In Defense of the IndividualistThroughout history it has been the individualists, like Henry Ford and Rosa Parks, who have led nations, formed common groups, and made the greatest impact. However, people, such as the author, Michael Walzer, of Multiculturalism and Individualism, condemn the independent person as an unreliable footloose and empty creature (533). This denouncement of the socially unrestrained human is the fearful reaction to the power that these individuals can possesse. Nonetheless, strong individuals form the foundation of the worlds progress in technological and social fields because of their willingness to question and create.
Individualists have always been more involved with technological advances than the communitarian. It has been the person, unhindered by other peoples opinion that has given the most creative and helpful of inventions. A brief look into history reveals names such as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and, more recently, Bill Gates who have improved and contributed to the comfort of humanity. These individuals were often criticized for their self-interest work, but when the products of their imagination changed the lives of humans around the world the dissatisfied voices quieted.The communitarians accusations, that the individualist is a dangerous ungrounded individual who needs to conform to social norms, are actually the reasons for the importance of individualists influence in society.
The communitarian is fearful of the risks that are involved when tradition and safety is tested, but tradition only limits change and as long as the world contains negativity there is room for transformation. Christopher Little, the author of Communitarianism, A New Threat For Gun Owners, explains that communitarians believe that liberty is a threat to public safety (548). This fear of danger only inhibits the growth of the community. It has been said, a person only fails when he or she fails to try. By limiting peoples right to be different from their neighbor, whether it is the choice of gun possession or free speech, the communitarian damages the community.
Individualists stand out as people who are willing to question and test the social and mechanical boundaries of the world. Individualists are more socially persuasive than the faceless members of self-interest groups. History reveals that it is the individual that empowers the people.
I ask you, what are ten important interest groups that had a positive influence on America in the nineteenth century? This is a difficult question. However, if the words interest groups are replaced with individuals the answer would be relatively easy. Michael Walzer claims that individuals are just jetsam floating aimlessly away from every creative center(533). But, it is the eccentric individualists who have the power to create the groups.
Every group is a product of a individualist. So by arguing for the extermination of individualistic thought a group is actually cutting their own lifeline. Individualists are the largest and most important contributors to society. The fear of change doesnt change that fact. Society has always condemned the different, eccentric, and unconventional person when in actuality that person is the source for the advancement of society itself.
When conformist and communitarians attempt to limit personal freedom and thought they are only limiting their own personal growth. Individualists are the most significant supplier of creativity and good.