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Thread by @AmyDentata: "I used to think my problem was with individualism but now I see my problem is with a society that disingenuously uses individualism to enric […]"

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I used to think my problem was with individualism but now I see my problem is with a society that disingenuously uses individualism to enrich a few at the expense of everyone else
The US is individualist not to empower the individual, but to weaken political organizing
Individualism is a lie if you're dependent on exploitative corporations to pay rent
Individualism is a lie if you do not have bodily autonomy
Individualism is a lie if your idea of a social safety net is "have family that's wealthy and not abusive toward you"
Individualism is a lie if it is tied to a religion
Individualism is a lie if it destroys the environment every individual needs to survive
"Fuck you I got mine" is not individualism, because when there are haves and have nots, individualism is a privilege and not a right
If you actually care about individualism and personal freedom, you work to empower everyone. Not to steal from them while bragging about how much money you have hoarded. Selfishness is not individualism. It is selfishness.
True individualism also cares about communal wellbeing because no individual is empowered in isolation. This isn't a paradox, it's just basic facts.
Personal freedom cannot flourish amidst poverty, sickness, and debt. Personal freedom cannot flourish amidst reckless selfishness. Personal freedom isn't real unless everyone has it.
Real individualism is dynamic cooperation between everyone, to maintain personal boundaries while also maintaining social cohesion even amidst conflict. Because without that dance, we are at war or under oppression, and neither is freedom.
Sincere, egalitarian cooperation is contrasted not just by physical violence, but by economic violence, by the social violence of stigma and oppression. When we selfishly shift the balance toward ourselves to screw over other people, we diminish individual freedom for everyone.
When we give to others more than we have, we diminish individual freedom for everyone as well.

Only in the delicate, living balance between individuals do we achieve true freedom.
If the US was actually individualist, we wouldn't have billionaires.
We must take individualism back from selfish assholes. Real individualism must empower the individual in everyone, or else it does not actually value the individual.
The individual is empowered if and only if:
- They can meet all their basic needs of food, water, community, shelter, and health
- They do not face social stigma for the mere fact of their body
- They have full autonomy over their own body
- They are practically able to disassociate from blood relatives and romantic partners even if sick or disabled
- They are not required to hold religious beliefs, and are free to hold their own religious beliefs as long as those beliefs do not diminish the freedom of others
This means the US has always been a nation without individual freedom, and will not BE a nation of individual freedom until we end racism, redistribute wealth, universally cover healthcare, guarantee housing and food, and remove restrictions on reproductive rights. For starters.
JUST TO START WITH. There is more. But that's a good start.
unroll please ❤️
Some people need a clarification on the difference between selfishness and my definition of real individualism, so I'll give that a shot.
Everyone has one SELF. It's just you. Selfishness is caring about that. Just that one thing.

Everyone is an individual, but is also surrounded by individuals. So, in order to truly value the individual, one must also look *outside* the self.
If you don't value others' individual freedom, you don't actually value individual freedom. You just want to hoard shit for yourself, which lowers everyone else's individual freedom.

We've been coming at this from the wrong angle for a loooooooong time, America.
Some folks seem really hung up on this idea that you can only be an individual if you're not part of a group. This is a false dichotomy that arises from selfishness. It also flies in the face of how homo sapiens actually work. We are a social species; we always function in groups
No human being grows into an adult in isolation. Even someone raised by wolves (which has literally happened) has a pack.

The pure individual, who is not a part of any group, is a fiction used to sell us selfishness.
Selfishness-branded-as-individualism leads to people believing they don't have a culture and weren't influenced by the environment they grew up in, and are therefore totally unique. This is straight-up denial of reality.
Even a countercultural American is distinctly American. Even a heavily neglected American is distinctly American. I myself fit both those criteria and you will still know I'm American from talking to me. We are individuals, but we are not so unique. Again, *this isn't a paradox.*
Fill your head with false dichotomies and everything will seem like a paradox. The problem is actually our model, not the thing we're trying to model.
The only way humans could be fully unique and not influenced by culture and environment is if our entire personality and consciousness was hard-coded at birth. That is a world with zero personal freedom, because our personalities would be fully deterministic.
Again, this isn't a paradox. It's just how shit works.
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