ALSO IF YOU ARE OFFENDED BY REFERENCES TO JESUS, SURF AWAY NOW
ALSO I AM NOT TRYING TO CONVERT ANYONE
ALSO DO NOT CONFUSE INDIVIDUALISM WITH INDIVIDUALITY
ALSO GO SOMEWHERE ELSE IF YOU ARE ALLERGIC TO ONE OR TWO LONGISH WORDS AND SENTENCES
There is one dominant ideology in the world today, and it goes by the name of Individualism. Not term you hear every day, but its ethical teaching is often heard as the line "You gotta look after No 1".
Everyone over the age of 18 knows one major exponent of individualism: her name is Margaret Thatcher. Quote: "There is no such thing as society". Unquote.
If you want to get a blast of what Individualism is about, take a look at the Wikipedia article, but I warn you, it is one of the most POV (Wikispeak for biased) items I know of in the whole great cooperative venture of Wikipedia. The individualists have taken out the "Criticism" section. Which is the kind of thing the Soviets would have done.
Individualism is the polar opposite of Socialism. It is the philosophy that under-girds free market capitalism, where the individual is acting for his own interests in competition with others with the minimum of outside interference.
Corporations - big business, companies, &c - are individuals in law. They have legal rights - and also legal responsibilities, though their inclinations are somewhat tilted towards asserting their rights.
Individualism owes something to Christian philosophy, on the basis of "Jesus loves the me, this I know". Which is OK, I'm not being sarcastic, just brief. Christianity gave early individualism its morals. The City was a place where people could trust one another. Many Conservatives are still believers in the Creed, and therefore believe in Original Sin.
I once asked a Tory Cabinet Minister, a Decent Conservative (As opposed to a Thatcherite)
"How come sinful men, competing against each other for that of which the love is the root of all evil, can produce the best of all possible economic worlds?"
He had the grace to look worried for a second, then said "That's just how it is".
Well, dear Individualists, this is how your "How It Is" ends up. In a Wall Street money making factory with a huge balloon of debt (which is the nemesis of your profits, since you made your profits out of debt) threatening to cut off the fuel supply to the engine that makes the fuel that drives the world economy to expand forever faster to the detriment of humanity and its life-support system.
Latter-day Individualism is an ethical vacuum. It has stopped going to church, and the only god they worship is Profit. Monetary gain. Mammon, as Jesus called it.
There are two types of Individualists.
Type A individualists are difficult to live with, because they behaving selfishly quite a bit of the time.
Type B individualists are cool. They can derive a good set of ethics from the logical path of Enlightened Self Interest.
In Homer Simpson the Movie, Homer starts as a Type A, and gets into a mess, to be saved by a shamanic experience that involves basically falling to bits and then having an Epiphany. He arrives at being a Type B through this careful piece of logic, which deserves to be committed to memory by all good people everywhere, banksters and everyone:
"Other people are just as important as me. Without them, I am Nothing. In order to save myself, I have to save Springfield."
In order to save myself, I have to save Springfield. Homer's epiphany. If that logical sequence could be understood by more people, we would all be so much happier.
To get there, Homer had to undergo a certain amount of pain. The world is about to enter a fairly painful period. Not just period pains: more like contractions.
One long economic cycle is coming to its end, and a new one is beginning. There are the childbirth pains of a new economy, an economics that takes its rightful place as sister-discipline of ecology, where human activity harmonises with the cycles and needs of Nature, where the market is wisely guided to maximise the health of humanity and environment, where public and private wealth creation co-exist in a balanced way, where the value of the world's currency is backed, not by Gold, not by Greed, but by Green Values, Based on the health of people and planet.
Socialism failed when the Wall was broken. Individualism failed when Wall St broke down and had to call on Society to help.
Final thought for the day:
*The Individualist-Socialist antitheses can be resolved in an Ecological synthesis.