by Vijay Prozak
4 January 2005
Jobs afflict us all. Even if you work for yourself, or are independently wealthy, at some point you'll be doing something like a job, namely dealing with other people and finding ways to compel them to do what is needed for a task to be accomplished. In fact, we can boil most of modern civilization down to a job's-eye view: once growing crops and fixed settlements were established, the only remaining major question was how to get people to do the different unequal tasks required for a society. Succinctly, some must lead, some must farm, and some must clean latrines, and they must get along, somehow.
During the last two millennia, a change has occurred in how we do things, and that has been marked in thought by the rise of populism, or the belief in rule by those who have not distinguished themselves in excellence yet make up the bulk of the population. Before Christianity, spiritual belief was applied unequally, in that one figured out as much of life's mysteries as was possible given one's intelligence and inclinations; before democracy, rule was made by those who had the largest instrumental part in setting up and defending the civilization in question. Now however someone who can do nothing but clean latrines is seen as having equal spiritual worth to a king, and equal capacity for governing - one vote - as a great war leader or great thinker.
We are about to see the consequences of this change, and it will be gruesome and culminate in the most forward-thinking among us forming civilizations apart and necessarily murdering uncountable others who will surge forth hoping to parasitize and "join" that civilization. This "joining" attitude is one of populism; healthy civilizations make you earn your membership by showing you have something to offer, since charity is only useful for those with unearned wealth they wish to disperse back into nature. This great change, and the delightful slaughter of fools and delusional cases that accompanies it, is yet in the future, so for now this article discusses populism.
Populism serves the crowd; the crowd hates those who have the chance to rise, or earn a higher place in life, because that some might rise threatens the stability of the crowd, which is based on consistency of place that does not require earning. This stability allows members of the crowd to feel that they will never be judged as inferior, and never lose what they have; in effect, it's a primitive form of materialism or nostalgia, where one hangs on to "what is" because of fear that one cannot move on to new greater heights or ever achieve anything impressive outside of what is. For this reason, populism fosters low self-esteem among all who buy into it; those who naturally need it already have low self-esteem, which explains its favored status among conquered and technologically less-advanced peoples.
What the crowd wants to hear is that everything is okay and will never change. This way, their lives are guaranteed, and they must never test themselves against reality (a process called adaptation which, when breeding/mortality selection is allowed to occur, thus making it permamnent, is called evolution) and run the risk of having their shortcomings revealed. They are more afraid of their own possible failure than they are eager to achieve potential victories ahead. This is a belief system that looks inward not outward, to the past, not the future, and centers around the individual because to look outside the individual reveals things individuals don't want to see: competition, mortality and shortcomings possibly revealed. It is ignorant of the process of life, and as a whole resembles teenagers who are too scared to ask out the pretty girl standing at the edge of the dance, even though she'd probably say yes because she's bored and slightly insecure too.
Insecurity - low self-esteem, self-image problems - occurs in everyone, even great heroes; it's natural because to recalculate what we think of ourselves is natural. However, in some people, their fear is greater than their desire, and thus insecurity dominates their personalities and they become unable to achieve, because, in the very subtle way that a psychology with which one lives daily becomes ingrained, they are paralyzed by fear. This subtle behavior, unlike a dramatic or sudden response to stimulus, is almost inobservable, because agenda item #2 right after fear (item #1) is to hide the fear. A vicious circle? Either that, or an ingenious maintenance mechanism which allows them to both be dysfunctional and to have the ability to function for simple daily tasks. This is part of nature's brilliance, in that they're allowed to achieve a lowly level of existence and, should one come along with greater intelligence and strength and character than the rest, that individual is able to rise from that level to a greater one.
However, the populist crowd knows only its insecurity, because - as anyone who has ever been in a committee or group meeting can tell you - groups of people must settle on what they have in common as their collective agenda. Thus when you put people of different inclinations and lifestyles and vocations in a room, all they can do is to agree on what benefits them all, which is usually what challenges them the least. "We have unanimously agreed to keep things as they are, because that's how it's done around here." Let someone walk in who has a new way, which is almost always an already-known way that has been disregarded because it's too challenging, and the crowd will turn on that person, tearing them to pieces if possible. This is another ingenious maintenance mechanism that insures cultures populated mainly by idiots are never gifted with someone who can single-handedly turn them around; that would empower a group of destructive idiots with authority. It's better they kill the few smart ones than give a group of idiots the methods of the smart to do what idiots do, which is destructive and idiotic behavior.
This meant that in ancient history, the only societies that advanced were those in which more than a few people recognized the need for heroic achievement. This transcended the tendency of most agrarian regimes to begin growing crops of followers much as they cultivated grains, fruits and livestock. It also escaped the problem of basic civilization, which is how to tell other people what to do without falling into crass manipulation and thus breeding even stupider people; the societies of the ancients that embraced these philosophies were ascendant civilizations, or always growing more adapted and more heroic, therefore expanding, which meant they could explain themselves through the basic metaphor of conquest. Unlike moderns, the ancients did not see the world as a competition between absolute states of selfishness OR collectivism; they believed in a selfishness that's unselfish.
How can a selfishness be unselfish? When the values of what one accomplishes for the self serve the whole, and as part of the whole, the self, selfishness serves the whole. If the dominant value of a society is -- as in modern America and Europe -- "making money" and thus taking it out of the social system as a whole, the individual is a parasite; if the dominant value of a society is an extreme collectivism, as in failed Soviet Russia, the society is a parasite in the individual. Ancient societies did not think in such passive absolutes, thus they saw that by doing great things and rising above others, the individual was making the society as a whole greater, and that -- by virtue of their living in that civilization -- all of its people would receive some portion of the benefits, even if they were not tangible, e.g. monetary, material or political. Part of this realization involved recognizing that most people cannot see degrees of qualitative subtlety, thus would understand only collectivism OR selfishness, but not the intersection of the two; for this reason, the ancients rightfully deprived such people of all political power and told them what to do at the point of a spear.
This was a virile, powerful, and world-respecting attitude. The ancients saw that the best way to honor nature was to be excellent. They had reverence for the whole, and saw individuals as parts of a whole who could act in self-interest as long as they also acted in a way that encouraged growth and health in the whole. As part of that, they picked up on the fact that most people - the undifferentiated crowd, who do not have the capacity to rise above others and thus fear the process of rising above, as they perceive correctly that when it occurs it will deprive them of power - want stagnation. They don't want challenge. They don't want excellence. They want the same old thing, because they understand it, and it doesn't threaten them. This is why primitive societies have a habit of murdering those among them who invent, or create, or have a contrary opinion; they fear how they the majority will appear if shown to be less capable by this new invention.
The paradox of crowds, however, is that they're composed of individuals; what creates a crowd is a tendency to preserve the individual at all costs, thus deny achievement and evolution and outside reality. This naturally fosters "individualism," or the desire to have the personal pretense of being "different," since there is no incentive to change or growth; what is left is to focus on the self as is, and to dress it up with contrivances and behaviors that appear to make it different from all others. However, as elderly people can tell you, when you look back at life what mattered was achievement: how you challenged yourself, what triumphs you won, what you created, what you nurtured - but not your losses, as they fade into all of the time that wasn't achievement, which includes all of life's boring moments (including hygiene, eating, sleeping). That some time will mean nothing is a given; that some can be made significant occurs not through individual pretense and self-adornment, but through creative and assertive acts which change the world.
(This is separate from passivity, which no matter how it is manifested in violent or popular activity, is justifying your own actions in terms of the populist crowd-pleasing mentality, and letting that momentum carry you forward. Ayn Rand, or dead Susan Sontag, would be good examples of this; they found new and cute ways to dress up the same old philosophy of empowering those who don't create, and thus were praised by other neurotic and fearful people. As the Greeks observed, to have no creative goals is to become obsessed with oneself and with mortality, and thus to become neurotic and incapable of heroic action - or, indeed, any forward motion. In modern times, we like to use the illusion of "progress" to assume that if we find better ways of being materially comfortable or popular, we are getting closer to some Utopic state of an enlightened society, but this is passive and in denial of the passage of time; a heroic attitude accepts death, suffering and time's passing and determines to do something creative with the time available.)
The ancients, from the Indian Vedantists to the Roman legions, understood this, but their philosophies and culture gradually died out under an assault of mediocre people produced by the ease of life afforded by ever-increasing technology. The last gasp of this ancient belief was German National Socialism, which despite some serious flaws represented a moment of sanity in an otherwise lugubrious history which, when looked at on the scale of millennia and not centuries, represents the decay of the Indo-European people into an honorless, graceless third-world power with first-world technology (our TVs are the best in the universe). This was traditional culture rearing its head and trying to stop the travesty of our downfall, but it was unpopular, and thus once again the leaders were simply outnumbered by the crowd, who have spent the years since trying to convince us that there were "moral" and "philosophical" reasons for a war that can be summarized more honestly as the triumph of the revengeful, hateful mass over those who wished to reward excellence and deprive of political power those who could not earn it.
National Socialism, despite being the one modern political system with any integrity or sound concept of reality, had two major problems. First, it was not heroic enough; it tried to "prove" its points to the general population, and tried to convince them of its ideas by using oversimplifications like the terms "inferior" and "superior" in regards to race, which played into the mechanism of populism and caused National Socialism as a real-world entity to be absorbed by the bureaucracy of the mediocre. Thus despite National Socialism as concept having transcended the mundanity of populism as represented in its real-world belief systems liberalism and Christianity, National Socialism was assimilated by it. Among the side effects of this assimilation was the crass bigotry and anti-Semitism of most National Socialists, who would have been better off throwing away the concept of justifying their beliefs to the crowd, and instead standing firm with a statement of subjective truth: For us, the traditional Indo-European belief is the only real one, and thus we exclude other ethnocultural entities and their people from our Reich.
The second great error of National Socialism was a certain populism in its appeal; whether this was merely propaganda, as many hard-core National Socialists allege, or something that in fact infested the core of the ideology, it was a creeping herd mentality. A class-free society? Definitely: classes are ranks based on the assumption that the best people desire to earn lots of money, thus the wealthy are, by reverse inference, the best people in a society. The classless nature of National Socialist society was a step toward a better future, but its insistence on a similar dismantling of caste was an appeal to the fearful among the crowd. What if I'm not in the leadership caste, or one of the best warriors? This is anti-evolutionary, anti-heroic, and fearful in nature.
Fear leads to a reactionary desire to preserve, not advance, and a study in relative motion tells us that if we are standing still but our environment keeps moving forward, we appear to be moving backward; this visual sense comes true in a life where to not accept the future and make it conform to a logical way of life is to accept the past as the best that is to come. Because of these errors, the once-transcendent National Socialist movement fell into the same error as conservatives and reactionaries everywhere make: they tried to "preserve" something in a partial state of existence by eliminating the obvious impurities; while those impurities need to be eliminated, the bigger task is to create forward motion toward a heroic ideal. This is not to say that National Socialism was error; it was the best we've had in the last thousand years. It is also not an attempt to group National Socialists with the "neo-Nazis" of today, most of whom understand only hatred and resentment and thus are inherently passive and descending as a social order.
Any movement of future Indo-European culture (and this is the only culture that concerns me, as it is my own, and I don't meddle in the business of others) must overcome this passive tendency and look first toward asserting its own strength, and next toward eliminating impurities and errors. It can do them simultaneously; "first" and "next" here are not as much chronological designations as rankings of importance. It cannot fall into populism, or trying to "prove" or "justify" to others that its way is right, but should take the active and creative route and say simply: My people must exist separate from others, according to Traditional culture, because this is for us the right way to live. To assume "inferior" or "superior," or to universally demonize some aspects of other civilizations, is to resort to trying to "prove" to an ignorant crowd the truth of a complex thing. For this reason, any future movement will act in its own interests without descending into populist crowd-pleasing justifications or moral absolutes. Its only absolute will be its own creation, and while this will involve, for example, throwing out all people of alien ethnocultural orientation, that won't be its only action.
The populist movement surrounds us; it is not only the strongest political and social force on earth now, but it always has been, as there are more people who cannot create than those who can. This is fortunate as, given leaders who can tell them to do the right things, these people are granted healthy and fulfilling lives without the neurosis and personal pretense and materialism of a modern time. Without those leaders, and the ideas that inspire such leaders, people - like children bored during summer when there is no school to shape their minds - will drift toward boredom and fearful behavior. They will focus on being "different" and on "empowering" others, but they'll miss the boat as far as adapting to reality and making a sane society goes. You can see the effects now in an overgrown civilization that can't plan for the future and experiences fundamentally bad psychology in the current time. If you have any red blood in you, you will want this changed and recognize that change as a prerequisite to survival. For this reason, in the new year, eschew "Daring to be different" - instead, listen to ancient knowledge that is eternally true, and "dare to achieve," as only that will change our otherwise dismal future.
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