September 15, 2004


One of the main dichotomies of human life is the competition between the need and desires of individuals versus the needs and desires of the group or collective. Individualism and collectivism are opposite ideologies or concepts that each help promote the survival and success of human life. To exist in either extreme is a bad for humanity. Thus, a society or people need to find the proper balance in order to maximize both the short and long-term viability of its people.

In America, the system heralds and promotes the concept of the individual and his or her freedom. This is one of the things that makes America so enjoyable and attractive to people. However, in every action, one must always look for the tradeoff reaction. The tradeoff reaction of promoting individualism is that it erodes submission to collective phenomenon, interests and institutions. Learned cultural and social behavior is an example of a collective phenomenon. For example, Southern Hospitality, respect of elders, respect for women, chivalry, being obedient to parents. These are all learned social behavior that is taught via collective culture. Also, collectivism can manifest as institutions, such as the family unit, which is simply a collective arrangement to promote the viability of children.

When individualism is promoted, as it has been in our society, it becomes part and parcel with the erosion of the above mentioned collective phenomenon of tradition, culture, family and group values. Thus, as individuals become more satisfied with their personal lives, they become less satisfied with the collective direction of the society...or everyone else besides them. What they fail to realize, however, is that latter is the creation of the former. People are happier with their personal lives because of their freedoms, but everyone doing their own thing sacrifices the ability of the society to control the collective direction and fate of the masses.

It’s akin the problem of traffic congestion. People want the freedom that comes with driving their own cars to and from work. However, metropolitan governments and councils want to promote the collective good of non congested roads and traffic via collective transportation systems. If individualism wins out and everyone chooses to drive their own vehicles, there freedom creates the collective problem of congested roads and traffic. Thus, their problems with congestion come as a direct resultant or tradeoff of their choices of individuality. It's circular causation.

In a nation of individuality, the only thing that holds society collective interest becomes its laws. If an act is not illegal and there is a benefit to the individual entity and a cost to the collective, the calculus will always lean heavily toward giving the individual the benefit. Thus, in an individualistic society, one cannot expect moral and ethical concerns for the collective, not enforced by laws, to usurp the benefit individual entities can gain to themselves from certain acts and behavior. Take as example negative rap music, which is a lucrative industry, but also misogynistic and civility eroding lyrics. The music industry and artist both benefit from this and it adds to the nations GDP, but it also produces a moral and social cost to the collective. Therefore, the promotion of individuality trumps the collective conscerns when the behavior is not illegal, most often. Expectations should therefore be managed accordingly, because one cannot have the benefit of individuality and freedom, without the associated cost.

People like to lament how at this point in time, America is the greatest nation on earth. However, the true worth or value of something cannot be measured until its costs are reconciled with the benefits, the debits balanced against the credits and the reactions fully manifest from actions. In the interim, things can appear to have a greater worth or value than they actually do, because the cost or reaction is not real time. Thus,leaving the present with only benefit and few, if any, cost. In such a society, where cost and reactions are conserved or pushed into the future, the future generations will bear the burdens of our benefits, to their detriment. Its kind of like the burdens that present white America refuses to accept, from past white Americas exploitation and mistreatment of blacks.

This nation has reached the point of diminishing returns. Its virtues and things that have made is so attractive are now things are causing the erosion of the nation.


At 2:12 PM, Blogger Scott said...

"submission to collective phenomenon" interesting turn of phrase. Are you a muslim ?

"Expectations should therefore be managed accordingly, because one cannot have the benefit of individuality and freedom, without the associated cost."

Why manage expectations just pay the cost.

the reason the following statement sounds true is because people are unwilling to pay the cost.

"This nation has reached the point of diminishing returns. Its virtues and things that have made is so attractive are now things are causing the erosion of the nation."

They want the freedom from paying thier on health care cost so the burden the nations future taxpayers for it. Government insurance schemes continue to have people living in flood zones and on beaches that will erode away because people don't have to pay the cost of their freedom.

I would be perfectly down with legalizing all drugs, as long as the people who used them wouldn't get a cent from the government in welfare because they are to high to keep a job.

American have become soft, they want war without death. They want services without paying, they want they want but they aren't willing to pay.

At 2:31 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

I may be a Christian a Muslim or a Rastafarian….how does that change the substance of what I write…it is either true, false or somewhere in between. What you don’t seem to realize Scott, that the payment is non negotiable. It will manifest, by virtue of nature. If people do not have health care, the society will pay one way or the other. If society does not provide a social safety net, then robbing you becomes the source of my income.

You seem to think that government help is a bad thing, but you do not have the absence of government help, in this society, to juxtapose the outcomes and cost. I will submit to you the proposal that without a social safety net and with the proliferation of weapons in this society, that crime would be such that your quality of life would be greatly reduced, as a law abiding well employed citizen.

At 5:16 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Please I grew up in Harlem in the seventies and 80's, do you think the prospect for street crime and homeless people really bother me. I lived next door to a crack house for god sake. You guys act like the government was the solution to everything. Since law abiding citizens are disarmed in NYC we make peace with the criminals. Its not a big deal.

And one thing I could say about drug dealers, at least they knew how to get up in morning, make some money and not beg for a government handout. You don't see drug dealers bitching about their health plan.

At 6:33 AM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Well, the same thing cannot be said for the totality of conservatives...they do not share your same experience (or mine) in any "hood". Thus, their quality of life would be deminished. Regardless, as Jesse Jackson said, society can pay up front by supporting programs for education, Affirmative Action ect...or pay on the back end via the 30K a year that it cost to house and feed prisoners. You are fooling yourself if you believe society does not pay...Higher insurance cost, higher product cost, higher taxes to cover court and jail goes on and on...thus, you might as well spend the money proactively instead of punitively

At 7:10 AM, Blogger Scott said...

[You are fooling yourself if you believe society does not pay...Higher insurance cost, higher product cost, higher taxes to cover court and jail goes on and on...thus, you might as well spend the money proactively instead of punitively.]

You are right in the totality about society paying but the fact is everyone in society doesn't pay equally. The poorly educated are herded into their own little bantus, where they commit their crimes because their is less police protection and the law abiding populus is disarmed so they run unapposed.

You KNOW that its very easy for those in power to shift the cost to others. For example Medicare and social security even the war in Iraq to our children.

At 7:51 AM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Are you contradicting me or agreeing with me...I cannot tell?

At 11:51 AM, Blogger Faheem said...

Scott is a twisted cat. Proclaiming drug dealers not bitching about health insurance is an indictment on those who are victims of the system and the drug dealer is ridiculous. The drug dealer is the result of poverty, his very existence is a complaint but that is hard for you to understand. (Think about that for a sec and get back with me)

Scott, I seriously think you should get away from the Conservative talking points because you do not know how to articulate them well, nor do you understand them, and you making some of the most outlandish statements I ever heard a Negro-Con make.

You continue to talk about how we see the government as the answer to everything as if the government is some separate entity from the people. You do know that the people are the government and we send folk to Washington to represent our interest, thus their is no separating the government from the people because they are one in the same, what we are arguing here is how the peoples money should be spent by those sent to Washington to represent us. You have taken the position of the white and elitist that the people’s (government) money should not be spent on the people (government) right here in America. That is foolish.

I had a sister point something out to me the other day concerning the Industrial Prison Complex. She noted that Prisons are being built in small white towns that have suffered an economic shift of some kind because of the lost of businesses and manufacturing companies moving their business off shore. The housing of Black men and women in Prison is Big business and being used to generate revenue in these small white communities. What Noah has said about paying up front or in the rear is a reality that is in your face Scott. Stop being an ideologue and recognize the truth in front your face. Help your people and stop being a tool for those who oppose our rise.

At 6:59 AM, Blogger Scott said...

So how is the government going to represent the people if you don't vote ?


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