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Old 05-03-2012, 09:10 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Rhode Island
9,290 posts, read 14,905,031 times
Reputation: 10382

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Many Americans are a study in contradictions. They SAY they value freedom and individuality but they condemn those who actually practice it.

A few cases in point:

1. Atheists- condemned
2. A guy who wears actual shorts or a real bathing suit- condemned
3. Intellectuals- condemned
4. Pacifists or anyone who doesn't "support the troops"- condemned
5. People for strict gun regulation- condemned

etc.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:45 AM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
27,566 posts, read 28,665,617 times
Reputation: 25155
It's a complex issue and somewhat paradoxical. There is a lot of motivation for individuality and do-it-yourself mentality in the U.S. You get to decide on your own career path, goals and hobbies. You get to decide how far and in what direction you want to take your education. If you are smart and motivated, then you almost certainly will succeed economically. There are tons of social, cultural, artistic, athletic, scientific, culinary and many other interest niches from which to choose from. And there's a lot of ethnic and religious diversity, at least in certain areas of the country like the cities in the northeast and west coast.

But at the same time, the ubiquitous presence of big business, big government and big media does tend to pressure people to conform to a sense of uniformity. If you stray too far from the "norm" then people will notice it and most likely disapprove. Also, ever since 9/11, there's been a heightened sense of caution about individual thinking and a sense of danger in letting everyone "do things their own way." So there is that historical context.

But it's difficult to assess how individualistic the U.S. is compared to other nations. Even though I travel a lot, I've only ever lived in the U.S. If I had to guess, I'd say that the U.S. is similar to western European countries such as the U.K., France and Germany in this regard.

Last edited by BigCityDreamer; 05-03-2012 at 09:56 AM..
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:16 PM
 
156 posts, read 195,549 times
Reputation: 174
Truly, America does not have individuals such as it used to. Individualism has been re-defined by the media to only allow celebrities who tow socio-political lines that are in agreement with the direction those who own/control/manipulate the media, this to ensure compliance during what is obviously a severe and detrimental paradigm shift that is occuring here. Since the media is now such an all-encompassing mind-numbing thing, the population just simply cannot absorb or even understand individualism, unless it passes off as safe and sanitized and protective and, above all else, compliantly smart.

Examples, yesteryear:

MLK
Theodore Roosevelt
Gore Vidal
Miles Davis
Amelia Earhart

Examples, today:

Oprah Winfrey
Donald Trump
Barack Obama
Lady Gaga
Steve Jobs

You could argue that the more recent examples are 'individuals', but only in the sense that they are selling themselves to get rich and influence shoppers to buy their brand and support the auxilliary concepts that support their own fame, authority and merchandise. In short, they are marketers, not visionaries. Even Jobs left a good amount of the programming to Wozniak and simply designed then suavely marketed pretty junk that is arguably indisposable.

Now unfamous people who are individualistic? Well, silence can be achieved if a person goes out of bounds with what is socially acceptable, even by today's standards. One must also understand that with the implementation of certain exagerated health fears, terrorist plots and massive surveillance systems... well, America does begin to appear heading toward a monitored, edited future where individuals are proper citizens who enforce designed social policies, overt and subvert. Simply watching our political system with enough perspicacity will show you just how antagonistic the shadow play is meant to be received, but how seamlessly the 2 parties actions dovetail to achieve a certain point to bring about 'change' that will be announced as 'necessary'.

American individualism has been sedated by everything from the all-mighty credit score to the ominous security paranoia and the constant health 'epidemics' amongst so many other examples. Americans, by nature, want to do the right thing and that has trumped most definitions of actual individualism sa to what is actually purported to be so.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:35 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, Canada
1,239 posts, read 2,795,521 times
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The US focuses very much on the individual as the base unit rather than the family as the base unit of society, so in that sense it is highly individualistic. I wouldn't say more so than much of western and northern Europe or the rest of the Anglosphere, though, but compared to India, China, and much of the Middle East, absolutely.

In terms of more individual as in the uniqueness of people, I wouldn't say so. In fact it seems about the same everywhere I've gone, though in general I find cities gather more diverse and ecclectic groupings of people than their adjacent countrysides.
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Old 05-04-2012, 09:13 AM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
27,566 posts, read 28,665,617 times
Reputation: 25155
Quote:
Originally Posted by CairoCanadian View Post
In terms of more individual as in the uniqueness of people, I wouldn't say so. In fact it seems about the same everywhere I've gone, though in general I find cities gather more diverse and ecclectic groupings of people than their adjacent countrysides.
What U.S. cities have you been to? Have you seen their cultural and religious diversity?
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:30 AM
 
Location: western East Roman Empire
9,367 posts, read 14,309,828 times
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In my view, the more significant question is what individualism achieves for both the individual and the rest of society.

For example, my view is that there is more individual social freedom in some European and Latin American countries, but in the US there is more economic freedom, and the results of that can be tangibly significant.

On a different tangent, I observe that with the global spread of industrialization and information system & telecommunications technology, the rest of the world has become more like the US in their economic infrastructure, while the US has become more like the rest of the world in terms of political corruption (the US ruling class has learned well from the likes of the Arabs and Chinese, not a new phenomenon in history).

Nonetheless, in these very days, we all enjoys the fruits of seemingly meek individuals as Bill Gates and Steven Jobs, and I guess that the chances that their individual ideas would have reached such grand proportions if they had been tinkering in their garages or bedrooms would have been significantly lower if they had lived in Europe or Africa or Asia or Latin America, for example.

But I'm not sure this advantage will continue going forward.

For example, we will see, in the event, who becomes the first to develop and apply on a large scale a truly viable set of complementary or alternative energy sources to hydrocarbons or in any case solve the energy constraint that currently shapes, shackles, and distorts global development on so many levels.

Good Luck!
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Old 05-04-2012, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
14,483 posts, read 11,282,562 times
Reputation: 9002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollytree View Post
Many Americans are a study in contradictions. They SAY they value freedom and individuality but they condemn those who actually practice it.

A few cases in point:

1. Atheists- condemned
2. A guy who wears actual shorts or a real bathing suit- condemned
3. Intellectuals- condemned
4. Pacifists or anyone who doesn't "support the troops"- condemned
5. People for strict gun regulation- condemned

etc.
In other words, you feel that people who oppose the above (except intellectuals, that's just ridiculous) should just shut up. Right Hollytree?
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Old 05-04-2012, 03:32 PM
 
1,106 posts, read 2,883,823 times
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To the OP: I would agree.
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Old 05-04-2012, 04:07 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Rhode Island
9,290 posts, read 14,905,031 times
Reputation: 10382
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Joshua View Post
In other words, you feel that people who oppose the above (except intellectuals, that's just ridiculous) should just shut up. Right Hollytree?
No, I meant exactly what I wrote. Read it again.

De Tocqueville said it much earlier, especially about intellectuals.
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Old 05-04-2012, 04:33 PM
 
1,635 posts, read 1,593,822 times
Reputation: 707
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollytree View Post
Many Americans are a study in contradictions. They SAY they value freedom and individuality but they condemn those who actually practice it.

A few cases in point:

1. Atheists- condemned
2. A guy who wears actual shorts or a real bathing suit- condemned
3. Intellectuals- condemned
4. Pacifists or anyone who doesn't "support the troops"- condemned
5. People for strict gun regulation- condemned

etc.
1.How are aetheists comdemned? Are they put in jail? Do they lose their jobs?
2.Not sure what you mean on that one.
3.Intellectuals condemned? How?
4.Must have never heard of contentious objectors? Or the fact we are one of the few industrialized nations that doesn't have a draft. Oh,and not sure where you have been,but the US has had a few anti-war protests in her day.
5.People for strict gun regulation? Actually,if you are a big supporter of gun control,that is,to me,someone who is the opposite of being individualistic.
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