Why the Non-Conformist Side Claims to Be Mainstream
Leftists do not believe in individuals. I don't mean that they distrust individuals the way an authoritarian conservative would; I mean they do not believe individuals are effective or important. This theory leads to the following conclusions:
If someone is not going along with a group (The People) then he/she must be following another group—usually The Establishment.
Classical liberalism (which defended individual rights against The Establishment) must have been about strengthening the rights of The People to kick individuals around. Anyone opposed to that obviously would have opposed the American Revolution and the abolitionists. (This explains why liberals—who think of themselves as nonconformists—are so eager to claim to be mainstream.)
If The People agree with The Establishment they are not acting in accordance with their true nature and can be disregarded. If 90% of The People believe in family values, the work ethic, religion, etc. (Establishment values) and 10% don't, the 10% are the real mainstream of The People. (Authoritarian conservatives think that liberal “nonconformists” understand nonconformity and are seeking it. I doubt it. Liberal nonconformists are not true nonconformists; they are alternate conformists.)
Preliterate societies are highly important. In preliterate societies The Establishment has no way to pass its ideas down the generations. The People are unopposed.
Early literate societies are almost as good. If Classical Greece was unrepressed then that must represent the true nature of Western civilization.
(From an individualist standpoint traditions are important because an individual could not live long enough to derive traditional conclusions himself. The tendency for both Eastern and Western civilization to become more “repressed” is simply what a two or three thousand year old individual would conclude.)
To return to the present, liberal judges will suppress the right of individual employers and landlords to require drug tests, to not rent to unmarried couples, or to not fill prescriptions for abortifacients. They think of that as a triumph of individual rights because it is anti-Establishment.
This opinion is almost impervious to criticism. Liberals will assert that every group has the right to do what it wants. The obvious objection is that a group may want to oppress other groups. Liberals can get around that by asserting that it only The Establishment of the group that wants to oppress. (If The People want to oppress they can only be following The Establishment.)
In this theory, individualism and The Establishment are two sides of the same coin. The Establishment is the source of individualism because there is no other reason why so many people would oppose community. Individualism produced The Establishment because without individualism The Establishment would not oppose the community. (Individualism respecting individuals will produce nothing of course.)
Addendum: I just remembered, I had blogged this before.