THE AMERICAN PARADOX OF INDIVIDUALISM AND COLLECTIVISM
I often think about why America has such a hard time initiating and producing group-centred policies. Take health care for instance. It has taken the Administration years to put together a health care bill that will insure the millions of Americans that are not covered, which is a group-centred initiative. However, the entrenched interests of money, power, property and prestige, have been trying their level best to defeat any such initiative, because they see it as a threat to their propertied interests, which is an individualistic initiative, that is to say, the protection and promotion of private property.
However, if one looks at America’s most venerable and visible institution, that is to say, its armed services, one would take note immediately that it, along with all other nation’s armed services, are organizations where the rights, privileges and prerogatives of the individual are virtually completely subjugated to that of the group, and to the needs of the cause and the mission.
However, what, pray tell, is the ‘cause’, and the ‘mission’, in the case of America? Well, it would be none other than to defend and promote the cause of individual liberty and freedom, as expressed through the rights of private property! Seems to be something of a paradox, if you ask me.
Why then, if the greatest country in the world, can act collectively with such force and resolve, in the form of its armed services’ deployments overseas, when it comes to impressing and imposing its way of living and thinking on other nations of the world, can it not equally use the civil branch of its administration to act in a group-centred fashion for the well-being of all individuals in its Homeland?
Is that not also a true definition of Homeland Security? That is to say, the security of the person in their ability to be free from the scourge and oppression of poverty, disease, as well as the dark of night, or the arrow that flies by day.
Let us not forget that Francis Bellamy, the original writer of the Pledge of Allegiance, was a Christian Socialist Baptist Minister, who was ultimately expelled from his ministry in the South for writing such controversial words as ‘One nation under God, with Liberty, and Justice for all’.
For many in the South, this meant economic equality for African-Americans, which many, even today, see as a threat to their own prosperity. The fact that America has chosen to retain such a passage as a fundamental pledge of Allegiance to its flag, and therefore to the country that it represents, gives forth a ray of hope to the downtrodden and the oppressed, that one day, the individualistic and group-centred initiatives that America brings forth, as witnessed by its Armed services, its Administration, and the twin pillars of Liberty and Justice, will shine forth for the benefit of all.