Principles Over Politics: Virtuous Individualism

(Special Series)

(Part 1)

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.  So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” (Luke 10: 29-37).

Hyper-individuality has spread infectiously throughout the world producing a toxic malaise over the minds, hearts, and souls of mankind. In reaction to it a dangerous collective desire of Identity and Identity Politics now stands to shatter any real sense of the individual beyond the group.

The term hyper-individualism can be described as a state of an individual acting in such a way that completely disregards the community. An attitude that carries over into the belief that an individuals identity of race, gender, sex, or personal background is the end all, be all position. Nothing another person has to say or do matters beyond the self. This attitude follows into their daily actions as the individual can do no wrong, demand a life to be lived without any form of judgement, and expect little in consequences to their actions. Rising tensions within harmful political environments make respect for differences of opinion a place of distain, yes, but that is only one part of a larger problem. Rather increasing tensions cause differences of opinion to intensify to the point of extremes, blinding individuals from seeing the faults in one or more positions.

Neither the radical beliefs of neoliberal individualism i.e. hyper-individuality nor the radical movements of collective solidarity (e.g. Marxism or Fascism) can suffice without calamity. Truthfully no system is perfect nor ideal, however, at the heart of the Christian faith and a philosophy of Primitive Conservatism is the individual who demonstrates mercy; whose actions are sacrificial not for their own vain glories but with the sole purpose to do right and to help others in-spite of differences.

“Justice without mercy is cruelty. Mercy without justice is the mother of all dissolution.” — Thomas Aquinas

Published by

E. Kyle Richey

A Christian, a Philosopher, and a Writer.

4 thoughts on “Principles Over Politics: Virtuous Individualism”

  1. Excellent, concise piece. It is frustrating that all debates over socio-economics are reduced to a clash between neoliberal individualism and Socialist/Fascist collectivism. I think the only truly objective intellectual debates occur in the middle, or even completely outside these artificial dialectical conceptions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bingo! The artificial concepts that there are always these camps of belief and outside of them is heresy is a very dangerous place to be. It is a poor philosophy. By fragmenting into these camps modernity has perpetually brought conflict without regard of the nuances. Giving to the poor and helping the needy is not a socialist nor a capitalistic matter, it is a question of virtue philosophically and a commitment to living out a Christian life theologically, I would even go as far to say a question of orthodoxy and orthopraxy.

      Like

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