Friday, December 03, 2004

The Voices of Individualism

Individualism as an action or belief has always inspired me. I consider myself to be an individualist. This is not a thing you hear too much about, except criticism, as if it were a quaint notion, and of no use in today's ever expanding "society" or "culture". I started looking for other female Individualists after reading yesterday about Isabel Patterson, and what turned up was Feminism. However, Feminism largely ignores their individualist members, focusing instead on the Socialist approach. The Individualist Feminists were labeled under Anarchistic or Libertarian headings. The main ideals were "self-ownership" and government protection for the individual's right to work, enjoy the fruits of their labor, to own property and defend that property from others, male or female. Morality was not part of the equation, neither was a specific social condition. Individualists by nature focus on the lessening of governmental controls. The government needs only to protect an individual's specific claim to his/her body, his/her property, and the fruits of his/her own labor. Although it may be aligned with feminism for a specific purpose, it need not be, as Individualism does not change whether it is defending the rights of women or of any other social class, since it is always, neccessarily, defending the rights of the individual. Conversely, it is whatever social movement is going on that requires the label of Indivualism to seperate out those members who are supporting the movement because they believe in the individual rights it will benefit. Notice how then they are labeled anarchists or libertarians. In other words, favoring lawlessness and disorder resulting from no government structure at all, or favoring anything and everything under the guise of free-will. There is even a lot of quibbling between Anarchists and Libertarians over who is what, and what constitutes Individualism. These labels are helpful only in discrediting the individual by lumping them together for a specific movement. Individualism itself is defined as:

a. Belief in the primary importance of the individual and in the virtues of self-reliance and personal independence.
b. Acts or an act based on this belief.
a. A doctrine advocating freedom from government regulation in the pursuit of a person's economic goals.
b. A doctrine holding that the interests of the individual should take precedence over the interests of the state or social group.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

-which is sufficient for my purposes and I think much more to the point without the drafty, umbrella terms of Anarchy and/or Libertarainism. What's more, although people will tell you Ayn Rand inspired the Libertarian movement, she did not agree with the loose term, and indeed said it sounded like a made up word. Leonard Peikoff has since denounced the Libertarian movement altogether and it is a central point in the division between ARI and TOC.
Therefore, to keep my point undiluted I wish it emphasized that what I am looking for is Individualism for Individualism's sake, and NOT Feminism, Anarchy, or Libertarianism.

I found an interesting aticle on what Anti-Individualists cannot know, which seems by nature of the double negative to say what only Individualists can know. I found a few Individualist blogs lowercase libery and analysis which look promising and which I have bookmarked. In fact I will probably end up making a list of all of these links, so that they can be accessible at any time from the main page. In the mean time I've started thinking I might move to Austrailia. Perhaps that will be the topic of the next post :)

"The philanthropist, the politician, and the pimp are inevitably found in alliance because they have the same motives, they seek the same ends, to exist for, through, and by others. And the good people cannot be exonerated for supporting them. Neither can it be believed that the good people are wholly unaware of what actually happens. But when the good people do know, as they certainly do, that three million persons (at the least estimate) were starved to death in one year by the methods they approve, why do they still fraternize with the murderers and support the measures? Because they have been told that the lingering death of the three millions might ultimately benefit a greater number. The argument applies equally well to cannibalism. "
-- Isabel Paterson, The God of the Machine [1946]


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