Author- William Baumgarth
We live in a world where everyone is seen as a member of a group. Identity politics plagues our country. You are not seen as an individual, instead you are seen as “black, LGBT, democrat, republican, libertarian, rich or poor.” While these things may be true about a person, these things also put a lack of emphasis on the individual.
Labels, more often than not, only hurt the individual. Labels and groups lead individuals to have victim complexes. “I didn’t get the job because I’m poor, or I didn’t get accepted into that college because I’m LGBT,” are the types of excuses you will hear from group minded individuals. These same people will often ponder about what life is like “on the greener side.” This mindset will always lead these people to believe that they are the victim, taking complete power away from themselves and instead putting their power into a collective group.
Once you have given up your own individuality, and decided to put your power into the hands of a group, a lot of trouble starts. You will start to conform to every belief the group has, because without the group, you have no power. It is no longer what YOU believe in, it’s what your group believes in. Have an opinion? It better fall within the party lines, if not, you may be ostracized. As a result, members of groups are not to think for themselves, rather they are to think about what is good for the party. And what’s good for the party? To have one, uniform, set of rules.
In order to avoid a victim complex and the group mentality, members of groups should take the power back into their own hands. Didn’t get a job? Your mentality should be “I will try harder next time, I WILL improve.” Didn’t get into the college you wanted? You should respond by getting into ANOTHER college, working hard, and putting all of the fault on yourself. Even if you were overqualified or qualified enough, it should be known that chance plays a big part in life, and that with more dedication and hard work, the less of a role chance plays in life. At the end of the day, the only person who can put a smile on your face is yourself.
I’ve never liked the idea of group projects, because I am, more often than not, the most motivated person on the team. I will end up doing ninety percent of the work, while my team slacks off. In reality, I should just do my part, receive my A, and call it a week. But I can’t, because everyone in the group receives the same grade. Therefore, my drive to get an A does not come out of group love, rather it comes out of my individualistic motivation to do well for myself.
I find group work to be very similar to ideological groups in real life. In ideological groups there is always a few individuals who create the ideas, and push the ideology forward, while followers eat up and accept the ideas as true. The people who create the ideas have the most power, because their word is the word of the entire group. If their ideas seem nonsensical, it will be reflected by the group as a whole. But usually the ideas created by the leaders of these groups are powerful, and do have real world implications. Why? The leaders of these groups look at themselves as individuals that have powerful armies. When the “group” gets more power, it is in fact the leaders that get more power.
Individualism is the mindset that you don’t have to have a leader. Individualism is the mindset that you are your OWN leader. It helps you rely on yourself. It takes the power away from the powerful, and instead makes the individual, the powerful. Individualism is knowing that you have the freedom to control your life, and your destiny. Individualism is the ultimate freedom.
You can have your own ideas, you don’t have to tow the party line just because you’re scared of being left alone. It is impossible for someone to believe in everything their group says and does. You are not a sheep, you are a human being. You’re not hispanic, you’re not gay, you’re not democrat. You’re you, a unique individual with unique experiences, and a unique mind, EMBRACE IT. Don’t be afraid to be different.