Individualism....To My Amiga Shirley...
We had a good little exchange discussing "Big Oil"... and in that string of posts you asked that I dig up my "Individualism" post... so I've done just that. I actually wrote the original hastily and somewhat in anger, so I took the liberty of editing / cleaning up my thoughts a tad. This post was aimed at none other than Stephanie. We had a pretty "hot" exchange on Casa Herrera. Casa Herrera , as a blog , has since Died (Sorry Adrian or Leah if you happen to read this) but that original string of posts is still there.
To read the entire context, go to http://casaherrera.blogspot.com. Select "June" under past episodes and select the post called "Livin the Dream" posted on Wednesday June 13, 2007. There were a total of 23 comments and of course I tried to back up my assertions with as much fact as possible. I just went back and read it, its really good. LaDawn even chimed in, this was before she actually liked me as much as she does today...
... My original post, when I stated “Individualism is what made this country great” was in reference to the fact that there are blatant attempts to level the playing field and basically ban people from being competitive. Now most people’s first reaction is, I agree. Everything should be fair. But that rule applies to everyone but “you”. Whoever “You” is.
Let’s take Max for example [Joe's God Son], Leah and Adrian are going to do everything they can to give Max every advantage in life they possibly can. Love, Shelter, Educate him. Get him into the best school they can possibly get him into. (and hopefully avoid boulder High School), get him into the best college he can . All along the way, there will be people that will try to marginalize him or will be simply going after the same things he is [Updated Example: Tell people who fail, they haven't failed, telling everyone on the losing team they won as well, the elimination of honor roll's, etc]
Fortunately for Max...the US’s Capitalistic economy and culture does not make jobs and life in general a zero sum game. In other words, if Max or Baby Joe lands a good job, it doesn’t mean someone else won’t. If Max gets a great raise, it doesn’t mean someone else gets nothing. Everyone has the power to create their own happiness and its NOT at the expense of someone else’s (generally). If you got nothing, you probably deserved it. If you don’t like it, find a country that will provide better opportunities.
My point on individualism in America, is this. It is average, ordinary people doing extraordinary things. The average, anonymous individuals among us (myself included) pursue the best lives for ourselves and our families as best we can. However we describe that “best life” and for whatever reason. We want to take care of our families and pursue excellence or Self Actualism (Mazlo reference). [I am not only referring to Financial Happiness, this is why I said "however we describe that best life].
Self interest, is far different than selfishness. Self interest, simply provides the foundations for America’s greatness [I know it has its drawbacks]. Self Interest and Individualism vs. Common good, I don’t see these as opposing values. I am contributing to the common good of Society, by being the best I can be or being better than what I imagined possible.
“Rugged individualism” is what made the US great, and Rugged individualism does not imply or does not mean selfishness, it doesn’t mean not caring or being concerned for others or the common good of the country.
The more people who are not conditioned NOT to seek the best in themselves, who are not challenged to meet or exceed expectations, the more people who won’t push themselves to do what they are capable of doing, then this country won’t continue to be what it has been.
Individualism won WWII, there was no plan in Normandy or Iwo Jima, other than get on the beach. We improvised. Individualism, in this country, seems to produce the right person at the right time who will make a tough decision for the common good and not “conform” to the consensus or pressures. (“Consensus, is the absence of leadership”… Leah hates that quote). Individualism will produce people that will face the “hard cold facts” (Got that one from Good to Great, Jim Collins – Excellent Book) and to the best for everyone. But it takes individualism [and someone trying to be the best they can be]to get there [in order to position themselves to make that decision for the common good]
As you can see Steph, we were on two different wave lengths. I was thinking about the common good and you were (at least from my perspective) referring to franchising and bashing capitalism. Is the Camp Bow Wow a franchise by the way? I guess Leah and Adrian are simply conforming.