On One Hand

July 7, 2005

A little rant. (Ok, a few rants)

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 1:24 am
Tags: , ,

“Individualism” is a religion. It’s a dogma. It’s an ideological opinion based on the illusion that “I” am utterly separate and undetermined by my environment. It is based on the illusion that “I” am utterly seperate from my biological wiring. It is based ont he illusion that “I” am in absolute control over my mind and my situation, and everything in my life is here by my own choice. Have that opinion if you would like, but admit that it is not based on reason or observation. Science does not support it. Consciousness is still a mystery; observation has not yet determined what an “individual” is, and probably never will. That which is not known by observation is belief and therefore falls under the category of religion.

I can agree to some forms of individualism. For example, if a person murders someone, his children should not be punished for being his children, because they didn’t do anything wrong. That’s rational. But it’s irrational to take an ideology that works in some situations and apply it to all situations. I’m tired of people using individualism as a given when it is not a given; no beleif is a given. I don’t want my government run by someone else’s religion.

Why do we continue to call people on welfare stupid as if it’s a valid argument against helping them out? It’s a matter of fact (and common sense) that 1/2 of people are of less-than-median intelligence. That’s not patronizing; it’s a fact. You can be a good person and still be dumb. People can’t choose to be smarter and suddenly understand Wall Street and engineering if they aren’t wired that way. They have been predetermined by their environments, by their genes, by things outside their control. As disempowering as this may seem, it’s the clear-cut truth. Disabilities exist, and at least 10% of the population has them. Naturally, some of these people will always need assistance, and it is logical to assume that the number of people who need permanent assistance will fall around 10%, because that’s the number of people who are disabled. If poor people are what you consider “stupid,” it doesn’t mean that they should be destined to unfulfilling lives unable to climb a corporate ladder because their skills do not suffice. Some hierarchy is practical; it’s obviously best to have people doing what they are qualified for. But people who will never earn more than minimum wage should be able to sustain themselves decently on a 40 hour workweek. DUH.

If you don’t think the government should provide healthcare and retirement to people, you have to force employers to, DUH. You need to be able to GUARANTEE everyone the bare essentials of life, DUH. I don’t care who you think should do it, but if you are against socialized health YOU NEED TO COME UP WITH SOMETHING BETTER. The Democrats came up with a partial solution to a problem, and the complete solution would be nationalized health insurance. If you don’t like that solution, don’t say “I think everyone should have healthcare but I don’t think that the government is the one to provide it” because that is a copout. You don’t get to say you think everyone should have healthcare unless you’re willing to support a plan to give it to them, otherwise you’re lying to yourself and everyone else about your own compassion. Don’t say government shouldn’t pay for healthcare until you have come up with the one who SHOULD.


People tend to like most people they’ve met. We often find that others have much in common with ourselves, and are constantly surprised to find ourselves having respect for a political enemy after we finally shake hands and talk. Somehow we do not carry the assumption over to people we haven’t met yet – we don’t reaize that they will be probably be much like us, too. Mr. Bush calls all the people he’s spoken to “my friend.” Politicians always do that. Get a clue, the people you haven’t spoken to are probably a lot like the people you have spoken to. We demonize the outgroup because of our own cognative dissonance; we don’t want to be forced to respect those people, so we make sure we never have to meet them by calling them evil or stupid or untouchable or so forth. Or we assume we know things about them that we don’t. Conservatives need to talk to more gay people, and quit making assumptions about why they are who they are. Libertarians need to talk to more poor people, and quit making assumptions about why they are who they are. And yes, liberals need to talk to more conservatives, and quit making assumptions about why they are who they are.

Finally, for the last time, individualism has nothing to do with individuality. I am a big fan of individuality. Every person has the right to be different, to express his or her struggles and joys in unique ways, to forge a path that diverges from the center. Every person is entitled to respect and consideration, no matter what. This is individuality. It has nothing to do with individualism. Individualism is the antithesis of individuality, twats.

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4 Comments »

  1. I guess it makes about 2/3 of us the antithesis of American lifestyle.

    Comment by ononehand — July 7, 2005 @ 5:33 pm | Reply

  2. There is something widely known as the American lifestyle but it’s only used as a derogatory term, and other than that I’m not sure that there is one.

    Comment by Anonymous — July 9, 2005 @ 4:49 am | Reply

  3. i like how you word your arguments.

    besides which, this completely gave a voice to a lot of things i’d been thinking of and did not know how to say or things i was not even aware i wanted to say.

    i agree with a lot of things you’ve said, but besides that, sometimes i’m scared there’s no “individuality” either – that the philosophy behind “individuality” is nothing more than a capitalist marketing tool, or maybe it wasn’t but now it’s made to be – how many different ways do we have to set ourselves apart from everyone else (and hence assert our individuality) than with the things we own, after all? it’s such a consumerist way of thinking.

    Comment by thislittleboy — July 21, 2005 @ 8:34 am | Reply

    • Well being who I am, and that is a person who hasn’t managed to be like other people despite a lot of trying, I think individuality and uniqueness are good. Diversity is inevitable in a society, so it’s good for a society to value diversity, whether diversity and individuality have intrinsic value or if they’re just granted aspects of reality. Respecting individuality certianly can’t hurt anything.

      Comment by ononehand — July 21, 2005 @ 8:49 am | Reply


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