To give style to one’s character – a great and rare art! It is practiced by those who survey all the strengths and weaknesses of their nature and then fit them into an artistic plan until every one of them appears as art and reason and even weaknesses delight the eye. Here a large mass of second nature has been added; there a piece of original nature has been removed – both times through long practice and daily work at it. Here the ugly that could not be removed has been concealed; there it has been reinterpreted and made sublime. Much that is vague and resisted shaping has been saved and exploited for distant views; it is meant to beckon towards the far and immeasurable. In the end, when the work is finished, it becomes evident how the constraint of a single taste governed and formed everything large and small. Whether this taste was good or bad is less important than one might suppose, if only it was a single taste!

It will be the strong and domineering natures that enjoy their finest gaiety in such constraint and perfection under a law of their own; the passion of their tremendous will relents in the face of all stylized nature, of all conquered and serving nature. Even when they have to build palaces and design gardens they demur at giving nature freedom.

Conversely, it is the weak characters without power over themselves that hate the constraint of style. They feel that if this bitter and evil constraint were imposed upon them they would be demeaned; they become slaves as soon as they serve; they hate to serve. Such spirits – and they may be of the first mark – are always out to shape and interpret their environment as a free nature: wild, arbitrary, fantastic, disorderly and surprising. And they are well advised because it is in only this way that they can give pleasure to themselves. For one thing is needful: that a human being should attain satisfaction with himself, whether it be by means of this or that poetry or art; only then is a human being at all tolerable to behold. Whoever is dissatisfied with himself is continually ready for revenge, and we others will be his victims, if only by having to endure his ugly sight. For the sight of what is ugly makes one bad and gloomy.

— Nietzsche, The Gay Science

I saw one of these garish monstrosities in the wild for the first time this week, flying from someone’s front porch. For the blissfully ignorant, that’s the Progress Pride flag, the “inclusive” upgrade on the old rainbow flag. As increasing numbers of people compete for increasingly-limited attentional resources by inventing ever-more niche sexual identities, I’m sure it will only get worse.

The above aphorism shows some of Nietzsche’s recurring themes in miniature. Life and character as aesthetic phenomenons; the necessity of self-imposed constraints to channel strength and sublimate unruly passions in service to a goal; and the resentment of the weak who experience discipline as oppression and fantasize about “freedom” as the absence of all restraint. I like to think that if he had been riding along with me, he would have seen this abomination as a picture worth all 397 of his quoted words.  You see? he might have said. This is the inevitable result of egalitarian delusions. When equality is the overriding consideration, you end up with chaos. When democracy is the sacred principle, the preference of a colorblind ignoramus cancels out that of a talented artist. When representation is the ultimate goal, nothing can be left out, even if the design as a whole suffers from incoherence. Jacobin ideals predictably lead to the breakdown of social order until people are longing for a Napoleon to seize power and put an end to the anarchy. Oh, for a Napoleon of graphic design!

I’m no Napoleon. In fact, I’d prefer to model myself on Cincinnatus. I will offer my services to society in a time of strife, but thereafter return to my plow, by which I mean my Xbox controller. Be that as it may, here is my version of the flag, in which it is to be hoped that pride can be taken in both identity and appearance. The colors represent our modern bespoke identities, which, yes, absolutely, of course, are all equally special and endlessly fascinating, but the circle at the center represents plain old whiteness, the center of gravity around which they all revolve, the yin to their yang, the master concept without which their slave rebellion would have no meaning at all. As the severely educated have taught us in recent years, “whiteness” doesn’t merely refer to skin color. It is an entire weltanschauung, comprising everything from individuality, the nuclear family, and rational thinking to property rights, punctuality and politeness. Without whiteness to act as the centripetal force, the “againstists” would go spinning off into the void. “Thirty spokes are joined in the wheel; it is the empty hub in the center that makes it useful,” says the Tao Te Ching. It is only just for this to be represented in the new design.