You see, there simply are no rugged individuals. Not a damned single person who has pulled themselves up by the bootstraps.
A turning point for me was John Dewey’s pragmatism, an argument that either/or thinking fails humans. In short, Dewey argued that it is a false choice between individualism and collectivism—that they are symbiotic, not antithetical.
My freedom is inevitably bound to everyone else’s freedom—and this is the great moral truth denied by the lazy Libertarian lie.
Privatization gets to the heart of the theft of ’empowerment’ from the left. Alongside the purely economic sense of privatization, there’s a sociopolitical sense of privatization that encourages individuals to focus on their privatized troubles, rather than on public issues, which as Dag Leonardsen explains, “transcend the local environment of the individual and concern the broader society and its structure.” If people experiencing poverty are expected to purchase their own ‘low-cost’ housing, it then becomes a private and individual responsibility on their part, rather than a public obligation. In the examples of empowerment I cited from Microsoft and Pearson, their tools are marketed along the same individualistic lines, and systemic problems are transformed into personal problems of motivation and individual style. Empowerment sounds “activist and conservative at once”.