main page, file list, single page HTML, source, report, wiki last updated on 06/07/23

Hero Culture

Hero culture is a harmful culture of creating and worshiping heroes and "leaders" (and other kinds of celebrities) which leads to e.g. creation of cults of personality, strengthening fight culture and establishing hierarchical, anti-anarchist society of "winners" and "losers". The concept of a hero is one that arose in context of wars and other many times violent conflicts; a hero is different from a mere authority or a well known individual in some area, it is someone who creates fear of disagreement and whose image is distorted to a much more positive, sometimes godlike state, by which he distorts truth and is given a certain power over others. Therefore we highly warn about falling to the trap of hero culture, though this is very difficult in current highly hierarchical society. To us, the word hero has a pejorative meaning. Our advice is always this:

Do NOT create heroes. Follow ideas, not people. And similarly: hate ideas, not people.

Smart people know this and those being named heroes themselves many times protest it, e.g. Marie Curie has famously stated: "be less curious about people and more curious about ideas." Anarchists purposefully don't name theories after their inventors but rather by their principles, knowing the danger of hero culture leading to social hierarchy and also that people are imperfect -- people are like packages, a mixture of both good and bad inadvertently inseparable, they carry distorting associations, they make mistakes and their images are twisted by history and politics -- even the character of Jesus, a "theoretically perfect human", has been many times twisted in ways that are hard to believe. Worshiping an individual always comes with the tendency to embrace and support everything he does, all his opinions and actions, including the extremely bad ones. Abusive regimes are the ones who use heroes and their names for propaganda -- Stalinism, Leninism, corporations such as Ford, named after their founder etc. Heroes become brands whose stamp of approval is used to push bad ideas... especially popular are heroes who are already dead and can't protest their image being abused -- see for example how Einstein's image has been raped by capitalists for their own propaganda, e.g. by Apple's marketing, while in fact Einstein was a pacifist socialist highly critical of capitalism. This is not to say an idea's name cannot be abused, the word communism has for example become something akin a swear word after being abused by regimes that had little to do with real communism. Nevertheless it is still much better to focus on ideas as ideas always carry their own principle embedded within them, visible to anyone willing to look, and can be separated from other ideas very easily. Focusing on ideas allows us to discuss them critically, it allows us to reject a bad concept without "attacking" the human who came up with it.

Mainstream US mentality of strong hero culture is now infecting the whole world and reaches unbelievably retarded levels. Besides calling murderers (soldiers) heroes, it is now for example standard to call handicapped people heroes, literally only because they are handicapped and it makes them feel better, even if they do nothing special and even if they actually live more comfortable lives than poor healthy peasants who have to live miserably and slave at work every day without getting anyone's attention. Or -- and this is yet another level of stupidity -- anyone who just happens to not behave like a dick in case of some emergency is guaranteed to be called a hero; for example if someone by chance walks by a baby that is drowning in a pool and saves the baby from dying will with 100% probability be called a hero in the media. But WHY the fuck would that be? Is the guy a hero because he didn't just sit down a watch the baby drown? It is the absolutely normal behavior to save a drowning baby if one sees it, especially when there is very little risk of own life in doing so (such as just jumping into the pool); calling someone a hero for doing so is like calling a gun owner a hero for not going to the streets to randomly shoot at people. So in this fucked up society the title of hero is basically won like a lottery -- you just have to be lucky enough to be present at some emergency and then just do the normal thing.

All content available under CC0 1.0 (public domain). Send comments and corrections to drummyfish at disroot dot org.