Rugged Individualism vs. Functional Civilization

“In our personal ambitions we are individualists. But in our seeking for economic and political progress as a nation, we all go up or else all go down as one people.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Today I read an article about some people who, having who voted a certain way, are getting impatient waiting for their jobs to return. Because, you know, it’s been three weeks. That should be more than enough time to reverse decades of slow economic decay, rebuild the abandoned and torn-down factories, and reestablish the supply chain. That’s how it works, isn’t it? We’ve just been waiting for the right person to take charge, snap their fingers, and magically make everything work the way we think it’s supposed to work (again).

Far be it from me to tell a rugged individualist how to conduct their affairs, but when I couldn’t find a job I went back to school, got another degree in something arguably useful, started my own business, and created my own job. What I didn’t do was sit on my behind and whine, then elect a strongman daddy figure to go get my job back from whichever scapegoat allegedly stole it from me.

I’m not a rugged individualist. I don’t consider myself to be a self-made man. There is a huge line of people standing behind me, without whom I wouldn’t be where I am today. The public education system, and the fantastic teacher that I had growing up, who provided me with a love of lifelong learning and a strong foundation to build upon. The public transportation system of various cities, which allowed me to save a ton of money by not having to own a car and assume all of the expenses that went with it. The public library system, and the university library system which allowed me access to books and other learning materials, gave me a quiet place to study and work, and gave me free wifi so that I could, again, keeo my expenses low.

My life wouldn’t be possible without WordPress, for providing free blogging software. I couldn’t be in business without LibreOffice providing a free suite of tools. I have to give credit to OneBookShelf, Inc. and Amazon for providing a platform to distribute and sell my work. I didn’t make any of that, but I use the hell out of all of it. It’s a form of privilege to live in a time when these resources are available, and I’m not going to be a jerk and claim that somehow I did everything on my own. I’ve found that people who claim to be self-made rugged individualists tend to be narcissistic and lacking a sense of basic gratitude.

Where I was, perhaps, more self-determined than others was in getting the most out of those things that were available to me. When I went back for my business degree, I studied hard knowing that the letter grade and the GPA weren’t going to make a different, but the practical knowledge that I was able to use would. I’m still proud that I graduated summa cum laude, mind you, but I didn’t put in the work to get the honor, I got the honor because I put in the work.

I’m not going to say that anyone could do what I’ve done. That’s not taking credit from anyone, but giving myself credit for the abilities that I do posses and, as with other resources, doing as much with them as I can. I don’t have contempt for people who don’t know what to do, or who need help; we all need help, and that’s sort of my point. What bugs the crap out of me is the attitude of superiority being spewed by people who aren’t doing anything, aren’t trying anything, and pretending that their reliance on an authority figure to fix their problems is anything other than asking for a handout from the very government they claim not to trust. The hypocrisy burns, it burns so, so much.

Today’s Dashboard

Yesterday’s Word Count: 2043
Month-to-Date Word Count: 33885
Year-to-Date Word Count: 141243
Average Daily Word Count YTD: 3531

Actively Reading: The Ultimate Sales Letter, Dan S. Kennedy
Background Music: The Hour of Slack
Recently Watched: Back in Time for Dinner

Current Project: The SF RPG that’s getting closer to having a name
Latest Release: Find them all here.

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One thought on “Rugged Individualism vs. Functional Civilization

  1. It’s good to be able to feel good about yourself. As it is said, God helps those who help themselves. That’s true, whether or not you actually believe in a deity… those who get up and start to do things go further, get higher, than those who wait for someone else to do it all for them.

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