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Individualism is not just for libertarians...

  1. SparklingJewel profile image66
    SparklingJewelposted 3 years ago

    I do believe that what is needed is greater discussion of what individualism means.
    American exceptionalism is greatly misunderstood...individual freedoms are not upheld for oneself let alone for another

    "The initial US's "exceptionalism" is the cure for this kind of thinking. People are not born only to be useful to the state or society. Being human is an end in itself and if children were raised with this in mind, it would be far more difficult to treat them as malleable and mere tools for the State. It is, in fact, individualism, or its recognition, that disarms our group hostilities. It is individualism, or the acceptance of it, that discourages the view of people as adjuncts to violent ends. But to do this would be to weaken the State that too many use for their own purposes. For them, looking at people as chattel is convenient and enriching."


    "What is taking place in the 21st century in large part is an argument between those who believe in individual freedoms and those who believe in some kind of collectivism".


    http://www.thedailybell.com/28804/Antho … st-Century

    I am no big philosopher, but things are ringing true in my heart and mind as I read more and more of the ideas of others...what do you think???

    1. John Holden profile image60
      John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      No,, between those who believe in individual freedom and those who believe in elitism.

  2. innersmiff profile image79
    innersmiffposted 3 years ago

    I agree - this is the true political paradigm. It is not 'left' and 'right', but the individualists and the collectivists. I am wary of any person that claims one must sacrifice individual liberty for 'the greater good'.

    1. John Holden profile image60
      John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      But why are individual liberty and collectivism exclusive?

      Without collectivism there would be no space for individual liberty.
      Without collectivism we would all be sitting in our mud huts eating nuts and berries and dying at an early age.

      1. PrettyPanther profile image85
        PrettyPantherposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        I am reminded of a friend who moved to Canada about 12 years ago.  She said she had never felt so free.  Why?  Because, without the worry of whether or not she would have health care, she was able to take the job of her dreams, a job that she did not feel she could afford to do in the U.S., since she would have no employer-provided health care and could not afford the cost.

        1. John Holden profile image60
          John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Quite.

        2. wilderness profile image96
          wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          There are lots of people with that mindset, with lots of reasons for it.

          Maybe they want someone else to pay the cost for them as in the case of your friend.  Maybe they don't feel competent to make decisions and want govt. to do it for them.  Maybe they're just too lazy to investigate options and want a father figure to make those decisions.

          Whatever the reason, though, it most definitely is not an increase in freedom.  It is a loss whenever the decisions of life are made by someone else.

          1. PrettyPanther profile image85
            PrettyPantherposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            I completely disagree.  My friend is now much more productive than she was in the U.S. because she was free to explore her own strengths without the confines of a dead-end job.  She has contributed much to her community including reviving the art culture which, in turn, contributed to a dramatic increase in tourism in her small town.  She can afford to hire a gardener and a housekeeper as well as contribute to local charities.

            One could argue that if she were sufficiently resourceful she could have done all of that here in the U.S.  The point is that she did not feel that she could, given the cost of health care and the needs of her family, so she didn't.

            "Maybe they want someone else to pay the cost for them as in the case of your friend.  Maybe they don't feel competent to make decisions and want govt. to do it for them.  Maybe they're just too lazy to investigate options and want a father figure to make those decisions."  You are wrong, wrong, wrong, on all counts.

            1. wilderness profile image96
              wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              I don't follow you, PP.

              "The point is that she did not feel that she could, given the cost of health care and the needs of her family, so she didn't."

              How does that not mean that she wanted someone else to pay for the health care she wanted?  She wanted it, didn't think she could afford it (although it sounds like she was mistaken about that) and thus went to Canada where she could arrange to have it paid for by someone else.

              Which is exactly what I said.

              1. John Holden profile image60
                John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                Who is that somebody else and how did she avoid making any contribution to her own health care?

                1. wilderness profile image96
                  wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  If she can pay for her own health care she can do it in either country.  If she can actually cover the cost of even her insurance she can do it in either country.

                  Apparently, she could not (or did not expect to be able to) and thus went to Canada where other taxpayers will do so for her.  Presumably she did make a contribution (through her taxes) but it was apparently less that the actual insurance would have cost in the US or she would have stayed here.

              2. PrettyPanther profile image85
                PrettyPantherposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                She is a contributing member of society, paying taxes like everyone else.  Why do you think she did not contribute to the cost of her own healthcare just because it was provided by a government?  In fact, she now contributes much more than she ever would have had under other circumstances.

                1. wilderness profile image96
                  wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  I'm at a loss here.  Unless the actual cost of health care is less in Canada (not the cost to her, the total cost) then she decided she could not afford it in the US and went to where it would be subsidized by others.  Somebody has to pay the cost and she couldn't. 

                  Simply because the govt. is doing the subsidizing, from the tax base, doesn't mean it's cheaper.  There is simply no other way to view it.

                  1. PrettyPanther profile image85
                    PrettyPantherposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                    Well, I don't know her exact circumstances, but there is plenty of evidence to show that government-run health care in other countries is less expensive than it is here in the United States.

                    I understand what you are saying.

        3. innersmiff profile image79
          innersmiffposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          You're mixing up 'freedom', and liberty, in the only enforceable sense of the word, i.e. negative liberty. 'Liberty', big L, states that one cannot have the 'freedom' to kill, assault or steal from another individual. In order for someone to have the 'freedom' of 'free healthcare', another person's individual rights have to be violated. Why? Because that person HAS to provide a service in order to give another person positive freedom. You cannot say you are free if you are forced to perform a service for someone at the point of a gun.

          With your example, it is important to point out that many are leaving Canada because they cannot find a business to hire them because they can't afford to hire them AND provide full insurance. More freedom for some, less freedom for others. The only truly consistent and enforceable freedom is negative Liberty.

          1. John Holden profile image60
            John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Bunkum!

            That would only make any sense if for one person to be provided with health care, another had to do without.

            As it is everybody contributes what they can.

            1. innersmiff profile image79
              innersmiffposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              But then we're only defining freedom in terms of how much healthcare we have instead of real individual liberty. What if some people don't even want free healthcare?

              1. John Holden profile image60
                John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                Then if people don't want free health care they don't accept it, simple!

                By the way, where do I get this free health care? Not in any country that I know of.

                1. innersmiff profile image79
                  innersmiffposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  Here is the violation of individual liberty: socialised healthcare is justified by the notion that it is a contract, in that we pay taxes in order to receive certain services from government. Those individuals who do not receive the services, and do not want to, are still forced to pay for them!

                  Good for you for recongising that healthcare cannot be free. I'm referring to socialised healthcare.

                  1. John Holden profile image60
                    John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                    No, wrong again. The service is funded out of taxation but there is absolutely no obligation to pay taxes to receive health care. There is no contract beyond the health service promising to treat us whatever our financial situation.

                    Those who do not want to receive the service still benefit from it. How many nurses and doctors are trained by the private sector in the UK? I'll give you a clue, you won't need any fingers to count them on.

                  2. Josak profile image59
                    Josakposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                    Nope they are not forced to so long as they do not receive the benefits of them, if a person decides to simply subsist on a farm without receiving any aid he will pay no taxes even though should he get sick he can go and receive socialized care.
                    On the other hand people who live in a society protected by free healthcare must pay for that privilege or abandon that society.
                    "The people" through the borders of their nation own that land by right of sovereignty and have the legal and moral right to place restrictions on who can live there and how they should do so and thus secure their own quality of life and be able to choose how they wish to live.

          2. PrettyPanther profile image85
            PrettyPantherposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            As with all things, one can choose to live within the system or not.  If you don't like living within the system, then you can try to persuade others to see your point of view so that the system will inevitably experience the change you want.  This, of course, requires that you live within the system and enjoy the benefits as well as the disadvantages.  Alternatively, you can leave that system and go to another that better suits you.  Or, you can opt out altogether.

            The point is, we all dislike parts of our system, but to claim that you have to provide health care at the point of a gun is ludicrous.  If the people within the system want it that way, then you have a choice to work within the system or opt out of it.  No one is forcing you to participate at the point of a gun.

      2. innersmiff profile image79
        innersmiffposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Because in order to enforce a 'greater good' one necessarily needs to violate the rights of some individual. You're going to have to expand on what you mean.

        1. John Holden profile image60
          John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          But to enforce the rights of an individual will mean violating the rights of another unless the collective decided which rights apply to all.

          I don't see how I can expand on what I've said without going into pages of waffle. Individual freedom is predicated on collectivism, simple. Unless of course your individual liberty extends to living in a cave, eating nuts and berries etc etc.

          1. innersmiff profile image79
            innersmiffposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            A society can voluntarily come together and decide which rights apply to all, sure. But the collectivism I mean is when that society seeks to impose their ideas on other, non-consenting parties, because 'the majority wants it'.

            1. John Holden profile image60
              John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              But that isn't collectivism, more like fascism.

              1. innersmiff profile image79
                innersmiffposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                So you admit that all governments are fascist? Now we're getting somewhere tongue

                1. John Holden profile image60
                  John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  But I don't admit that government is intrinsically fascist, just those governments that are run by corporate capitalists.

                  1. innersmiff profile image79
                    innersmiffposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                    You've just described 'fascism' as societies that seek to impose their own ideas/rules on others. This exactly describes democratic states, not just corporate dictatorships: at least 51% of the people want something, therefore 100% of the people need to abide by it. Just because it isn't one racist guy as a dictator doesn't make it any more moral.

  3. 0
    Sooner28posted 3 years ago

    True liberty to me is being free from dependence on an employer for your very livelihood. 

    How many doctors, physicists, poets, artists, or engineers never become because they start out in poverty and are never able to escape?  A society where all the basic necessities of a human being are met would unleash the true potential within all human beings.

    1. PrettyPanther profile image85
      PrettyPantherposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Ah, but she is a successful artist now, in large part because she was able to weather having little money as long as she had the security of knowing she and her family could get health care. 

      But, yes, I completely agree that true potential is more likely to be realized when one is not worried about basic necessities and also not chained to another's goals.

      1. John Holden profile image60
        John Holdenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Exactly. Her and her family were a collective!

      2. 0
        Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

        It could be even better, but I think your example is a good one of what I am saying.

        You can't really develop your mental faculties very well if you are constantly drained from a job you hate that barely keeps you out of poverty, or if you fear bankruptcy from an expensive surgery.  People need leisure time for reading and self-reflection.  Most of us aren't afforded that luxury.

        The 40 hour work week is a step towards that, but did you know the Senate initially passed a 30 hour week, and then the House didn't like it, so they bumped it up to 40?  Just shows how arbitrary some people's definition of "normal" truly is.

    2. wilderness profile image96
      wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.  It sounds nice, it sounds great, but the majority of people will simply sit and stare at a glass plate instead of achieving their potential (unless the claim is that that IS their maximum potential?).

      Were it not so, we wouldn't have our inner cities filled with slums and graffiti (is that graffiti their maximum potential?).  The people's basic needs are met, they are housed, fed and clothed, but instead of learning, working, producing, etc. they sit.  That and join gangs...

      1. PrettyPanther profile image85
        PrettyPantherposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Wow, stereotype much?

        1. wilderness profile image96
          wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          No, just experience with people. 

          Young people I've been acquainted with aren't real interested in "improving" themselves or maximizing their potential - just beer, TV and sex.  Maybe a nice motorcycle ride through the desert.

          Older people are some better, but there's still an awful lot of the same thing.  Very few will actually use their free time to improve themselves, either by learning OR producing (invention, art, whatever.

          True, the ghetto thing IS a stereotype, but how many ghetto dwellers produce great art?  Or music?  Rebuild their tenements with beautiful woodwork?  Or do they hit the bar, have a nice fight and a great joint and go back home until tomorrow?  Sure, some of the graffiti is really (really) great, but the vast majority is something a 5 year old could do better.  No effort to make something beautiful, just vandalism.

          1. Josak profile image59
            Josakposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            It's pretty brutal stereotyping I also doubt it is statistically accurate, I don't know the statistics in the US but in Australia almost 70% of young people get a university or polytechnic (trade specialty) education and many of the rest of those are I imagine employed, looking for work or otherwise usefully and creatively engaged.

            1. wilderness profile image96
              wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              No, no.  You missed the part about all needs met.  Whether by job, charity or whatever, all needs are met and a job isn't needed.

              Or, if a job is what is meeting those needs, then time outside of work. 

              IMO, few people will actually make an effort to improve themselves once they have their needs met.  We all want more than minimum, and most demand and will work for something more, but the effort to improve ends fairly early in life.

      2. 0
        Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

        So starve people to death to motivate them to become the servants of others? 

        It's no surprise we are on the brink of nuclear wear, and our environment is being destroyed when our economic system has such an enlightened basis.

        1. wilderness profile image96
          wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          The commonly discussed option is to remove any reason to produce more from others, whereupon they quit trying and join the ranks of the non-producers. 

          Stripped of the emotional arguments (servants of others) the basic, simplistic answer is yes.  If that's what is necessary to convince people to support themselves rather than simply live off the charity of others.  The option is to drive the entire country back to third world where starvation is a daily occurrence.

          Of course, that should not be necessary, and personally I don't think it is, but the answer is not to put half the country on charity, either, and that's exactly what we're doing.

          1. Josak profile image59
            Josakposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            About 95% of welfare recipients are either working households who need help to make ends meet, Veterans, Disabled and elderly. This half of the nation on charity simply does not exist it amounts to 4 or 5% at most.

            For many of them jobs simply do not exist, as it stands we do not have enough jobs to meet the unemployed numbers. So when we further account for people who are actually looking for work we have a truly insignificant portion of the population and a pretty insignificant figure in spending.

            All of this is not I will add the fault of social programs but of two factors 1) the massive economic collapse caused by the irresponsibility of the banking sector which was only possible due to the lack of regulation on this irresponsibility caused by backwards laisez faire thought. 2) The capitalist system itself, socialist and communist systems state that "he who does not work neither shall he eat" (I believe this was even in the USSR's constitution), under socialist systems people can be offered a job and if they refuse it receive no welfare at all.

            Welfare is a system necessitated by the inefficiency and inhumanity of the capitalist system, to avoid people simply starving and the moral, criminal and social consequences of such capitalist systems require welfare, then they have the nerve to blame it on socialism.

            1. wilderness profile image96
              wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              Veterans can work like anyone else.

              The disabled and elderly can sometimes help support themselves, sometimes not, but either way do need help.

              Josak, where can I see the breakdown in the 95% number?  To be frank, I simply do not believe it, not even if it includes such things as EIC.  School lunches might bring it up to that, but few of those are actually necessary, either.

              1. Josak profile image59
                Josakposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=3677

                91% but it does not include Veterans an additional 4% goes to veteran spending.

                Which leaves us with 5%

                Depending on how pessimistic you are everyone must concede that a fair portion of these are genuinely looking for work (given that we know so many people have been laid off I would say it's the majority) which leaves us with an even tinier fraction.

                This is in the midst of the recovery from an economic crisis.

                Not to mention that far from being the fault of the left this is entirely due to a reliance on the capitalist system that conservatives support, they bear the full responsibility for this spending existing at all.

                1. wilderness profile image96
                  wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  OK, I wasn't following what you were saying - I understand what the figure actually refers to better.  Stupid misunderstanding on my part.

                  I guess that my biggest gripe is that far too much of that is going to something beyond basic living needs.  Plus, of course, the 5% that could work and don't.  Nevertheless, some startling figures (to me at least) and I think I need to back up some.  Not to square one - there is too much fraud and too many stupid requirements and loopholes, but to at least some degree.

                  1. Josak profile image59
                    Josakposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                    I have to give you credit for being both gentleman and sensible about it. There is an awful lot of exaggeration about these issues.


                    I would also like to reiterate that those 5% are often not sitting around leeching but actively looking for work in the wake of being laid off, keeping those people fed in the meantime is obviously essential both morally and for their eventual economic benefit.

          2. 0
            Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

            What do you call it when your behavior is controlled by another for 8 hours a day, and you must endure this because you have to eat to survive?  I think calling it being a servant is a kind description.  Can you buck your boss and tell them they are wrong, and make your own independent decisions?  Try and it and see how long before you are fired.

            In a society where you know your work is contributing to helping others or raising standards of living, and not just making executives rich, the motivation to work will still exist for most people, and for the small minority who it doesn't, society will be rich enough to accommodate.  We can already feed everyone NOW, with current productive capacity.

            There are artists, writers, charity workers, teachers, and many other jobs that don't pay at all but people still do them to the best of their ability.  Then there are the people who work minimum wage, and they still cannot afford to survive without living in very cramped housing with other minimum wage workers, or living off of welfare (which is why many wal-mart workers are on welfare, even when they work full time).  These people play the capitalist game and can therefore expose its myths most readily.

            What is the motivation for all of these folk?  Work is supposed to be a meaningful aspect of life, not something to be dreaded and avoided.  But, under our current capitalist system, for many people (not all), work is a monotonous, unpleasant endeavor.  It doesn't have to be, and can be something that is internally motivated.  Was Einstein or Hemingway motivated by riches?  Clearly not.

 
working