Tuesday, October 27, 2009

There Is No Nation of You

Independence is a largely overrated and even more commonly misunderstood concept. In America especially, we have an image of independence being synonymous with freedom and liberty. Indeed, becoming independent from tyranny did bring liberty. It is from this attitude, the founding spirit of America, that individuality has taken on cult status.

I support a modicum of individuality, but I think our culture takes it too far at times. It is almost as though we believe every person is a nation unto themselves, an entity apart from the whole which deserves sovereignty.

This is quite a romantic view. I agree it holds appeal, and it may hold even more appeal to those of us who see the corrupting nature of society. Government, religion, or even the very family structure itself can be seen as systems of coercion held together by nothing more than a threat of violence.

However, this is not an accurate assessment. Individual liberty is not a right; liberty is a gift. Liberty is not inherent within the natural order; liberty must be painstakingly built. None of what we have is possible through self interest alone.

We are not islands apart from each other. We are all connected. I hear you talking in the booth next to me about how you don’t want to pay for public schools because either you send your kids to private school or you don’t have kids… yet. Then, without even stopping to breathe, I’m sure you’ll launch into a tirade about how stupid service person are. Yeah, cut education… that will help.

Society operates and prospers because we cooperate, not because some jackasses think life is a competition to see who can accumulate the most stuff before they die.

I sometimes wonder how many Libertarians are parents. I am not a parent, but because I possess the emotion of empathy, I am also not a Libertarian. However, it is my understanding that something changes in people when they become a parent. The desire to support and nurture someone else supplants the drive for self-preservation.

This drive to help the weak, rather than prey on them, is the foundation of society. The more I read about Libertarianism and conservative economics, the more I see that it is anti-social garbage spewed by selfish bastards trying desperately to not only defend their intolerable misanthropy, but even to glorify it as a vaunted ideal.

People are not numbers. We cannot be computed. The tragic effects of conservative economics, the “self-corrections,” are not statistics. Millions are homeless and will be turning to crime as desperation mounts. There are real life consequences to the ridiculous nonsense not only spewed by these half-wit hoodwinks, but in the actions taken by those foregoing our future for short-term profit.

No one is born independent. When we enter this world, we are dependent. We rely upon the kindness and patience of others. We owe an incalculable debt to not only our family, but to society. Yet, society asks for very little in return… which is why it’s a pretty sweet deal.

Not many people are setting out into the wilderness to leave society behind. Nature is a cruel place. Nature doesn’t share. Nature shows no mercy. Society provides the comforts of living because people working together achieve more than people working alone, or even against each other.

Competition is another romantic idea; the notion that the best will come out on top. Of course, “best” is rarely qualified with any kind of definition. Perhaps by “best” they mean “best for profits,” because it’s certainly not “best for consumers.”

Last time I checked, plenty of financially successful companies are far from being the “best” in their industry: McDonald’s, Subway (yeah I said it, your sandwiches suck), Windows, Nike, Playboy, Starbucks.

Companies compete and some fail, but people do not dissolve into nothingness upon failure the way a company does. Society is not the marketplace for humanity. People cannot be made to sink or swim on their own ability like companies; it is the duty of swimmers to save those who are sinking, or risk getting dragged down with them.

BONUS: Song that inspired the post's title.

For some odd reason, comments may only be viewed for this piece if you click the post title.


  1. 'Sup Ginx

    You sound like a caring person, but believe it or not caring doesn't fall just into the hands of a certain political party or religion.

    Look, nobody likes greedy bastards that "think life is a competition and see what they can accumalate before they die" type of people. Well, except their heirs. BUT, he should have the right to do that if he does it with in the laws set up by his/her Govt. And also I like that greedy bastard type more than people who feel they are simply owed something or entitled to something simply because they are.....pick any reason.

    Also Ginx, what's wrong with being independent, that's not some anti-people stance more than it's a leave me alone with your red tape and bureaucracy stance.

    It's always been the same, bigger and more intrusive Govt. equals less independence for it's citzens.

    I will agre with A. Eden, nice piece.

    Peace out brown trout, feeno

  2. There is no individual independence. Where will your independence go the first sign of trouble? We all turn to others and rely upon other people, and it is a disingenuous lie to say that anyone but the hermit who lives alone in the woods is independent.

    You like the person who takes more than he needs more than the person who has nothing? You say "entitled," and yet the poor do not feel entitlement, only the rich do. The rich convince us they work so much harder and therefore are entitled to more, while the poor ACTUALLY work harder and ask for less, often not even getting that.

    Again, I am not a Democrat, but Republican ideology is nothing but garbage. I don't have to be a Democrat, Libertarian, or any party affiliation in order to recognize the smell of con artists.

    Big government... laughable. THERE IS NO SMALL GOVERNMENT PARTY! If you "oppose" welfare and therefore vote Republican, you've supported the military industrial complex far more, sending more money to bomb foreigners than Democrats were asking to feed our neighbors. Clearly, this is what Jesus would do...

  3. Ginx

    What is it with you people, oh yeah I just dropped the you people on you.

    First I'm not talking politics, politics is for losers. I am affiliated with no political party, although I would label myself a libertarian?

    Also please quit putting words in my mouth that make you feel better about yourself. I didn't say I like the person who takes more than he needs better than the poor. And I also didn't say that all the poor feel like they are entitled. I said "I like the greedy bastard type more than people who feel they are simply owed something because they are.....pick any reason.

    There are plenty of people in need who I feel a morale obligation too, but in all fairness Ginx, do you feel that every one that has less than you should make at least as much money that you do. And if your answer is no, then please tell me why the hell not.

    Why do you think I'm Republican, cause I'm a Christian or because I'm against welfare, (which I'm not a Republican or against welfare) I am against many of those who are getting funded. I am against the 75-80% of my tax dollar going to an agency that's dishing out that money, leaving such a small amount left over for those who actually need it. And then you want to laugh like I don't know there's no such thing as a small govt. type party. Sheez.

    Do you like the idea of every million dollars in tax dollars that's generated for food stamps
    that the poor only end up with maybe 250,000.00 dollars of it. That's what big govt. does. It feeds itself, it never runs out of rescources, it'll just take more from us. I wish I could just go cash checks that I couldn't cover with out any repercusions. Nope, not me, I have to learn to be responsible and leave with in my means. Sometimes I take the wife to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, sometimes it's McDonalds.

    I'll check back by later to see if you are still crazy.

    Peace be with you, feeno

  4. I'm unemployed. I do not file for unemployment or any government aid because I feel that is for people worse off than even me, who has a roof and food. I live off the kindness of others, and look forward to being given the opportunity (if my shitty society ever gets its act together and offers people of my generation any fucking JOBS) to one day return the favor.

    So to answer your question, I think people should be given more than I earn, because I earn nothing. I believe people should be provided the basic necessities of life if they cannot be acquired individually, and frankly shame on our society for having so many require assistance. It's a testament to several problems we have, from education to the worker/employer relationship.

    There would be more than enough to go around if those at the top were taxed at the same rate they were taxed from the 1950s through 1979. There is enough in the pie to go around, but not if the top 1% own half of everything.

    I'm sorry American education has failed you, both in your philosophical and grammatical pursuits.


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