by Mr. Mean-Spirited
Individualism doesn’t just mean that the self is more important than the state – but, more importantly, individualism also teaches that personal independence can only be attained through deliberate selfishness. Individualism doesn’t just mean standing on your own two feet, but also includes standing against other people. Individualism doesn’t just mean self-interest, but also involves an active disinterest in the community. Individualism doesn’t just mean being self-centered, but that an individual can only exist through a continual rejection of society.
Individualism is possibly the most misunderstood philosophical position. Individualism is not the least bit concerned with otherworldly truths as much as enhancing freedom in this life. Misconceived because self-reliance is not concerned with improving anything in a future social order that is yet to come – as much as individualism is concerned with maximizing freedom right now.
Individualism is not about being cutting edge – but being antisocial. Liberals strive to better the social order, but individualists are more interested in keeping their distance. A liberal wants to help others, and individualist just wants to help himself. A rugged individualist doesn’t give a shit about anything except himself.
The independent individual requires constant defense against encroachment by the humanitarians. An individualist is not just a loner, but a person who continually retreats from society. As the collective moves forward, the individualist steps back. In order to exist at all, individualism must always be taken to the extreme: what is good is anything that benefits yourself, what is bad is anything that gives an edge to other people.
Individualism is the complete contradiction of liberalism. Deep down, liberals just want to “fit in” and to be accepted within the collective; ultimately, liberalism is always based upon social conformity. Humanitarians want to be the center of attention within the group, while an individualist just wants to keep away from any social gathering. Remaining an individual is the polar opposite of becoming a do-gooder. The more the progressives progress, the more the individual becomes an individualist.
By sheer chance, I happened to be on a university campus the night Barack Obama was re-elected: all the students were wearing identical liberal t-shirts, supporting the identical liberal candidate, feeling identical liberal emotions, texting identical liberal congratulations to each other. Liberalism is all about dutiful sameness – and holding obedient opinions.
The true individualist has no use for democracy – the lone wolf is caged and tagged by such conformity to mass culture. Liberals are always lecturing about how people should “come together” – an individualist simply doesn’t want to be corralled. The true individual believes in nothing but himself – and this free spirit can only exist through constant hostility to social norms. The individualist becomes a hater of his fellow man out of self-defense.
Any person who does not hate others lacks intensity, and without this inner reserve of hatred, a human being cannot become a true individualist. It is the act of loathing humanity that transforms a man from a mere consumer into an individualist. Without hatred for his fellow beings, one personality is indistinguishable from the mass mind. Individualism is not about choosing one product over another at the convenience store, but about detesting the whole mass culture.
A genuine individualist always has two inevitable components: (1) an exaltation of his own distinct self and (2) an excoriation of everyone else. Without a hated for other people, and with just a high opinion of himself, the personality remains a mere consumer. And with just a loathing of others, and with a lack of love for himself, the loner merely becomes cannon fodder for the establishment. Individualism originates not only from an awareness of having a unique psyche to defend, but also out of the active defense against other persons. You can’t be a true individualist without a basic hostility toward the rest of humanity.
Individualism shows up as much in a wariness toward others as in a worship of yourself. Individualism is as much a reaction against other people as it is a recognition of your own true nature. Individualism is not a just a celebration of the uniqueness of your ego – as much it is a contention of that unique ego against everyone else. And the egoist is going to find himself most often in conflict with the liberal bureaucrats.
Liberals want things to change for the better; an individualist always minds his own business. Activists might orate about looking out for each other, but an individualist doesn’t want to be under observation. The more the altruists work to improve the system, the more the individualist just desires to be left alone. A liberal wants the establishment to be more fair and just, while the lone wolf merely wants to opt out. The more the humanitarians try to improve society – the more the individualist, out of sheer self-preservation, becomes increasingly misanthropic. In order to protect the ego from being destroyed by the do-gooders, the individualist must always appear mean-spirited to the conformist masses.
Liberals just want this world to be more equal – while an independent mind has no use for being equalized. Idealists just want there to be a “level playing field” in the country – a true individualist just isn’t going to tolerate being leveled. A humanitarian would like society to be more just – while an individualist simply has no use for the bureaucracy’s justice system. A do-gooder just wishes that there were more kindness in the world – an individualist has no need for the kindness of strangers. Liberals tend to get aroused by talking about community outreach, but an individualist really would prefer be out of the reach of an excited communitarian. Altruists only want to extend a helping hand – an individualist never likes to be touched.
Only a nonconformist is able to protect his soul from being consumed by the social order. Only a solitary person can preserve his spirit from being absorbed by the community. Individualism is not about doing the right thing – as much as being a lone wolf is about not participating at all. To be fully autonomous, the individual must also become completely antisocial.
To love yourself – to love yourself completely – to love yourself absolutely – to love yourself unconditionally requires that you actively hate the collective.