July 10, 2020

In the news — the attack on individualism.

Having created a tag "the attack on individualism" — for reasons stated in the previous post — and gone back to find that subject in my archive, I wanted to look at the present and see how much of this topic was in the current news.

Here are a few things I found:

1. "Big Data Analytics Shows How America's Individualism Complicates Coronavirus Response" (UVa Today):
Painstakingly, and with tremendous amounts of data processed by 97 advanced computers, Jingjing Li, Ting Xu, Natasha Zhang Foutz and Bo Bian went county-by-county to track levels of individualism – measured by the amount of time each locality spent on the American frontier from 1790 to 1890 – and correlate individualism to social distancing compliance and COVID-19-related crowdfunding.... “We were astounded by the large magnitude of those numbers, because they suggest that variations in individualism could account for almost half of a policy’s effectiveness,” said Li, an assistant professor of information technology in the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce.
2. "Andrew McCutchen criticizes Yankees' hair policy: 'It takes away from our individualism'" (CBS Sports):
The Yankees' "appearance policy" has been in force since not long after George Steinbrenner purchased the team in the early 1970s. As the story goes, Steinbrenner didn't care for Thurman Munson's appearance during one singing of the national anthem, and he put in place the following mandates: "All players, coaches and male executives are forbidden to display any facial hair other than mustaches (except for religious reasons), and scalp hair may not be grown below the collar. Long sideburns and 'mutton chops' are not specifically banned."
3. "How Individualism Spreads Racism" by Jackson Wu (Patheos):
[In] “Why Can’t We All Just Be Individuals?” [Robin DiAngelo writes] "The Discourse of Individualism is a specific set of ideas, words, symbols, and metaphors –– a storyline or narrative–– that creates, communicates, reproduces, and reinforces the concept that each of us is unique individuals and that our group memberships, such as race, class, or gender, are not important or relevant to our opportunities."... Individualism allows the dominant group to claim everyone has equal opportunity and that success is possible through hard work. This criterion is then used to validate the status of members in the dominant group. At the same time, the individualistic standard justifies bias against marginalized groups, as though their lower status were the fault of their own laziness, immorality, or inferiority.... [A] collectivist mindset informs the arguments of many people in marginalized groups.... 
4. "Pope Francis warns society against reverting to individualism after the pandemic" (CNN).

5. "The difference between Trumpism and fascism" George Will (WaPo):
Europe’s revolutionary tradition exalted liberty, equality and fraternity until revolutionary fascism sacrificed the first to the second and third. Fascism fancied itself as modernity armed — science translated into machines, especially airplanes, and pure energy restlessly seeking things to smash. Actually, it was a recoil against Enlightenment individualism: the idea that good societies allow reasoning, rights-bearing people to define for themselves the worthy life.

Individualism, fascists insisted, produces a human dust of deracinated people (Nietzsche’s “the sand of humanity”), whose loneliness and purposelessness could be cured by gusts of charismatic leadership blowing them into a vibrant national-cum-tribal collectivities....

Fascism was entertainment built around rallies — e.g., those at Nuremberg — where crowds were played as passive instruments. Success manipulating the masses fed fascist leaders’ disdain for the led.... Donald Trump, an envious acolyte of today’s various strongmen, appeals to those in thrall to country-music manliness: “We’re truck-driving, beer-drinking, big-chested Americans too freedom-loving to let any itsy-bitsy virus make us wear masks.”

59 comments:

anti-de Sitter space said...

I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Quayle said...

It used to be “Do you thing!” Now it’s “Do only what we approve!”

chuck said...

America's Individualism Complicates Coronavirus Response

Yeah, right.

State/Territory Death Rate per 100,000

New York City* 276.8
New Jersey 173.1
Connecticut 121.6
Massachusetts 119.4
Rhode Island 91.8
District of Columbia 80.3
New York* 78.3
Louisiana 71.7
Michigan 62.7
Illinois 57.4
Maryland 54.4
Delaware 53.5
Pennsylvania 53.5

Kate said...

"We're truck-driving, beer-drinking, big-chested Americans..."

George. Stop staring at my boobs.

J said...

The specific really complicates the simplistic explanation of the general.see Kopi.

Fernandinande said...

"Wreckers and hoarders" by any other name would still be individuals.

Big Mike said...

to track levels of individualism – measured by the amount of time each locality spent on the American frontier from 1790 to 1890

Does that strike anyone besides me as a totally bogus way to measure individualism? 1890 was four generations ago!

Unknown said...

You know very well Ann that 'individualism' is just 'bourgeois philistinism' and a 'false consciousness'. 'We are all socialists now' - or so they say. We do everything 'collectively'. Don't forget the 'free love and comradeship'. This is our future.

Fernandinande said...

Here's a cum flask for George Will.

Lucid-Ideas said...

It's become something of a recurring theme, a recurring refrain these days:

Let's all become like the human ant colonies you find in Asia!

It's getting really tiresome, like a house song with 10-11 words as lyrics repeated over and over and over again.

Big Mike said...

George F. Will needs to listen to Hank Williams Jr. sing “A Country Boy Can Survive.”

“Cause you can't starve us out and you can't make us run
'Cause we're them old boys raised on shotguns
We say grace, and we say ma'am
If you ain't into that, we don't give a damn“

If it bothers him that we won’t tow his line, then George is just going to have to get over it.

PB said...

Oh how I miss Oscar Gamble's afro. When he out his cap on, it was a spectacular sight!

Sebastian said...

"Big Data Analytics Shows How America's Individualism Complicates Coronavirus Response"

Next paper: Big Data Analytics Shows How Western Individualism Boosted Economic Growth and Pretty Much Everything People Value Today.

Ray - SoCal said...

Jackson Wu should look in the mirror, since Asians are considered "White", and not true people of color.

I'm surprised that he is taking up space online that could be better used by a true person of color.

The common denominator of the people mentioned above is their hubris.

Unknown said...

Better computers, but still GIGO.

jaydub said...

The objectives of the progressive left are the elimination of property rights and individual freedom, two of the primary obstacles to socialism and communism in America. It is not possible to collectivize a society that can exercise freedom of choice and has the means to pursue happiness as individuals because progressive Utopia requires the government to define and dictate both choices and outcomes to the governed herd. Free people are hard to herd. Mavericks must be continually rounded up and returned to the herd or culled by the "slaughter houses," which currently take the form of the cancel culture, radical feminism, anti-whiteness, anti-success and anti-Western Culture. Hence, the open assault on individualism and the continual erosion of property rights is nothing more than battle ground preparation and a taste of what is still to come. Hopefully, the electorate will wake up while there is still time to maintain our freedoms at the ballot box because, as had been often said, "you can vote your way into socialism but you have to shoot your way out." But, whatever.

Sella Turcica said...

“‘What is life? Life is the Nation. The individual must die anyway. Beyond the life of the individual is the Nation.”
—Adolph Hitler

n.n said...

The Church's diversity dogma denies individual dignity and individual conscience. Diversity is the color judgment or inference of character from lower information attributes including race, sex, classes generally, including but not limited to racism, sexism. When diversity is combined with the Pro-Choice, selective, opportunistic religion, we have affirmative discrimination such as "some, select Black Lives Matter", allegations and inference of bloc racism, political congruence ("=") or selective exclusion, the Planned Parenthood protocol (e.g. selective-child, clinical cannibalism) - the wicked solution.

"Big Data Analytics Shows How America's Individualism Complicates Coronavirus Response"

No, what complicated it is the conflation of domains (e.g. social, political, economic), irrational prescriptions (e.g. distancing, masks) without context, social contagion (e.g. protests, social justice), Planned Parent, incomplete and insufficient information from primary sources (e.g. Wuhan, China).

n.n said...

Asians are considered "White", and not true people of color.

Many are white in appearance and many/most are "white" in behavior.

we, the colored people, newly emancipated and rejoicing in our blood-bought freedom, near the close of the first century in the life of this Republic, have now and here unveiled, set apart, and dedicated a monument of enduring granite and bronze,

"Colored people"

narciso said...


evergreen

https://pjmedia.com/columns/matt-margolis/2020/07/09/new-york-times-falsely-blames-churches-for-spike-in-coronavirus-cases-n624904

n.n said...

he objectives of the progressive left are the elimination of property rights and individual freedom

Marxist or class-based discrimination (e.g. diversity) including but not limited to racism, sexism.

Michael K said...

My comment was apparently eaten by Blogger again.

I merely pointed out that this is why gun sales are off the charts.

rehajm said...

There is nothing big data analytics can't poison.

rcocean said...

George Will, what a Bow-tied Joke. There's never been right-wing "fascism" in the USA, and the fascism of today labels itself "Anti-fascism". BTW, Does anyone know less about Trump, his supporters, or Truck drivers than George Will. That goof hasn't been out of his rich DC suburb in 40 years. He should just retire, but some 70 y/o Republicans probably still read him, cause he's so Smart.

But there is a drive for conformity, but its "good conformity" because its against "hate" and for "Community". Speech codes are good because the battle "hate". Censorship is good because "it protects against offending people", Firing people for not following the party line? That good too, because who wants to work with "Hate"?

Joe McCarthy had the right idea, he just had the wrong politics.

Joe Smith said...

The nail that sticks up gets hammered down...

rhhardin said...

I always look for the mob is actually thinking.

Spiros said...

Is the war on individualism about wasteful consumerism? About "selfish individuals" who buy big cars and big homes and go on yearly vacations? Maybe all the riots and looting and (in)discriminate violence is more about the environment then racism? Why are politicians and the journalists encouraging people to engage in flash mobs that destroy restaurants and department stores? Maybe, the liberals believe that hamburgers and American spending habits are immoral because they cause greenhouse gases or something?

madAsHell said...

Painstakingly, and with tremendous amounts of data processed by 97 advanced computers, Jingjing Li, Ting Xu, Natasha Zhang Foutz and Bo Bian went county-by-county to track levels of individualism – measured by the amount of time each locality spent on the American frontier from 1790 to 1890

Jingjing Li, Ting Xu, Natasha Zhang Foutz and Bo Bian. The last time we heard from this bunch they were piloting that 747 into the dirt at SFO.

Geoff Matthews said...

Yankees and sideburns?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjHOtxCRhnw

hombre said...

George who?

mikee said...

Raised as a traditional Catholic back in the 1960s, in high school (1977) I caused a ruckus in class by disagreeing with a pyramid of obligations presented to us by our English teacher. She insisted that we should put our obligations to others first, then our obligations to ourselves. It was in a discussion about either Moby Dick or her divorce, I don't recall.

I objected that the order should be: Our obligations to God, then to ourselves, and only then to others. My job as a Catholic was to love God, guard my immortal soul to allow an afterlife in Heaven with God, and then, only then, to do for others. I was roundly ridiculed.

A year later, I met by happenstance a young woman from that class who had become an evangelical Christian in her freshman year at Chapel Hill (aka, North Carolina's Sodom). She told me my little explanation in class had changed her entire philosophy of life. Having slow-danced with her once at a school affair, I was torn between joy at her still-heretical conversion to Christianity, and the knowledge that I had cost male students at UNC a lot of fun.

Praise God and live well.

Known Unknown said...

"Individualism allows the dominant group to claim everyone has equal opportunity and that success is possible through hard work. "

This is not really what individualism is, because Robin DiAngelo doesn't know jack shit.

Bilwick said...

And don't forget--individualism be racist! At least that's what the Black "intelligentsia" has been telling us.

Leland said...

It would help to defend Individualism if those on the Right refused to accept that they "defend Capitalism", when they really should defend "laissez-faire". Capitalism is a Marxist term that suggest Corporations (associations not individuals) run our economy.

Caligula said...

"America's Individualism Complicates Coronavirus Response"? Public health often conflicts with individual liberties (and thus individualism)? Well, yes it does. It always has, and always will. Because there is always a balance between collective security and individual freedom.


"Yankee's appearance policy takes away players individualism." Yes, and so? Team sports require a balance between supporting the team's effort and displaying your own individual talents by grandstanding. And, any employment that requires you to represent your employer (and not yourself) is also a tradeoff; why would they pay you to represent yourself?

"How Individualism Spreads Racism." And not just racism, but talent-ism! Why do you think teachers make students work in groups, if not to insure that the more talented and less talented alike are judged by the group average?

"Pope Francis warns society against reverting to individualism after the pandemic" But one must make a distinction between voluntary collectivism, and mandatory collectivism. Is an individual who chooses (sans coercion) personal abnegation, and then sacrifices himself for the group, not expressing his individual will by doing so?

"The difference between Trumpism and fascism"? I'm not even going to go there. It's not Trump advocating and supporting political street violence, or ruining people's lives and careers because at some time they may have said or posted (or thought?) something that bothered someone for some reason at some later time. Or who insist that racial/ethnic/gender identity is more important than anything else an individual may have said, thought, or done.

mccullough said...

The Yankees are the only team that doesn’t allow player’s names on the back of the jerseys (The Red Sox and Giants don’t have them for home jerseys).

If you want individualism, play golf or tennis singles.

Baseball is a team sport.

Bruce Hayden said...

“George Will, what a Bow-tied Joke. There's never been right-wing "fascism" in the USA, and the fascism of today labels itself "Anti-fascism". BTW, Does anyone know less about Trump, his supporters, or Truck drivers than George Will. That goof hasn't been out of his rich DC suburb in 40 years. He should just retire, but some 70 y/o Republicans probably still read him, cause he's so Smart.”

Make it 75 year old Republicans.

It should be remembered that AntiFA is, and always has been Marxist. The original AntiFA was Soviet funded to compete with the Nazis in Germany in the early 1920s. They were two competing versions of socialism. But is should surprise no one that this sort of authoritarian government is leftist, whether Marxist or Fascist. It is that commonality that allows both of them to use force to gain power.

Let me suggest “The Road to Serfdom”, by Nobel Laureate Hayek, for any here still believing that the fascists and their Nazi brethren were right wing. They were socialist, just like the Russian Communists, just disagreeing on some of the specifics of their socialism. Hayek wrote this contemporaneously with their big fight for dominance, during WW II, after having competed for the soul of socialism throughout the 1930s. And his view was unhindered by the historical revisionism that has sought to move the fascists of that time from the left to the right. I gave it to my next brother last Christmas, and he loved it.

Michael K said...


Jingjing Li, Ting Xu, Natasha Zhang Foutz and Bo Bian. The last time we heard from this bunch they were piloting that 747 into the dirt at SFO.
<

No, no. That was Ho Lee Fuc and Bang Ding Ow. Wey Too Low was there, too.

Richard Dolan said...

"Fascism was entertainment built around rallies ..."

Really? That's his summary of the '30s? The narrative, to say nothing of the metaphors, have gotten out of control. In the time of TDS, he would do well to find an editor who reads his stuff before someone pushes the 'publish' button.

Enlighten-NewJersey said...

1. Incomplete data and there’s no evidence that their selected variables correlate to individualism. “… correlate individualism to social distancing compliance and COVID-19-related crowdfunding.”
2. Personal appearance is part of the Yankee team uniform. A uniform jersey that only shows a number on the back and not a player’s name. A player’s individualism is there for all to see with their on-field play and personal performance statistics.
3. Why should we listen to the opinions of these two providing great examples of individuals spreading nonsense. Groups can also spread nonsense and any other horrible thing you can imagine.
4. Pope Francis warning the the world against returning to the "illusion of individualism" after the coronavirus pandemic ends. Did he arrive at this notion through group consensus? “We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for a moment that we're not alone.”
5. George Will coming to the conclusion that fascism is more interesting than something’s he’s made up called Trumpism. What nonsense. The hive mind is on the left. It’s on the right you’ll find the celebration of the individual. Trump represents and speaks to the individual and the right’s Americans have under our constitution.

Bilwick said...

Bruce Hayden writes:

"Let me suggest 'The Road to Serfdom', by Nobel Laureate Hayek, for any here still believing that the fascists and their Nazi brethren were right wing. They were socialist, just like the Russian Communists, just disagreeing on some of the specifics of their socialism. Hayek wrote this contemporaneously with their big fight for dominance, during WW II, after having competed for the soul of socialism throughout the 1930s. And his view was unhindered by the historical revisionism that has sought to move the fascists of that time from the left to the right."

Also would suggest, as supplementary reading, the chapters on Fascism in Erik von Keuhnnelt-Leddhin's LEFTISM. There are passages wherein Hitler sounds like your average "progressive bonehead.

wholelottasplainin' said...

rcocean said...
George Will, what a Bow-tied Joke. There's never been right-wing "fascism" in the USA, and the fascism of today labels itself "Anti-fascism".
*************

"During the 1930s Virgil Effinger led the paramilitary Black Legion, a violent offshoot of the Ku Klux Klan that sought a revolution to establish fascism in the United States.[22] Although responsible for a number of attacks, the Black Legion was very much a peripheral band of militants. More important were the Silver Legion of America, founded in 1933 by William Dudley Pelley, and the German American Bund, which emerged the same year from a number of older groups, including the Friends of New Germany and the Free Society of Teutonia. Both of these groups looked to Nazism for their inspiration.

While these groups enjoyed some support, they were largely peripheral. A more prominent leaders, Father Charles Coughlin, sparked concern among some on the left at the time. Coughlin, who publicly endorsed fascism, was unable to become involved in active politics because of his status as a priest.[23] Other fascists active in the US included the publisher Seward Collins, the broadcaster Robert Henry Best, the inventor Joe McWilliams and the writer Ezra Pound.
--wikipedia

So...peripheral.....but it existed. Coughlin in particular was influential in the 1930's, with an unprecedented radio audience of 30 million. He was first to label his ideas as "Social Justice".

Browndog said...

Michael K said...

No, no. That was Ho Lee Fuc and Bang Ding Ow. Wey Too Low was there, too.


You forgot the best of all-

Sum Ting Wong.

(It still cracks me up to this day)

n.n said...

The attack on individualism progressed under diversity, including sexism, racism, selective-child, and other color judgments and labels.

chuck said...

Coughlin in particular was influential in the 1930's

Coughlin was left wing. He was a Roosevelt supporter who broke with Roosevelt because Roosevelt had sold out to the bankers and corporations. He also founded the National Union for Social Justice (sound familiar?). And clan member Byrd was a Democrat. Don't nobody know nothin' anymore?

All history is biased, all left wing history is blatant lies.

chuck said...

Speaking of individualism, Coughlin was ahead of his time:

"We maintain the principle that there can be no lasting prosperity if free competition exists in industry. Therefore, it is the business of government not only to legislate for a minimum annual wage and maximum working schedule to be observed by industry, but also so to curtail individualism that, if necessary, factories shall be licensed and their output shall be limited."

Emphasis mine. In fact, Coughlin's NUSJ sounds much like Antifa, especially so now that antisemitism is back in vogue on the left.

JaimeRoberto said...

C'mon, man. Why won't you people just submit to being pieces on a chessboard?

Michael said...

Me White Fragility does not understand, or chooses to ignore, the large number of people who fled to the United States in order to escape the classified socio-economic caste system that limited their possibilities.

Krumhorn said...

What claptrap! The Declaration of Independence discusses in detail the individual rights and characteristics of each of us. These are NOT collectivist rights and characteristics. We are not, as a group, endowed by our creator with inalienable rights. These are specific to each of us. The success of this nation, which has largely led the world out of oppression, is specifically attributable to our individualism The race-baiting is producing terrible responses in ordinarily good people. This will not end well.

If we were to accept the argument that favors the will of the collective over individual decisions, then the argument for abortion swirls around the toilet bowl and follows other crap down the drain.

- Krumhorn

Michael K said...


You forgot the best of all-

Sum Ting Wong.

(It still cracks me up to this day)


Greatest hits of TV news.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

the answer is .... hivehind.

Drago said...

Krumhorn: "What claptrap! The Declaration of Independence discusses in detail the individual rights and characteristics of each of us."

Which is precisely why the left/LLR-left is out to cancel the Declaration and Constitution and entirety of the founding of the United States.

Bunkypotatohead said...

These opinion pieces imply individualists only come in one color...white.
Simultaneously, every other self defined interest group can organize to advance their interests, but if whitey dares to it's oppression.
Similar to that trap Althouse blogged about the other day.

M Jordan said...

George Will is a complete and total clown. Big words, small everything else. With all due respect, he really is an idiot.

Unknown said...

Agree with M Jordan. That last paragraph of Will's is a near-perfect mish-mash of thoughtlessness.

Friedrich Engels' Barber said...

The true history of anti-humanism is less racism than it is hate of the more able. I suspect that in the last century more people were slaughtered for being more able individuals than were for color of skin. And there we have it, the foundation of collectivism is envy, just painted over as fraternity and equality. And it is deadly. Better we are all dirt poor together, informing on each other if any dare attempt to improve (except, one must not forget, for the well-armed vanguard and the nomenklatura), than that the poorest be rich, just less rich than others. It is just a question of time before the revolution turns against "Asians" (well, of course, it is already happening in New York City led by Mayor Bill).

mishu said...

Anti-individualism perpetuates the crab in the bucket mindset. If any crab starts crawling out of the bucket, the crabs at the bottom of the bucket pull him back down. "How dare you think you're better than any of us!" It's just a pernicious as racism itself.

Tom Billings said...

In 2008, I finally gave up on the idea that China might still be allowed to blossom out from market freedoms to intellectual, spiritual, physical, and political freedoms, during an internet exchange with a Chinese gentleman who has claimed "I work in Singapore".

It was his phrase in his complaint about Americans, about "the American religious fetish with their individual freedom", that did it for me. Since learning about how much of the revenue of the media's holding corporations is coming from China, through the grasp of the CCP and its security organizations, I find the assault in those media on individualism no surprise at all.

Meanwhile, I will continue to back our "religious fetish", no matter what the academicized Chinese agents want us to believe.

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