...for right liberals there are only self-creating individuals who have escaped the older identities.
It's important to remember this when you wonder why older generations of Western men did not do more to defend the existence of the West. If you assume that you live in a society that only exists as a collection of self-creating individuals with no distinct ties to each other, then what is there really at the larger level to defend? A person with this mindset will think that everything is OK, as long as the economy is healthy enough for individuals to pursue careers.
It made me wonder if this is another example of philosophical nominalism, i.e. the idea that there are only particular instances of things.
Anyway, there was a good example recently of what happens when a politician does believe in the existence of an entity existing above the level of the individual. I'm referring to the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, who said of his own people that,
It truly is a mystery how after so many defeats we have always risen up again. And how could it be that we are still here after one thousand years? Perhaps because we have always known that our existence has a meaning beyond ourselves. We have always known that here there is a culture, a soul and a spirit which over the centuries has lifted hearts, consoled people and sustained us. We have a uniting and unifying notion: we have national self-respect.
Hungarians exist as individuals but also as part of a larger entity, a people, with a kind of collective soul or spirit, that lives on and that is a source of meaning for those who are part of it. It is felt to be a unique good, to the point that individuals will be motivated to contribute to it and to defend its existence.
It is an enriching aspect of life to belong to such a tradition. It connects you more closely as an individual to a particular culture; to the land and therefore to nature; to language and literature; to history; and to family, ancestry and lineage. It is a grievous loss, a severe narrowing in how life is experienced, when the individual is deprived of this and is left only with himself and his own wants.
If we really wish the good for others, then we will hope for the defeat of the globalising forces that are trying to destroy national traditions, as in Hungary. The Hungarians are blessed to have a leader like Viktor Orban who is willing to resist these forces. I am looking forward to the victory of Viktor Orban in the upcoming Hungarian elections.