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Aristocratic Individualism In An Age of Populism

Democracy’s root meaning is from the Greek demos (people) and kratos (power). Democracy and liberalism are the decadent expressions of mass-orientated culture centered around the people, the middle of the bell curve, where nothing extraordinary or worthy of note is formed. People who merely exist and never go beyond their comfort zone and status quo, being thrown around by the forces of the universe. When power is flipped upside-down like this, there is inevitably chaos and degeneration, no one is in charge, the boss has left, and so ignoble people with enough money and power can exert their influence on society, draining it for resources without any personal consequences.

On the other hand, there are those who are able to rise above the chaos of dissolution and use their will to self-master and rule. These people are the true “right wingers” as the traditionalist is anti-plebeian, anti-collectivist and aristocratic. This individualism differs fundamentally from the atomization of postmodernity. While an aristocrat of the soul embodies the principles of tradition, collective cultural destiny, importance of hierarchy and the divine right of the crown/state, an egotistical individualist values nothing beyond his own passions.

Julius Evola writes:

The "nation" will always be a promiscuous entity; what needs to be done is to emphasize the fundamental duality of the origins: on the one side stand the masses, in which, besides changing feelings, the same elementary instincts and interests connected to a physical and hedonistic plane will always have free play; and on the other side stand men who differentiate themselves from the masses as bearers of a complete legitimacy and authority, bestowed by the Idea and by their rigorous, impersonal adherence to it. The Idea, only the Idea, must be the true fatherland for these men: what unites them and sets them apart should consist in adherence to the same idea, rather than to the same land, language, or blood. The true task and the necessary premise for the rebirth of the "nation" and for its renewed form and conscience consists of untying and separating that which only apparently, promiscuously, or collectively appears to be one entity, and in re-establishing a virile substance in the form of a political elite around which a new crystallization will occur.

As with the macrocosm of popular culture, a marginalized subculture can experience its own regression into the mediocrity of ideas only valued for their popular appeal and validation from the “demos”. This is especially compounded by the fact that there is no actual hierarchy in the “alt-right” movement. The problem with going along with the group consensus is that it leaves no room for innovation and original thought to proliferate from the individuals who can see ahead of them. The movement is stagnated and homogenized by the average people who make up the majority of it and people are afraid to break the mold in fear of a backlash. This herd-like mentality can lead to a cultist reaction of cognitive dissonance and subsequent attacks upon perceived “ideological dissenters”. The point, then, is not to accept something as definitively true or worthy because the hive mind in which you happen to find social acceptance declares it to be so. Use your own critical thought and directed will to create the future you want to see, and don’t rely on the masses to create it for you because history has been shaped by mavericks and great individuals. Commenting on the necessity of personal awakening and individual heroism, Evola says:

The age we find ourselves living in clearly suggests what our primary watchword should be: to rise again, to be inwardly reborn, to create a new order and uprightness within ourselves. Those who harbour illusions about the possibility of a purely political struggle and the power of this or that formula or system, with no new human quality as its exact counterpart, have learned no lessons from the past.

Art, like everything else in modernity, has been ravaged by rationalism and mass culture. Friedrich Nietzsche saw authentic art as the source of cultural vitality as it cultivated the senses, imagination, and other aspects of the mind and body, allowing individuals to enter a realm that transcended conventional morality and social norms. The rationalizing forces that have become so prevalent in the age of dissolution must be constrained by aesthetically rooted values. In his view, free spirits are needed who can experiment with art, ideas and life to create a superior culture and new values which would then produce higher human beings—the Übermensch.

Being a reactionary doesn't mean harking back to past institutions and appearances but embodying the timeless traditional qualities that made up those forms which were appropriate for their particular time in history. Otherwise it just becomes a superficial lifestyle choice or cosplay, and nothing original or profound is said beyond the same tired talking points.

Aristocratic individualists are following their own will to achieve their own actualized self. It can be anarchistic but not in an economic sense; they have a vision of society but live their own truths. When Martin Heidegger spoke of “Dasein”, a particular state of “being”, this is the same concept. Living an authentic life distinct from that of the masses, who are inauthentic and base their truth on peer acceptance. They do not need validation from outside, instead finding it within themselves. Achieving a personal goal geared towards an internal ideal is more satisfying than receiving any recognition for it.

Some exemplars of aristocratic individualists would be: Ernst Jünger, Friedrich Nietzsche, Julius Evola, Jonathan Bowden, Julius Caesar, Alexander The Great, Alain de Benoist and Alexander Dugin.

Note that I have mentioned Benoist and Dugin (both still alive and active today) precisely because they refuse to play into the left-right dichotomy and are dedicated to dismantling liberal globalist hegemony from all sides. Benoist is part of the European New Right and Dugin the Eurasianist movement, often crossing paths. Their message transcends the societal boundaries of normal party politics to combine genuine anti-consumerist and anti-imperialist critique with the preservation of traditional cultures.

The Übermensch is a superior individual who overcomes the decadent values of mass culture, and is able to create life-affirming values. This is not possible unless the right admits that they have a long way to go and are not the perfect monolithic movement they wish to be but a crucible of chaos in which great people can be formed and arise. As Jonathan Bowden puts it:

Truthfully, in this age those with intellect have no courage and those with some modicum of physical courage have no intellect. If things are to alter during the next fifty years then we must re-embrace Byron’s ideal: the cultured thug.

Or perhaps in today’s political and technological landscape: the cultured troll?

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