Sunday 28 September 2014

The Individual Versus Individualism

The Individual Versus Individualism

Some people believe that their children will be like little copies of them, with similar ideas and interests. But what new parents find out quite quickly is that their little pride and joy is an individual. They like and dislike things all on their own, they don't need to be told. It's always interested me how some babies love men and how others find men scary and they don't want anything to do with them. Still other babies are more easy going and don't have an opinion about the matter. As they get older they expand the amount of things they have opinions about, clothes, toys, people.

It isn't a very radical thing to say to most people, that each person is an individual. It seems self evident. But what we might forget is that this individual thing isn't confined to people. Most things are in fact an individual, every animal, every tree, even every rock. Pick two random trees and examine them, you'll find that they are distinct from each other and that they are indeed individuals. Of course when we talk about individuals we are mainly talking about people. But just like trees, people share a lot in common with others of their kind. Because when you examined those two trees you would find that not only were there things that made them individual, but things that united them, that made them the same. That without a close look you most likely wouldn't be able to tell them apart. But even when every tree in the forest starts to look the same, you still know that each tree is an individual.

Society is very much like this, every person is an individual with their own interests, tastes and ideas. But we still accept, correctly, that we are not just individuals. We are a part of other groupings, a family, a dance troupe, an infantry platoon. The individual goes into making something bigger than themselves by joining together with other individuals. But one of the great paradoxes of human life is that while we are distinct individuals, hardly any of us want to be, we want to belong.

Liberalism has taken the reality of the individual in a strange direction. One that they believe is exciting and that we Conservatives find frightening. The idea of individualism, here the reality that the individual exists is pushed to it's extreme, not only does it exist but it is supreme. The individual not only has their own interests, tastes and ideas, but these things are more important than anything outside of the individual. It is a very selfish way of looking at the world. That our own desires and thoughts are more important than those of any others. That we only form families, or dance troupes or infantry platoons because we wish too. Not because these things are needed or because they are important and not because they allow us to belong, but because the individual chooses them. Nature has been reversed and the individual is supreme, society must change to accommodate the individuals individualism.

But there is a problem because society is made up of numerous individuals and individualism allows the most extreme and radical to express their individualism at the expense of every other individual. When someone becomes extreme in their behaviour or dress, in times past they were pulled closer to the average. Liberalism however always thought this was wrong and instead they believed in the autonomous individual. So now we have people with facial tattoos and we are all supposed to think this is right and normal. In another decade there will be another extreme practice and it will continue on and on. The individualism of everyone else is compromised to allow for this. The idea that there should be normal behaviour or dress, that there are limits to what the individual should do, is no where to be seen. Liberalism cannot see that individualism is only possible by constricting individuals because anyone who doesn't support a perpetual social revolution is denied their individualism.

When someone such as I says there should be limits to individualism, we are often attacked, even called Fascists. Which not only shows that they don't know what Fascism is, but it also shows the selfishness inherent in individualism. In Liberalism nothing it supports ever has any consequences, unless they are good. So when it is pointed out that individualism isn't freeing, it is instead a constriction, they simply deny it, after all how can such a thing be true. How could Liberalism be constricting? Individualism makes the individual supreme at the expense of society. But society is not separate from the individual, if it was then individualism might work, instead it encourages the worst in us and marginalises the best in us.

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