Why the Rejection of Heroes?


I read a very interesting article recently about the way the woke mainstream and the Left hate heroes, about why they always try to destroy heroes from the past or people we might have good cause to celebrate today.

We have seen it with the rabid lies told about Churchill, the hatred of one of our greatest ever figures. We see it in the tiresome revisions around the Founding Fathers of the US, particularly Jefferson. We see it in the refusal to admit the uniqueness of the genius of Western tradition as a whole, of the intellectual brilliance of the kind of culture that can give the world Shakespeare or Marlowe, Newton or Darwin.

It begins with military figures, who due to the inherent nature of war are the first heroes it is easiest to dismiss, even though by risking their blood and their life they most fully represent what heroic originally meant. We saw this at its most loathsome, perhaps, in the treatment of Vietnam vets, when a previous generation of activists and communists were taught to loathe their own soldiers. But we see it in the absence of figures like Drake and Nelson from the British curriculum too.

Partly this rejection of heroes, this refusal to teach a heroic narrative about your nation and its most illustrious figures, is of course a way of undermining that nation, of expressing your contempt for it and its people. In the new morality, despising your own is a mark of sophistication and education.  

Secondarily it is yet another attitude and set of assumptions perverted by the Second World War, part of the deliberate Marxist project of identifying everything conservative and patriotic with Nazism. The Nazis had an ideal vision of the perfect man, and a clearly heroic conception of themselves and their favourites. Therefore, all hero worship leads to Nazism. All nationalism leads to Nazism. This asinine reduction and conflation of complex emotional identifications with the worst movement to ever feature them left us in the bizarre cultural position of pretending it is dangerous to worship some of our greatest men and women who changed the world, but perfectly rational to substitute the cast of Towie or overpaid sports stars with criminal rap sheets instead.

Celebrity in the present was the consequence of our society banning respect for heroes in the past. Only those engaged in essentially trivial matters, like film stars or pop stars, are acceptable foci of communal feeling in a post-heroic world where every well-known person is minutely examined by Marxist interpreters of what is and is not worthy. Television and media were the perfect medium by which to turn attention away from the heroes of a more literate past, a past that constantly reflected on its own past. We were told to only look at the present and the future, because the past gave us lessons and heroes fit to avoid the future that Marxists wished to fashion.

So, the heroes have to go. The statues have to be toppled. Otherwise, they are a still living, constant, organic reminder that we are more than merely the people here today, we are a history written through every family in bone and sinew and blood, in memory of ancestors and love of place.

It’s not just the Marxism of the modern elite that makes them loathe and fear any traditional hero. It’s the scientism, the materialist reductionism, and the technocratic aims which make them reject existing heroes and the desire for heroes. The social sciences are full of pseudo-scientific studies and principles whose aim is to reduce mankind. Imagine thinking that nothing is sacred and nothing has mystery. Imagine that being your first principle. Everything is just a mechanism, or a component, a thing that can be quantified, evaluated, utterly known by some dispassionate researcher.

This is a wonderful first principle if your aim is to understand the physical laws of the universe, and an extremely useful first principle if your aim is to understand those laws and those of chemistry and other hard sciences in order to make a better car or the very first kettle. Looking at things as merely things is indeed the best way to understand, well, things-that is, inanimate objects. Confined to setting bones and repairing injuries it’s usefully supplied to humans.

The trouble comes when we apply that first principle that everything has a structure we can analyse to history, to society, to God and to Man. Because in doing so we are using what’s useful in the material world to comprehend that which exists primarily in the abstract or the spiritual world. You cannot actually analyse a God that deserves the name. Your mechanistic tools are like trying to knit a jumper out of a cloud. I may be an atheist myself, but I know that a God I could comprehend wouldn’t be much of a God.

But here’s the real secret-this application of a totally useless and inappropriate set of tools for understanding the thing you are talking about applies to mankind too. We are not the sum of our material components. A human being is far more than 70% water and 30% of a mix of other ingredients in a carbon-based shell. And the abstract creations of Man are, like Man himself, more than the sum of their parts.

The mad scientist. The communist revolutionary. The modern globalist. The current elite. All of them live in a universe that they consider to be entirely mechanistic. All of them think they have both the right tools and the moral right to dissect that universe for their study and amusement. Everything else to them has no mystery that cannot be flayed from the bone or pried apart by a literal or critical scalpel.

And what is the consequence of this lack of mystery, this lack of sacredness in the world outside themselves? It is the most horrific callousness. It is treating the world, or society, or man, as a thing to be operated on, whether or not the thing protests. The reason they have no heroes and reduce all heroes is because they don’t have any sense that man himself is mysterious or sacred. And even less sense that woman is.

Creativity too is denied by this modern sensibility. Mechanists will tell you that Van Gogh had an eye condition or a mental illness that explains Van Gogh. There will be some medical explanation of the music of Mozart or the plays of Shakespeare or the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe. It will never just be genius. But recognising that a creative genius is better than me perversely elevates me too, because it speaks about a sacredness in Man, a spark of genius in the species, of which I am a part. Reduce the genius to some mechanistic explanation and you reduce the potential of all mankind.

Read some behavioural psychologists like Susan Mitchie of SAGE notoriety to understand just how lacking in mystery mankind is, for mechanists and determinists like her. Social sciences presume that you can computer model everything about us or find the same twitching nerve in every head that grants the same response when pressed. Psychologists and semi scientific disciplines of the study of the mind tell us that the Self is an illusion, a construct, that free will is not free will, that consciousness is controlled by the subconscious, that the thing we call ‘me’ is nothing more than a survival mechanism with a sense of selfhood accidentally attached.

And if you really believe that then there is no morality, no responsibility, and of course nothing heroic about ANY of us at any time. We are just puppets of meat. Understand that this mechanistic denial of the Self is held by the same people who deny the Past and deny your heroes, and you can understand why they view you with such contempt.

Because a thing without any mystery or any sacredness is a thing that is never truly real to you. It’s just an object.

Daniel Jupp is the author of A Gift for Treason: The Cultural Marxist Assault on Western Civilisation, which was published in 2019. He has had previous articles published by Spiked, The Spectator and Politicalite, and is a married father of two from Essex.