Modern Age Cynicism

On December 31, 2017, in Commentary, by natalt

by Bradley Anderson

Among the personal characteristics of those who identify as Nationalists, a cynicism towards the Modern Age would most definitely be enumerated. That cynicism is stronger in individuals who see Nationalism as something more than functional, that is, those who are more than mere Civic Nationalists. Many movements and ideas born in the Modern Age are also products of it and hence don’t provide that sense of rebellion or differentiation. They sustain it, nurture it and move modernity to its logical, cold conclusions. Modern conservatism and liberalism disagree about the HOW, but not the why and what. Mainstream conservatives concern themselves with The Economy, that beast which we all serve. Liberals concern themselves with “Society”, which to them is the mass of people who inhabit The Economy the Conservatives which to preserve. For both, the purpose of man is to work towards an enterprise which is something other than himself and what takes priority within the enterprise is the primary point of disagreement. Do we put the financial success of the enterprise above the well-being of employees, or vice versa? For many of us though, the question is; what is the purpose of this enterprise? A satisfactory answer is lacking to this existential question. This sentiment of displeasure at the modern world isn’t universal among, or limited to those who identify as Nationalists. It can be found among others who have seen that there is something profoundly lacking in our modern experience, and something off kilter about how we value things. The calculations, logic and rationale used by the average person and by technocrats seem somewhat… incomplete. It is perhaps the rebellion against these unfulfilling modern values which sees many people turning towards 20th century movements which sought to extract values and systems from outside the modern world and bring them into this era, namely Fascism and National Socialism. These movements both envisaged a potential future far outside of the trajectory of post-enlightenment Democratic Liberalism, and sought to resurrect ideals and culture which had been considered obsolete. Perhaps those who believe that the popularity of these ideologies is just about “hate” can’t see what really motivates them, can’t see that these ideals, in contrast to say, Marxism, Liberal Democracy or Modern Conservatism, reach towards quite different values, at least in theory if not in practice. For many people, the motivating force to be drawn to these movements may have more to do with them representing a more complete rebellion and disavowal of the modern world, than with any inherit ideological or political merits these systems may be perceived to contain.

True rebellion vs reform

Cultural Leftism, often called Cultural Marxism perceives itself as rebellious. These agitators think of themselves as working against the modern system, against established power to bring a new order by revolution and reform. Reforms such as gay marriage, acceptance of masses of refugees and mass immigration, gender equality, trans-rights and so forth are seen to be reforms that are controversial to established powers. Acceptance of these values, they say, represents a paradigm shift. When we look into these issues in any detail, we see that the gays, women, refugees, trans people don’t represent some thorn in the systems side, and that the system itself functions just as fine with gay marriage, women in the workplace, free and easy abortions, mass immigration and the dissolution of gender as it does without it. So while fighting for these causes may fulfil some rebellious impulse and give the agitator some sense that they are “fighting the system”, the reality is they are tilting at windmills. Business leaders, technocrats and other power brokers by and large could not care greatly which way society turns on these Social Justice issues. Perhaps if anything, they SUPPORT the rebellion if it is perceived as a good marketing strategy or offers cheap labour and more consumers to market towards. The bigger the business, the more likely they will support the Leftist cause. These Cultural Leftists causes serve modernity by breaking down traditional barriers, taboos, cultural limitations and alternative allegiances which might impede the enterprise. There would be less social capital invested in frivolities such as family, ethnic group, religion and culture and more invested in the enterprise. The system allows this rebellion, and often financially and morally sponsors it in order to give people the sense they are fighting that which they are disaffected by, and to direct their energies towards Social Justice goals instead of goals which may actually upset the system. We can see how laughable it is when large companies who support causes supported by the majority (such as gay marriage), claim to be “brave” in taking such a stance.

This type of rebellion doesn’t challenge any core values. Equality, dissolution of traditional roles and non-corporate hierarchy, emancipation of the individual from their natural identity are already modern values. The Cultural Leftists are merely pushing modern ideas to their logical conclusion, the creation of an atomistic society of Homo economicus who lives to produce and consume. A society where natural reality is ignored or circumvented, either by technology or pain of hate speech charges. A society where anything outside of the needs of the enterprise, mass production, economic growth and consumption is marginalised and excised. The removal of the sublime and transcendental and the eradication of any alternative values system. We see this in the war against Christian values, where someone’s deeply held personal beliefs and culture matter naught if the system needs them to bake a cake against their own wishes. Personal honour and identity are to be overridden, and people must subject themselves to humiliation if business efficiency and consumerism as a result flows a touch more smoothly. The modern view takes this as proof that ideas such as honour and cultural tradition have no place in modern society. This view itself betrays how values are formed, where values are not what is important to a PERSON but what is important to a SYSTEM.

This is in part the reason why Nationalists and cynics have such disdain for “leftist” activists. In part due to their ideology, but also in part due to their lack of mental rebellion. We might occasionally admire that some are willing to hit the streets and in some cases, such as the Bernie Sanders supporters, actually move towards the beginning of rebellion against Globalism, but their efforts appear incomplete and muted. The fake “Social Justice Warrior” rebellion is leaving more and more on the Left discontent with the results, perhaps leaving more and more on the Left with a greater degree of scepticism, a scepticism which may lead a few of them realising many shared goals with Nationalists and other anti-Globalists.

The discontent with modernity.

What would cause someone who has food, shelter, unlimited entertainment, access to movies and music, relative safety, a heavily regulated environment, lack of war or conflict and lack of struggle to be dissatisfied? Why do many Nationalists, regardless of the immigration situation, find modern life distasteful, and in some cases, nauseating? What is it about the masses of people moving through Shopping Centres, bags full of goods which make some of us annoyed and despondent? Why can’t we be happy going to work every day, merely having to follow basic instructions for 9-10 hours a day, and having the freedom to buy what we like with the money earned? Why do we feel so unfulfilled? We are most definitely not alone here, as all of these pleasures mentioned are commonly referred to as decadence.

Rising rates of depression and anxiety indicate that our so called wonderland isn’t quite right. Why are so many young people diagnosed with depression and anxiety, despite being technically the most materially well off and the most shielded from conflict? Some suggest that the dissatisfaction is unfounded, but this is on the basis that the dissatisfied person has the same values and desires as that making the diagnosis. This is one part of the modern miscalculation, that decadence and hedonism makes us happy and content. The argument that “they have nothing to be upset about” reveals much about the accuser. It tells us that the accuser can’t see or can’t understand the problem. For some of us, the accusation is in itself contemptible because the accuser isn’t capable of seeing what is missing.

Others argue that our world is nothing new, that people have always been subject to humiliations, to control, to a banal subsistence lifestyle, that romanticism of days gone by is misguided nostalgia and wishful thinking. But the argument isn’t completely false either. The older among us do remember how in many ways, the days gone by were better. We remember less social alienation due to “diversity”, the more relaxed attitudes pre 9/11, less regulation and control, a greater sense of ownership over our nation and community and entertainment which wasn’t as bawdy, offensive or confronting. But if Nationalism were merely about bringing this back, then it would merely be a movement of nostalgia. The goal isn’t to turn back the clock, but change trajectory and upturn our values system.

Modernity as justified decadence and hedonism

The crux of the problem is that modern institutions, modern society and modern morality has transformed itself into a supplier of, and justification of, decadence and hedonism. Arguments for capitalism revolve often around consumption of goods and iPhones. Freedom is framed as freedom to “love” and sleep with whom you wish, marry who you like. Our economic growth is measured purely on money earned, not lifestyle obtained, and by what level of conspicuous consumption one can maintain. Even the Church, in particular Western European churches, have abandoned the Holy and become loudspeakers for Liberalism. That there are news reports on Christmas about how much people are spending, how the retailers are making it big says a lot more about our society. That Christmas is primarily portrayed a vehicle to move consumer goods from shelves to stockings, and where retail is more important than redemption, robs of us of something real and meaningful. It is this robbery that people recoil against because they realise that the bounty from crass consumerism doesn’t cover the cost of losing significant cultural events, and from having its gravitas stripped.

Decadence and hedonism do not fulfil important human goals, they only satisfy base instinctual urges. The movement of social norms from providing lofty goals and ideas for people to one where it provides mere stimulation, relegates people from thinking, rational beings with thought out dreams and a coherent sense of self-purpose and self-actualisation to the level of laboratory rats. The modern world with its advertising, marketing, consumer culture and vulgar trade provides no challenges anymore. Succumbing to vice and impulse require little exercise of the many traits that make us human; self-control and restraint, social coordination, reason, imagination and future planning. Moreover, much of what we would normally do for ourselves has been outsourced. Navigating and managing the social milieu we found ourselves is in controlled and performed by HR or by a nanny state. Our towns and habitats are not of our creation, neither is our culture. These are now marketable products. Codes of conduct, real or cultural pervade every facet of our existence, where once they limited themselves to the public realm. Contrarian thought, while always has been seen as a problem by the status quo, can now be rooted out with ruthless efficiency. There is nothing to do, and there is nothing to be.

The revolt against the modern world is therefore not a revolt against MRI’s or vaccines, but against the transformation of man from a sovereign individual to a tool of the system. It’s a revolt against the belittling of nation and culture. It’s a revolt against the removal of systems and structures which give our lives meanings for the purpose of promoting further decadence and consumption which doesn’t.

The logic which places the value of cheap iPhones above national integrity and sense of place and a real homeland is to us a flawed logic. It is NOT rational to sell off our nation to foreign interests because we might be able to afford a flashier car. We don’t buy the argument even if the arithmetic works out. Whether mass immigration may be a net economic or gain or not is irrelevant. We won’t argue whether the math supports immigration or not, because the formula is irrelevant. Net economic gain is not a priority. Comfort is not a priority. An “free and easy” life is not a priority. What the modern world offers is substandard, a simulation of the real. We want to live in the real world, the world we evolved to deal with. We want to deal with real problems, implement real solutions and to engage in the eternal cycle of life, development and rebirth. By engaging in what matters most, our lives matter. Our choices are to be how we exist in the future as a people, not whether we choose Samsung of iPhone, Audi or BMW.

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