American individualism isn’t rugged, it’s toxic– and it’s killing us

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    • #375946
      Passionate Progressive
      • Total Posts: 3,370

      Even so, the mythos of individualism has infused both our culture and our politics.

      Herbert Hoover hammered the idea into the popular consciousness by popularizing (possibly coining) the phrase “rugged individualism” in a 1928 campaign speech — in which he described a choice between “rugged individualism and a European philosophy of … paternalism and state socialism.” It was an idea that continued to be echoed decades later by presidents such as Ronald Reagan, who once quipped at a 1986 news conference that “the nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’ ”

      In culture, rugged individualism frequently materializes in the form of the solo cowboy: “The Lone Ranger” popularized by ’30s-era radio, the westerns of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, and the strapping Marlboro Man of cigarette advertising campaigns — a figure that the Economist once described as epitomizing “resilience, self-sufficiency, independence and free enterprise.”

      Link to article is here.

      The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.....Martin Luther King '63

      It takes all the technical proficiency our system can provide to make up for the woeful lack of popular support and political savvy of most of the regimes that the West has thus far sought to prop up.........Bernard Fall

    • #375960
      Mr. Mickeys Mom
      • Total Posts: 6,056

      It’s that never-say-die cultural legacy of Manifest Destiny that’s gonna convince you that Mr. & Mrs. America have to clear the path of every living thing or indigenous persons in our way.

      I would love to see some editor supplant the People’s History of the United States to correct the record on who the U.S. is and why and how we became this toxic.

      Hell, no... I'm not giving up...

    • #376010
      • Total Posts: 344

      Individualism and individual freedom is the very foundation of America. Without individualism, there is no collectivism. True collectivism is simply people who have the freedom to to decide as individuals to work collectively. Force people to work collectively either at gunpoint or by trying to manipulate them and there’s another name for that. Even the barn-raising example was an example of individuals who determined independently to work together.

      The way to get people to work collectively is to persuade them individually. So far, the evidence would suggest that there’s a sizable amount of people who are not convinced that the solutions being offered are worth further consideration. To combat that, the writer then does the worst thing possible thing, which is to be so immature as to insinuate that those that disagree are stupid and uncaring. All that’s going to do is to make people tune you out, the very thing this writer is lamenting.

      Carolina A. Miranda seems woefully unaware of just how condescending she comes across.


    • #376025
      Blue Meany
      • Total Posts: 214

      I think it’s more than individualism at play.  When I was growing up, there was a great deal of emphasis in my socialization on individual liberties, but we were taught that our right ended “at the other guy’s nose.”  In other words, we could do what we wanted so long as we hurt no one else.

      But these angry anti-maskers, Trump supporters, and the like are demanding the right to hurt people, or at least put at risk people, who are different from them or who disagree with them.  This is not simply American individualism, it is “othering” –implicitly denying the full humanity, and thus the human rights, of those they target.  I think this is un-American, or else the the American idea of a diverse self-governing immigrant nation is dead.

    • #376066
      Utopian Leftist
      • Total Posts: 618

      deprives our culture of all potential compassion. Need help? FUCK YOU! IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO SOLVE YOUR OWN PROBLEMS, GET A BETTER JOB IF YOU’RE SO MISERABLE!

      Well, the days when a Thoreau could wander out into the forest and carve his own living ARE GONE! Nowadays the world has many widespread problems for which no individual can be held responsible and for which the only constructive solution is to pool our resources.

      The real reason Republiscum and their ilk flock to this lizard-brained attitude is that it (and it alone) gives them permission to deprive other humans of their needs and rights. It gives such simple minds the ability to go on pretending that half the country could survive without government assistance. A notion that has become patently absurd.

      Nowhere in the world is this attitude as prevalent as here in the US, BTW. Che Guevara got it sort of wrong: he said we North Americans were fortunate to live at the “heart of the beast.” I fear that we all secretly inhabit that beast heart WITH GREAT SHAME, AND AT PERIL TO THE FATE OF OUR SOULS!

      "All fascism is a result of a failure of the left to provide a viable alternative." ~ Trotsky
      “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” ~ Krishnamurti

    • #376245
      • Total Posts: 1,240

      We need MORE people who actually think for themselves – who question what they’re told, who dig for sources with proven expertise and accuracy, who think the implications through in a logically consistent way, looking for genuine insight rather than just for whatever will support their tribe’s leadership.

      We also need more people who recognize that we can be happier, healthier, and wealthier if we work together with all of our long-term benefit in mind.

      Destruction is easy; creation is hard, but more interesting.

    • #376251
      Cold Mountain Trail
      • Total Posts: 12,932

      Thoreau was relatively well-off

      From his father’s pencil-making business (factory?)

      The income of which paid for his living and his education and his writing and his cabin at walden

      that’s how to be a rugged individualist under capitalism

    • #376415
      • Total Posts: 2,985

      Lord Acton

      Tell me, great captain, how do the angels sleep when the devil leaves his porch light on? Tom Waites

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