Real Conservatives Despise Conformity


One of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century, the Italian-German Romano Guardini.

With the loss of personality comes the steady fading away of that sense of uniqueness with which man had once viewed his own existence, which had once been the source of all social intercourse.  It is taken increasingly for granted that man ought to be treated as an object.  Man confronts this attitude in the range of authority exercised over him; he may merely meet it in countless statistics and tables or he may experience its culmination in the unspeakable rape of the individual, of the group, even of the whole nation.

Mass man has no desire for independence or originality in either the management or the conduct of his life.  Nor does he seek to create an environment belonging only to himself, reflecting only his self.  The gadgets and technics forced upon him by the patterns of machine production and of abstract planning mass man accepts quite simply; they are the forms of life itself.  To either a greater or a lesser degree mass man is convinced that his conformity is both reasonable and just.  Similarly, the new man of the masses has no desire to live his life according to principles which are uniquely his own.  Neither liberty of external action nor freedom of internal judgment seem for him to have unique value.  And understandably so, for he never experienced them.  As a simple matter of course mass man unites himself with any ‘organization’ modeled after the mass itself; there he obeys whatever program is placed before him.  In this fashion, ‘The Man Without Personality’ finds himself placed on the one road which will assuredly carry him through life.  Of even more significance, the regimented instincts of this new human type forbid him to appear distinctive, compel him to appear anonymous.  Mass man acts almost as if he felt that to be one’s self was both the source of all injustice and even a sign of peril.

–Romano Guardini, END OF THE MODERN WORLD, 1956

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