Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Group Thinking - Stupidity in Solidarity

One of the key components of instinctive liberalism is a firm belief that we are all individuals, that I own my life and that everyone else owns theirs. People are but a walking, talking collection of their strengths, weaknesses and differences - I don't go in for that PC nonsense of 'everyone is special' but it is indeed true to say that we are all unique and indeed individual.

In this regard, two famous quotes from Albert Einstein stand out immediately, "The really valuable thing in the pageant of human life seems to me not the State but the creative, sentient individual, the personality; it alone creates the noble and the sublime, while the herd as such remains dull in thought and dull in feeling". Of course it is the individual capable of thinking entirely for him or herself who is usually remembered while the herd tied to conventional wisdom are born, exist and then die with barely a soul noticing. As he was on many subjects, Einstein is right on the question of individual vs collective. It is those possessed of the skill and boldness to 'think outside the box' who invariably leave the greatest mark on mortality, acknowledged by this second, shorter and simpler quote, "Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom". Individual greatness and 'going with the flow' are hardly compatible when one thinks about it, are they?

Unfortunately, the civilised world does not produce maverick geniuses like Einstein in anything like the volume that it once did. This bunny is convinced that much of this owes itself to the way in which Statism, a sense that we are mere belongings of a collective and 'greater good' has become the dominant way of life throughout Europe and is now slowly winning in America. The fundamental premises on which Statism is based are either attempts to deny fundamental aspects of human nature, tools of manipulation or direct lies. Pursuing self-interest and seeking to put one's own house in order first is 'selfish' and goes against 'the greater good'. Eccentricity or the possession of opinions that do not owe themselves to received conventional wisdom are derided and countered with scorn, spite and ridicule. When society is perceived as a team that 'has to work together', any notion that co-operation should be voluntary and for mutual benefit goes out of the window.

Group thinking or 'solidarity' has a number of unpleasant side effects. Individuals are not encouraged to blossom, thrive and make the most of themselves (and by definition, society as a whole), but pointed in the direction of a box with their name on it and told to stay there. In the end, we all lose out as those who make discoveries, breakthroughs and develop pioneering ideas, theories or inventions become fewer in number. A world without slightly mad geniuses may suit the bully, manipulator and control freak, but represents that loudest of sirens to anyone who values liberty, individuality and a society that challenges the conventional wisdom that might bind it at the time. Fewer traffic wardens and more Einsteins would surely make sense on a multitude of levels? Statists clearly see the world differently.

Of course, when one sees (or is encouraged to see) themselves primarily as a member of the masses and not as an individual, the results can be dangerous and indeed tragic. In reality, all of us are driven at least to some extent by what is a perfectly healthy self-interest and the wish to improve our own lives. The model of the fuhrer and his cult of devoted drones of course has an appalling and highly consistent track record of murder, oppression, theft and horrific abuse, be it in the political sphere, organised religion or anywhere else. This self-perception of 'cog in the machine', whose sole reason for existence is to 'fit in' is a wide open goal to the manipulative, vindictive, destructive and psychotic - a conscious decision on the part of the individual to become a voluntary victim of tyrrany. Of course, the same people can then, rather perversely but simultaneously become participants in it.

Talent or obedience? Skill or sycophancy? Creativity or manipulation? Contrary to what Statists would have us believe, the choice really is ours. A world in which the individual is both aware of and confident in the ability to think for themselves, free from state or societal interference into their lawful choices and to co-operate voluntarily, in the self-interest of all involved, is one worth talking, campaigning and (in a strictly non-violent way) fighting for. I'll leave you with this video, which I've shown you already but illustrates these battle lines of politics and everyday life brilliantly - thanks to ManNotNumber for drawing this bunny's attention to it. Take care and I'll catch you soon.

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