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Hyper-Individualism, the Dismissal of Civil Society and the Pending End of Society

Please excuse the following political rant…I can’t help myself. Read it or don’t. There will be more horticulture and science to come. Again, my sociology side spilth over!

We Americans, well, we white dudes, like to picture ourselves as rugged individuals, self-made made men, brave and lonely cowboys, rebels standing up against tyranny….Our fortunes rise and fall due to our own efforts, efforts that others work to thwart. We pride ourselves in our ability to work our own ‘bootstraps’. We are above all else individuals standing against a rising tide, of mediocrity, of those who stand against us. Our success is attributable to our own strength, genius and persistence. We are ‘heroes’ in search of a cause who succeed in spite of others. This is deeply ingrained in many of us. We are products of our culture and as Americans it is part of our identity. For many of us it is a totally foreign concept to credit anyone else with our success, though we readily blame any and all others for our failures. This makes it all the more remarkable that while we live in a complex society, enjoying all of its benefits, supports and technologies, that we can so readily deny the assistance that each and everyone of us receives, though society’s ‘largesse’ is distributed far from evenly or even ‘fairly’. The poor get less. The rich get more. It is written into our laws. It is evident in our interactions and the trajectory of each of our lives. While this characteristic of our culture and ourselves may have served many over the formation and growth of America across a ‘new’ land, over time its ‘faults’ became more obvious and the costs it has exacted less and less excusable. Continue reading