Sunday, January 18, 2009

What the war of ideas is about

I was browsing through some emails from last year and came across the following which I had originally written to Cannoneer. At the time I used the term "individualism" but could easily have used other terms such as "democratic republican", "liberal modernity", "liberal democratic capitalism", "entrepreneurial liberalism", etc.

We are definitely in need of a big picture vision of
what we are trying to do. Too much of our (by our I
mean both gov't and private) thinking about
communications ops is focused on what we are against,
whereas I believe our main focus should be on what we
are for and we will be stronger for doing so. The
individualism that is at the heart of the American
Experiment is a radical social philosophy that has and
will continue to inspire opposition from collectivists
of every stripe, but in the long run it is the only
philosophy which is compatible with modernity. Which
is why we constantly need to be shoring up our
understanding of individualism. We can never take it
for granted that people will "get" it or that it will
be automatically perpetuated from one generation to
the next. We also have to be wary of falling back on
the words of the past which were fresh and creative in
their era but become cliches as time passes. The
radical Islamists are a very dangerous but ultimately
a passing threat. The only chance they have of
defeating us is by striking repeated blows at our
political will and hoping we collapse from our own
internal weaknesses. Of course after several decades
of the left's delegitimization campaign we are weaker
than we should be, but that is because there has not
been a truly viable campaign to champion
individualism. And that I believe is our task. I've
said in the past that we need to update the
individualist ideology for the 21st century. And what
I mean by that is that each era uses words, slogans,
symbols and imagery that resonate with the spirit of
its time and are designed to inspire people of that
time and so we need to be doing the same for our time.
Basically what I envision is a
social-political-cultural movement that is championing
a 21st century individualism. In my raw, uncensored
opinion, this is what the war of ideas is about and
this is what is required to fight it. This is why I've
become more interested in political movements and
activism: a sustainable, long-term victory in the war
of ideas is about running a campaign championing
individualism domestically and to various
international audiences. As Gap states modernize they
will become more individualistic and they will need
the ideological and institutional means to understand
and adapt to the changes as the older collectivist
social-political environment melts away.

4 comments:

Cannoneer No. 4 said...

We’re All Mavericks, Now

All of us who aren't on board the Obama Express.

The individualism that is at the heart of the American Experiment is a radical social philosophy that has and will continue to inspire opposition from collectivists of every stripe, but in the long run it is the only
philosophy which is compatible with modernity.


The collectivist's rejection of modernity, Postmodernism, has Gramscian infiltrators in place throughout the institutions. What institutions have individualists held?

Most of what "we" (whoever is included in that pronoun)are "for" boils down to Old School Jacksonian values: pull your own weight; follow the rules, clean up your own mess; and don't get the gov't to pick my pocket to bail you out.

That's a philosophy attractive only to producers and achievers, and those who aspire to be producers and achievers. Politicians claiming to hold such a philosophy are at a tremendous disadvantage not being able to promise handouts to voters.

Most Americans don't want the responsibility of true individualism.

Cannoneer No. 4 said...

My concept of "we" includes entrepreneurial frontiersmen, Cultural Revolutionaries, American Exceptionalists, libertarians, people who want to be left the hell alone, Gulchers, Constitutionalists, Appleseeds, bitter clingers, Christians, and Patriots.

Who is on my list that isn't on yours?

Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Check out The Patriotic Resistance

phil said...

Well, the Patriotic Resistance thing isn't really my style. That's not a criticism of what they are doing, but it's just not what I'm interested in doing or the way I'm interested in doing it.

I think "we" is whoever wants to come along for the ride. The great thing about the American Experiment is that anybody can participate. Each of us has our own version of the American Dream that we are trying to live and society is organized to foster the living of those dreams. In the collectivist worldview only one dream prevails, all others are suppressed.