Perspectives: Individualism, the solution to what ails us

Keziah Daum in her controversial prom dress. Undated. | Photo courtesy Twitter, account @daumkeziah, St. George News

OPINION — The biggest divide in our society today isn’t necessarily a political one. It’s not red states versus blue states or even left versus right, one political party versus the other.

The most significant divide we face is an ethical one that comes down to the individual versus the collective.

In a nutshell, individualists believe in respecting the sanctity of the inherent rights of every individual without regard to their race, sex, religion or credit score. As living, breathing human beings, we have natural rights that absolutely limit the power of others over us.

Collectivists, on the other hand, hold that our rights are communal in nature and subject to the whims of the majority. This means that collectivism is willing to sacrifice the rights of some individuals for the sake of a nebulous “greater good” enjoyed by the majority.

You can guess which side of this equation is obsessed with trying to control the people around them and which one is content to let others peacefully make their own choices.

When it comes to providing genuine solutions to the various challenges that are a part of modern life, individualism is a better bet than collectivism. A handful of of principled individuals can exercise greater positive influence than a large herd of pliable followers.

This is because of the undeniable power of example and the fact that individuals who persuade and inspire us to voluntarily stand for something, change hearts and minds in ways that mere threats of force can never do.

For this reason, collectivists have sought to gain control of as many societal institutions as possible, for the purpose of training us out of our individuality. Guilt and fear are their favorite tools to manipulate us into doing their bidding.

As G. Ed Griffin points out:

Because individualists do not accept group supremacy, collectivists often portray them as being selfish and insensitive to the needs of others. That theme is common in schools today. If children are not willing to go along with the group, they are described as socially disruptive and not good “team players” or a (sic) good citizens. … But individualism is not based on ego. It is based on principle.

This is one reason why collectivists are so fond of using scary labels in a desperate attempt to keep us off balance and divided. It’s also why they are often practitioners of a particularly loathsome form of collectivism known as identity politics.

An excellent primer on the history and goals of identity politics can be found in an article by Matthew Continetti titled “The Problem of Identity Politics and Its Solution.”

We saw an example of this mischief play out last week in Utah as a student named Keziah Daum found herself being castigated by social justice collectivists over the dress she wore to her prom.

When Daum posted four snapshots of her prom night to Twitter, she was accused of “cultural appropriation” by a foul-mouthed young man who chose to be offended by the dress she wore.

 

Her dress wasn’t overly revealing or disrespectful in any way. It did, however have Asian influences and Daum is not Asian.

How much crippling resentment does a person have to harbor to see a young woman in a lovely dress as a symbol of oppression and mockery? To group identity collectivists, failure to see Daum’s choice of clothing as some sort of micro-aggression against all Asians constitutes a provocation that should have everyone howling with outrage.

When someone is that intent on finding offense for the purpose of wielding weaponized guilt as a tool to gain control over others, it’s a no-win situation. The best thing we can do is refuse to play their silly game.

The way to get through this ideological swamp is to instead focus on becoming the best individuals we can be.

When we are engaged in our own individual hero’s journey rather than hissing and spitting over our preoccupation with who or what we resent, we become a civilized force for good rather than more division.

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson spells it out:

I think that’s the way you show people the right path forward, too. You say, well look, we would like it so much if you could thrive as an individual. Drop your cult-like affiliation. Step out of the shadows, the demonic shadows of your ideological possession, and step forward as a fully-developed person into the light. Do it by example. That’s your best bet, man. That’s what it looks like to me.

Collectivism absolves us from personal responsibility and encourages us to stagnate in our development. Heroic individualism requires that we have skin in the game.

The higher our objective, the more refined our methods should be to achieve it.

A better world starts with the conscious refusal to surrender our sovereignty to collectivism of any sort.

Bryan Hyde is an opinion columnist specializing in current events and liberty viewed through what he calls the lens of common sense. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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31 Comments

  • Brian May 7, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    Maybe if every conservative girl in America wears an Asian dress to prom it will be enough to cause a snowflake mental-implosion and they can reboot to a more sane mentality…

    • RadRabbit May 7, 2018 at 4:13 pm

      Or just go into complete meltdown either way is fine by me.

    • No Filter May 7, 2018 at 4:17 pm

      How is this a liberal thing?

      • Brian May 7, 2018 at 11:27 pm

        Because literally no conservative in history has ever accused anyone of cultural appropriation for anything, at least with a straight face.

        • No Filter May 8, 2018 at 8:31 am

          Blaming this on all liberals is like blaming the KKK on all conservatives. We all know we have extreme sides of each political party, and unfortunately the only thing the news shows is what each extreme does because it makes for better entertainment and we can all admit that the news has become entertainment on both side of the news networks and not news.

          • Brian May 8, 2018 at 9:58 am

            Agreed on extremism in the news. However, faux outrage over cultural appropriation is entirely coming from liberals. Not all liberals buy into the cultural appropriation idiocy, granted, but those who are crying cultural appropriation ARE liberal. Sorry, that’s reality.

            And yes, blaming the KKK on all conservatives (or ANY conservatives) would be dumb, because it isn’t tied to either party and is far too prominent in both. Some conservatives say the KKK was “started by democrats”, which is technically “true”, but doesn’t reflect “the truth” or reality since the party lines as we know them today were very different back then. Those going by the name “democrats” back then may have started the KKK, but the ideologies of both parties have changed so drastically as to make that a meaningless point to make. Racist idiots started the KKK, its still populated by small-minded racist idiots today, and neither party has done enough to distance themselves from them (and others just like them, like the Nation of Islam) except as its politically expedient in the moment, which is shameful.

          • No Filter May 8, 2018 at 11:45 am

            I believe until we get rid of both political parties we are going to be doomed in the ways of whoever is in power at the time republican or democrat. We need more independent politicians that are not in it for the money. We need the best of both parties merged into one. We need strong defense, but not wasteful spending. We need diversity and less hate crimes, but not extreme groups like the black lives matter or the Neo Nazi’s. I think we need to come together for a common good, much like our views on this.

        • John May 8, 2018 at 10:01 am

          clogged filter is clueless, no use arguing with the little boy! He also thinks the NRA is responsible for mass shootings and AAA is responsible for drunk driving. Typical brain washed liberal.

          • No Filter May 8, 2018 at 11:59 am

            Do tell how you came to that conclusion? The NRA is not responsible for mass shootings, but they are responsible for stopping our elected officials from finding gun laws that work and can save lives by threatening to take campaign money away. Not once in all the time of commenting on this news website have I ever said that the NRA is responsible for mass shootings or that the government should take all our guns away. So why don’t you crawl back in your hole and keep quiet. No one but yourself cares what you have to say.

  • RadRabbit May 7, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    By the rules of Collectivism someone should tell President Xi Jinping of China to stop wearing a Western suite and tie cause its not his culture. But honestly who cares wear what you want if someone doesn’t like it oh well, her dress looked good and who knows maybe other girls will wear it now too as they should be free to do so.

  • bikeandfish May 7, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    “Guilt and fear are their favorite tools to manipulate us”

    Pot, meet kettle.

    Hyde just fundamentally seems to lack nuance. The prom dress viral explosion offers many lessons that crosses many ideological boundaries. That said, I’m not sure an absolutist “us versus them” regarding individualist versus collectivist is one of them.

    Hyde is a fear mongering demagogue through and through. Its gotten boring.

    • NotSoFast May 7, 2018 at 6:35 pm

      your out to lunch boy. What made you use a ‘bike & fish’ handle? Must have a new shiny Moped and a new Harley hat given to you by social services if you walk in step.

      • John May 7, 2018 at 7:30 pm

        bikeand fish is always long winded, clueless to reality and usually way off the actual point.

      • No Filter May 8, 2018 at 8:39 am

        Wow attacking someones name and not their views, that shows your true colors. Maybe we should assume that you ride a medical scooter because you are NotSoFast. Or maybe that you are dumb and NotSoFast at reading or decision making. Come on St. George you need a better class of conservative, no wonder people think you are close minded and old fashioned.

        • John May 8, 2018 at 11:26 am

          Go cry someplace else, bambino!

          • No Filter May 8, 2018 at 12:01 pm

            I am so happy you are back to the comments section John, it is not the same without having the village idiot around to entertain us.

          • John May 8, 2018 at 12:55 pm

            I know what you mean, you are here, bambino ! Keep up the childish stupidity! and get that filter cleaned, it stinks!

          • No Filter May 8, 2018 at 2:31 pm

            Sorry lumpy, “no filter” means I hold nothing back, just going to have to deal with it or find another news source to troll. Besides think of all the money we are making the paper for all the views we get for them. Maybe we should be on the payroll!

          • John May 8, 2018 at 5:47 pm

            no filter means you believe anything your masters tell you.. hahahahahaha! clueless as always! Your intelligence level does not speak well even for a liberal. 2nd graders like you shouldn’t be allowed to be on the internet. Educate yourself before you comment. What a sheep you are !

  • commonsense May 7, 2018 at 9:43 pm

    Collectivism in it’s extreme form is communism. It seeks to elevate some at the expense of others.
    Power is derived by making the individual impotent and requires suppression of indivual thought.
    It benefits the weak and fearful at the expense of the strong and creativie.

    Leftist influence on education teaches compliance and punishes achievement in the name of conformity, safety and societal norms. It encourages laziness and dependence. I agree that individual resistance and individuality must be encouraged.

  • No Filter May 8, 2018 at 8:32 am

    This was a tweet by a kid with some Asian decent, not the Chinese government. Do we really change our views on things because of a tweet from a child? That would be like the president using twitter to make policy decisions and briefing the country on the day to day workings of our government… O’ wait I forgot who is president, scratch that I guess we should listen to twitter, curse that white girl and her picking a dress based on how it looks and not if it is approved for white people.

    • Brian May 8, 2018 at 10:02 am

      And actual Chinese people living in China almost universally said she looked beautiful in the dress and weren’t offended in the least.

      There is a large segment of the rising generation who are addicted to offense, perceived injustice, triggers, etc, etc. Almost none of it has any substance to it, and they’re being used for political purposes and to further an agenda.

      • John May 8, 2018 at 11:30 am

        Clueless liberals, Gotta love ’em ! NOT !!! hahahahaha!

  • chris keele May 8, 2018 at 9:21 am

    There are just too many people that spend too much of their time worrying about what other people are doing, i keep hoping they will adjust and grow up soon.

  • commonsense May 8, 2018 at 11:16 am

    No filter your posts make no sense. Think about things before you write it down.

    • John May 8, 2018 at 11:32 am

      2nd graders have a difficult time making sense when they try to articulate more than one sentence at a time!

      • No Filter May 8, 2018 at 12:18 pm

        You have no room to talk, some of your comments look like they belong in a Dr. Seuss book.

        • John May 8, 2018 at 12:57 pm

          Hahaha, they are of a much higher intelligence than anything you have ever posted, waterhead !

    • No Filter May 8, 2018 at 12:15 pm

      You are welcome to not read them, I don’t mind.

      • John May 8, 2018 at 5:50 pm

        The day you can complete 2 sentences in a row that don’t contradict each other we shall award you with a new box of crayons and a stuffed unicorn to hold on to while you cry !

      • Lee Saunders May 9, 2018 at 9:40 pm

        He won’t go away until we all just totally ignore him. That would be a great start to improving the discourse of this medium.

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