Once upon a time, people in the United States of America valued individualism alongside congeniality. Somewhere along the path, within recent years, Americans have veered away from friendliness to isolationism. I guess it was always a matter of time before this nation’s people began to reflect its long held (claimed anyway) foreign policy. Antisocial behavior, and/or tribalism, has won rank as the seminal characteristic of American strength, and the ideal American male. With this comes excessive greed and anger.
But, what has made American’s so cold?
The corruption of rugged individualism into savage bullying has been underway, I’d wager, for as long as the United States has existed. There has always been an element among the citizenry that prides its independence, freedom, and cloistered way of life. Think of the folks stories of the Hatfields and McCoys.
That story has something else in common with the current state of affairs in America: male violence. Certainly everyone in those two families got involved regardless of what gender with which they identified. But, that is the way of toxic masculinity. It is patriarchal and it lies as king over families or groups (you may think of Waco, or other religious communal groups that have become infamous). This form of masculinity demands unyielding loyalty and obedience from the deemed lesser members of the group. It is hard and arrogantly focused. One might notice the similarities this has with Domestic Violence perpetrators.
Not ironically, victims of domestic violence often grow up to become abusers. This is how the problem perpetuates itself. The survival of such a system relies on convincing the victim that they deserve the treatment, as well as understanding it as a necessary thing. The abuser manipulates the mind of the victim to simultaneously think they are the greatest thing that has ever happened to the abuser, and that they are a terrible person who needs to be closely kept by the abuser. Do you see the average American here in the shadow of their abusive overlords?
Part of that manipulation relies on allies to back up the stories the abuser tells. So if those who believe they should be the ruling class in America want to maintain power over the sovereign citizens of America, they must convince them to abdicate their power unto them. They will need to be convinced they require protection from the would be ruling class, because they are too weak to defend themselves. In the middle of this, they will be told they cannot trust one another, because we can’t have victims speaking to victims about what they’ve been told. And the manipulations spiral on from there until the people are divided. That division is a long existing trench put in place prior to the close of the revolution that birthed the nation (slavery being the millstone on which that grain was ground).
Rugged individualism was a value that was employed to leverage the emotions of Americans. It has been wielded for generations, plucking the heartstrings with nostalgia of a time that exists only in stories. For, Americans never did anything without relying upon each other. Even when conquering the west, settlers leaned upon their groups, towns, and larger legions. Yet, it is spun that each family was headed by a tall silent patriarch who single-handedly carved out the ranch and defended against intruders (usually a person of color painted as a blood-thirsty savage, hell-bent on taking the rancher’s women). Why not just talk about cavemen bopping women over the head and dragging them back to a cave?
in·di·vid·u·al·ism (noun) : individualism
- the habit or principle of being independent and self-reliant.
- self-centered feeling or conduct; egoism.
- a social theory favoring freedom of action for individuals over collective or state control.
Regardless, the point is, that true individualism in the United States has been corrupted into men vying for power over one another. In each heart is held a deep suspicion that his neighbor will steal him blind if he lets his guard down but a moment. A cycle of abuse thus embeds itself into practically every niche of the culture.
Underlying this is the ideology of mammon, or the gaining of wealth for the sake of wealth. The United States has been here before, in the 1800s when robber barons ruled the day, and the train system was erected. It came after the turn of the century, too. Sectors of the populace believed it was a god given right to abuse the less fortunate and build wealth upon their backs, because that is a manly thing to do, both manly and aristocratic.
Boys don’t cry, you’re incapable of amassing wealth because you are weak, and other tall tales are tools of abusers. When such abuse is prolonged and as exhaustive as it has been in the United States, you are left with anger. This year has seen a devastating rise in the expression of that anger, especially among the white males of the nation, school shootings being the most visible locus. Yet, school shootings are not the prime materialization.
If one has spent any time at all on the internet, for instance, on Facebook or similar social media, then one would see the incessant abuse of strangers. The easiest place in which to see this flood of vitriol is in the comments section of any celebrity’s post. Another popular place is in the comments of feminist posts, as feminism is seen as threatening to the way of masculinity (although it seeks to simply put genders on equal footing with one another). These men claim they are preserving freedom (of action?). In truth, they are clawing at the power they wield over others instead of the freedom to choose for themselves. No longer is the desire to cooperate in an effort to achieve greatness together, as it has been replaced with repressive and angry compulsions to control.
Is it any wonder that with the rise of technology, when we are at our most connected state ever, it is being manipulated by those in power to keep us divided?
Thus, conservative elites, who pretend to emulate the greatest of American values, and the supposed liberals working beside them, exploit the people of this nation through savage bullying, and have broken the very meaning of republic.