Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Fallacy of Rugged Individualism

While approaching any argument, thinking logical is always vital. In order to be our most logically sound selves, we must understand logical fallacies. The fallacy of “Rugged Individualism” is a very interesting aspect in the lives of every single human on this planet. Society emphasizes the idea individualism, growing up striving to be our best selves. We our all brought up to be ourselves, “we don’t need anyone else to fall back on,” “we only need ourselves to be happy.” Being unique is looked at as becoming “fully human” ( and is strived for by most. It is drilled into us from birth to use our gifts and talents to attain this individualism, which is the pinnacle of humanity.

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Here in America we live in a full-blown individualistic society, unlike many Asian cultures where an individual has no more importance than any other. This is called a collective society. Growing up I was taught all those things I talked about in the first paragraph. I see myself as an individual and am fully responsible for what happens to or for me. So naturally, this “appeal to the individual” is aimed directly at me. I have always taken pride in being an individual, doing things that appeal to me, as well as my family. Reaching my full potential has been my number one goal since I knew how to think.

The fallacy of “Rugged Individualism” taps into that self-absorbed individual mindset many of us have. We all want to be different, we are all “rugged individuals.” This idea of it being so cool to go against the grain and be different can get us into trouble. Sometimes we have to accept the fact that we do need people to fall back on in life. We need friends and family to comfort us and to reassure our existence. Sometimes it is not always the best thing to try too hard to be an individual. This is where fallacy of the “Rugged Individual” makes its mark.

It is never a good idea to take a position on something because everyone else does, but it can be much worse to take a position because no one else is. American advertising fully takes advantage of our individualistic society. With advertisements like, “Be original. Drink Dr. Pepper.” (1950-Dr. Pepper slogan) As a society we stress the “coolness” factor of doing what most people won’t do. This ideal is flawed in many ways. It is self-limiting view. Getting people to agree by stating “no one else agrees” only to realize everyone now agrees. Once it becomes popular it’s on to the next new, unpopular thing. We are so consumed with trying to think differently, ironically, we start thinking the same.

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