Tag: individualism

Sorry Traditionalists, There Is No Judeo-Christian West

Ellie McFarland | @El_FarAwayLand

Many traditionalists claim that The West was founded on “Judeo-Christian” values. Specifically, they say, “The Ten Commandments”. The Daily Wire, PragerU, and Louder with Crowder are just a few of the respected media platforms which broadcast this argument repeatedly. Along with these outlets, there is a large group of individual commentators who also push this idea of The West to their audience. There has been enough dismissal of the Christendom angle for years now, but what is seldom addressed is how and why The Ten Commandments were not a foundational document of Western Civilization.

Continue reading “Sorry Traditionalists, There Is No Judeo-Christian West”

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Make Individualism Great Again

Josh Hughes | United States

Individuality is one of the greatest gifts a person can possess. The ability to be yourself and become whomever and whatever you want to be is a privilege so great, yet so often wasted and taken for granted. The time that we live in now undoubtedly favors collectivism over individualism. In fact, many will persecute you for trying to be yourself and “march to the beat of your own drum” rather than follow a crowd. The loss of individuality from society will stand to gain nothing but negative effects.

Mainstream Collectivism

Collectivism is being heavily pushed in many facets, most notably in schools, corporations, and the media. In places of learning all over the country, individuality is becoming frowned upon and slowly moved away from. In a theme which is common to every area listed, collectivism is being rebranded with nicer sounding synonyms such as “collaboration.” This is not to say that somethings cannot be done better in a group setting, but when it reaches the point that schoolchildren are conditioned to always work in a team rather than reach a solution on their own, there is an issue. As a current student, I can personally attest to the fact that “group work” has become more and more prevalent. Again, working as a team is not inherently the problem; rather, it’s the idea that solutions are always reached better or more efficiently in a group setting rather than individually.

Another area that collectivism is commonly seen is in the workforce. This idea is often seen in many major corporations, specifically. Think of the last Google or Apple ad that you saw. There’s a good chance the ad was, in some form or another, stressing the idea of “teamwork” or “collaboration.” Much of the new technology being developed now is made with a focus for collaboration and working together with other users. Regardless of their intentions, advertisements that consistently promote collectivism and intentionally ignore individualism give the millions of viewers a very clear idea of what’s accepted.

In a way that coincides with the point about advertising, the media almost always tends to shun individualism. Rather, they resort to grouping and profiling individuals into specific groups. Instead of focusing on a person’s events, they will focus on their sex, race, religion, or other affiliations. It does not matter if someone is a straight white male or a gay black woman or anything in between, it cannot be denied that the smallest minority is the individual. Every person is totally unique from everyone else and should be viewed as such.

What Have These Actions Led To?

With every major influencer in America focusing on these ideas, identities for the common man have been stripped. Rather than being an individual, every person is a part of some group and is esteemed based off of the group’s actions. This has led to people becoming shadows and parrots of their idols and influencers. We live in an age of NPC’s, where no one really exists.

Think of the possibilities of a society full of people that thought and acted for themselves rather than following a mainstream. The creative and innovative explosion would be something to marvel at. Not to mention, a society that thinks is a society that is free. A nation full of independent thinkers would surely lead to increased liberty.

The age of listening to and following celebrities and those that are in charge should be behind us. Rather, we should heed the words of philosophers such as Ayn Rand, who promoted total individuality in an era of Communism where collectivity reigned supreme. The current era is moving closer and closer towards this, with collectivism having a direct correlation to socialism. The scarce free minds that are left need to resist this trend and continue to think for themselves. However, if you’re one of that group, you don’t need me to tell you that.


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The Tyranny and Failure of Coercive Paternalism

By John Keller | United States

Coercive Paternalism can be defined as intervention in cases where people’s choices of the means to achieving their ultimate ends are confused. An argument of this nature, notably by Sarah Conly, rests on four main points: (1) Such a view promotes individuals actual goals. (2) Coercive Paternalism is effective. (3) The benefits are worth the cost. (4) Coercive Paternalism is efficient. Coercive Paternalism offers an ambiguous and unclear argument that ignores many of the complexities of the issues.

The Argument For Paternalism

A Coercive Paternalist would make an argument such as this: (1) People want to live long and healthy lives. (2) Eating processed foods and consuming drugs hinders people from living long and healthy lives. (3) Thus, the government must ban certain foods and drugs to promote the goal of the individual. Assuming the premise to be true, a rather noncontroversial claim, logically the next step is to examine the second step of the argument. Does consuming drugs hinder people from wanting to live long and healthy lives?

Examine, for instance, veteran suicide and veterans who deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Marijuana has been instrumental, if not vital, to veterans dealing with the mental complications involved with going into combat. By denying veterans drugs to promote the ‘individuals’ goals, they are actually exacerbating the mental complications of veterans and creating an environment in which veterans are forced to live shorter, mentally unhealthy lives as they tragically fall victim to the grip of suicide. Is this outcome the promotion of ‘long and healthy lives’? No, and thus Coercive Paternalism is unable to provide the needs of individual citizens.

The Failure of Coercive Paternalism

As it is unable to provide the needs of the individual citizens, it can not be effective. Paternalism itself is the idea in which the government must assume a role similar to that of your parent because the individual is inadequate to take of themselves and make good choices. Are any two individuals the same? Are any two children raised the same? Even siblings are often raised differently as a parent learns more, realizes mistakes, and adjust in real time to the needs of their children. The government, however, can not operate in this way on an individual level. Instead, they institute a policy under the basis of ‘one shoe fits all’. A clear example of this is common core education. With more money in the education system, improvement has been rare to come by. RealClear Education reports, “Between 2013 and 2017, only five jurisdictions logged improvements in 4th-grade math and just three in 8th-grade math.” As no two individuals develop the same, no government program can claim to be for the benefit of every citizen.

The theorized benefits of paternalism, that cannot apply to every citizen due to the nature of individuality, are not worth the cost. From 2013-2017, a total of $375,577,635,000 was spent federally, with an additional $840,757,185,970 spent in the same time frame by the states. In 2013, roughly 62,146,000 children went to school. That means that between 2013-2017, a total of $1,216,334,820,000 was spent on 62,146,000 school age children, or roughly $19,572.21 per student. As a result of paternalism, $1.2 trillion was spent to see only eight jurisdictions see an increase in math skills of America’s youth.

With the cost not being worth the near invisible benefits, Coercive Paternalism fails to also be effective. While it is not effective, it also fails to be efficient. Prohibition has historically failed to be efficient. The Eighth Amendment, passed in 1917 and ratified in 1919, was passed to prohibit the sales, transportation, importation, and exportation of “intoxicating liquors”, also known, more commonly, as alcohol. During the Prohibition Era, drinking remained constant. It is very likely that it not only stayed at the pre-prohibition levels but that drinking increased following the prohibition. When the government stopped sanctioning the legality of the alcohol industry and its services, it was forced to go into an underground state, run by speakeasies throughout the nation. The people reverted to the black market to get the products they desired, proving government regulation of the market to be inefficient. Furthermore, the government prohibition on the use of marijuana proved again to be a failure for the U.S government. Historically speaking, prohibition has always been ineffective.

Coercive Paternalism fails to promote the individual’s actual goals, is not effective, and is not worth the cost. The theory of Coercive Paternalism offers a simple answer to the complexities of society that fails to respect an individuals rights, needs, and the pursuit of happiness.


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Charles Taylor’s Modern Social Imaginaries: Getting Western Thought Wrong

By Alexander Robak | United States

In Charles Taylor’s 2003 magnum opus work, Modern Social Imaginaries, he retells the story of the basis of political and philosophical thought in the western world. Charles Taylor uses dozens of examples from across the globe to support his theses and further the description of what he refers to as a “Social Imaginary.” However, in this masterful piece of political literature, there exists one flaw with his theses. The author uses specific examples to come to the conclusion that the basic points of the western social imaginary are based on mutual aid, cooperation, and the exchange of both services and goods to secure a prosperous living situation for all within the society. However, I disagree with him on this point.

It is evident that the basis of western society is, and always has been, individualism and the goal of attaining success, whatever that may be, for the individual. There exists sufficient evidence to prove that altruism is not a founding principle of our social imaginary; rather, it is individualism that has gotten us to where we are today in terms of economic, social, and governmental based spheres of our collective social imaginary. While there are some points in this book that I do personally disagree with, this book does serve as a comprehensive retelling of our current social imaginary, from the perspective of a collectivist.

The basis of this book serves as a stepping stone for the author to describe our current form of thought. There exists three spheres of our society, each one of which serves specific purposes to our collective social imaginary, and fosters specific sentiment within those who contribute to the imaginary at large. The author then goes on to show us how as the economic, social, and governmental spheres work in conjunction with another They create an imaginary that works as a collective. In saying this, he means that our society works together to achieve mutual benefit rather than self-benefit.

For example, he describes the economic sphere as being not a zero-sum game, rather with a fair and regulated economic exchange system, we can achieve, and have achieved a state in which economic exchange exists to benefit both parties, rather than just one.  However, I disagree with the author on this point. Since our economic sphere in the west is currently based on capitalistic practices, has always been based on these practices, and always will be, I believe that it makes more sense for society to be driven by the individualist mindset, rather than a collectivist form of thought due to the fact that the individual will always put his needs before the needs of the others which exist in society. This is evident in the fact that it has always been a personal search for success that drives innovation in Capitalist societies. The vast majority of individuals are not simply motivated by an opportunity to help other people. Rather, humans are animals that look out for one’s self and one’s self only.

However, I digress. This is only one of a few points in this book that I disagree with. There is one point in this book that the author attempts to draw connections between spirituality and communitarianism through virtue signaling of biblical and religious texts. In doing this, he attempts to discredit individualism as being falsely tied to spirituality.  However, I do not believe that religious or spiritual ties to either collectivism or individualism are entirely relevant, even within the social sphere. This is due to the fact that due to variance in modern spiritual and religious viewpoints, either collectivism or individualism can be linked to spirituality, depending on interpretation.

In one part of the book, Charles Taylor talked about how western modernities aid us in learning about other social imaginaries beyond our own. The reasoning behind this is due to other states dependence on the west in both the governmental and economic spheres of the social imaginary. Therefore, due to western hegemony across the globe in these spheres, the social sphere of other cultures is changing to fit a western social imaginary as well. This is simply the consequence of maintaining a global hegemony both economically and politically. This also helps us to learn about the social imaginaries of other cultures and how they continue to shift and adapt to our own overbearing imaginaries.

In the fourth chapter of the book, Charles Taylor begins to talk about a phenomenon called the great disembedding, in which in the social sphere, people become progressively more disenchanted with ancient social imaginaries as a new modernity sets in. This is an agreeable point made by the author, as our social imaginaries are always shifting in order to adapt to changes within the economic and governmental spheres of our society. All things considered, Charles Taylor did, in fact, make some reasonable assessments regarding the progress of our social imaginary and the impacts surrounding it in all three spheres of our society.

I do believe that Charles Taylor was incorrect in his thesis that our western social imaginary is based both politically and philosophically on principles of mutual aid, cooperation, and zero-sum games that are meant to secure prosperous living conditions for all within the society. However, some of the tangents that he focuses on in later chapters regarding the disembedding of individuals from the social imaginary, as well as the hegemony of these modernities are in fact quite agreeable in nature. In conclusion, this book was masterfully composed of riveting ideas about our modern social imaginaries.


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Democracy Is a Threat to Individual Liberty

By Teagan Fair | United States

When most people hear the term ‘democracy’, they think about a fair system where the citizens might collectively vote upon what is best for the nation. Morally, this sounds good on paper, as it seems like it is trying to advocate for a system where the people have more power over the government. However, similar cases can be made for other harmful ideologies.

For example, a number of people would argue that communism sounds good on paper, advocating for equality and fairness – however, in reality, communism is based on coercion and force, extorting its citizens and getting rid of economic opportunity – not to mention having a consistent result of failure. Communism is one of many ideas that are better on paper than in reality. Although democracy is much less frowned upon in our society, I still believe it to be oppression.

How Does It Threaten Liberty?

Democracy is no more than oppression by the masses and by your fellow citizens. It is your neighbor hiring the government to force his values upon you with violence. If you were to ask most people, they would agree with you that the use of force is frowned upon in a civilized society. They would also agree with you that hiring a gang to use force against your neighbors is unethical, however, do they truly care if this happens? Because we see this happen in our everyday lives. The biggest gang in our community is the United States government, and this glorified idea called democracy says that they can be hired to use force or violence against certain groups if enough people ask them to.

If you truly care about the rights and liberties of minorities, then don’t consider democracy a ‘fair system.’ Democracy and minority rights contradict each other. As Ayn Rand once said, “The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.” This statement is spot on. Every single person reading this is a minority in the eyes of the rest of their nation and therefore can be oppressed by the mob rule that we call democracy. As another quote of Ayn Rand’s says, “Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities.” She describes this perfectly. The individual liberties of the 49%, no matter what they may be, are not to be taken away simply because 51% of citizens decided that their set of values was more important than that of the 49%, which cannot possibly be ethical, for no set of values can possibly be more important than another, no matter how extreme. The same rule goes if it is a two-thirds majority or an 80% majority, or if it all comes down to the opposition of one last person. It is unethical to strip the individual liberties of one person, simply because millions of other people made a decision that they were superior to this one person.

What Is The Solution?

Obviously, I would not advocate for simply totalitarianism, for the very existence of the state is immoral in the first place and is based on coercion and the use of unethical force, and the absence of every liberty taken away worsens the situation. Rather than democracy, which is still oppression by government, hired by your fellow citizens, there is the option of a truly free and pro-choice, individualistic society. By this, I mean that, in order to secure the blessings of liberty, in the future, if any state is to exist, then its lone duty is to protect the rights of the individual, rather than interfere and restrict the actions of that individual.

In a true pro-choice society, everything is permitted, until the action defies the rights of a fellow individual, or directly interferes with their life. You don’t like it when people smoke weed? Then don’t smoke weed, and demote the idea of it, but to hire a higher power to strip people of that idiotic, but important right is excruciatingly immoral. You don’t like the idea of other sides of the political spectrum assembling? Then don’t assemble with them. But as I have stated, it is morally incorrect to physically enforce your values upon anyone in any way. Hence why democracy is an unethical, but fancy way for the government to seize power.

This way, the government can put it in a gift bag and call it freedom because a certain group of people was convinced that they had more value than that of others, rather than directly stripping the people of their rights. It is a win for both the government and for the statists that wish their ideologies forced upon the individual minority using mob rule and force.

This aspect of our society, what we call freedom, is the exact opposite, and treads on the rights of the individual, and therefore is a threat to liberty.


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