The true principles of this country continually rest on the Individual and their taking responsibility and personal accountability. Government should above all adhere to the individual. The principles direct what we value as Americans. They direct how we should be governed. The principles of individualism are equality,privacy,and accountability.
~ Equality ~
Governance in individualism means protecting the rights of the individual. This is principle of equality. Equality may be the ultimate founding American trait,and throughout history this country has continually fought to protect a growing number of its people from persecution and segregation. Any governing policy must never violate equal civil rights without destroying the entire principle of individualism.
This is not the same individualism that drives the Tea Party brand of Libertarianism. The Tea Party’s conservative social principles result in a privileged individual by instilling into governance a preferred religion. An person belonging to this religion easily fits into this society and enjoys the benefits of biased governance. A person belonging to another faith has his individualism protections of equality removed, and the Tea Party governance regulates,and interferes with,his personal and private choice.
Individualism is not selfishness. Believing in individualism as a governing policy necessarily means granting equality to all citizens in their personal and private decisions,so long as it adheres to the individual governance. A selfish policy applies individualism to yourself and not to your neighbor – a privileged individualism based on unequal governance.
~ Individual and the Media ~
Individual responsibility means making informed decisions,holding yourself accountable for making decisions that uphold the individualism principles. Take the media,for example. In our current hyper-partisan environment,the media gets doubly blamed. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh style news is labeled as journalism,yet fail to adhere to common accepted journalistic standards. The left attacks and mocks Fox News et al.,yet fails to adequately define and understand the problem. The right never questions the integrity of Fox News-style journalism because they simply agree with the editorial content. Journalism,by definition,demands a certain high standard of professionalism and bipartisanship and removal of personal bias,to whatever extent is necessary as measured by the reader. This definition requires the journalist (or the news source or agency),as well as the reader, to define and accept journalism. The problem is not the one-sided fault of Fox News or media in general. The solution is to accept the fact that defining journalism is just as much our responsibility as people of this country.
Therefore,the individual is responsible for knowing the difference between editorial, journalism, and entertainment when informing their decisions regarding governance. The freedom of speech gives us the ability to have this rich media content,but does not give us the freedom from its consequences. We are the ultimate voters,we must uphold our individual freedoms in the face of a wide variety of media.
~ Freedom of Speech and Electioneering ~
Governance in individualism requires freedom of speech. This does not grant freedom from being offended by speech,nor protect you from the reaction of your equals or judgment based on speech.
Freedom of speech,as it relates to elections,must differentiate between entities that represent individuals and entities that represent business interests. In this democracy,voting is a right of the individual,not associations of individuals. Here we must acknowledge the free association of people,an inherent right of free people. These groups of people may share the right of free speech of the individual members. As we have seen, however,these groups can influence the outcome of elections through the influence of shared money and power,overriding any individual democratic power.
Corporations are specific forms of associations,licensed and regulated by the government. While people are free to associate,corporations are not simply free associations of people. Corporations are legally bound entities given some mandate and purpose,and are held accountable to shareholders and profits. Corporate interests will always have the desire to influence government in favor of deregulation at the expense of everything else – including individuals,on the right and left. The motivations that drive governance should remain with the individual people.
The individual will decide the amount of government regulation and market influence,to the extent that the public determines the health of the economy,level of corporate influence in government and individual prosperity. The power must lie with the individual to protect equality and privacy.
This differs form the Tea Party,who do not seem to separate these groups and concerns. Capitalism and the free market in many forms can – and must – coexist with a government for the individual. The role of government regulation of the marketplace should be to protect the individual from inequality and independent thought and decisions on how to be governed. However, individuals may very well argue what regulation is necessary to impose to keep the country’s economy solvent and prosperous. This debate is a good thing. Modern day politics – Tea Party,Democrats and GOP alike – does not differentiate economic policy from social policy nor focus on the individual. The argument is diffuses into broad ideology,lumping both social issues and economic principles into a single platform that must be bought into. This leaves the individual to exist between the partisan lines,without a political platform of their own.
~ Debate ~
Debate is dead in this country. American politics has become a dividing force in this country, rather than a proud tradition of progress. This does not mean there has been a rosy history of politics in America – far from it. Today, however,debate has been given up in favor of partisan editorial forums that one subscribes to,without ever having to face questions from the opposition.
Looking at poll numbers, elections,partisan politics,and Fox News editorials,the American individual does not exist. The individual is cleaved into wide, ideological divides of right or left. There is no nuance in American politics. Individualism is lost to simple and easy generalizations. This does not represent any real person in America.
To regain our American individualism,we must begin to debate again. We have to begin to answer our own questions about what our identity is, and what governance is appropriate for us as individuals. To regain a proper forum for political debate,we have to start asking questions, and we must be willing to answer questions asked of us. Americans will find that they have a lot more in common with one another – our shared belief in individualism – than modern partisan politics has led us to believe.
~ Conclusion ~
Today’s Libertarianism,usurped by the Tea Party movement,represents the typical social conservative selfishness of the GOP,rather than the original individualism Libertarianism was based on. True liberty is to uphold and protect the individual,the rights and freedoms of any given citizen of this country. Counter to this belief is social conservative legislation that seek to judge religion and police morality,thereby corrupting a person’s private life and decisions – a tyrannical form of government regulation. Current politics attempts to group disparate concerns into a single platform,dividing what would be real unique American beliefs and experiences into broad,artificial warring ideologies,thus destroying the true political debate we ought to have.
Until the Tea Party separates out their confused belief of individual liberty with the social conservative platform and address corporate electoral influence, they will only bring about further government regulation of private life and private decisions and larger corporate integration with politics that will replace the primacy of the democratic individual.
Democrat and Republican parties will continue to fight a partisan war at the expense of our true American concerns of proper governance and regulation. We will lose our individualism at the hands of dogmatic partisan policies.
For this government to be by the people and for the people,we must maintain our rich and vital American individualism.
[ed. note] a bit dry,perhaps… needs more: vulgarity,sex,guns,and perhaps some breakfast.