Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th

Down the road a bit from my home is the path George Washington took many times to go back and forth with his troops.

In many ways the Declaration was as a product of Jefferson reflective of Rousseau and Montesquieu a French version of individualism, not the true thing. For when de Tocqueville wrote his observations it was American individualism that most impressed him.

Thus in today's Times we are confronted with an author who states:

But then came the late 1960s, and over the next two decades American individualism was fully unleashed. A kind of tacit grand bargain was forged between the counterculture and the establishment, between the forever-young and the moneyed. 

He continues:

People on the political right have blamed the late ’60s for what they loathe about contemporary life — anything-goes sexuality, cultural coarseness, multiculturalism. And people on the left buy into that, seeing only the ’60s legacies of freedom that they define as progress. But what the left and right respectively love and hate are mostly flip sides of the same libertarian coin minted around 1967. Thanks to the ’60s, we are all shamelessly selfish. 

 The ideas of individualism, libertarianism, hedonism, are all mixed up in this author's mind. The Scottish Enlightenment, Locke et al, are more a source and more on point. Jefferson was a Frenchman at heart, individualism was a clear evolution from the English desire to remove class. The Hippie world was a movement to remove responsibility. Individualism embodies duty, responsibility, while keeping that on the shoulders of the individual, not off-setting it upon the Government.

Having lived through the 60s, in Cambridge, what I saw was not individualism in any manner, but a Roman like break with that duty, by people and the Government, the Democrats in Washington especially.

Words do really mean something. The author seems in my opinion quite confused and uneducated. Words like citizen connote the meaning of being in a group. The French Revolution tried a level playing field euphemism of all being citizens. The Soviets used the term comrade. The in crowd in Rome were also citizens as were the crowd in Athens. The rights were group rights, not individual rights. Equality, level playing fields, fairness, all connote group think. The 60s was mass group think, not in any way individualism. True facilitators of mass group think.

The ultimate in individual rights was the construct of the right to be left alone, the famous paper by Warren and Brandies. It went beyond privacy, it went to the very heart of the individual and individualism. It was a right of anonymity.

The 60s were an "in your face" approach, as many of the same techniques are used today. It was Chicago politics, Saul Alinsky, and ever mayor of Chicago. These are NOT purveyors of individualism. They were destroyers of that very cherished idea.

The bottom line, what has become of our education system, our Press, with a paper of this type. Too bad we cannot wrap fish in it any longer!