Monday, February 29, 2016

Appeal to Rugged Individualism?

The fallacy of rugged individualism is deeply rooted and is one of the favored mantras of the U.S. Rugged individualism sounds as you would think- an individual who chooses to be "rugged" with their choices and individualism by choosing what's unpopular to stand above the rest. This fallacy is said to be the opposite of Appeal to Popularity.

I'll delve into a few examples of rugged individualism. A prime example is our hero/heroine movies. Most movies, even ones without a super hero, have an individual who is more of a leader than a follower, and it is portrayed as being more successful than the follower. Why is that? This particular fallacy plays on the want to be better than others. Being a hero/heroine has them stand above the rest, giving them a sense of individualism that no one else has. That could be less desired if society treated life less like a competition, and more as a collaborative effort.

Another example is in our advertising. Even in 1950 Dr.Pepper was advertising their pop with the byline, "Be original. Drink Dr. Pepper." Only thing is, there's a problem there. If lots of people decide to drink Dr. Pepper, is it individualistic? Probably not. This is a good time to point out the flaw in thinking about how we try to be individualistic. Especially with a society like the U.S., where it is suggested to be different and individualistic, a leader not a follower, choose the unpopular versus popular, society and it's people become the opposite of what they strive for. And reverse what would have been unpopular, and individualistic, and turn it into the popular and common thing. Basically, our society tells its people to be the hero- be original- or just different, but then everyone decides to do that and it creates vicious competition.

I'm not knocking down being a unique individual at all. I am just merely pointing out that our society we live in tells us to be like that, whether you accept that or not, it is ingrained in us. Haven't you ever felt the pressure of college?! Another prime example: You must have internships, the best grades, a unique perspective on your field of study, because you WANT to stand out above the rest. Because if you don't, the fear of blending in is lurking.

1 comment:

  1. The hero movies, or the movies where there is a character that seems to be more of a leader in movies is necessary to tell the story. If we are telling a story about a person in present time as if it is happening in front of us, the main character will be more important then the rest, that is why it's called the leading role.

    As far as Dr. Pepper I really like the point that you make. I actually think about it often. If everyone is being "unique" and "individualistic" how unique is it really?

    As far as college I think the idea for that standard is to encourage the students to succeed. For a lot of individuals competition is necessary motivation for them to succeed. Humans are competitive by nature but we also are dependent on each other for moral, emotional, and mental support, to share feelings and emotions, to help each other out etc.

    I come from a country that was ruled by the Communist Regime. The idea was all for one and one for all kind of thinking, that everyone needed to work together and individualism and competition was not allowed. Some individualism and doing the extra work to stand out is not a bad thing. However, using "individualism" as an excuse to make selfish decisions is very wrong.