Individualism means the priority of sacred individual rights over the rights/power of the commune or of fascist Nationalism.
The word sacred refers to the descriptor God-given to describe rights that America recognizes as preceding the writing of the US Constitution.
The words commune and fascist Nationalism include the concepts of any region such as in regionalism, globalism, environmentalism and necessarily includes the concept of habitat.
Recalling the Nazis, Nationalism was the priority of the nation over the individual wherein the rights of the individuals were bound (root meaning of the word fascist) and individual rights were denied for the greater common good of Germany. [See attached photo.][“These dead gave their spirits for the glory of Greater Germany.”]
I’ve seen a corruption of the word individualism by Communists, Putin in particular, and a foreign misunderstanding of American individualism by at least one liberal or left-wing Australian Catholic. America’s Protestant roots might also explain why the expression of individualism of the French and American revolutions might not be well understood in the melting pot of America’s many cultures.
Personalism, an old (but not irrelevant) concept in the Catholic religious community is similar but seems to be more of a term of art in the religious/philosophical field, while American individualism, according to my understanding as of this writing, is a term of art in the legal rights/political field.
Individualism as I refer to it herein, relates not to the person rather to the rights (power) of the person as an individual in competition against the rights (power) of the Commune. The individual wins against the Government because of the priority of the God-given sacred fundamental right of the individual to Free Speech.
For example, let’s take a look at what the United States Supreme Court (Chief Justice Roberts) said about the God-given right to Free Speech in U.S. V. Stevens, 559 U.S. 460 (2010):
“The First Amendment itself reflects a judgment by the American people that the benefits of its restrictions on the Government outweigh the costs. Our Constitution forecloses any attempt to revise that judgment simply on the basis that some speech is not worth it. The Constitution is not a document “prescribing limits, and declaring that those limits may be passed at pleasure.” Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 178 (1803).” [Emphasis added.]
To understand the uniquely American concept of individualism use Livy’s dialectic by considering the statements of those who oppose American individualism. Hegel (hence Marx) states that, “Freedom is the recognition of the necessity of mutual coercion.” [Quote is attributed by adherent Hardin to Hegel.] Russian Communist Putin described individualism as dangerous. And Obama in his typically inexact and rambling way stated essentially that, Personal freedom is preserved by collective action. Similar remarks are attributed to Hillary Clinton.
Redefining individualism as similar to hedonism, egoism or anarchy defeats the connection between individual rights and God as against the all powerful centralized government. In order to counter the mischaracterization of individualism by foreigners who easily confuse individualism with hedonism, egoism or anarchy consider this: American individualism is not a concept that pits man against God.
Rather the concept of American individualism is God and man together against the otherwise overwhelming power of government. This is not some sort of anti-government conspiracy stuff. The automatically-arising competition between the power of government and the protection of God-given human rights (power of the individual) consumes the writers of both the Federalist and the Anti-Federalist Papers of the late 1700’s.
If the Founders were not cognizant of the overwhelming power of centralized government, then why would they devise the separation of powers so thoroughly? The Legislature is divided into two and its laws must survive a veto by a third party, the Executive. The Judiciary is divided into three courts with original trial, appellate review and then the Supreme Court. The Executive is one but may be removed by the Legislature. The Legislature (Congress) creates the law but may not interpret it. Expounding upon the law is the duty and function of the Judiciary. The Executive enforces the law.
Now think about the lack of separation of powers in agencies that make their own rules, interpret them, establish their own facts, enforce the result, and then, despite being a biased party in litigation, demand that the Judiciary to give them total deference.
The writers of the Constitution knew their history. The Magna Charta, now about 800 years old, is the basis of human rights, human freedom and thereby human dignity found in our federal and state Constitutions. It provided that humans would not be deprived of life, liberty or property without resort to a jury of their peers, yet that is exactly what bureaucratic agencies are currently allowed to get away with.
As the exCommunist noted in the ’50’s era book “The God That Failed”, the largest most controlling monopolistic corporation is but a mere pygmy when compared to the power of government. Consistent with that thought, consider that even the largest US corporations don’t operate SWAT teams but the smallest subdivision of US government can usually figure out how to get one called up if needed.
I heard someone say that the reason the expression of individualism in the French revolution failed, but the American experiment worked, was because Americans connected God to their individual rights. And the French did not. So, when God is taken out of government and schools, Constitutional rights simply become, as in any Communist country, an illegitimate Kaganesque ad hoc balancing test between the interest of atheist man in rights (powers) against the interest of atheist government in rights (powers). In such contests, the government always wins.
So to reiterate what Justice Roberts said:
“As a free-floating test for First Amendment coverage, that sentence is startling and dangerous. The First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech does not extend only to categories of speech that survive an ad hoc balancing of relative social costs and benefits. The First Amendment itself reflects a judgment by the American people that the benefits of its restrictions on the Government outweigh the costs. Our Constitution forecloses any attempt to revise that judgment simply on the basis that some speech is not worth it. The Constitution is not a document “prescribing limits, and declaring that those limits may be passed at pleasure.” Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 178 (1803).”
Without connecting God to our individual rights, we cannot as easily recognize the loss of our human dignity when human rights to property are taken away from us. In labor law, employment is a recognized property right the violation of which gives rise to a cause of action by the individual whose rights are violated. The Endangered
Species Act now centrally controls, outside of the three branches of government, our private property rights. Central control abolishes private property ala the Communist Manifesto. (Last two pages Chapter Two.) By signing the ESA, Nixon capitulated more than just Vietnam to the Communists. “Just following orders” was no defense to the Nazis and should be no defense to those “just following orders” in the various anti-American, anti-human liberation movements.
Individual rights should not be confused with group rights. Group rights violate our Founders’ doctrine of equality under the law and show up as corporate cronyism (that resemble Communist oligarchy) and as special rights for small politically well-connected groups of humans and of endangered animals.
The following describes individual rights, that is, individualism, the priority of the rights of the individual over the government and its bureaucracies. Some states’ rights are included. The following is not a verbatim recitation, rather the list of paraphrased rights is to demonstrate much of what we do not hear on today’s professional agitator propaganda media outlets. Capitalization is all over the map in the Constitution and was followed in some instances and ignored in others.
The people shall have the Writ of Habeas Corpus available except under certain circumstances.
The individual shall be free from Bills of Attainder and ex post facto laws.
Individuals shall have limits on taxation.
There shall be no preferences toward one state over another.
Appropriations by law are necessary to authorize withdrawal of federal money from the Treasury.
No title of nobility shall be granted by the US.
The trial of all crimes shall be by jury.
Each citizen shall have all privileges and immunities of one state in all the other states.
The United States shall protect each state from invasion.
Congress shall not establish a religion or prohibit the free exercise of religion or abridge the freedom of speech, or of the press, or to peaceably assemble.
The individual shall have the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
The people shall be free from the mandatory quartering of troops in their homes.
Individuals shall not be subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures.
No accusations of crime against individuals shall lie unless made in writing to give proper notice of the allegations and in order to provide for a proper defense.
No one shall be subjected to double jeopardy. [Regarding WOTUS, the central controllers at the EPA want fines up to $37,500 per day of violation.]
No one can be compelled to testify against oneself. [Compare that to certain administrative state proceedings that resemble the Star Chambers of old.]
No one can be deprived of life liberty or property without due process of law. [“Of law” has a special meaning that excludes the extralegal administrative state proceedings.] [“Due process” is a phrase of art for which whole books have been written. The concept includes substantive (authentic, my word) due process meaning the Constitutional creation of the law to include proper notice to the public, written notice of any alleged violations, and more.]
No property shall be taken for the governments’ purposes [of saving animals] without just compensation.
An accused shall have the right of speedy and public trial [No agency Star Chamber trials.] by jury where the crime was alleged to have been committed, to be informed of the allegation, to confront the accusers, to have compulsory process for providing defense witnesses and for a defense lawyer.
Where the amount of controversy shall exceed $20, a litigant shall have the right to demand a jury. [Again, environmental fine of $37,500 with no trial.]
The individual shall be free from excessive bail, excessive fines and free from cruel and unusual punishments. [$37,500 fine, daily.]
The individual’s rights set out shall not be disparaged by the numbering order set out in the Bill of Rights.
There shall be no slavery or involuntary servitude except as punishment for crime. [That is after conviction, not just because you decide to engage in a certain kind of regulated business.]
No state shall make or enforce any law that shall abridge the privileges and immunities of the individual. [Seems to me that economic rights are privileges and immunities of property ownership that should not be abridged simply by administrative rule that are not enacted first by law, that is, representative government.]
Equal protection under the law appears in three important places not including the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers.
The individual’s right to vote appears in several places also.
No where in there do I see any right of a small politically well-connected group of pinnated grouse, of tiny fish or of spotted owls to force an individual to give up human rights to private property or to private property self-employment rights. In fact, what I see is the establishment of a humans-first public policy that Congress had no right to alter by passing the Endangered Species Act.