Is Individualism Racism?

Lynne Kiesling

I had been aware of the Seattle Public School District’s recent attempt to define “institutional racism” because of Eugene Volokh’s post a couple of weeks ago, but I didn’t broach the subject here because I didn’t have anything to add other than to observe that it’s disturbing to have some institutional imposition of the idea that “emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology” is racist. Deeply disturbing. Others elsewhere are more articulate than I about how legal protection of individual liberty, and an ethos of individualism, are values that rest at the foundation of tolerance and acceptance of diversity (in addition to being at the foundation of economic growth and human well-being), but that’s really what I find disturbing about this institutionalized effort.

But I found some of the follow-up discussion thought-provoking, including Andrew Coulson’s op-ed in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer last Thursday on the matter. He draws the connection between school choice and tolerance.

The PI page has a “sound off” comment section, where I found this comment by “scorpio”:

This universe is governed by natural laws.
One of the most basic is: Everyone has the right to become wise…through self-effort.
Ponder it. Then apply it.

Other posts on the subject at Cato-at-Liberty (Andrew Coulson elaborating on his PI argument), Natalie Solent, and Samizdata.


6 thoughts on “Is Individualism Racism?

  1. Education, idealy, provides the opportunity for the individual to maximixe his/her potential by learning as much as possible of the available information of interest and as many of the approaches as possible to applying that information to achieve ends of interest to the individual and of value to society.

    Education is not and should not be a way to achieve a uniform level of understanding among all participants in the process.

    The education system, at its best and least constrained, produces a small number of relatively dull white, black and asian graduates, a large number of relatively well educated white, black and asian graduates, and a small number of very well educated white, black and asian graduates.

    Any attempt by the education system to limit the number of very well educated graduates of any color or background must be ruthlessly destroyed before the system destroys the students it is payed to educate.

    A school system which would not function to maximize the potential of a Thomas Sowell, or a Walter E. Williams, or a Condoleeza Rice, or a Shelby Steele deserves to be destroyed before it can do further harm.

    It does not matter whether the best and brightest are white, or black, or asian. It only matters that they receive the best education possible, so that they may accomplish everything they are capable of accomplishing and society may benefit to the maximum extent possible from their efforts.

    Too much of the effort in our current education system is focused on achieving equal outcomes, rather than providing equal opportunities to achieve and excel. We continue this approach at our great peril.

    UNCF has it exactly right: “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”, no matter what color head it is enclosed in. The costs of this waste are strewn throughout our society for all to see.

  2. Individualism is anti-collectivism. “Diversity” mashes people of all colors into an easily controlled gray goo. This has nothing to do with racism and everything to do with control.

  3. Seattle Borg

    A couple of weeks ago (how time flies!) I linked and quoted a bit from Brad Allenby’s May column. It bears repeating. Under conditions of systems and ontological complexity which push people beyond their adaptive capacity, retreat to fundamentalism –…

  4. Seattle Borg

    A couple of weeks ago (how time flies!) I linked and quoted a bit from Brad Allenby’s May column. It bears repeating. Under conditions of systems and ontological complexity which push people beyond their adaptive capacity, retreat to fundamentalism –…

  5. Seattle Borg

    A couple of weeks ago (how time flies!) I linked and quoted a bit from Brad Allenby’s May column. It bears repeating. Under conditions of systems and ontological complexity which push people beyond their adaptive capacity, retreat to fundamentalism –…

  6. Seattle Borg

    A couple of weeks ago (how time flies!) I linked and quoted a bit from Brad Allenby’s May column. It bears repeating. Under conditions of systems and ontological complexity which push people beyond their adaptive capacity, retreat to fundamentalism –…

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