Today, I want to reflect on two years of blogging: what have I learned, why I continue to post, and why you should be an individualist.
What Is Individualism?
“Individualism regards man-every man-as an independent, sovereign entity who possesses an inalienable right to his own life, a right derived from his nature as a rational being.” – Ayn Rand
Individualism is the belief that an individual’s sovereignty should be placed above the demands, needs, and wants of the collective or the state.
Politically, individuality can span a multitude of ideologies from libertarianism to anarcho-capitalism. The core similarity of these political and philosophical ideologies is the belief that the individual should have as much freedom of action as reasonably possible.
Individualism as a personal philosophy is, in my opinion, focused on helping the individual wield his or her personal tools to live life to the fullest. No matter your capacities or economic reality, it is always possible to live a healthier, more rational, and proud life where you excel at the very art of living.
In short, individualism answers the question: “How does one live a good life?” with the answer: “By my own means through my own volition.”
For two years, I’ve written this blog and have learned much about myself and the world. Today, I want to reflect on my personal growth by exploring why I believe individualism is important.
Why Individualism? Because Stronger Individuals Mean A Stabler Society
Individualism is about self-improving by pursuing concrete, fulfilling goals, by adhering to virtue, and by developing sustainable habits. As a personal philosophy, individualism focuses on strengthening individuals, so we are all able to handle difficulty with grace and ease. Furthermore, the more you focus on your own happiness and virtue, the more fully you can live.
The Limits of Collectivists Ideology
“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” – Frédéric Bastiat
You cannot have a healthy forest with dead trees. Similarly, you cannot have a stable society with broken individuals. Collectivists believe punishing or rewarding people based on arbitrary traits will improve everyone. History has consistently proven the collectivists’ ideals to be economically, morally, and logically bankrupt.
Additionally, your personal life shows the limits of the collectivists’ ideology. Have you ever become stronger because someone of your race increased their strength? Did acquiring your “fair share” of your neighbor’s money make you more frugal or industriousness? Or, did voting for more war or welfare make you and your community safer, virtuous, and more economically stable? Face it: you cannot transfer virtue, work ethic, character, or experience.
Collectivists claim they want to help people grow and improve through the coercive transfer of wealth and resources. However, their real goal is power. Collectivists, governments, churches, corporations, and institutions want control over the individual. Fortunately, power is difficult to maintain over a competent, responsible, and proud populace.
A Competent, Responsible, and Proud Populace
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. ” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Firstly, individualism is about self-improvement through the accumulation of skills. You accumulate skills to improve your economic future and pursue your life goals. Your friends, family, and community cannot study and learn skills on your behalf. Therefore, you need to learn how to focus, persist, and excel in the art of learning. The more you learn, the more competent you become.
Because individualism is about personal responsibility, you cannot force your neighbor to pay for your stupid mistakes. Therefore, the pressure is on for you to save for rainy days, stay healthy, and form communities with people who will help you. Everyone benefits when more individuals take responsibility for themselves and avoid pursuing destructive behaviors.
Lastly, individualism helps you develop rational pride. Pride is an earned appreciation for one’s personal achievements. Through individualism, you understand what you want to achieve and develop the steps needed to succeed. With collectivism, you’ll waste your life directing all your actions towards the “greater good,” and you’ll fail to do anything you want to do.
In conclusion, a capable populace means local issues are resolved more effectively without the need for a large, overbearing state. A responsible populace does not need to consult corrupt, greedy religious leaders. Furthermore, a proud populace does not fall for the belittling, insulting, and FOMO tactics of large corporations.
However, we can only achieve such a proud, capable populace by strengthening the individuals within the group. Collectivism cannot give you personal strength. Only individualism can.
Why Individualism? Because You Can Only Control Your Actions
Secondly, individualism helps you understand basic facts about reality. For example, you cannot directly control the world. You can only control your actions. Therefore, obsession with others will lead to your depression and downfall. Why? Because you want to change what you cannot change. Wanting what is impossible will drive you crazy as you direct your actions, thoughts, and feelings towards what cannot be.
Collectivists Want You To Go Insane Focusing On The World
Collectivists do not want you looking inward. They want you focused on everything else except your personal growth, peace of mind, and virtue. For example, look at the race hustlers and identitarians who want you angry and annoyed at others. They’ll hope you’ll blame your complex, nuanced problems on a group of individuals you’ve never met and know nothing about. If these racists can keep your eyes focused externally, you’ll demand more power over the lives of others. This false power will not improve your life, of course, but it will give the racist leaders you worship more control over you and others.
Take Responsibility for Yourself, and You Will Be Happier
“There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, the responsibility lies with you.” – J.K. Rowling
Furthermore, you cannot take your complex issues and lay them at the feet of others. Let’s say you can’t find a job. Blaming immigrants won’t change anything. Firstly, the job market is a complex subject spanning regulations, tariffs, industry changes, technological growth, and much more. No one aspect can adequately explain anything.
Furthermore, you don’t know anything about the people you’re condemning. A blanket accusation will only increase your bitterness and anger because you’re attacking a concept you can’t define. The less definitive your target of anger is (e.g., “immigrants”), the more expansive your resentment has to be to continue the attack.
But what if you start learning new skills, networking, and using your free time to help others? What if you save up money, so when a job loss comes, you’re not as desperate or terrified? I ask you, who benefits from such an arrangement? Who benefits from individuals embracing the difficulties of life with an intense focus and drive? You benefit, not the collectivists. Why? Because you have a plan, answers, and a purpose. You don’t need solutions from outside, simplistic forces. Instead, your virtues and character will deliver solutions to your complex problems.
Remember, collectivism is about change at the group level through coercion and force. Individualism is about self-improvement through virtue and sustainable actions. Collectivism locks you into inaction as you wait for the group to change. Individualism helps you focus on yourself and what you can control.
Improve Your Life On The Terms You Set, And By The Virtues You Follow
“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Therefore, you need to look inward. When you focus on your happiness, you zero in on what you can influence. Concentrating on what you control will calm your mind and allow you to approach difficulties with a healthier mindset.
Firstly, understand what you want to with your life. Your goals are not decided for you but are created through your thoughts, reflections, and observations. When you create the life you want to live, you become happier and less dependent on the insanity of the masses.
Secondly, build a sustainable life that requires little outside help and assistance. Collectivists do not care for sustainability. Look at the national debt or the endless wars, and you’ll have the proof you need. However, as an individualist, you need to create a stable life. Therefore, take care of your health, save money, build a community, and embrace responsibility. No one is going to save you. But you can save yourself.
Thirdly, understand, and follow the virtues. Virtue is moral excellence. A collective cannot be virtuous. Only an individual can. Therefore, focus on building your moral character by pursuing what is right and rejecting what is wrong.
Why Individualism? Because Individualism Has Improved My Life
Lastly, why should you pursue individualism? Because I am an example of the benefits of individualism. As a personal philosophy, individualism is about self-improvement through virtue. Secondly, it is a firm rejection of arbitrary identities. For example, when I was younger, I was placed in a box by everyone around me. This box made me an easy target for abuse, including abusive labels, such as “Oreo,” “Uncle Tom,” and “house slave.”
I felt trapped because I wanted to be more like my peers, but I saw how destructive their lifestyles were. However, when I read Ayn Rand in high school, I realized I could stand on my own two feet. I decided to choose my destiny and follow the path I’ve always wanted to pursue. I rejected the identities others placed on me.
By following virtue, I’ve decreased my anxiety, overcome my addictions, rejected abusive people and ideas, and become a father and a husband. I would not be here if I accepted the limitations collectivists wished to place on me when I was younger.
Through the years, I’ve realized how terrifying it is to let yourself be the final judge of your actions. To embrace responsibility instead of hiding behind your race, country, gender, or sexuality is intimidating. Identity, laziness, and distractions are comfortable but provide nothing substantial. If you wish to feel better about your life, future, and abilities, then you must embrace individualism.
“No action can be virtuous unless it is freely chosen.” – Murray N. Rothbard
Individualism is criticized constantly. People call it selfish, evil, short-sighted, unrealistic, and so on. However, they are revealing their own limitations. Most people cannot imagine living on their own two feet. They cannot imagine defining their lives on their terms, separate from the approval or disapproval of others. Furthermore, most anti-individualists do not like the freedom individualism would give their would-be victims.
However, the world is in chaos, and there are no clear answers to our complex problems. The loudest, most consistent voices are collectivists and extremists who believe identity should be the rule of law. Time and again, you can quickly see how individual merit, choice, and virtue are secondary to our culture’s insane collectivism.
Additionally, people are depressed, neurotic, and angry. They are bitter, lost, and terrified. Citizens have no answers, and their politicians and laws are corrupt. Yet, time and again, we hear the only way to solve complex issues is through the coercion of the state and the erasure of individuals. Sadly, collectivism, no matter the form, doesn’t work. As a philosophy, collectivism fails to answer tough questions about private property, individual merit, and virtue. Politically, collectivism succeeds in filling mass graves, spreading starvation, and destroying the innocent.
If you’re struggling to succeed, then individualism can help you. Never obsess over the group. Instead, focus on improving yourself, building a sustainable future, and helping others. The world may tear itself apart, but you don’t have to join.
- When did you first hear about individualism? What were your initial thoughts? What are they now?
- What collective are you apart of which others frequently judge you by? For example, are you frequently stereotyped because of your gender? How does such stereotyping make you feel?
- Do you ever find yourself erasing the individualism of others? Do you categorize people based o race, religion, gender, or “privilege?”
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.