Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

05 April 2009

American Individuality, American Arrogance

Obama dislikes American individuality and he also dislikes what he calls American arrogance. America is truly distinctive in that we are the only country whose principles of governance state explicitly that the purpose of government is to secure the right of the people to their own life, liberty, and the pursuit of their happiness. None of these are group concepts. Only the individual has a sovereign right to his life, to his liberty, and to his pursuit of happiness. Obama resents this individual concept of rights and wants to force every man, woman, and child to subsume their personal right to the service of some group of people. He is fascinated by groups and by service. He greatly distrusts the self-interest of the individual.

Yet, we each and every one of us have to do our thinking with our individual mind, though some, like Obama, try to somehow submerge their minds in group-think. Each of us has our own individual life experience, which is always unique and never the same as that of everyone else in any group, not even one as close as our own family. Each of us is bound to have our own unique values and there is simply no satisfactory way to sacrifice those values and adopt some group consensus values as a replacement. Yes, we all have reasons to work within groups for various purposes and we do make compromises as need be and where it is rational to do so, but when all is said and done, we need to maintain our individuality and our own chosen values. Obama frowns on this because he believes this is arrogant and it does not serve his purposes of converting America into a socialist, group-think, internally and internationally sacrificial nation.

Americans have always relied primarily upon their own minds and their own experiences to become among the best problem-solvers in the world. They take on a task and focus on it and they try out ideas to see if they will address the problem. If something does not work, they will study the problem anew and then try another possible solution. They tend to have great confidence that they can get the job done with enough thought, experimentation, observation, and effort.

I have worked with many scientists and engineers from outside of the United States. Very many of them have expressed amazement that Americans are so confident of their ability to address technical and business problems. Some of them say they wish they shared this attitude, some say they wish this attitude were as strong in their home countries, and some are self-selected in coming to the United States in good part because they share this attitude and feel a bit out-of-place in their home countries. Some equate this confidence in our American know-how with arrogance and actually resent it.

In international political and military spheres, this same American tendency to believe in an active and a let's try this and amend our methods as we go attitude is also considered arrogance. Sometimes the complainer is a petty tyrant or some socialist who simply resents everything about America and what it stands for. But, it is also sometimes the case that our activity and confidence that we can get the job done is just strange to other peoples. Most of the people of the rest of the world have long traditions in which slavery and serfdom applied to most of the people of their culture. Most of these cultures passed through long nation-building phases with kings, aristocracies, and priests as the authorities in whom all sovereignty rested. The people had only such standing as these groups gave them and could not stand up for their individual rights. No such concept existed. You did as you were told to do, or you kept your head down very low. If you asserted yourself as an individual, you were certain to be challenged that your position in society did not allow this. In the best of situations, you had better have done something very right which would meet with approval from the powered elite. One mistake and your head was in a noose or under the guillotine. This cultural tradition leads to a very different worldview and a very different idea toward individual initiative. It also puts very real shackles on a man's self-confidence.

Sure, modern Europe is not Medieval Europe. Nonetheless, it is more socialist and culture-bound. It is more inclined toward group-think than is America. The role of the individual is much more constrained than ours has been, though Obama is trying very hard to change us into Europeans. To modern Europeans, Americans individually look brash and over-confident. Yet, when something important needs to be accomplished in world trade, in research and development, or militarily, look to whom most of the world tends to turn, including the Europeans. They turn to the can-do nation of brash individualists.

Obama wants to change this. He wants the United States to be just one nation among the 20 nations in the G20. He wants the United States to submit itself to the United Nations and international law bodies, who will become supreme over our own Constitution and who will not recognize the right of the American individual to his life, his liberty, and his pursuit of happiness. He wants Americans to submit themselves to sacrifices to be demanded by other nations ruled by socialists and by petty dictators. Symbollically, he even bowed to a Suadi prince at the G20 meeting. This is the end to American arrogance which he pursues. He has many allies among the American elitists of our day and among the elite and powerful of many other countries.

We are in for a battle royale if we insist on asserting our right to our individual rights. I do so insist. I hope you will also stand beside me in this terrible conflict to preserve, protect, and defend our individual rights and our Constitution. Unfortunately, we will have to do so against Obama, the Democrat Congress, most of the university elitists, and many elitists abroad. Let us be proud to be rationally arrogant!


Anonymous said...

being independent and think of oneself, though too much is bad though. but as long as we exist to survive and not step on somebody, american individuality is good... at least at a very early point in our lives we can already define what we want and how we can achieve it...

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

There is never a problem with being of an independent and rational mind. Being contrary for the sake of being contrary is not good. The concept of selfishness is used in many ways, but for most people seems to carry the baggage of being only interested in one's own arbitrarily defined interests and ready to ignore the interest of others. The rational and independent thinker will do a much better job of identifying his self-interest and he will almost always see there are great rewards for his self-interest in taking an interest in others. He is not a slave to their wants, but he sees many advantages in voluntarily working with, trading values, and sharing values with others to their mutual advantage. People who are good at identifying mutually advantageous ways to cooperate with others in a voluntary manner will commonly enjoy many benefits in pursuing their own values and their own happiness.

The key to enabling this freedom to seek out and work with others is to keep the role of government small. Government imposes upon each of us values of its choosing rather than allowing us to identify and pursue our own values. The fact that the United States has had a tradition of allowing the individual more autonomy to both pursue his self-defined values and to seek voluntary interactions with others, means that the American government's role and its interests are significantly different than those of most other governments. If our government's role and its interests are to be defined by the majority of other governments, then our government will no longer have as great a commitment to protecting, preserving, and defending the rights of the sovereign American individual. This is very bad.