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Essay on the Fallacies of Political Individualism

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posted on Jan, 30 2011 @ 02:44 AM

Essay on the Fallacies of Political Individualism

This is an essay which is part one of a three part trilogy in which I shall elaborate upon, explain to, and justify, my opposition to virtually all of the political consequences arising from the Enlightenment era. There are many notable figures which stood in opposition to the Western shift known as the Age of Enlightenment which occurred substantially in the 18th century, but unfortunately few have been widely acknowledge.

In my observation there is little substantial opposition to the ideals that arose from the Enlightenment. With virtually all the Western world accepting each and every principle that was espoused, it is difficult for me to properly explain my position without being savagely attacked. So I am quite prepared for this onslaught.

Now that my explanation for this thread is done let me perform a quick overview of what I will be covering; Individualism and Liberalism.

Every man and woman wants freedom. Freedom of speech, expression, information, assembly, and to elect your government, that is just to name a few of the freedoms which virtually everyone desires. But to each individual freedom means something different because each individual is different. The individual is a unique specimen, one which conjures up its own thoughts, dreams, fantasies, goals, ideals, morals, and yet we are all supposed to somehow live in a country or world peacefully and safely in which there are billions of individuals.

Individualism could be described as the urgent desire to liberate oneself from the shackles of indignity, responsibility, collaboration, and cooperation. The desire to create the person whom you have always desired to be, independent from the interference of outside restrictions and free to arouse such thoughts which by a societal standard may not be acceptable.

Yet if we are all free and are all individuals could we possibly feel comfortable when we reach a point of which we have lost attraction to a certain characteristic or quality in ourselves or our surroundings? In the complexities of freedom it is an oversimplification to establish the understanding that freedom is something which man can sustain. For if all men are granted their freedom then obviously who is society to enforce upon them the constraints of obligation?

Men, free to pursue a life of their own justified desires, would face an infringement upon their rights if they were constrained by family, religion, state, or established morality. Thus these interferences must be eliminated from the human’s life. They must be free to abandon responsibility when they deem it necessary, even if this means not providing for their family or simply leaving them.

Because this abandonment is part of their innate rights as an individual there should be no external interference upon their decision making. For if the church or society were to interfere, they would then be infringing upon that individual’s rights, which would not be permitted by the state due to the state being the one entity which must enforce the rights of the individual.

Why would the individual desire to be held accountable to societal standards when they know it would not be justified? So in order to rationalize their behavior and morality they must create a system of checks-and-balances which provide the individual with the freedom from responsibility. This lessons the sense of guilt by the individual and allows for them to legally exercise their independent right to leave their family behind.

With more rights desired by the individual so to must more powers be transferred to the governing body to protect these rights. But the state recognizes that this individualism cannot last forever from restraints by society so it is then slowly taken into the hands of government to protect its citizens.

In the case of all Individualism society would not soon last with that as a foundation. It is not about who controls others but rather like a seesaw. As the influence of religion, societal morality, and family standards are lowered the power of the state grows more. Hence, while you are ‘progressing’ in terms of social issues and more freedoms are provided to the individual, inevitably the state will have to fill the power vacuum left over.

What then is defined as “good”? Well ‘good’ then becomes subjective as it is based upon what is in the best interests of the individual and concluded upon by said individual. With that we will have billions of unique definitions of what ‘good’. However that is unconceivable and cannot possibly work.

Abolishing social constraints upon humans and replacing them with individual self-determination has not provided us with a real sense of personal identity. Our sense of identity is not formed from radical rebellion and isolation as we are a social animal, reliant upon others for our entertainment, friendship, and sustainability, which fractures the entire concept of individualism.

Individualism could then be described as failing its own principles if it believes in having any sort of governing body. Individualism would be described, in its philosophical form, as Anarchism. It is hypocrisy at best to have government, prisons, and laws then claim to be a liberal and squawk about non-Individualists.

In my opinion, a great analogy of Individualism and Individualists would be this: The rebellious teenager, in a quest to establish their identity and remove the perceived oppression by their parents they defy authority, demand independence, and cry about being treated like an adult. Wanting to form their own identity off their perceived understanding of right and wrong they wander into mischief and always return to their parents when in s state of panic.

The only difference between the rebellious teenager and the individualist is this; the individualist won’t have anyone to fall back on when things fail for them. For in an individualist society it is just that, live and let live, take care of yourself. There is no established order which is there that can assist you except the government for after decades of rebellion the societal non-governmental safety net has been removed.

Churches are abandoned, families disintegrated, charities dwindling, caring individuals become too few of number, and in its place has arisen a nanny-state which was formed to fill the vacuum left open by the violent removal of the old order. Humans, for too long, have rebelled against everything that always ‘was’ in an attempt at removing all social constraints upon them.

Individualism is thus the child of Liberalism, the ill-conceived ideology of radicals, rebels, and materialists. Liberalism, founded upon the principles of the Enlightenment, is an ideology of rejection. It is the rejection of all that humankind ever knew, the remodeling of the world, changing of entire thought process, and establishing hostility and suppression of the past.

Liberalism is a monster, born on the backs of indoctrinated farmers and traders, enforced with the guillotine, and pushed by the philosophes and freemasons. It was the basis for the entire French Revolution, it was the justification for the Reign of Terror, and it was organized by the material elite of 18th century France.

Formed by a loose association of freemasons, philosophes, terrorists, and rationalists all with one thing in common; abolishing tradition. Liberalism the entire ideology was born as the rejection of another ideology, Liberalism is thus the opposite of tradition and order.

Virtually every ideology in the west is now a supporter or Liberal ideals. In the United States for example, it’s both the Democratic and Republican parties. Neither are free from the grip of Liberalism whether it be modern or classical, limited government or pro-government. Socialism, Communism, and Fascism are all also ideologies born from the Enlightenment.

Put it this way, Liberalism and Individualism were summed up best in the hit story ‘Frankenstein’ by one of my favorite authors and Counter-Enlightenment thinkers, Mary Shelly. Dr. Frankenstein represented what happens from the implementation of Enlightenment values in society; abandoning family, threatening society, pursuit of dangerous activities for self-pleasure, and finally creating a monster. Frankenstein the monster is society.

posted on Jan, 30 2011 @ 02:46 PM
The period of enlightenment is one that is well supported in the history books as science got a foot hold into the organisational structure of society and allowed more evidence based arguments to win the debates over previous beliefs. Maybe this would have happened anyway and was just left to the winners to write the history. I do like Deek Jackson's description of our current time as the 'Dim Ages'.

One thing you fail to consider with Individualism is Maslow's hierarchy of needs and how it governs an individual. Fresh water, food and social interactions are all important needs for an individual, so all responsibility and collaboration will not be discarded. Another important factor is education and how the individual is raised with the local customs and values that help define and guide the individual.

For if all men are granted their freedom then obviously who is society to enforce upon them the constraints of obligation?

Peer review is a self governing process that exists on many levels, from the legal and court system, local community groups and within the family itself, among many others. Once one man's expression of freedom starts to impede on anothers rights then the social network will enforce the constraints. There are many different cultural boarders for where the lines are drawn and how resolutions are made.

Why would the individual desire to be held accountable to societal standards when they know it would not be justified?

For acceptance in the community. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes, by confronting the issues a resolution can be found and the problem put away. Smaller communities are generally better at this than larger communities. In such a large interconnected world some find it easy to just continue to run and move elsewhere than face the consequences of their actions. The heavy handedness of the legal system towards punishment over resolution at times does induce fear with accountability.

Abolishing social constraints upon humans and replacing them with individual self-determination has not provided us with a real sense of personal identity.

I disagree with this. While there are some things we do due to external pressure, there are things we do due to internal pressure. When part of a society there will always be social constraints of some kind, this may degrade in times of anarchy but even then there are still some social constraints at play within the mass chaos. When engaged as a slave there is some personal identity within the obedience and control given to a master. When free with self determination there is more personal identity as your thought processes no longer belong to another. Also the effects of disassociation reduced and the definition of self is derived from a wider array of options. By understanding yourself better than anyone else it does aid in directing your efforts in the most beneficial way. When all of society can operate like this then the outcome is more than what one person is capable of thinking.

Individualism could then be described as failing its own principles if it believes in having any sort of governing body.

As you have described it, yes. As I have described it, no. In the effort to remove Individualism, the emotions have been targeted as a weakness in a fully controlled and dominated society. I do consider the emotions as an important governing body for social interaction. There is some flexibility for the parent to guide the emotional framework for the child. With proper education and guidance it leads to a very valued and important member of society. With abuse and mistreatment it leads to a detrimental and troublesome member of society. This is a complex topic with the environment contributing with the genetics for the resulting individual. I see Individualism is about letting humanity flow with the rhythm of life to let each individual achieve there potential, therefore society is all the greater for it. The growth during the Renaissance is an example of this.

It has been a very interesting history of Individualism and how it has lead to Liberalism that you have put together.

edit on 30-1-2011 by kwakakev because: added two sentences on on rhythm of life and Renaissance

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