INDIVIDUALISM: The ideology and cultural tendency to affirm the primacy of the individual and his interest over the group to which he belongs.
This is an ambiguous notion. For there exists a positive individualism, that of the Hellenic, Celtic, and Germanic traditions, and a negative individualism, which is a tragic distortion of the first, and stems from a bourgeois mentality hostile to one’s own community or people. It also stems from religions of individual salvation (soteriological ones), in which man speaks directly to God, without an intermediary.
Positively, European individualism is typically linked to notions of liberty and responsibility, and accepts the cause of patriotism, as well as the spirit of sacrifice. This is the individualism of the creative personality, artist, or aristocrat. The negative individualism of consumer society, in contrast, comes from the massification and domestication of the isolated individual. This is the individualism of conditioned masses, of men who are nothing but consuming atoms, detached from their community and people. It’s thus necessary to distinguish between aristocratic individualism and bourgeois individualism. The latter is narcissistic and nihilistic, susceptible to forms of slavery or robotisation that are usually introduced in the name of emancipation. Despite its appearances and simulacra, Left-wing socialism, like market society, upholds a flattened individualism — irresponsible and in need of assistance — that rejects solidarity and culminates in corporate or egoistic reflexes.
Contemporary individualism pursues the following paradox it exalts the narcissistic individual but in the long run oppresses the individual by isolating him from natural solidarites. Individualism is positive if it values the creative personality, within the community-of-the-people.