Is American Individualism a Myth?

The Trifecta crew at PJ Media discusses a New York Times article written by a professor of anthropology.  This professor, in a nutshell, says Tea Party conservatives are wrong about politics and governance, because they have a phony worldview – a worldview that is refuted by the sciences, and the Scriptures.

Based upon what you know about American history, and our country’s founding, as well as your knowledge of world history and the Scriptures, what do you think?

 

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107 Responses to Is American Individualism a Myth?

  1. bitterlyclinging says:

    The unexplored and unexploited America was a magnet, a magnet for those with ambition, those with the drive, those with the intellect, the desire, the ability, and the physical wherewithal to survive and suceed. Those Europeans who saw the opportunity and could leave, left. So much so that Europe suffered a brain drain, World Wars I and II, case in point. Once the new immigrants got here, with the memory of the kings, the despots, and the tyrannys they had so recently fled from still fresh in their minds, they jealously sought to guard and protect this brave new American Republic’s novel, but fragile, experiment in Democracy.
    My mother showed up for her first day in school, freshly bathed and powdered in a brand new starched dress. Everything was fine until she spoke at which point she was told to return home and not darken the schoolhouse door until she spoke English. We have gotten fatigued in guarding and protecting this brave new experiment. We have also gotten arrogant and contemptuous in its regard as evidenced by this learned professors comments. With folks like him in charge, all we have to do is turn our gaze to the goings on of ISIS to view our future.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Chance says:

      Very well said sir! It’s worth noting that about a third of those immigrants who came here (LEGALLY) found the conditions too daunting, the challenge of self reliance too difficult and returned back to their original lands. This then left only the most determined and capable people, which explains how they were able to build the greatest nation on Earth.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. nyetneetot says:

    Heh heh heh, tool.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mike says:

    Those who believe the Sheep must be led never seem to count themsleves among the Sheep.

    Liked by 8 people

  4. Mike says:

    Reblogged this on makeaneffort and commented:
    Is the true? Or is this just how those who see themselves as Elite view you… and the world? (Isn’t this why America is called the great experiment? With the rest of the world, why do such people feel consumed with desire to change this one country?)

    Like

    • imreek says:

      Ok now, I am going way, way back in my mental time machine. There is a thing called expert syndrome. An intelligent peer respected expert knows that he is smart. He has proof in his education and position in his field. Yet, like everyone, mistakes he has made are in his mind. He knows one way or the other that he is far from perfection. So the conclusion he draws is that he is smarter than most but knows that he is not all that. For both viewpoints to internally reconcile other people must be stupider than him. Therefore if there is disagreement then the easy conclusion that preserves his ego stability is that others are too stupid to understand his reasoning. Discussion and evaluating viewpoints is futile since the opponents are not intelligent enough to understand what is good for them. Since he (like most people) regard themselves as benevolent individuals meaning the best others, obviously the other must be made to do what is best.
      I believe this explains the nose in the air attitude experts often display.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. One of my favorite talk show hosts — Andrew Wilkow, talks about this very topic fairly frequently.

    When left to their own devices, people take care of each other naturally. When it becomes a burden, is when the government forcefully takes money from our labor (income taxes) and redistributes our labor to help others who choose not to, or won’t, or whatever. When government forcefully takes money from our labor for “charity” it leaves us with less to give to charity.

    George W Bush got literally lambasted when he talked about funding church charities to take care of folks. I think his message just wasn’t communicated correctly. I always thought what he was trying to say there wasn’t that far off base. Charitable money does the most work when its closest to the recipients. Local takes care of local much better. Think of a local area as your tribe.

    I grew up in a city and now live in a rural town. Whenever someone falls on hard times in our community, people band together to help. Someone gets sick and has a ton of medical bills for instance, coffee cans go out at all the local stores to collect donations. If a family member becomes ill, people show up at the house with casseroles and they roll up their sleeves and help watch the kids, do house cleaning, run errands, etc.

    If someone has a house fire, people bring clothes, arrange spaghetti benefit dinners, go help clean up, etc. If someone’s barn burns down, people bring food and the guys go to work rebuilding.

    A couple of years ago, a friend of ours had a major house fire and she lost pretty much everything. Her insurance was not what she thought she had, and the only immediate help she received was from the Red Cross, about 200 bucks to buy some clothes and toiletries. My husband and I put together a spaghetti dinner in under two weeks, everything for the dinner was donated, people volunteered and we raised 4,000 to help her until everything shook out.

    I never saw this in big cities, Maybe is some small pockets where certain ethnicities banded together, but not on the level I see it happen in our small rural town. My family does not give to national charities. We give to help locally, either financially or with our time. We have seen first hand this works much better.

    Liked by 6 people

    • “When left to their own devices, people take care of each other naturally. When it becomes a burden, is when the government forcefully takes money from our labor (income taxes) and redistributes our labor to help others who choose not to, or won’t, or whatever.”

      Agreed.

      This was a subject that came up in my Lit class last semester also: is America an individualist nation? I don’t see the dichotomy that people seem to claim. If I raise goats at my house and you raise chickens at yours, both you and I have an income from our animals, a way to take care of ourselves. We can trade with each other if I need eggs and you need milk. The simple acts of working together with someone or stopping to help someone is not a sacrifice of individualism.

      Liked by 1 person

      • EnterTheDragon says:

        From “It’s a Wonderful Life”:
        [George has discovered his brother Harry’s tombstone]

        Clarence: [explaining] Your brother, Harry Bailey, broke through the ice and was drowned at the age of nine.

        George Bailey: That’s a lie! Harry Bailey went to war! He got the Congressional Medal of Honor! He saved the lives of every man on that transport!

        Clarence: Every man on that transport died. Harry wasn’t there to save them, because you weren’t there to save Harry.

        Whose life hasn’t been influenced by a teacher, a parent, a minister, a sibling, a friend? When an employer took a chance on you, did you take the advantage that offer presented and run with it? Are others’ lives you’ve touched influenced by yours? Do other people exist because of you–a child, a passer by, a comrade in arms?

        To say that the individual and his effort is not important in America is to nullify human existence and its impetus toward meaning. Denying individualism is the exercise of exerting political will over another for the gain of the person making the assertion–denying the value and individual choice of the other person. To M. Scott Peck, this is the definition of evil. I have experienced that evil in my life and have paid well for it. I won’t re-learn it and encourage others to recognize it for what it is and veer from it at all costs.

        Liked by 1 person

    • charlescomd says:

      Local takes care of local. In other words, subsidiarity or the principle that things should be handled at the most local level competent to do so. It upholds human dignity.

      I would add, too, that as soon as the government starts imposing regulations, you have less impetus to think/act for yourself. For myself, every dollar the government takes out of my pocket is one less dollar I can direct to what I consider worthy causes. At some point, I could lose the freedom to donate to charities or to help others financially, and possibly lose sight of the fact that I am called to be compassionate. Just like some folks seem to think they don’t need to work to earn a living because the government will bail them out, I could come to think I don’t need to help others…the government will do it for me. In fact, my observation is that in rural areas where there are fewer neighbors and most of these are not anonymous, people expect their neighbors to help out. In the city where it’s easy to be anonymous, people expect the government to help out. At the ballot box, big cities can dictate what a state decides, even if its impractical or unnecessary in the rural parts of the state. Same goes for the whole country.

      Last thought: People work together, of course, because we have different talents and resources. But if we don’t do for ourselves what we are able to do, we’re not even using the gifts we have. How does that help the group?

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are correct Charles. Locals do take care of locals. I live in a rural area. Everyone is incredibly humble when we help each other out. I don’t think its necessarily expected, it is just kind of a given. If folks can’t help financially, they help in other ways by donating time or talents.

        And the cities deciding what is best for rural areas has been something that has stuck in my craw for some time now. You look at a map of my state, there are two or three tiny blue blobs (the larger cities) and the rest is entirely red. There needs to be more local control over most things. It would foster competition between localities, as well.

        You take for example an issue like marijuana. There are many localities that are “decriminalizing” possession of small amounts for personal consumption, regardless if they have a medical card or not. Now the Feds can of course still come down, but many townships and cities are turning a blind eye.

        Like

  6. Nanny G says:

    Notice the NYTimes writer uses the Straw man right away?
    He writes:
    ”There was never a time in history before civil society when we were each totally free to do whatever we elected to do.”
    Who said there was such a time?
    Not TEA Partiers, no Conservatives I had ever heard of.
    No body at all.
    See, ”totally free” is the straw man.

    Liked by 2 people

    • kathyca says:

      Double straw man. It also sets up the presumption that, left to their own devices, the ‘elections’ people make will be anti-“social.”

      Like

  7. Lou says:

    I loved the original Tea Party, but when an invisible leader started funding signs making big speeches against global warming, the Tea Party was ruined. Individualism is great, and no leader including the energy giant “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koch_Industries” became involved it wasn’t about individual liberty of the people, it became individual liberty for http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koch_Industries to set their agenda. The Tea Party should be more aware of their sly tactics, but all I will get is that “oh no it’s the Koch Brothers again”, instead of looking at the connection of greed and who is to profit from that greed.

    Like

    • stella says:

      Lou, what have the Koch Bros done that is evil or wrong? Profit isn’t wrong. Being successful isn’t wrong. Employing thousands of people isn’t wrong. They put their money where their mouth is. Just like people such as Soros does, only he does it in a much bigger way, supporting socialism and crony capitalism.

      I’m glad for AFP and the Koch Bros. Are you saying that the Tea Party and conservatives must only accept small donations, while socialists like Obama and his front organizations take money from George Soros and Tom Steyer and Eli Broad?

      Liked by 9 people

      • Lou says:

        if you look at history, and whenever a new form of energy could be formed the opposition is usually are those in power. if we didn’t move to oil, we’d still be using coal. look at electronic cigarettes for instance. now cigarette manufacturers are getting together, and e-liquid consumers in Washington state have to pay a 95% tax on any sales. this is big government brought on by the cigarette manufacturers to SQUASH the competition. there isn’t any competition with newer forms of energy because AFP isn’t for progress, they are for SQUASHING better more affordable alternatives. right now, I’m enjoying my twirly light bulbs, and using my 18650 batteries to charge up my nicotine addiction. sorry, but these guys are against progress.

        Liked by 1 person

        • stella says:

          Lou, the problem is that wind and solar are neither reliable, or more affordable. The environmental lobbyists (Steyer, who is a HUGE Democrat donor) is now investing in renewables, so he wants preference for his industry, including money from the government. Another example is that new solar plant in the Cali desert. The one that kills birds? They can’t operate efficiently without government assistance, and aren’t producing anything near what was forecasted. As for wind turbines and solar panels, both use dangerous minerals that are mined under unsafe conditions, and are controlled by our political enemies.

          As for coal, most northern states, including my own, produce half of the electricity using coal. They are attempting to switch to other fuels, including natural gas, which is affordable right now. We also use natural gas as a main source of home heating in my state, including in my home. I recently upgraded from an 80% efficiency furnace to a 96% efficiency furnace. We have clouds in our area about half of the time (almost all of the time in the winter), so solar isn’t possible here. We do have wind production, although wind has many problems, as they are finding in Germany and other European countries.

          Liked by 5 people

          • Lou says:

            I agree with the government giving subsidies for perfecting a newer form of energy.

            Like

            • stella says:

              I. do. not.

              Considering what has happened with our government “investments” in alternative energy these past few years, I think my opinion is justified.

              Liked by 10 people

              • Lou says:

                we wouldn’t be chatting right now without the government creating the internet.
                anything is possible
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet

                Like

                • stella says:

                  The internet was a Darpa project, for the military. Not at all the same thing as throwing taxpayer money away on risky private business ventures.

                  Liked by 7 people

                • 7delta says:

                  And the MRI was developed by NASA. There are useful inventions that come out of government when they are allowed to invent too. Oh, and freeze dried ice cream. Who wouldn’t like that?

                  I agree, Stella. Government cannot be involved in funding private enterprises. Government cannot be trusted to not interject a personal or political agenda into spreading taxpayer money around.

                  It’s possible for government to be supportive of science and entrepreneurship without spending a dime. The best way to help is to get out of the way. If there is value in the study or the product, private investors will keep them going, because they’re willing to take a risk for a possible return. That’s business. Government does the same thing, with their return being insured by using the study or product to advance an agenda. That’s business too. In the end, government manipulation never works out well for anybody. That study or product will never be an accurate representation.

                  If people simply understand that’s the way it works, has always worked, and will always work, then those people who believed they could keep their insurance and their doctor wouldn’t have been shocked when they got the letter from their insurance companies and their doctor bidding them a fond farewell.

                  Face it, if government has to lie to you about hockey stick graphs, health care or anything else to advance an agenda they know people would not approve of, if the people knew the truth, what they are proposing is fatally flawed and is not about what they told you it’s about. Don’t give them the chance, because they will take it every single time.

                  Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power, no matter how miniscule or noble it may seem, will absolutely corrupt.

                  Liked by 2 people

            • 2x4x8 says:

              one word

              Solyndra

              Liked by 3 people

            • 2x4x8 says:

              Lou, you seem to be a good soul, I just finished reading an article:
              http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-u-of-c-israel-water-scarcity-global-cities-0104-20150102-story.html#page=2
              of “beneficial” government-business partnership in Israel, there is also a good relationship in Germany, as I recall the Government owned stock interest in or outright owned Companies, I had to deal with Lufthansa in the past for business, just excellent

              the US, I would say, used to do a decent job with corporate enterprise, such as NASA, Satellites or Nuclear Energy, they got the best educated skilled people they could find; Wherner von Braun, Einstein, Enrico Fermi, Oppenheimer

              but there has been a change with government seeking political correctness, with race and gender quotas, or patronage, NASA doesn’t seek the best, it discriminates and requires an ethnically diverse workplace, recently saying its main job now is “Islamic Outreach”
              I love the phrase they used, “we went to the moon with slide rules”

              the Feds are corrupt

              Like

        • 7delta says:

          I’m enjoying my twirly light bulbs, and using my 18650 batteries to charge up my nicotine addiction. sorry, but these guys are against progress.

          I despise the twirly things. They’re environmentally unfriendly (mercury, which the EPA says is a bio-hazard); they’re pathetically slow to light until they warm up, even though there has been some progress in remedying that deficiency, they are still inferior to incandescent bulbs; they don’t save as much in power as promised, because if you want to see in the dark, you have to leave them on longer and increase the number you use to obtain the same amount of brightness, for starters. The cost has come down, but they are still more expensive than simple incandescent bulbs, plus incandescent bulbs can be made that last longer and use less energy. The mandated usage also destroyed jobs here and sent the manufacturing of our twirly bulbs to China. Not a great idea.

          That’s not progress. That’s federally compelled usage of an inferior product because our public servants are playing footsie with GE…or with the tobacco companies, in the case of the electronic cigarettes. That is not a product problem. It’s a lobbyist/government defect. That’s not progress either.

          If you love twirly bulbs and e-cigs, that should be your choice because you see value in them, but that doesn’t mean I should be forced by law to use a product I find inferior. If you’re right and the twirly bulbs are the best thing in a tube since toothpaste, then I and the rest of the bulb resistance will recognize their superiority when the bulbs meet our needs and will switch on our own. Forced compliance doesn’t make them superior.

          Progress is allowing people to invent freely, then market their product without government financially supporting them to do it their ideological way or regulating them out the ability to invent freely. If the product has value, then it will replace older products that aren’t as efficient. Government never picks winners, just what’s best for them.

          Liked by 5 people

          • I have a huge stash of incandescents in my basement just because of this fact. 🙂 The light the twirly bulbs gives off hurts the eyes.

            And its not only the light bulbs. Look at the ridiculous death machine vehicles they are producing and favoring. The Prius? The Volt? Those naughty big V6s and V8s….give incentives to factories producing the death machines!

            Those vehicles are not practical where I live and do not remotely meet my needs. Yet another example of the government’s over-reach into a free market system.

            I sometimes think some of the regulations the government has been coming up with is a way to consolidate people into population centers. I literally would not be able to get around my area i I was forced into a small death machine. Throw those regulations in with the crazy regulations on farms, the high energy costs (again through crazy mandates and regulations) and you are looking at being pushed into a city.

            The big government power brokers want us all in Soviet era style concrete sky scrapers in dense population, consolidated. I think this is another part of their agenda.

            Liked by 3 people

            • 7delta says:

              I have a stash too. LOL.

              And electric cars… Where do these people think electricity comes from? These cars ridiculously inefficient and are not environmentally friendly. Oops. But it did make some people feel all warm and fuzzy. Sadly, that’s the entire payback from being able to drive five miles before using more energy to recharge.

              Like

            • d'hack says:

              I believe the UN’s Agenda 21 states that as a goal. Looking forward to the day that we have an American President that will boot that useless organization out of the US and cancel all payments that we make. We are paying for our own destruction.

              Liked by 1 person

          • For the record, I HATE twirly bulbs! The light IS inferior, they ARE slow to light and the quality of light they emit stinks. Period.

            Liked by 3 people

      • joshua says:

        agree. “Puting out the word” is not free in a nation of over 300 million people spread across a land horiontally over 2000 miles wide. When you want to dance at a party, you have to be able to afford the admission price. Politics is not excluded from social philanthropy just because it is political. Kochs are not like Soros…they have a personal value consideration.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Lou says:

          Koch’s and Soros need to be out of government. they are both too influential, both with their own agendas. as I firmly stated at the beginning, I LOVE THE TEA PARTY without the help of AFP.

          Like

    • stella says:

      By that measure, Steyer himself might well be due for punishment. Critics say Steyer made his fortune, in part, from fossil fuels – the very energy source he now condemns – while he was a hedge fund manager at Farallon Capital Management, a firm he founded.

      “This is somebody who really made his fortune largely investing in fossil fuels who now wants to close off the ability to use fossil fuels to a lot of other people who aren’t as wealthy,” said Phil Kerpen, president of the conservative political action committee American Commitment.

      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/06/26/environmentalist-and-democrat-mega-donor-target-for-hypocrisy-accusations

      Liked by 4 people

    • stella says:

      Then there is Warren Buffett, who also opposes the Keystone pipeline. His company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns the railroad (BNSF) that hauls crude from the Bakken crude patch. Pipelines are much safer than hauling crude by rail, but that would cut into Buffett’s profits. Crony capitalism? You bet.

      Liked by 7 people

    • stella says:

      Just read this on FB (don’t even know the person who wrote it), and it makes sense:

      The wealthy don’t control government. The government controls the wealthy. You have it backwards. Government has a monopoly on power. Power = guns, not money. The wealthy don’t buy influence — those with power buy the patronage of the wealthy. Government has corrupted the private sector, not the other way around. Your understanding of the power dynamic is predicated on an irrational and unhealthy fear of the rich and an historically erroneous trust of benign government. Corporations can’t throw you in a gulag. Government can.

      Liked by 5 people

      • 7delta says:

        YES! There could be no corporate influence without politicians willing to make trades for their own agendas.

        Like

        • imreek says:

          A little more complicated then that. A two year election cycle with elections costing a million and up. To get re-elected a congressman must gather ~$1,400 a DAY in campaign contributions. The more powerful his position to get things done the more competition he has. His re-election costs go up. There is a circular feedback from those who can to those who want.

          Like

          • 7delta says:

            Yes. The increasing costs of campaigns is certainly motivation to exchange favors for donations. The exchange of favors is still a corrupt practice for personal political gain.

            Corporations make out quite well in the deal too. However, corporations would not be able to engage in back scratching without willing politicians. Since politicians are seeking donations and will exchange favors for them, if corporations of interest don’t play the game, they are put at a disadvantage with their competitors that will play. That doesn’t excuse their corrupt practices, but it does recognize the conditions under which they operate.

            The bottom line is that there could be no political corruption without politicians willing to engage in corruption. They are elected public servants entrusted with a position of power, including honoring the law themselves, and putting the welfare of the people and the country above special interest. They are ultimately responsible for their behavior and ultimately responsible for creating the conditions under which corporate interests slip into bed with them.

            So, yeah, you’re right. It circular, but not excusable.

            Like

    • EnterTheDragon says:

      Why equate individual liberty with any faction/political entity? The argument is for total freedom. Are you saying you are not free to dream your ideas and create them in fact?

      Is there greed in this world? Yes. Envy, avarice? Yes. Are there people who are defined by these? Yes. I know of three myself. Neither is named Koch or Soros or anything like that.

      But they don’t define me or what I do.

      Like

  8. Spar Harmon says:

    Distrust of Others increases proportional to population density. Wellness of mind requires breathing room, room to be what one is. The lack creates perversity, corruption of consciousness.
    The Lord of Creation, in my experience, knows what it is doing; there is no need for me to mind God’s business. If I mind MY business, I find my life full of brothers and sisters who could use something I have been gifted to give. I receive great fullness of joy and peace of mind from so doing.
    This fellow’s attempt seduce me into the perverse wallowings of his evidently corrupted consciousness provokes my pity only. I hope he somehow finds peace. Now I’ll leave before I get bored.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Spar – where have you been, my friend? I haven’t see you lately. That doesn’t mean, of course, that you haven’t been here as my time is limited these days and I may have just missed your posts. Whatever the case, I’m happy to see you! I’ve been looking for you as I always enjoy your words of wisdom.

      Like

  9. GoneWithTheWind says:

    A sure sign that the tea party is on track is the legions from the MSM and the left who feel the need to demonize them. We all remember that well publicized video where Pelosi hand in hand with a few other congressmen, some of them strategically black congressmen, who heard what the cameras and no one else heard; someone in the tea party yelled a racial slur. What I bet most do not remember is this happened twice. There is a tunnel from the congressional offices to the congress and Pelosi and her entourage could have walked through the tunnel. But the staged event was supposed to provoke the tea party. No doubt the Democrats expected some nut to yell something that could be caught by the 20 MSM cameras. But nothing happen!!! What to do??? So Pelosi and a handfull of black congressmen slunk through the tunnel back to the congressional offices and made the well documented walk again. And this time, lo and behold a racial slur was heard and some feint spittle was detected when Rep. Emanuel Cleaver walked close to the tea party lines to see if he could stir up trouble. Well of course there was no spitting and no racial slur because every angle and sound was picked up by the cameras and if there had been we would have seen it over and over again on CBS, NBC and ABC night after night and in the runup to the election. It was totally made up to demonize the tea party.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wondering says:

    Early in the American Experiment, many idealistic Americans used their freedom of association to voluntarily band together. These volunteers created exceptionally prosperous communities that benefitted surrounding neighborhoods:
    New Harmony, Indiana: http://maxkade.iupui.edu/newharmony/home.html
    Pleasant Hill, Kentucky: http://www.kyatlas.com/ky-pleasant-hill.html

    There is a huge difference between a voluntary and involuntary association. In voluntary associations, people work together wholeheartedly and energetically, and are free to leave if they start to feel alienated from the enterprise. Top-down involuntary associations are a different animal. Involuntary associations often devolve into a collection of scam artists ripping off as much as possible under false pretenses. I can think of many examples, and you probably can, also. Make your own list

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Wondering says:

    The first Christians probably saw a lot of of dramatic change as they moved from their original status of voluntary associations (pre-Constantine) into being a branch of Roman Empire bureaucracy (post-Constantine). Would love to read more research about that epoch of history if I can get the time and resources.

    There were also significant differences between the Roman Catholic Empires of the 1500s and the Protestant (and Freemason) cultures that came out of them, through serious deadly conflict. Protestant memes tend to be much more individualistic; no priest or bishop gets to stop the discussion. Same thing with non-Orthodox Judaism: everything is open to question and to deliberate conscious change, don’t accept some “expert” stopping a good discussion.

    Not slamming the Catholic side of my family here, but there are cultural differences between people who accept a doctrine from some hierarchy without questioning, and those who rely more on their own individual conscience.

    Does the Anthropology professor, profess to be Marxist?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well….if you study the history of the Catholic church…..
      I consider myself a “recovering Catholic”. I attended a Catholic University for my Bachelors (well respected business program) and the course load inevitably included some Theology. Much of Catholic doctrine is based in a want to control and grow the Church, not so much the bible.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Wondering says:

    If you have time: New Harmony was first built by a tiny Protestant splinter sect. There was a different tiny, idealistic Christian sect that came out of Wurttemberg to establish a utopian colony (not in the U.S., but in another part of the world). Here’s a link to an unusual, little-known bit of pre-20th century history: http://www.timesofisrael.com/a-german-colony-in-jerusalem/

    Liked by 1 person

    • rashomon says:

      You recommended an interesting article. Our doctor and also family friend is a Lutheran Arab from Jerusalem where his great-grandfather settled in the late 1800s. He says he doesn’t know why the family chose the Lutheran religion, but they were stonecutters, so perhaps the Templars preference for stone buildings started a friendship that led to adopting their religion. The doctor’s father is now deceased, but he was an vehement anti-Nazi, so the relationship with the Templars must have ended before 1939.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wondering says:

        Interesting story, Rashomon!

        A second wave of non-Templar Germans and Austro-Hungarians settled around Jerusalem (and other areas of the Ottoman empire, like Damascus) after the German nation-state was founded in 1870 and took off like an economic rocket, especially after the Kaiser visited in 1898. Germany reached out to collaborate with the Turkish-based Ottoman Empire, building railway links and other enterprises (which made the British nervous at the time).

        Two men founded the “Temple Society” in the 1860s, and the Lutherans didn’t accept them at the outset. Your friend’s father probably associated with German Lutherans (as well as German/Austro-Hungarian Jews) who arrived in that second wave after the initial utopian Templar colony was successful.

        It’s interesting to think how just a few dedicated individuals can start up non-mainstream enterprises that eventually have enormous impact. Even Karl Marx & Engels and their students.

        Like

        • rashomon says:

          The doc is going to call his brothers, who still work in Jerusalem, to ask if there is more information. He was fascinated to hear about the Templars history in the area. Thanks for the insight.

          BTW, the reason the brothers remain in Israel is the vast growth the Jews have brought to the area in terms of technology, agriculture, medical research, etc. The family was facing a bleak future in the 1930s and early ’40s as farming was one of the sole ways of surviving, but the soil was wearing out. Now their children have multiple choices of careers and agriculture has made great strides. Peace would help, of course.

          Like

  13. I have a lot to say on this topic. I think Stella up there a few made some great points. Without the free flow of capitalism, there isn’t money to do charitable work. Some folks like the Kochs, Buffet, et. al just have more than others. They create jobs and wealth distributes naturally, and as that wealth distributes naturally, others engage in charitable work. And keep in mind, charity is not necessarily always in the form of money. It can also be in the form of time donated.

    I am a firm believer in supply and demand economics. It is the only thing that makes sense. If you create a product the public wants to buy, or provide a service the public wants or needs, then you will create wealth for yourself and the folks you employ.

    The problem is, the government interferes too much in this simple system. When there are taxes, licenses, liability concerns, and burdensome regulations, (I am NOT saying there should be NO regulations), it makes it nearly impossible for new players to enter the marketplace with their products. Or how about ITAR that comes after you for a yearly fee, when you’re not an exporter? That one was ridiculous, my husband’s small firm experienced that one first hand. Then throw into the mix an Administration that has an agenda and abuses their regulatory power, they are artificially choosing the “winners” and the “losers”. See Solyndra (King Barry’s government investing money there) and Gibson guitars (raided due to some obscure import regulation they were supposedly violating). The interference is what makes the system look so crooked when left to its simplest form, it really isn’t. There are going to be winners and losers. Not everyone can win. It is a fact of life.

    People are most productive and most charitable when left to their own devices. Humans are born with an innate thirst for freedom and creativity. I do not think there is any contention on this. I also think that at the core MOST people have empathy and compassion and will do what they can to help where they can, without sacrificing too much from their own table.

    I don’t mind paying income taxes to fund some things. But it really does anger me when I look at my check to know that the government FORCIBLY takes the fruit of my labor, to distribute to charities or pet projects that they see fit. It literally encroaches on my freedom. The Hobby Lobby lawsuits are a good example. The owners are pro-life, and they were being FORCED to use the fruit of their labors to provide means for abortions, something they disagreed with.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Also, especially in rural areas, there are little microcosms of bartering circles popping up. Folks who have particular skills or produce particular goods are beginning to barter with people. It makes sense and its working. I’m seeing it firsthand.

      If the government continues to forcibly take more and more of the fruits of a person’s labor, it becomes a form of slavery, and it takes away the incentive to produce. It also takes an individual’s means away to give more to charity. It is a vicious circle.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Lou says:

      My undergraduate is in Economics. Economics is not just MacroEconimcs, but also Micro Economics where you learn the true ins and out of how an Economic System works. there are so many factors that influence supply and demand, and one must understand all the factors to discuss Economics. with that said, I found MicroEconomics much more interesting.

      Liked by 2 people

      • nyetneetot says:

        So, because I don’t have a specific degree or have been to a class on Economics let alone Macro or Micro, I am not qualified to discuss Economics. Well poo poo to you too!

        Liked by 1 person

        • stella says:

          Fortunately, nyet, there is more than one view on economics – either macro or micro. I’m sure Lou can tell you about it.

          In other words, economics isn’t like chemistry or physics.

          Liked by 2 people

          • nyetneetot says:

            Fortunately indeed.

            Like

          • kpm58 says:

            They all can be described and explained with math. Chemistry and Physics are just relatively so much simpler and not as sensitive to the Heisenberg Principle.

            Like

          • Be Ge says:

            In fact, it is so unlike chemistry or physics, that Nobel prizes have been given out to people preaching contrary ideas and there does not seem to be a de Broglie–style corpuscular/wave dualism that finally put an end to the two century-old dispute between proponents of contrary theories of the nature of light. You may recall there was the corpuscular (founded by sir Isaac Newton) party and the wave party (founded by Christiaan Huygens). Light-as-a-particle theory explains well things like the photo effect and heating of a dark object by sunlight. Light-as-a-wave theory explains lens, mirrors, diffraction and interference. Now we know light is both. We still do not know how to reconcile quantum mechanics with general relativity (and until a theory that says how that works out, I don’t have an alternative to upholding the theory according to which Be reisheet bara Elohim et hashamayim ve’et ha’aretz).

            Problem is the divergent parts of physics at least describe different things under different conditions. Not so much luck for the economic theories, though — economists may describe the same situation and have very different explanations on how it really works from the inside and more importantly, what to do on the outside. Heh….

            Like

        • yankeeintx says:

          With insurance premiums, taxes, and inflation, I can balance my checkbook. That makes me an expert in “micro” economics. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

        • Lou says:

          nyetnetott, anybody is open to discuss their Economics beliefs. I’m just saying that Economics is more complex than just supply and demand. I disagree with most Conservatives when it comes to Economics, but agree with most Conservatives on most social issues. I’d consider myself to be more of a Centrist.

          Like

          • Lou says:

            I also believe there will be another bank bailout which I disagree with. without regulating the banks, the banks will need to be bailed out. I see the writing on the wall, and when it happens most Americans will be P.O. ed. we have a very reactionary government.

            Like

    • 2x4x8 says:

      just to add 2 things:

      1. there are a lot of vulture capitalist ventures out there, doing harm, the likes of Mortgage Backed Securities, Savings and Loan Scandal, Enron to name a few

      2. political contributions are used to get corporate welfare or regulation to crush competition, IRS scandal anyone

      Liked by 1 person

  14. joshua says:

    Value and behavior are not views. They are social and cultural norms. The are not stereotypical, although they may be similar, identical, radically different, or even familial. But they are not a demographic absolute. Individuals still have independent brains, no matter where, how, or when they live.

    Like

  15. czarowniczy says:

    “…article written by a professor of anthropology.” I have a minor in anthropology – luckily I have a major in a salable major.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Lars says:

    The American who invented the bar-code was sitting on an American beach and ran his extended fingers through the sand, noticing the different widths the fingers made. While he came up with the idea before there was technology in place to utilize, he gets the credit. The genius individual Joe Woodland had tried to think of ways to make stores more efficient and he succeeded greatly.

    Liked by 2 people

    • zephyrbreeze says:

      Philo Farnsworth, a lad of 13, was ploughing fields, when he looked down at the neat rows and his mind lit up with the idea of how to send electronic images for television. He was granted the patent for television in his patent fight with RCA. A relative was his high school physics teacher, and would listen to Philo rhapsodize about his television ideas

      Like

  17. rashomon says:

    Is it a coincidence that John Terrell is a professor of anthropology at the same school, University of Illinois in Chicago, that allowed Bill Ayres a professorship to produce his blather on progressive education and social justice? Now I really pity those poor students.

    Frankly, his NYT article made little sense to me; it was filled with too many contortions to prove his opinion. It also contradicted our knowledge, seen in many species, about risk-reward rearing of infants–>toddlers–>youth–>teens to make them into independent, functioning adults who accept responsibility for their actions.

    And then, libertarians and Tea Party conservatives did not sanctify the rights of individual; that has evolved over thousands of years, most notably in King John’s charter called the Magna Carta which defined the right of individuals to certain rights and which, in turn, gave rise to our own Bill of Rights and Constitution.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Individualism allows any person to achieve any level of success and success does not always equal material reward. The meaning of a successful life is as different from person to person as the definition of love is. We all have different measures.

    What is a fact is that when the government steps in and limits our ability, takes our hard-earned reward to redistribute to the members of a society who will not or cannot achieve, we lose heart in the struggle for success. It begins to feel futile. Even so, individuals will persevere.

    The problem is, there is not enough left at the end of the day to BE charitable. Left to our own accord, people will naturally help the downtrodden among us.

    Charity begins, first and foremost, “at home” and that does not mean the literal family home. Our government would do well to understand this. Then we will again thrive as a nation under God.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Centinel2012 says:

    Reblogged this on Centinel2012 and commented:
    The real issue is American Exceptionalism which has its core in the founding documents that made this country great. A small federal government that left the citizens free to own property and be freemen and women. Since we went from nothing to the moon in in 193 years (1969-1776) I’d say that was something never done before nor since. Those that want to rule can’t tolerate the self-rule works and so that have divided us so they can conquer us. We let them when the ACLU won the case that separated the church and state (in 1947 Everson v. Board of Education) and then under Johnson making it illegal for the church to speak on politics by giving the IRS the ability to remove their tax free status. As God was removed for the government the devil moved in and unless we throw him out we are domed. I speak figuratively here as the devil manifests himself as a progressive. Like Eve promising all kinds of wonders if you will turn away from God and believe in the state.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Be Ge says:

    From Marxist / materialist standpoint, it is all about group sizes. There has not been, until historically recently, such a thing as a dominant egocentrism/individualism trend — and to me (familiar with the works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels) it is all about the size of the primary / mainline group. Some people, namely representatives of civilization that began between Nile and Euphrates and reached its maturity in Europe, historically used smaller groups to live. A family/extended family was all there was — from hunting the wooly mammoths to growing wheat, olives and making wine — this is known as wheat culture. One of the alternatives is called “rice culture” — whereby it does take a village [(C) Madam Clinton] of hundreds if not thousands of individuals to work as a team in order to provide irrigated/flooded rice fields on a rugged terrain.

    All I care about is this:

    1. We the wheat people have are individuals / small group people but we can agree to join large groups when it is in our best interests to do so; consequently, we conquered the most if not all of the world
    2. We the wheat people do poorly under enforced collectivism / communism / socialism. Not that we the wheat people have not come up under certain conditions with the likes of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janteloven — these are for special conditions (like Norsemen stuck in a very harsh environment). Per se, janteloven did not at all cost much and are not the basis of the development of the society. The communist experiments have costs — up to a nine-digit amount of human lives lost due to the said commie experiments in the last 100 years alone
    3. Generous amounts of tar and feathers (ok, maybe not necessarily in a physical sense) should be applied to anyone seriously insisting of something resembling communism — from Jean-Paul Marat and Max “L’incorruptible” Robespierre to Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Salot Sar and the Kims.

    I’d add one more thing.
    4. I am tired of the “commie reverse” and PC BS whereby it is bad thing to be a winner (and a good thing to be a looser / oppressed one). Exactly as said by the recent Aussie prime ministers, I am a bit tired of striving to not offend some weird group or subculture that has lost the global contest to our wheat culture of small groups / individuals and having lost still does so poorly its representatives have to relocate to our first world of the wheat culture people to survive. These relocated folks have to adapt, not us. PC madness has to stop.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. StandYourGround says:

    American individualism isn’t a myth. Unfortunately, it appears to be going the way of the Dodo bird as the Federal Reserve is allowed to continue printing billions upon billions of dollars out of thin air, and as usurpation, tyranny, and treason are allowed to flourish in DC.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. zephyrbreeze says:

    Look what collective protection looks like: Chicago politicians have a philosophy that individuals do not have a God-given right to firearms. The police are hired to keep law and order. The system is a complete failure. 82 people were shot over the 4th of July 4-day weekend.

    Meanwhile, almost anywhere else in the US where individuals take personal responsibility to train themselves in self-defense with firearms, the violent crime rate is on par with Belgium’s which is very, very low.

    Take a look at these other Democrat-run cities.

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/07/14/despite-recent-shootings-chicago-nowhere-near-u-s-murder-capital/

    Like

  23. John Denney says:

    “This is not how we got to be the kind of species we are today.” – John Edward Terrell

    “These are not the droids you’re looking for.” – Obiwan Kenobi

    Like

    • John Denney says:

      ” Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.” – Han Solo

      Solo; now there was an Individual.

      Princess Leia Organa: It’s not over yet.

      Han Solo: It is for me, sister. Look, I ain’t in this for your revolution, and I’m not in it for you, Princess. I expect to be well paid. I’m in it for the money.

      Princess Leia Organa: You needn’t worry about your reward. If money is all that you love, then that’s what you’ll receive.

      [to Luke]

      Princess Leia Organa: Your friend is quite the mercenary. I wonder if he really cares about anything. Or anybody.

      Oooo, and Mr. Solo may not have built it, but:
      Luke Skywalker: [on first seeing the Millenium Falcon] What a piece of junk!

      Han Solo: She’ll make point five past lightspeed. She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts, kid. I’ve made a lot of special modifications myself.

      Like

  24. tovex11 says:

    Have friends that immigrated here from Ireland in the late 60’s and early 70’s as teenagers, there were a few problems there at that time. One of the guys was nineteen at the time, his Aunt had to put up a $15,000 dollar bond in 1970 to insure he did not become a burden on society before he was allowed to immigrate. Times have changed, it seems now the bigger the drag, the more the government wants you. Still do not know what the Irish are talking about half the time, A-holes, LOL!

    Like

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