CRITIQUE OF INDIVIDUALISM 157
A. OBSESSION WITH PRIVACY SHOWS A DANGEROUS TREND TOWARD HYPERINDIVIDUALIZATION
Alan Ehrenhalt, Governing Magazine, May, 1999;Pg. 7 TITLE: THE MISGUIDED ZEAL OF THE PRIVACY LOBBY // acs-VT2001
In America in the 1990s, the obsession with privacy is more than just a simple overreaction to George Orwell or to horror stories about something that happened in Moscow or Beijing. It is a reflection of the hyperindividualism to which the political system has succumbed in the past generation or so, and the ways that prevents us from becoming civic grown-ups in a democratic society.
B. ONTOLOGICAL INDIVIDUALISM CAUSES US TO NEGLECT THE COMMON GOOD
ROBERT N. BELLAH, professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, 1995-96, A Defense of "Democratic Communitarianism" The Responsive Community, Volume 6, Issue 1, Winter 1995/96http://www.gwu.edu/~icps/bellah.html // acs-EE2001
Even given the claim that community does not require complete consensus, some people view with skepticism any effort to reach some common agreement about the good. Such a view is rooted in our cultures adherence to "ontological individualism"the belief that the truth of our condition is not in our society or in our relation to others, but in our isolated and inviolable selves. It is this belief that tempts us to imagine that it is opportunity that will solve all our problemsif we could just provide individuals the opportunity to realize themselves, then everything else would take care of itself. If we focus on individual opportunity then we dont need to worry about substantive agreement or the common good, much less force any such notion on others. Each individual can concentrate on whatever good he or she chooses to pursue.
C. A SENSE OF COMMUNITY IS ESSENTIAL FOR INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY AND PROSPERITY, AND TOO MUCH EMPHASIS ON INDIVIDUALISM DAMAGES COMMUNITY
INSTITUTE FOR COMMUNITARIAN POLICY STUDIES, 2000; Communitarian
Network - Rights & Responsibilities;http://www.gwu.edu/~icps/rights.html // acs-EE2001
American men, women, and children are members of many communities--families; neighborhoods; innumerable social, religious, ethnic, work place, and professional associations; and the body politic itself. Neither human existence nor individual liberty can be sustained for long outside the interdependent and overlapping communities to which all of us belong. Nor can any community long survive unless its members dedicate some of their attention, energy, and resources to shared projects. The exclusive pursuit of private interest erodes the network of social environments on which we all depend, and is destructive to our shared experiment in democratic self-government.
D. WE MUST REALIZE THAT PRIVACY MAY WELL HAVE TO BE COMPROMISED TO PROTECT OTHERS IN OUR COMMUNITY
INSTITUTE FOR COMMUNITARIAN POLICY STUDIES, 2000; The Communitarian Platform,http://www.communitariannetwork.org/platformtext.htm // acs-EE2001
The ancient Greeks understood this well: A person who is completely private is lost to civic life. The exclusive pursuit of one's self-interest is not even a good prescription for conduct in the marketplace; for no social, political, economic, or moral order can survive that way. Some measure of caring, sharing, and being our brother's and sister's keeper, is essential if we are not all to fall back on an ever more expansive government, bureaucratized welfare agencies, and swollen regulations, police, courts, and jails.