So, Are You Becoming More Individualistic?

Here are a few operating assumptions on this blog, influences which I realize are at play in my own mind and life. Let me know if you disagree.

They might have some predictive ability, and, then again, they might have quite a bit wrong, and thus, much less predictive ability.

There are plenty of windmills:

1. Individualism, even that to which many libertarians subscribe (draw a ring around the individual, and proceed from there) tends to unmoor many people from the previous obligations, institutions and traditions that were once more prevalent in American life, including that of organized religion (more people, especially educated people in America, are waiting to get married and have babies, for example).  Aside from the economic and technological forces at work in our lives, I’d argue that more people are more inclined to more ‘me-based’ kinds of decisions about work, home, and their personal lives. I hesitate to make any value judgments about such a claim.

Via Youtube: ‘Are We Really Coming Apart?’ Charles Murray and Robert Putnam Discuss…Repost-Quotation From Charles Kesler And A Few Thoughts on Conservatism

2. This individualism has been influenced by both modernism and postmodernism in the arts and popular entertainment, and both modernism and postmodernism are full of existentialist and nihilist influences (‘me against the absurdly meaningless void’, and ‘me against the absurdly meaningless void with no possibility of objective knowledge’).  Such influences can help to create a landscape of despairing individuals into which many familiar ‘-isms’ have gained influence, ideas around which individuals are forging meaning and purpose in their lives.  Most of us, after all, can’t bear too much reality, and it’s tough to be alone, and sensible to try and ease the suffering and pain inevitably found in this world (religion is very practiced in such matters).  These influences would include:  New Atheism, Soft Marxism, Pop-Darwinism, Environmentalism, Feminism, Multiculturalism, and a kind of broad, liberal humanism/idealism.

Via Youtube-‘Week 2 Leo Strauss-The Three Waves Of Modernity’…Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’…

3. Whatever your thoughts on the dangers and downsides to organized religion and its discontents, of which there are no shortage, there are many dangers and downsides to the modern ‘-isms,’ too.  Individuals attached to causes and ideals, without necessarily thinking those causes and ideas through, easily leads to outcomes of ‘more.’  The particular ‘mores,’ of human-rights, more ‘peace,’ more ‘knowledge’ etc. often end-up in an ever-expanding State as a fulfillment of liberal humanism/idealism.  Thus, liberal idealism can have trouble recognizing limits to power, limiting principles to its idealism in the form of institutional power, and can easily overlook where that idealism meets reality and people who think differently.  There are serious design flaws here, highlighted by the activists and radicals seeking constant change beneath such high ideals; driving change and conflict within (where real authoritarians and totalitarians lurk).

A Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”…Repost-Classical Liberalism Via Friesian.Com-‘Exchange with Tomaz Castello Branco on John Gray’

I’ve got some work to do in thinking more about a deontological rights-based defense of self-ownership, if such a thing is possible, but drop me a line if you’re interested.

2 thoughts on “So, Are You Becoming More Individualistic?

    • Malcolm,

      Tough question! A couple of thoughts:

      1. Man is cast in God’s image, and it is a mortal sin to do so, which would imply a knowable/revealed transcendent source for our laws; and which would place serious restrictions on self-ownership, and possibly violate some premises of our very definition.
      2. A series of laws, or amendments added to a founding document enacted by Reprentatives, which become further amendable by a common law system, which seems closer to what we’ve got now. The old ‘states are laboratories’ Federalist argument where Utah/California diverge significantly, but there would be a Federal structure with divergence as to origins, or room for interpretation.
      3. There perhaps is an argument that Prostitution/Slavery are not equivalent, although it is likely some choices, made by some people, under the Self-Ownership definition, would lead not only to prostituion but slavery as well (sex-trade, abusive pimping etc). Such morally questionable behaviors would likely lead to the use of authority/appeal to authority for punishment however that is defined, where law enforcement would enter, or where people would be acting, with/without the law in ways morally objectionable to many (revenge killing, money issues, incentives for enslavement/abuse etc.)

      Authority and action would likely arise from such choices, and a lack of choices for some, legal or not.

      Great question you may/may not have some ideas of your own about. I’ll have to do more thinking on it (on the way to work).

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