Recent hours have seen the completion of my fifty-fifth year of faithfully generating carbon dioxide for the local population of plant life. I count (at least) three really close calls along the way but, through more than my share of grace, I survive and stubbornly maintain that…
…from it all I emerge an individualist – an unashamed individualist. But let me say also that I am an American individualist. – Page 6
I steal that quote again from my copy of Herbert Hoover’s American Individualism. (I highly recommend this short, and rather foundational, document to everyone. At less than $7 per copy it is a real bargain. Every once in a while I buy a small stack of them and give them away at work and other places. Help spread the word!) The themes buried in that brief passage above grow in importance daily in these trying times yet seem to fade into the background (or, are they snuffed out more and more under the iron heel) of the anti-individualist demands of Woke America. Truly an unfortunate choice by – as we are told – eighty-two millions of We the People. For as Hoover’s more comprehensive case tells us: “Salvation [from the undeniably demonstrated evils of socialism] will not come to us out of the wreckage of individualism.” – Page 53.
As I sit down today to consider this topic, I happen to be in the middle of listening to Antifragile (by Nassim Taleb) on my drives to and from work for the third time over the years. The mixture of themes has created quite an interesting stew in my mind. Time and time again through Taleb’s chapters I am struck by how fragile American society is becoming at all levels and how so many of the powers/forces involved are (intentionally?) pushing it in that direction. The counter force – American Individualism – is special and complex. Giving it at least thirty seconds of thought, the intellectually honest among us will realize that most of us inherently know this. But it stands, as it was and can only be established, on a foundation of a purer form of “individualism.” It is simply not possible for such a reaction to happen from the low-trust, fear-based starting point of a society under a more authoritarian control.
In all of my posting over the years, I can think of no other theme that better represents the key to this purer form of individualism than the one asserting my right to complete and utter indifference toward the intellectually un-serious social forces that are closing in all around us these days. That important masterpiece is reproduced below for your entertainment. Enjoy:
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What Is Owed: No More, No Less (July 5, 2021)
“…I don’t owe them my approval. What I owe them is what I owe any of you: my complete and utter indifference.”
So I wanted to mention this on Friday before getting into the big American holiday weekend but life just got in the way. But, now that I have a chance, I did want to report that I made it through a whole Pride Month within the confines of a cubicle farm at a major corporate entity that gives every appearance of seamlessly playing along with the game. As per my usual modus operandi, while all was completely voluntary, I did not avoid the posts and videos and various other content pushed our way. While all were framed from a very clear point of view, sometimes completely believable and sometimes questionably slanted, some of the content was truly enlightening. Aside from the extension of an appropriate theme of “acceptance” to also include the expectation of complete “respect” and “support,” as well as an insultingly stupid character in a fictitious video scenario intended to show just how bigoted everyone who doesn’t unreservedly buy into the agenda really is, all of it passed without even getting my blood pressure up. I’m glad it all makes some people feel better in some way or another. Good for them.
But that is as far as I intend to go. As relayed in the opening quote above, the Liberty for which I stand does not allow others to compel anything beyond “my complete and utter indifference” on such matters. Sure, they are free to ask for more and I am free to give more as I see fit. But to place additional demands on the American Spirit through government to society to employer is the new tyranny intent on crushing that spirit:
…the problem of liberty is no longer the problem of political liberty, of the struggle against a tyrannical regime imposing its arbitrary will on an oppressed populace. … The problem now facing liberty is a new form of tyranny, a “social tyranny” exercised by the populace itself over the individual. – Pages 75-76
It was not my intent but, now that I’m here, I cannot not continue down the Himmelfarb rabbit hole. She understood what too many today have either forgotten or never bothered to learn about the critical nature of that “liberty of thought”:
As liberty of thought is absolute, so is liberty of speech, which is “inseparable” from liberty of thought. Liberty of speech, moreover, is essential not only for its own sake but for the sake of truth, which requires absolute liberty for the utterance of unpopular and even demonstrably false opinions. Indeed, false or unpopular opinions are so important to truth that they should be encouraged and disseminated by “devil’s advocates” if necessary, for only by the “collision of adverse opinions” can the most certain of truths survive as live truth rather than “dead dogma.” – Page 78
And, taking this thought to its proper conclusion, she provided direction and proper context for pushing back against this growing push for “forced” approvals (i.e. beyond what is properly owed):
Even the qualification regarding harm reinforces the moral neutrality of society, for it is only in the case of harm to others, not for the “good” of others, that society can properly interfere with the freedom of the individual. And harm itself is further qualified by being limited to “direct,” “definite,” ”perceptible” harm… – Page 84
Alas, such insight may be good for friendly discussion purposes but quite useless against the growing forces opposed to such thinking. No doubt the future is not so bright for people like me.
Madam Himmelfarb was also correct in her greater context. But we are not just looking; we are marching rather deliberately into another abyss…and a very fearsome abyss it is. (Yet, isn’t that what Americans do?)
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For the curious minds out there, I will not fail to attribute the introductory quote above but I think it warrants broader context. Be warned: It is comedy material from the 1990s … do not read further if you know you cannot handle it.
I think so little of the variations in human sexuality that I refuse to treat homosexuals like Fabergé eggs. You’re part of the human collective; you too can be poked fun at; come, join in our reindeer games…
The only people I don’t tease are people who are defective; homosexuals are obviously not broken in any way, shape, or form. But, conversely, on the other end of the scale, I don’t owe them my approval. What I owe them is what I owe any of you: my complete and utter indifference. There is nothing more fascinating to me on the face of the planet earth than my orgasm and nothing less fascinating to me than your orgasm…
I don’t care if you have to strap a duck-billed platypus on your crotch to get off, you go right ahead. Just don’t ask me to borrow my platypus, alright. – A “do-it-yourself” transcription of Dennis Miller, Citizen Arcane (1996), 34:29
(EXIT CHALLENGE: Skillfully combining Gertrude Himmelfarb and Dennis Miller into the same post is no easy feat. I dare anyone to top that.)
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For the record, I fully expect to be tortured out of this stubborn position in some form or fashion before it is over. The “eighty-two millions” and the agencies in their corner who are fully and forcefully against my individualism are in position to ensure just that. Alas, being that stubborn and now so much closer to the end than the beginning, I am comfortable playing out the cards in my hand.
Into the abyss…