The Politics of Individualism

The right has a tendency to espouse individualism. However, while claiming the ground for themselves they discuss it largely in terms of making money and keeping as much of it as possible, something which of course is very limited in its reach and only of great importance to a privileged few.

When it comes to individuals in many another aspect of their lives, their arguments tend towards social engineering. The creation of a homogenous group of people who look the same, think the same, believe the same, act the same.

In other words, the right tends towards economic freedom and social controls, while the left tends towards economic control and social freedoms.

The legislature exists to maintain social standards insofar as people should not kill, steal, or in other ways transgress upon the rights and freedoms of other individuals in society. Beyond actions that do so transgress, I am not up for the idea of ‘community standards’ given these tend to mitigate against individualism and cultural diversity within a community.

I relish that diversity, both as an observer and as a contributor to it. But even if I didn’t, I wouldn’t feel that it would be right to enter into excessive forms of social engineering in order to try and bring about some idealised world suited to my own personal tastes for its comforting predictability.

A perfect example in my own life is my take on homosexuality. Two guys at it revolts me. End of. (Two women is another story, but let it pass). I’ve stated that fact openly to gay friends to their understandable chagrin, but they can miss the point along with those who would see their activities curtailed. Tolerance isn’t about “I like it.” That wouldn’t be tolerance, it would be choice. If I liked it, I’d be gay myself. Tolerance is about the fact that we live in a diverse world of diverse individuals with their own forms of self-expression, their own tastes, proclivities, cultural backgrounds, personal histories etc. If I want to live my life in accordance with the person I am, then providing I don’t hurt others in doing so I should be allowed to do it. I happen to detest beetroot. However, I do not want to live in a world in which others are banned from eating it. Neither do I want to live in a world in which eating it is made compulsory through legislation designed to inflict upon the entire population some sort of community standard.

I want minorities to have their rights because, in the end, we are all of us a minority of one. In expressing myself I don’t want to tread on anyone else’s toes, and I sure as hell don’t want anyone else treading on mine. If I am going to censure people on the grounds of my own personal tendencies, then I should accept the censure of others. Forget it. It ain’t gonna happen.

So, community standards be damned. My community standard is that of the individualist. I promise to stay the hell out of your face. In return, you can stay the hell out of mine.

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