Saturday, August 3, 2019
Americans and Individualism Essay -- essays research papers
The United States of America is the land of the free, the land of opportunity, the wealthiest country in the world, a country that half the modern world is modeled after. Its President is referred to as the "Leader of the free world". Thousands of people come to this country every year, learning about the country in hopes of becoming citizens. William Hudson in his book 'American Democracy in Peril ' talks about the seven biggest challenges to this democratic nation. Individualism can be seen as a gift or a curse, depending on the context in which it occurs. Because modern society finds it important that people think independently, decide autonomously and take personal initiatives, the concept of individualism has acquired a positive connotation. However, individualism is also linked with the tendency to withdraw from social life and turn in towards oneself. Alexis de Tocqueville described individualism as the cool and considered attitude which drives people to withdraw into a small, enclosed world consisting of their family and a few select friends, leaving the rest of society to its own devices. The most obvious problem stemming from the process of individualism is of a socio-economic nature and concerns the problem of solidarity. If the link between the community and the individual becomes less strong, to what extent will an individual experience social problems, in which he or she is not immediately implicated, as his or her problems? To what extent are people in an individualistic society prepared to consider the problems of others as their own? This is a crucial question for society since it places the legitimacy of many social institutions and political structures in question. Whoever accepts that individualism is a fact will consider political life to be an incessant clash of interests on the part of people who are only in it for the sake of personal power or an increase in personal fortune. While they may be fine, responsible people in private life, in their attitude to government they are like infants, interested only in themselves and what they consume, howling for more, and not concerned at all about the morality of using government as a middleman to forcibly take what they desire from their fellow-citizens. Whereas those people who reject individualism and accept that the point of an election is to choose representatives whom the vo... ... Congress, with the States, can amend the Constitution. Individualism breeds fragmentation and brings about disconnectivity and this is in complete contradiction with the 'connected' governmental system in the United States where the governmental divisions are always checking each other. On one hand, democracy's project is unrealizable, because it is contrary to nature. On the other, it is impossible to stop short of this democracy and go back to aristocracy. This is because democratic equality also conforms to nature. It follows that we can only moderate democracy; we cannot stop short of democracy, because it fulfils nature. We cannot attain the end of this movement, for it would mean subjecting nature completely and dehumanizing man. Escaping democracy is not an option. We can never possibly make democracy completely "real", and we must not try. We can and must moderate democracy, limit it, sober down its hostility to nature, all the while benefiting from its conformity to nature. To moderate democracy so as it conforms with human nature, to limit it insofar as it is contrary to it, such is the sovereign art on which depend the prosperity and morality of a democracy.