On Individualism

I’m reading a terrific anthology of individualist thought edited by George H. Smith and Marilyn Moore. One essay was written by Oscar Wilde and focuses on individualism being the least selfish among alternatives. Let me put it this way: I am an individualist first, voluntaryist second.

How Three Women Sought to Sway Americans Away From Socialism

In 1943, as collectivist policies were ascendant, an extraordinary thing happened. Three women published three books that year that would jolt Americans from their socialist stupor and remind them of the fundamental American values of individual liberty, limited government, free-market capitalism, and entrepreneurship. This Women’s History Month is an ideal time to reflect on how Rose Wilder Lane, Isabel Paterson, and Ayn Rand helped to catalyze the 20th century libertarian movement.

Political “Unity” is Neither Necessary Nor Desirable

“[T]o restore the soul and to secure the future of America,” President Joe Biden said in his inaugural speech, “requires more than words. It requires that most elusive of things in a democracy: Unity. … This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward.” The bad news:  Where politics is concerned, “unity” is a pipe dream.

A Sea of Counter Conformity

We live in a sea of conformity and signaling. We are drowning in it, and, to some degree, this is okay. We are a social species, and we need to accept that the social nature of the species expresses itself in this way. I am on the far side of the spectrum that feels moderately comfortable being unacceptable, but I am an aberration. Even in myself, I feel the same social impulses everyone feels.

Convenience vs. Social Desirability Bias

Convenience has a massive effect on your behavior.  You rarely shop in your favorite store, eat in your favorite restaurant, or visit your favorite place.  Why not?  Because doing so is typically inconvenient.  They’re too far away, or not open at the right hours, so you settle for second-best or third-best or tenth-best.  You usually don’t switch your cell phone company, your streaming service, or your credit card just because a better option comes along.  Why not?  Because switching is not convenient.  Students even pass up financial aid because they don’t feel like filling out the paperwork.  Why not?  You guessed it: Because paperwork is inconvenient.