I’m an Individual

…and you can’t beat that.

Or, at least, I think that was some primary school slogan we had at some point. But Google knows nothing about it, so maybe I imagined it all. Surely, there isn’t still more in the universe than’s dreamt of in Google’s eight billion web pages… I think it might’ve had something to do with aboriginals; it rhymes after all.

Anyway, I occasionally get confused at the way both lefties and right-wingers claim exclusive ownership of particular concepts. Well, not so much that, but when both manage to do it over the same concept, and actually show evidence that they’re right.

One of those concepts is individuality. The lefty concept looks something like “I’m an individual, standing up against the crowd, bravely dissenting from the accepted wisdom in the knowledge that time shall prove me right”, while the right-wing one is perhaps akin to “I can look after myself. Anything that my family wants, that my town wants, that my church wants, we can build ourselves, and we will.” The right looks at things like communism, big government, and tariffs and wonders how anyone who claims to be an “individual” can either be so incapable of looking after themselves to want that stuff, while the lefty looks at the disciples gathered in church all reading from the same page of the same book, or the ministers and executives who toe the party line religiously, and wonder how anyone who doesn’t haven’t an opinion of their own could possibly count as an individual.

I don’t actually wonder either of those things. What I do wonder is why we’ve got such adverse definitions for individuality. Why should you have to imagine yourself surrounded by people who unthinkingly disagree with you, or alone on a prairie, with no one to turn to and no hope of help, just in order to think of yourself as an individual?

Clearly, right and left need to come together and turn to the world of fashion to establish a new conceptualisation of the crucially important issue of how we shall comport ourselves as individuals.

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