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The Way to a Meaningless Life

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Spanish translation here

In a book he wrote some twenty years ago, Jonathan Bowden said that meaning originates in difference, or inequality. This interests me because, prior to discovering the text, I made a very similar argument in an essay, published about a year ago, where I attacked the idea—almost universally accepted in the West—that equality is a moral good.

My argument was that the nature of value is both qualitative (subjective) and quantitative (objective). Qualitative value exists when something is special, when it is different from other examples of the same, because it has special or unique qualities. Quantitative value exists when something is superior, when it is different from other examples of the same, because it is measurably better or of a higher quality.

Of course, qualitative value can sometimes be subsumed into the quantitative, for something may be superior because it is special, the same way that quantitative value can sometimes be subsumed into qualitative value, for something may be special because it is superior.

It goes without saying that qualitative and quantitative value are not necessarily interchangeable, but they are, nevertheless, both forms of value because they are both forms of difference, and in both cases we are talking about some form of quality arising from inequality.

Meaning is, of course, a form of value—specifically, of qualitative value. For when something has meaning to us, it is also valuable—it may not be measurably superior than other examples of the same, and the value may not be quantifiable, but it exists subjectively nonetheless.

It follows from this that a process of equalisation involves always and necessarily a destruction of value.

There is no conservation of value through transference, because equality necessitates the elimination of difference, and quality is created in or through difference, or inequality.

In turn, it follows from this that if the good life is a meaningful life, then a good life has value, and a bad one has not.

We can conclude, then, that living in equality is a life without meaning, and therefore a life without value to the person who lives it.

Presumably, a life that is interchangeable with any other life has no value if the cost of replacing it is zero. This is never the case, so all life has some value, however interchangeable. But it can easily be seen how interchangeability, which depends on equivalence (that is, equality), proportionally reduces value.

This may be why life was so cheap under Soviet Communism, a system predicated on maximalised equality. Suicide rates were high, since a life under the Soviet system was less valuable to the person living it, and mass murder was also high, since other people’s lives were generally less valuable to those in charge.

This may also be why humans seek to add value to their lives through various strategies of individual or group differentiation, or inequality, because there is also value in belonging to a group that is deemed superior or special in some way.

There can never be perfect equality, so ways to give life meaning can always be found (though whether the level of meaning is deemed sufficient by a given individual is another question). On the other hand, it is difficult to imagine desiring to live very long in a system where any kind of differentiation was absolutely impossible, for a meaningful life would be impossible, and so would finding things in life with meaning. Indeed, only an automaton would be able to live that way, so we can legitimately describe such an existence as inhuman, and a perfectly egalitarian system also as inhuman.

Is there any justification then for regarding equality as an absolute moral good—as a good that is worth pursuing in all cases for its own sake?

It seems not, since equality destroys all that which makes life worth living.

It might be argued that equality policies have brought benefits to a great many, making Western societies very attractive to people either living or seeking to live in them. However, the pursuit of equality policies is one of the features that has made Western societies different from non-Western counterparts, so the value of the former lies in their inequality respective to non-Western societies. Moreover, those who pursue equality policies in the West do so for inegalitarian reasons: to feel morally superior, to be seen as morally superior, or, which is the same as the latter one, to eliminate barriers to a continuous increase in economic power. It is not, therefore, equality that is generally sought, but some form of superiority, be it moral or economic.

Worse still, it can be argued that one of the features non-Western peoples consider least attractive about the West in liberal modernity is its nihilism and superficial materialism, both of which are products of equality. The idea behind liberalism was to ‘liberate’ the individual, who was to be the measure of all things. Among other external powers, the individual was liberated from the transcendent, which implies hierarchy, and without which the world becomes entirely material, and material increase the obvious source of betterment in life. The liberal project has also sought to liberate the individual from de facto collective identities, based on factors outside his or her power to control, such as race or gender. Marxism, a more radically egalitarian ideology, the absorbtion of whose critiques by liberalism resulted in a more egalitarian version of the latter, sought also to eliminate class. This process of ‘liberation’ has ignored the fact that people find meaning within, or against, the categories it sought to devalue or eliminate. The result is a loss of respect for everything. And it is worth noting, in this context, how first-generation immigrants often fear their offspring will lose respect—for them, for themselves, or for their culture (understood racially)—through Westernisation, which today means liberalisation.

In the final analysis, equality is anathema to the good life, and can only be considered an evil.

Therefore, attacking equality—in all its forms—is morally righteous, and anyone seeking to create a more meaningful future ought to do it openly, proudly, with vigour, and with rage.


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  1. Podsnap
    Posted February 21, 2013 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    It follows from this that a process of equalisation involves always and necessarily a destruction of value.

    Entropy as politics.

    All complexity (such as stars, planets, life – ie everything of interest) in the universe is caused by inequalities (mass, heat etc). In the far future these inequalities will cease at which time we will have the heat death of the universe.

    Or as my mum used to put it -“It would be a boring world if we were all the same”.

    • Drive-By Poster
      Posted February 21, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      Taken seriously as a principle, equality means “make everything the same” ie “maximize entropy.” Utterly, infuriatingly absurd not to mention a Lex Luthor level of evil, seeing as you’d have to destroy all that is good to achieve it. Combine with diversity and you get: make every (white) nation a representative sample of the world population. Let’s go one further and repopulate the (Western) world with genetic omni-mutts. Of course, if you really care about diversity, then the only way to ensure it is through SEGREGATION (the horror!) — geographic segregation.

      Not that I care for diversity, but the hypocrisy of those who supposedly do is worth pointing out. Or would be, if pointing it out actually achieved anything, or if the diversity-mongering wasn’t just a mask for simple ethnic and business interests.

      • Podsnap
        Posted February 22, 2013 at 7:11 am | Permalink

        As you say or if the diversity-mongering wasn’t just a mask for simple ethnic and business interests No-one truly believes in ‘diversity’ as a concrete concept.

        It has no real meaning in terms of human societies – by bringing Asians to New Zealand say, are we increasing the diversity in NZ (more yellow faces in NZ), on the one hand but reducing global diversity (no more unique NZ culture) ?

        A question which no multiculturalist has bothered to pose to himself, as he congratulates himself on the fact that he can get jiazi night or day in Auckland.

  2. me
    Posted February 21, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    In the west, perhaps equality generally means everyone has the same freedom and chance to achieve something great.

  3. me
    Posted February 21, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I have an article titled as “Black Woman’s struggle for Equality”. This begs a question. What kind of equality is she seeking? Physical equality? Moral equality? Political equality (basically one person = one vote)? Or an opportunity/chance to do something good. Unless we define what kind of equality are we seeking, the word equality is basically a meaningless ‘leftist’ feels good, sounds good term.

    • Lew
      Posted February 21, 2013 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      An excellent point about the importance of definition. It’s often overlooked in discussions of equality and related issues such as liberty, freedom and rights. This is understandable. The modern left has completely corrupted the terms Westerners have traditionally used for important political concepts.

      In political science there is a distinction between types of equality, what’s called “equality of opportunity” versus “equality of outcome.” Usually, it comes up in economics: should society guarantee equal opportunity for all or equal outcomes?

      In early liberal theory, equality was about the former. It was about fairness, justice and legal equality. It was the idea people ought to be treated equally under the law, not get better or worse treatment under society’s rules depending on whether you were born to an aristocrat or a yeoman farmer. In other words, the early liberals had a very narrow understanding of equality.

      In my view, there is nothing wrong with equality as an organizing principle for society as long as its understood in this sense, very narrowly. I think Westerners will always see people as equal in a very basic sense; otherwise, without that premise, it’s impossible to criticize on moral grounds practices like slavery and coercive organ harvesting. It is impossible, I think, to make a moral case against slavery without granting every human life is in some essential, fundamental and universal respect “equal.”

      Jefferson’s notorious line “all men are created equal” will probably live in infamy because even though it isn’t what he meant “equal” is in our context means something abhorrent, literal equality. It might help in making the moral case for racial nationalism to be clear about the type of equality we oppose — the abhorrent type not the type geared toward basic fairness.

      • SD
        Posted February 21, 2013 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

        Good point about Jefferson. He penned one of the most memorable yet completely false political statements ever made. Political writers should be much more careful about the rhetoric they use.

        *Note to self: expunge all references to equality, free-love, and Maya Angelou from future WN Manifesto.

      • me
        Posted February 22, 2013 at 12:11 am | Permalink

        I think what Jefferson meant by “all men are created equal” was one person = one vote, regardless of status. which you (Lew) explained pretty well in your 3rd paragraph.

      • Posted February 22, 2013 at 8:58 am | Permalink


        There are circumstances in which it makes sense to treat people equally. However, this is purely a practical matter—and this is clear in Hobbes—and different from treating equality as an absolute moral good.

        One does not need to believe in the moral goodness of equality to object to slavery or coercive organ harvesting. Liberals and the Left would, of course, like you to think that the moment you stop believing in the moral goodness of equality it is all a slippery slope right down to slavery and genocide. The worst mass murders in all of human history, however, were committed under the banner of equality.

        What is central to our project is being able to short-circuilt the moral logic that results from a belief in the absolute goodness of equality, because that is what causes a rational consideration of narrowly defined and limited legal equality eventually to evolve into the irrational equalisation of everything.

      • Lew
        Posted February 22, 2013 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        It crossed my mind recently that future white republics ought take up the American tradition of protecting free speech, with one major xception. Using the words “equal” or “equality” should be a crime punishable by death!

      • Wolzek
        Posted February 24, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        I’m not a lawyer but… As for the “All men are created equal” clause,
        It needs to be known that the Constitution and Bill of Rights are legal documents.
        When reading legal documents you do not use the “common” definition of words. You use the “legal” definition of words. Words have completely different definitions in legal dictionaries than they do in common dictionaries. In the legal context the word equal is short hand meaning “equal before the law”. The word “create” has many legal definitions but the relevant one is “to be responsible”. Thus the line “All men are created equal” in legal language really means “All men are to be responsible equally before the law”. Kind of like the saying “justice is blind”. The law is not supposed to “see” things like “skin color” “gender” “class” “wealth”, it’s supposed to apply to all peoples regardless of those things. It never meant in anyway shape or form that actual living people are equal. Only that they are equally responsible to the law.

        That’s what it really means. Of course, it’s a bit hard to get the average person to accept because of cognitive dissonance. They tend to hate anything that shatters their phoney little “world view”.

        • Greg Johnson
          Posted February 24, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

          “All men are created equal” is from the Declaration of Independence, which is not a legal document to begin with. It is not part of the US Constitution. It is not the law of the land.

      • Lew
        Posted February 24, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

        True enough. It’s easy to forget Jefferson’s line was never in the original legal charter. I did a quick text search of the Constitution. Not surprisingly, the first occurrence of the word “equal” in reference to individuals is in Abraham Lincoln’s 14th amendment (imposed rather than ratified by half the country). It’s in the “equal protection” clause. The word “equal” appears in the body of the document, Article I, II, etc. in various contexts having to do with government structure, representation, etc. but not in reference to individuals.

        Basically, the whole rotten carcass of American egalitarian jurisprudence hangs on that handful of words in the 14th amendment. Even today, there are constant appeals to it. Every new law that might be marginally advantageous to White Americans is said to violate the equal protection clause.

  4. Jungleboots
    Posted February 21, 2013 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    The idea of equality is more jibberish to confound and confuse the masses. Nobody actually believes in it or for that matter wants it, but without a voice in the mainstream media talking about how uterly insane and hypocritical that notion really is, well we go around chasing our tails.

    The logic and thinking proving the whole notion is insane can be smashed within seconds., by simply asking a few questions to the average drone.

    Would you want an equal or superior surgeon working on your child’s injuries or sickness?

    Would you want an equal or superior Lawyer defending you or loved ones in court?

    Would you want you baseball,football,soccer or Hockey team to be equal to the others or better?

    Would you want you favorite racecar driver to have an equal car to the competitors or a better car?

    Is a Porsche equal to or better then a KIA, and which would you rather have?

    To people prefer equal Tv’s and stereo’s or do they want a better one? Same goes with all appliances,clothes, household items etc…

    Do you want your Firemen putting out your housefire to be equal to all other towns or to be the best?

    Do you want your children to go to an all equal school or do you want them to go to the best school out there?

    In all walks of life and in every manner of thinking the answer for everything will always be I want a better one or the best. That is natural, so I guess that makes the masses lying delusional hypocrites to suggest otherwise.

  5. Posted February 21, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    @ Jungleboots

    People will choose the best they can get always, but that will not change how they feel about being thought ‘racist’.

    The reason is that this is not about good vs. bad in a practical sense, but about right vs. wrong in an ethical sense.

    This is why well-educated and intelligent people today remain impervious to any science, any statistic, and any sobering fact you throw their way, and why, when they absolutely cannot ignore the data, they try so hard to discredit it or find some interpretation that confirms egalitarian theses.

    The way to defeat this evil belief in the moral goodness of equality is not to disprove it factually, but to discredit it morally.

    Only when people start to feel ashamed of being thought ‘egalitarian’, and start hiding it, or pretending they never really were egalitarians, will be able to say things are moving in the right direction.

  6. Bobby
    Posted February 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    A wonderfull little lesson in a branch of philosophy that has been completely corrupted by the leftist ideologues in Western Universities and nations around the world. Beautiful article by Mr. Kurtagic, that says more than many articles do ten times it’s length. Thank you.

  7. get shawty
    Posted February 21, 2013 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Mel Bradford demolishes the Equality Myth.

  8. Peter Blood
    Posted February 21, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    “You preachers of equality, thus from you the tyrant-madness of impotence cries for ‘equality’; thus your most secret tyrant-appetite disguises itself in words of virtue.” — Nietzsche

  9. Vick
    Posted February 23, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    To agree with and paraphrase Lew, there’s “good equality” and “bad equality.”

    Some examples of “good equality” are: everyone having the same protection under the law, the right to vote, and as much of a level playing field in terms of opportunity as possible.

    Then there’s “bad equality” which, for example, tries to mandate equal outcomes for all groups and individuals.

    The tightrope we have to walk is to provide for a certain degree of equal opportunity so that the gifted and hardworking have a chace to rise to the top – but to not try to enforce the absurd goal that everyone have an equal level of success and acheivement. Some people will naturally be ditch diggers.

    So again, in some ways equality is “bad,” and others it’s “good.”

    That being said, it’s worth pausing on statements like “equality can only be considered an evil” and try to dig out what exactly is being proposed here.

    Should we get rid of equal protection under the law? Should we get rid of the right of everyone to vote? Should we abandon democracy, democratic traditions and processes? Should we abandon any notion of equality of opportunity? Does seeing equality as “evil” then imply the creation of some kind of system where inequality is structurally, legally enforced, such as some type of caste system where one’s opportunities in life will be limited by what caste you’re born into?

    I suggest a more measured approach to the concept. Obviously we oppose the homogenizing effects of globalization, the stamping out of age-old, distinct human identities – in particular the stamping out of our identity as white people. Where the concept of equality works towards these evils, then we should oppose it. But as a highly intelligent and almost miraculously creative race of people, many of our lowest-born members are capable of world-changing greatness. A pro-white system should be structured to allow the cream to rise to the top. In the future racially-conscious white state, radical political and economic democracy isn’t an evil at all – it’s actually best way to ensure this happens.

  10. Lew
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    All that’s true. The problem is the language has probably been corrupted beyond repair. We are going to need new terms; we can’t bind ourselves to the enemy’s vocabulary. I think Alex K. wrote a piece on TOO, or maybe it was a speech posted here on CC, proposing some new terms for various concepts. As I remember it, the idea would be to move away from the egalitarian vocabulary while keeping the portion of an idea that’s relevant. For example, he suggested “perogatives” in place of “rights,” which is another concept that has been warped and abused by egalitarians to serve their objectives. I think this is a good idea.

    • Lew
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 12:47 am | Permalink

      Meant as a reply to Vick.

  11. Sandy
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Inequality is natural but too much will bring down the economy. From a Social Credit perspective imagine if one man held all the tickets to the departing train. The train would leave the station empty and the abandoned would be unable to get to work.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted February 24, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      I think that it is important to keep economic inequality within bounds and channel human efforts to compete and excel into other realms of life.

  12. Demosthenes
    Posted February 25, 2013 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Is the pursuit of excellence doesn’t seem the goal of a significant portion of ‘our people’ writ large. Seems to me that human efforts in the pursuit of providing services and clerical duties is inherently mindless.

    Any plans to offer Jonathan Bowden’s ebooks in a format other than PDF?

    Has there been any actions taken to republish The Devine & the Deacy/ The Leap by Bill Hopkins or, for that matter, Castes and Races by Frithjof Schuon An interesting eulogia for Mr. Bowden. Long may his memory live! Love live e φυλn mas!

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted February 25, 2013 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      1. We tried and failed to get the rights to republish The Divine and the Decay. The second edition, called The Leap!, is not hard to find used online, though.

      2. I don’t know of any plans to offer the Bowden E-Books in any other format.

      3. You will be pleased to learn that we will be releasing two collections of Jonathan’s essays and lectures later this year in HC, PB, and E-Book.

      4. I have no idea what Schuon’s publishers plan. That essay, however, has been reprinted in a larger anthology of his works. The name escapes me, however.

  13. Demosthenes
    Posted February 25, 2013 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Dr. Johnson for your response and good works. Your recent podcasts/lectures about the Sophists and The Clouds are exceptionally educational.

    That is good to know, I’ll purchase the Bowden collection at that time.

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