynical and debilitating tendency – in which one piously flogs one’s self in the town square for the apparent good of all mankind – which manifests among the cardinal virtues of liberalism today; an ideology embedded so deeply in the minds of many that its operations as such around them have become quite invisible.

Strength Through Weakness, Innocence Through Guilt

Indeed, so great are the inclinations towards decay in contemporary liberal discourse, that strength in modernity is asserted through weakness, and innocence expressed by confession of guilt. Moral authority, in this framework, tends especially to be conferred upon those groups or individuals proclaiming states of perceived, historic, or perpetual victimhood; those anointed ones who in their grievance see fit to imprecate hymns of resentment and envy upon society in a misanthropic chorus, and who, operating as a collectivist vanguard, advance the interests of their own group while flying the flag of ‘equality’. It is within this context that we see the divinisation of minority groups by the majority, who pay obeisance to the arbiters of moral agency with grotesque charades of piety and self-refutation; by meekly wearing the albatross of European civilisational sin around their necks, not in the hope of absolution, but in order to increase their social capital among peers by means of sycophantic and duplicitous virtue signalling.

Today then, is the age of unbridled masochism; where the forces of guilt and shame are internalised and piled upon the self, where identity manifests as a negative (as opposed to positive) force, where virtuous statements are equated with virtuous acts, where shaming is conflated with justice, and where artistic, cultural or political achievements are measured by the extent to which they debilitate and degrade historically inherited social and cultural structures in the name of egalitarianism and diversity.

Dominance, Hierarchy and Egalitarianism

For all its entropic tendencies however, the normalising principle of egalitarianism – as it homogenises and apparently levels the playing field of identity and culture – similarly raises aloft a hierarchy all its own, a secular cosmos complete with its own discriminatory orthodoxies and explicit dogmas; a materialist, post-Christian religiosity in which the spectre of original sin remains ever-apparent, with the prospect of salvation nowhere to be found. The principles upon which this framework rests are not always explicitly clear to us today, for we have internalised and memorised the methodologies by which they operate to the extent that they have in many ways become quite invisible, expressing themselves only in the confused paroxysms of guilt that arise from every coarse word and from every incorrect thought; from every utterance standing in contradiction to the gospel of sin that is political correctness.

This lexicon of iniquity, by constricting the meaning of language used to formulate abstract thoughts and tendencies at the individual level, orients the scope and direction of collective consciousness; insisting as it does, on constant disavowals of strength (for fear of offending others) as correct and proper modes of thought and action. The language of political correctness, utilised to demarcate the borders and boundaries of public thought and discourse, is itself of course far from neutral, being laden with ideological baggage and negative inclinations. Accusations of ‘Islamophobia’ for example, are often levelled at those critical of that political and religious system’s manifestations in Europe today, a term which implies that the only way to understand such misguided and distasteful opinions is through the lens of irrationality, hatred, and fear. One notices however, that cries of ‘Christophobia’ or ‘Catholophobia’ do not quite ring out in liberal media outlets to the same extent; for one is free to fall with savagery on the structures inherited through one’s own culture, with those of other groups at all times having to be patronised, fetishised or otherwise exalted.

Indeed, the noose of politically permitted language has so tightened that it now constricts the use even of words that are not offensive in and of themselves (unlike racial slurs etc.), which, having been flagged as ‘problematic’ are duly placed upon the chopping block of progress. The words ‘man’ and ‘woman’ or ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ for example, (in displaying a genocidal, heteronormative bigotry of the worst sort) are today forbidden in the official correspondence of several American universities and European governmental departments alike. Thankfully, these errant and hateful terms have (by the micro-managerial apparatchiks of educational institutions and state bureaucracies) been replaced by the word ‘persons’; an altogether more indifferent form which presumably avoids inducing strokes and heart attacks in the more sensitive reader.

Heretics, Haters and Homo-Economicus

To question (let alone critique) the absurd contortions of politically correct language, or the assertions of liberalism and the Left more generally is one of the few ways in which one can announce one’s self as a heretic, thought criminal, dissident or otherwise demonic figure in the contemporary period. At one level this might appear a strange fact, given the apparently permissive nature of Western society; in which all points are held to be relative and all views equal, in which authoritarian religious structures have been stripped away and cast aside, and in which a variety of individual freedoms and ‘lifestyle choices’ are celebrated all around us, with each being held as an ultimate good in and of themselves.

On closer inspection however, such relaxed attitudes can be seen to operate only in certain (very particular) directions, pertaining largely as they do, to those areas of life where their implementation is regarded as being largely harmless, or does not question the underlying structures of the social system as a whole. One might ask then, of what worth are freedoms that offer little more than the choice to indulge in every passing whim, every new fad or every fashionable lifestyle? Here, is the space in which homo-economicus finds himself totally free; free to mindlessly absorb and consume while worshipping material and economic concerns above all else, free of the oppressive shackles of civilisational inheritance, free of the burden of duty, free of collective memory and tradition, free of higher purpose, and free of meaning.

Here is Man without essence; a directionless tabula rasa in a state of restless amnesia, to be endlessly written upon and erased again by the state, to be endlessly bought and sold in the marketplace without his ever knowing (or caring) so. Here, in our collective atomisation, is the individualism in which we all share, the individualism of the herd; the empty space wherein we are encouraged to find common ground.

Relativism as Dogma

Despite the attitude of relativism so apparent in Western society today, altogether less indulgent tendencies will be made abundantly clear to those having the audacity to express disquiet at the central tenets of liberal ideology; at the doctrines of egalitarianism, multiculturalism, feminism, secularism, or the proscriptive and pernicious doublethink of political correctness. Such an individual should not be surprised if, in the course of their heretical confessions, they are met by the open-minded proponents of liberalism and tolerance (those virtuous ones eager to make heard the voices on the margins) not with an easy-going warmth, but with more popular terms of endearment such as ‘racist!’, ‘fascist!’, ‘nazi!’, or similar.

Such slurs, in pointing to the absolute toxicity and moral ill-health of the offender, are employed as much for the benefit of the audience as they are for the injury and isolation of the victim; making example as they do, of those reprobates who would deign to offer up uncouth critiques of liberalism’s sacred cows, or query its essential verities. These rascals can further expect to be pilloried with accusations of backwardness, bigotry, or stupidity, they’re generally being stereotyped (surely an awful thing in itself?) as ignorant, knuckle-dragging, angry, hateful or otherwise maladapted pariahs not fit for appearance in public, deserving only of the full weight of social disapproval.

Weaponised language such as the above is notable for its pointing primarily to the political spectrum of the radical Right in order to highlight symbols and examples of total moral illness. This same tendency does not manifest in the opposite direction however, as the iconography and symbolism of the radical Left has (somewhat ironically) been fully absorbed by the machinery of global capitalism and consumerism, and there is repackaged and reflected back upon the populace without causing the slightest of tremors. There is in Dublin for example, a restaurant chain known as Mao’s, the logo of which for many years featured a large, Andy Warhol-esque, multicoloured portrait of the good chairman emblazoned across its shop front; a de-contextualised, modernist recycling of a totalitarian despot who murdered approximately 60 million of his own people in the name of communism, under which one can comfortably dine with friends. Who however could see themselves inviting a lady whom they might wish to court for dinner and drinks at their local Goebbels, or Göring’s? Not many, one could safely wager. How many indeed would blush or become silent having been called an extremist Leftist, communist or Marxist in public? Again the answer is likely to be very few at all. More would likely wear these labels with a certain self-righteous, counter cultural pride; but such identifiers are permitted only insofar as they serve to reinforce the status quo, reflecting as they do the antecedent forms of the dominant political theology of our age.

What’s Right is Wrong

The radical Right in Europe (and the West more broadly) however, is at all times projected as the embodiment of evil and genocidal violence, with the radical Left as the arbiter of that which is righteous, that which is principled, and that which is good. Despite the atrocities of communism; the death camps, the secret police, the (approximately 100 million) deaths, the ethnic cleansings and the ruinous famines, the principles underpinning this political system, in splitting off from the hard Marxism of the past, and in synthesising with the forces of consumerism and global capitalism, have become the primary orienting tenets of Western civilization today; a grotesque and debilitating combination.

Now then is the age wherein transgression has become the orthodoxy of our day; where the past is broken with for good, where reason and economic concerns are promoted above all else, where relativism is universal, where Man’s essence is understood as a text with no meaning, where to change one’s material conditions is to resolve all predicaments, where nationhood and common bond are replaced by the multicultural society of individuals, where diversity is achieved through homogenization, and equality through self-refutation and abnegation; where collective memory is jettisoned and thrown overboard, and where we race towards a state of disintegration, dislocation, disarray and nothingness.

For now, our course is set, and we sail to the magnetic north of an ailing spiritual compass; with ever increasing speed this ship of fools, having set forth in hope of liberation from itself, races in dead of night to a storm battered coast, there to dash itself across the rocks under a starless sky.

Jonny Dillon