Joseph Mackinnon explains in his American Greatness article Shafarevich Revisited: Individuality and Dostoevsky’s Ant Hill. Excerpts in italics with my bolds
Any faultless ant hill is still infinitely less than the most flawed human being, and it is the latter that our society and institutions should empower.
In The Socialist Phenomenon, an incisive book published in 1980 for which Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn penned a foreword, Igor Shafarevich looks at the genesis of socialist doctrine. In many respects, this Russian Orthodox Christian’s analysis complements Catholic conservative arch-liberal Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn’s in Leftism (1974), and enjoys the heightened awareness of someone who spent a lifetime steeped in socialism’s consequences.
Towards the end of the book, Shafarevich contemplates the socialist ideal’s relationship to individuality. He writes: “all elements of the socialist ideal—the abolition of private property, family, hierarchies; the hostility toward religion—could be regarded as a manifestation of one basic principle: the suppression of individuality.” This may seem an obvious claim: that a collectivist, materialist ideology motivated by a death instinct would find an enemy in the individual, in individuality. What may not be so obvious are the tactics and lengths to which the socialists would go to grind their enemies down to level—how socialists would ultimately dynamite the mountains to fill the valleys.
Shafarevich identifies some of the ways that socialist society would remedy that pesky individualism.
People would wear the same clothing and even have similar faces; they would live in barracks. There would be compulsory labor followed by meals and leisure activities in the company of the same labor battalion. Passes would be required for going outside. Doctors and officials would supervise sexual relations, which would be subordinated to only two goals: the satisfaction of physiological needs and the production of healthy offspring. Children would be brought up from infancy in state nurseries and schools. Philosophy and art would be completely politicized and subordinated to the education goals of the state. All this is inspired by one principle—the destruction of individuality or, at least, its suppression to the point where it would cease to be a social force.
Shafarevich saw in socialism what Kuehnelt-Leddihn observed generally manifesting in leftist movements: the drive for sameness.
In recent weeks and months, we have seen statists captive to socialist doctrines hinder the movement of what were previously imagined to be free peoples. In the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere, citizens were required to produce passes to go outside. It didn’t matter if you had natural antibodies from a previous infection. It didn’t matter if you were immuno-compromised or had moral qualms with the use of aborted fetal tissue in the manufacture of the so-called vaccines. Your individual rationale was of little importance. What mattered was whether you were obedient or disobedient, as indicated on a pass by a number or a QR code.
The impact on individuality is this: individuality requires that a person be able to [publicly] make and execute choices, whether about his health, about those with whom he consorts, where he can go, what he can purchase, what religion he will practice, and so forth. G. K. Chesterton reminds us that the free man “can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog.” Even a dog might exhibit too much personality as far as the socialists are concerned.
Dostoevsky, whom Shafarevich echoes, suggested that socialism, having set for itself “the task of solving the fate of mankind, not according to Christ but outside of God and outside Christ,” pressed its adherents to “create something like a faultless ant hill.” Not men, not dogs, but de-individuated, indistinguishable, and therefore interchangeable ants are what the socialist doctrine prescribes we become.
Consider further the socialist desire to usurp the rights of parents—to have the state or society-at-large raise children. This is a key element of the ongoing effort to abolish the family, and individuality by extension.
The majority of socialist doctrines proclaim the abolition of the family.
In other doctrines, as well as in certain socialist states, this proposition is not proclaimed in such a radical form, but the principle appears as a de-emphasis of the role of the family, the weakening of family ties, the abolition of certain functions of the family . . . [and] the destruction of all ties between parent and child to the point where they may not even know each other.
The goal is the “transformation of the family into a unit of the bureaucratic state subjected to its goals and control.” Two centuries before Shafarevich made this observation, the not-so-moderate Marquis de Sade denounced the family as “an ‘individualistic’ cell that tries to separate itself from the state and society.” This separation can only be prevented with coercive and totalizing pressure. The family’s hierarchical features must be flattened so that parents and children both, if permitted to remain together, are horizontally arranged, sharing the state as the singular authority in their lives.
Kuehnelt-Leddihn explains the rationale behind this subjection and flattening: the family acts as a closed and emotionally marked-off unit, and is therefore “an obstacle to total sameness.” It hinders the socialist design to coddle the worst and stultify the most talented, and counters efforts to impress the same outlook on every child and to rid them of whatever fanciful notions might be assimilated at home. The family must be broken up. Children must be made the property of the state—a view held not just by de Sade but also by Rousseau and many proto-totalitarian leftists since.
Beyond what precisely constitutes the perverse material being taught, the more pressing question is whose role it is to choose what a child is to be taught in the first place? Or better yet: Do children belong to the state after all, as de Sade and Rousseau argued? (It is worth pointing out, as Paul Johnson did in his book, Intellectuals, Rousseau’s advocacy for this position was probably self-justification for abandoning the five children he fathered with Thérèse Levasseur, not one of whom he even bothered to name.) Or do they belong to their parents? While not yet advocating for the creation of phalanstères per Charles Fourier’s designs, it is clear how socialists today will answer these questions if they were ever to answer honestly.
Teaching math, science, and literacy are aids to individuals—to help them navigate the world as they themselves see fit. Propaganda of the kind we see now in schools and colleges, on the other hand, is a means of undoing a person’s cultural inheritance; of relegating parental responsibilities to the state and its agents; of transforming students into tools of the state.
While Florida and Virginia woke up to this socialist phenomenon—which seeks again to deform every child to fit the mold and eliminate otherwise distinguishing familial thinking, all in service of the leveling socialist state—elsewhere in America, individuality continues to be suppressed in the classroom. Here is G.K. Chesterton to once again illuminate the enemy’s target and the consequence: “This triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.” If our civilization seems particularly precarious right now, we’ve arrived at another reason explaining why. The socialist prefers horizontal lines to triangles, and flat plains to mountains and valleys.
The West is not explicitly socialist as was the regime under which Igor Shafarevich toiled. Nonetheless, in its present weakened state, it is especially susceptible to the aforementioned anti-individualist trends. Mobility rights are incredibly important because they relate to one of the principal ways human beings can differentiate themselves: with action, adventure, and friction, each of which requires movement. Parental rights, particularly regarding their children’s education, are incredibly important because cultural inheritance greatly impacts an individual’s development.
These two anti-individualist trends, coupled with the ongoing war on the working- and middle-class’ economic autonomy, the digitization of religious community, the politicization of all art, and Big Tech censorship, are part of the socialist design to build high a “faultless ant hill.” Any effort to reduce us to animal sameness is de facto dehumanization and should not be tolerated. Technocrats, politicians, teachers, and whoever else seeks to combat true diversity—which is important only at the level of the individual—are enemies of humanity. Any faultless ant hill is still infinitely less than the most flawed human being, and it is the latter that our society and institutions should empower at the individual level rather than seek to engineer en masse.
Addendum from Phil Butler’s zerohedge article A World At Odds: The Great Principles Wipe
Mask, or no mask. Vaccine, or no vaccine. My, how this pandemic awakened the suspicions of millions that something other than a serious influenza epidemic is going on. But the conspiracy that was too big to be a genuine conspiracy, it was meant to be unbelievable. The bug itself, likely manufactured in a Biolab by our own government, seems to have been engineered to be just contagious enough, just deadly enough, to erase our principles. This bug, the manipulation of the pandemic, it was released to set the world at odds with itself.
And what about climate change? Do you think that the elites running this shit show would pass up yet another chance to befuddle us? Climate science, or climate hoax? Here too, we’re at odds even over fundamental physics. Are you sensing the dastardly strategies at work? I think we all do. But, I am also sure most people have no conception of the depth of the mind games being played today.
We’re undergoing a morality and mind wipe no psycho-thriller novelist could ever have imagined.
This idea came to me like a bolt, snapping me from a deep sleep last night. Something about all that’s been going on has gnawed at me, as I am sure it has you, and for months now. Now I think I know what it is. We’re being prepared for those artificial wombs that Aldous Huxley conjured up for his post-dystopian Utopia in the novel Brave New World.
I think we must have been totally blinded, not to have seen and felt it before. Trangenderism, the United States creating gender-free passports, and Walt Disney’s company being boycotted over what American moms are calling “grooming” their kids to be victims of pedophiles. A Supreme Court nominee who was just confirmed, said in her confirmation hearings the other day that she could not define what a woman is. Think about this for a moment. Supreme court justices are the most powerful and influential officials in the U.S. government. They are justices for life, appointed to interpret the law!
What we see happening is an overriding strategy based on what the ancient philosophers called tabula rasa or a clean slate. This is the idea that we are born without built-in mental content, and that experience and learning imprint our desires, fears, love, hate, morality, etc. The reader might logically ask now, “How can these elites wipe our slate clean to imprint their orders into us now, after years or decades of experiences?” It’s a good question, but an easy one to answer.
The ‘clean slate,” is the point I am driving at here. In order for the elites waging total war on the Russians to succeed in their ultimate plan, western societies (first) must be under total control, in harmony, willingly compliant to whatever the technocrats and their benefactors dictate. Think of this as the indoctrination young children get when they first go to a religious school. Everything is being broken down and eradicated so that something else can take its place. The former reality, morality, and faith we relied upon will be obsolete because none of it worked for us. I told you, it’s diabolical what’s going on.
Karl Popper in his ‘Open Society and its Enemies’ quotes Plato in his Laws advocating the primacy of the State and hostility towards the individual in his utopian republic:
The greatest principle of all is that nobody, whether male or female, should ever be without a leader. Nor should the mind of anybody be habituated to letting him do anything at all on his own initiative, neither out of zeal or playfully But in war and in the midst of peace – to his leader he shall direct his eye ,and follow him faithfully. And even in the smallest matters he should stand under leadership. For example, he should get up, or move, or wash, or take his meals …only if he has been told to do so … (Popper p103 Volume 1.)