America's "Individualistic" Society

America's "Individualistic" Society

What kind of society do we really live in?
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America was built with the intention of being an individualist culture, however, it seems to be faced with a societal conflict that it has been battling for centuries. The conflict revolves around individualism vs. collectivism. Individualism is the principle of being independent and self-reliant. Collectivism is the principle of giving a group priority over each individual within it.

Let’s go into a bit further detail on the two before deciding what kind of society we really are. Individualism is the idea that the individual's life belongs to them and they have the right to do with it what they please, and pursue his or her own values. It’s the idea that our American Founders established when creating the Declaration and the Constitution which were meant to recognize and protect each individuals' rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.

On the contrary, collectivism is the idea that each individual’s life doesn’t belong to his or herself, but to the group that they’re apart of. He or she has no rights and is obligated to sacrifice values and ambitions for the greater good of the group. Collectivism promotes the idea that the group is the basic unit of moral concern.

So, individualism or collectivism? Which idea should we value, and which do we value?

As we look out into society, we see the world as separate and divided. We see distinct individuals. Though individuals may be apart of groups like teams or unions, the indivisible beings we see are individuals. Everyone has his or her own body, mind and life. Groups are nothing more than individual people coming together for a purpose. Humans are individuals.

The natural result of individualism is innovation. It’s led to invention, agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, and affordable necessities and luxuries. None of this would have been possible if individuals weren’t encouraged to think independently and create new things and keep some of the wealth from what they built.

We shouldn’t have to conform to society or feel oppressed from veering off from the group. Within America’s modern day society, we are “encouraged” to be individuals, but once we do disagree in a class debate, agree with a certain political party, or not follow our gender roles, etc., it’s suddenly frowned upon. In addition, we’re burdened with having to fulfill the need of other individuals.

A perfect example of collectivism in American culture is our income tax where some individuals are paying as little as 10% to income taxes, and others are paying up to 39.6%. For a society that “encourages” individualism, this seems to be a method that affects more than the individual.

When our Founding Fathers created the Constitution, they had every intention of America maintaining an individualist culture, however it seems that we are slowly turning into a collectivist society. What do you prefer we do?

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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To The Generation That Might Not Care, A Green New Deal Is Crucial

Take care of our planet and our future.

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The reality of climate change and method to address the issue has been a source of contention in the United States for far too long. While Republicans trail behind Democrats a great deal in the percentage who believe long-term, irreversible climate change is a real problem, an equally if not more important gap to acknowledge is that between generations.

A universally taught science concept in elementary school is the difference between weather and climate. Weather is the day-to-day condition of the atmosphere — rainy, sunny, etc. Climate is the weather of a particular geographic location over a long period of time. The weather in an area may be snowy on a particular January day but might overall have a warm climate (Trump has yet to learn this concept).

The gap between generational support for not only believing in the reality of climate change but if the government should take steps to prevent further harm on our planet is apparent. A few reasons that older generations may not support aggressive climate change policies are that many are not going to see the lasting impact of their harmful actions, may not want to acknowledge that their way of life for a majority of their life was detrimental to the environment, or that they simply do not think it is the government's role to further regulate current practices and lifestyles in the name of the environment (an argument supported by many conservatives).

Data For Progress

The "Green New Deal," proposed earlier this month by Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Edward Markey is mainly a list of ideas and goals rather than a carefully laid-out plan, though aims to eliminate greenhouse emissions through the creation of millions of jobs in the renewable energy industry, moving toward public ownership (a major source of disagreement among Republicans and Democrats), and much more. This plan is a comprehensive overview of many sources of environmental degradation that our nation has not addressed, despite the majority of the nation believing the climate change is a real issue.

There will undoubtedly be a major shift in the operations of many companies due to aggressive climate change policies, which could have been avoided at a drastic level if our nation had chosen to make climate change prevention a priority. Unfortunately, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global temperatures will rise to an irreversible level in 12 years if the United States and other countries that greatly contribute to rising temperatures do not take action. A sense of urgency has been lacking for far too long is crucial.

Written into the recently proposed Green New Deal is a section detailing how it will attempt to remedy the inequality of those most directly impacted by climate change. Vulnerable communities, particularly communities of color, are not seeing an equitable distribution in disaster funding to prevent damage inflicted by the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters that have resulted as an increase in rising global temperatures — Which, regardless of your age, should be a glaring flaw in our current system.

I personally doubt that the entirety of the recently proposed Green New Deal will be enacted, however, I believe that anyone who values the quality of human life, clean air, clean water, food sources, for not just those in the United States, but around the world, should be supportive of a Green New Deal.

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