Anomie is the condition of skewed norms resulting from a mismatch between the values of society and the individual, where society loses the ability to influence the individual, resulting in a kind of personal moral chaos. Emile Durkheim first developed the concept as an explanation for social problems arising from industrialization. Individuals were taken from conditions in which their relationships with their communities developed organically, and thrust into new situations demanding that their values adjust according to the rising economic order. As exemplified in American history, immigrants drawn to work in factories across the ocean, leaving behind family, Church, and reputation, found themselves in a world in which the rules of life were ad hoc and often made in the interest of distant, alien employers with no personal interest in their well being. Not until Carnegie and the Progressives, who represented the old Puritan moral order, devised a public school system as a substitute for a state church were they integrated into wider American society. Likewise, men emigrating into the American frontier dueled and brawled and chugged grain alcohol, until circuit preachers and women showed up to tame them. By means of the latter especially, anomie subsided and a new order came into being, bound up with the old, shared systems of values united under a broader idea of what it meant to be American.
That is gone now, destroyed with the rise and confluence of several different ideologies. The old Puritan idea of being set apart as a chosen people, on a moral mission to redeem humanity, survived the Puritans abandoning God as they morphed into Unitarians and later secular Progressives. In the meantime, they wiped out the last remaining barrier to their total cultural dominance with the conquest and destruction of the South. Their religious mission was sublimated into a worship of the democratic system that emerged in the mid and late 19th century; no longer God’s elect, they had instead been set apart by historical forces, which were assumed to operate in the same way scientific, or especially biological forces, did. The state was the means through which they would effect the betterment of mankind, through social reform, through imperialism, and through war with what remained of the traditional Western world. Thus came WWI, what Lothrop Stoddard rightly called the modern Peloponnesian War, and a great crisis of faith for the Progressives; many of their standard-bearers, such as Dewey, looked fondly on Lenin and Stalin. After all, progress is only possible to the degree it can rid itself of what it aims to replace, and the Bolsheviks seemed to point the way in that regard. But the Progressives were betrayed again by the obvious (though slow to dawn on them) horrors of the Revolution, though perhaps real successes would have made it more attractive.
Progress was only reconciled to Communism in its American form; not the CPUSA, which was merely a tool of Stalin, but rather the hybrid Marxism of the Frankfurt School. Critical Theory promised to analyze and explain the nature of society, assuming from the outset that it was run in the interest of oppressors and to be redeemed by intellectuals. It differed from Marxism in positing a wider range of exploiters than Marx’s top-hatted bourgeoisie. Oppressors, like demons, hid in the very air, with only Progressives able to exorcise them. What Neo-Reactionaries know as Cultural Marxism came to prominence in the 1950s and ’60s, and soon came to dominate the universities (not that every professor was a Cultural Marxist; it just became impossible to speak out against them). Progressivism and Cultural Marxism became bound up with one another such that they are really interchangeable.
Cultural Marxism amounts to a will to destroy what exists in favor of something the Cultural Marxists consider more just replacing it, which ties in neatly with the pseudo-Christian relict-doctrine of a fallen world in need of redemption. The problem with this is that Critical Theory so devours certainties that any positive vision of a better world is necessarily impossibly vague, especially when compared to the more obvious success in destroying the current society. When pressed, the true believers say they want a world that is “just,” “equitable,” “peaceful,” etc., but no one ever sketches out what this society would actually look like, how it would be run, or with what sort of humans it would be possible. More pointedly, would it be allowed to stand, defending itself against some yet more pure vision? They have no such vision because at the core the Progressive has no fixed values, which must be objective and binding for all times. He must believe that values are fictions invented by oppressors, with his being their opposite, and thus equally subjective. What matters is not the belief, but who believes it. The Progressive has no real idea what justice is, only that he wants more of it, to be obtained by mobs and threats and riots and hounding enemies from their homes and livelihoods. The means justify the ends, because in his heart, he is animated solely by a will to power, and by an urge to dominate, to shame, and to destroy.
A culture unable to see off such monsters must soon cease to be a culture. A people who put up with this sort of thing must become morally disarmed and self-loathing, some hating themselves as oppressors, others bound to a victim identity or permanent resentment and impotence. Those who don’t buy into either of these ideas find themselves alienated from a system that does, and they will watch their leaders betray them. As such, this group comes to realize it has less and less invested in the system with each passing outrage, while all the time those they would look to as their elites sound more and more like their enemies. Self-hating elites (Progressives), Victims, and Recusers all thus withdraw from any common bonds.
And so, there comes subnomie, not a rejection of society’s norms, but the formation of retreat-communities centered around values no longer held by society at large. These are not people alienated from society; they have instead withdrawn, or have been driven from, wider society into a smaller one. Some of these groups exist only on the internet, online communities with message boards, jargon, and a shared identity, but also values held in common. But these, for the moment are not greatly encompassing. Most subnomie still takes place in the real world of neighborhoods clustered around “good” schools, where Recusers, and indeed Progressives, try to price out the Victims who would destroy any semblance of education. The school, not town hall or church, is the center of a community characterized by subnomie. Acceptable substitutes for the latter two can always be found, or they can be dispensed with if need be, but the school only exists where the Victims aren’t. Given that what remains of wider society demands a series of increasingly expensive credentials to perpetuate a lifestyle necessary to remain in a subnomie school community, the education process is all-important, lest one end up with the Victims.
Malnomie is what characterizes this group. Not alienation from society’s values, but rather a perverse expression of them, Malnomie is Critical Theory rendered as a lifestyle. The Victim’s defining characteristic is his oppression; and so, in the eye of the Progressive, whatever he does to defy the system is on some level an expression of his seeking justice. Having no real values himself, the Progressive admires the criminal proclivities of the Victim underclass. He embraces the victim’s drugs and promiscuity, at least in spirit, and will excuse, rationalize, and even celebrate felonies on the part of the Victim that the Progressive would be far too timid to contemplate. Most of a Progressive’s political energy goes into subsidizing the Victim’s lifestyle- paying for his illegitimate children, feeding him, housing him, pretending to educate him, and giving him the occasional make-work government job, although the better-paying of these are reserved for the Progressives themselves. ALL of the Progressive’s moral legitimacy comes from his advocacy of Victims and Victim dysfunction. They are bound to each other in total interdependence.
Subnomie can only continue so long as malnomie is contained. This seems to be less and less possible as subnomie school communities are being undone in ever greater numbers by subsidized housing vouchers and uncontrolled immigration, as well as the Progressive tendency to seek further control over schools and what they teach. As people come to realize that subnomie is a last stand, and that there is nowhere else to run, they will have the choice forced upon them: recreate a stable society with shared values, or slip into a dark age of barbarian raids into suburban latifundae. How they will respond is the big question, but if history is any guide, there is little chance of peace.