So what’s wrong with each individual creating his or her own moral values? Fukuyama points to two big problems:
1.) Shared values and common culture are important to social cooperation; without them we will not regard the same institutions as legitimate [and we clearly do not – government, academia and mainstream media have become pathetic – hijacked by self-deluded elites hiding behind a thin veneer of fake social justice ideology].
2.) We are not all Nietzschean Overmen (Übermenschs). When a shared moral horizon disappears, most people do not rejoice at this expanded new liberty. Rather, they feel intense insecurity and alienation. They then turn to collective identity for meaning and purpose.
This leads to a departure from self-responsible, disciplined, moral individualism to pathological collectivism resulting in: A) Nationalism –Trump/Brexit; and B) Politicized religion – Islamism. But politics cannot provide us with moral values or identity. Those who are consumed with political hatred are lost souls. They can only be saved by recognizing (as Patrick Deneen explained to us here on 3/6/18) that the superficial political battle between the “conservative right” and the “liberal left” is illusory. They are different sides of the same counterfeit coin. Our grand moral enemies are Statism and Hedonism; both advance under the false dichotomy of collectivism vs. individualism.
But there is hope. There are a handful of living minds who understand all of this. We need not each invent our own Nietzschean moral order. It’s already here; it’s an inheritance of ancient wisdom and stoic, honorable, noble family values. Collectivist forms of government (socialism and fascism) attempt to hand down from high morality to a population whose culture cannot support economic vitality, cultivate morality or provide people with dignity – socialism has never worked and it never will. Friedrich Hayek explained why. A political leader who has to get others to agree on morality via socialist propaganda must sink down to the lowest common moral denominator and then force it on everyone. That’s bad. People define moral order – not The State.
It’s sad to see the learned helplessness and angry resentment from all those hateful lost souls. Meaning and identity are not found in individualism or collectivism or the State. True identity and dignity come from within and among us all – not from politics. Next week, the War Chest moves on to a socio-economic book that shines a little light of hope on the future.