There’s only one solution.
When she got home, there was no internet. Her ex-husband had canceled it while she was at work, but didn’t bother to tell her. Now her kids can’t attend school, and she can’t even run her side hustle.
She texted her husband, asking why.
“You need to learn how to support yourself,” he said. This coming from an under-employed man who decided six months ago he didn’t want to be a husband or father anymore. He’d left a note on the fridge. Now he lives with his mom, refusing to pay any amount of child support.
Of course, he has a new girlfriend.
Individualism Has Gone Toxic.
Western culture in general tends to place a lot of value on the idea of the free-thinking individual. Everyone should enjoy the freedom to do and say whatever they want. We’re all entitled to our opinion. It doesn’t sound bad all by itself, until you take that idea to its extreme.
We’ve done just that.
Individualism has gone completely toxic in America. We’ve seen it devolve from a somewhat coherent set of principles to an excuse for abandoning our most basic responsibilities, even opting out of society altogether. These days, it’s not that strange to hear about men deciding they don’t want to deal with the inconveniences of raising a family anymore. Half the population jumps at the chance to blame everyone for their problems. They complain about victimhood until it suits them to play the victim.
It gets worse every year.
We’re finding it harder to go anywhere without running into toxic individualism, whether it’s aggressive drivers or jerks who answer their phones in movie theaters. Asking someone to endure the slightest inconvenience sends them into a blind rage.
Where I live, you can’t hike in the state park anymore without coming across someone carrying a sound system in their backpack. It’s hard to believe that’s a thing now, but it is. After all, why bother with earbuds when you can blast your favorite music for miles in every direction, turning the great outdoors into your own personal dance hall?
It’s all about the me.
Toxic Individualism Has Corrupted our Politics.
It’d be one thing if toxic individualism remained at the level of Karens and Todds yelling at cashiers.
Toxic individualism has reached the highest levels of our government. We’ve managed to get rid of the worst one, but we’ve still got a long way to go. The Texas snow storm serves as a disturbing example. On the one hand, we’ve got senators like Ted Cruz jetting off on a vacation to Cancun of all places while their constituents battle freezing homes.
On the other hand, we’ve got Texas mayors like Tim Boyd, who tells his own citizens they’re “lazy” for wanting heat and electricity. He goes on to declare that in a snow storm that’s left millions completely exposed to the elements, “the strong will survive and the weak will parish.”
It’s truly something to behold:
This level of toxic individualism goes beyond logic.
Let’s remember some fundamental principles of government. For starters, the residents of Colorado City aren’t looking for handouts. Theypay for utilities to protect them from severe weather. Second, they also pay for Mayor Boyd’s salary. Providing city services is literally his job.
This is the entire point of government. Individuals contribute to a system that takes care of the group. We have a pretty big problem when elected officials are telling their own citizens to fend for themselves, mocking them as they literally freeze to death.
Toxic Individualism is Going Mainstream.
It would be comforting if Tim Boyd were just one random mayor who lost his mind under pressure. Unfortunately, he’s not.
This attitude is everywhere now.
This is how most conservatives think. They believe we should all pay a third of our incomes to them in taxes so they can take vacations in Cancun while everyone else fights for life in a sub-zero hell. When we demand anything in return, they’re taken aback. They call us lazy freeloaders and tell us we’re looking for handouts.
These toxic individualists never practice what they preach. The minute something doesn’t go their way, they’re crying tears of rage. Not one of them could last a day in the extreme conditions they leave everyone else to deal with on their own. Worse, the people who elect them adopt the same mindset. According to them everyone should fend for themselves, until something awful and unexpected happens to them.
That’s when their sense of collective responsibility kicks in. That’s when they make appeals to unity and empathy.
When it serves them…
Toxic Individualism is Taking Over Our Culture.
This problem used to be a pain. Now it’s turning into a problem that dominates our society. We’ve got a bunch of spoiled children who want to take-take-take without giving anything back.
It’s the definition of entitlement, and it’s wrecking everything. This week we’re talking about Texas, but what’s going on now happens in deep red states all over the country. I happen to live in one. Let me tell you, it gets truly depressing to realize how alone you are. Even if you don’t have a mayor who flips you the mental bird-like Tim Boyd does, you know it’s what they’re thinking. They don’t want to help you, not really.
That’s why people like me take survival prep seriously. We know there’s a 50 percent chance we could get stuck in the exact same situation Texans are now. So we’ve got our gear handy.
Every day, you remind yourself that you’ll probably run across five or six jerks who truly don’t give a shit about you. Trying to point out contradictions in their thought process doesn’t work. It just makes them angry, and even less likely to change their minds.
You learn to spot them from a distance, and avoid them.
It’s the only way.
Practice Kindness When You Can.
Avoiding toxic individualists is how I get through each day. Beyond that, there’s only one way to battle the larger culture of toxic individualism, at least that I can think of.
When a husband walks out on his family and tells them to provide for themselves, then support that family.
When a state’s officials fly off to Cancun during a disaster, donate what you can. Make those leaders look as incompetent and useless as they really are. They probably won’t care, but other people will notice. It might contribute to their removal from office.
When you’re kind to someone, you put a different vibe out there to counteract all the world’s toxic individualism. You set a different standard, and hopefully push the pendulum back the other way. So on that note, I’ve been donating to groups in Texas to help provide food and shelter. The antidote to toxic individualism is community and collective action.
It’s the only thing that works.