'Power To the Individual'

RECEIVED Sat., Jan. 8, 2011

Dear Editor,
    Re: “The [basic] unit of civilization is not the individual but the family, so the equalization of men and women is changing civilization at its [very] root.” From “Letters at 3am” [Dec. 31, 2010].
    For that to be true, all actions in a civilization would be modeled as the interactions of families and groups of families. I can’t tell you how many ways that is problematic and just not the case.
    The mindset that seems to have inspired the article bugs me. I think it is a function of how history is taught these days: If you accept that our culture and political system are a function of impersonal forces, not the machinations of individuals and groups of individuals for specific ends, you have accepted your impotence as a citizen. You will be free to sway with the winds of fashion, not grounded in reality and principle. As such, your effectiveness in participating in the public sphere is severely limited.
    If however you see past events in terms of the actions of individuals and groups of the same, you are armed to apprehend real causes and generate opposition to those causes with which you do not agree. Without that concreteness, your actions are unfocused and ineffective. It is the difference between the effect of a spectator and that of a participant. The spectator state for the general public is desirable for those who wish to retain the status quo, and therefore is what is promoted in public and other state-accredited schools.
    World consolidation of cultures or governments is not inevitable or even desirable. Ultimately the world is a function of individuals and their voluntary interactions. I think it is selling one’s self short to characterize it in imprecise collectivist terms. If you think in those terms, you have volunteered away your freedom.
    Power to the individual.
Brian Jurek
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