Thursday, December 11, 2014

Individualism Vs. Collectivism

In his introduction to The Crucible, Arthur Miller writes, “It is still impossible for man to organize his social life without repressions, and the balance has yet to be struck between order and freedom.” Miller’s words hold true in today’s society. The needs of both the individual and the community are important, and each must take sacrifice for the other. Finding a balance in this somewhat paradoxical situation is something our society has yet to achieve.

After 9-11, there has been a definite shift towards the needs of the community over the needs of the individual. Security is often deemed more important than individual freedom. The government put in place many new measures, such as tightening of airport security, in an attempt to protect the nation against another attack, but at the cost of personal liberties. Americans have grown accustomed to taking their shoes off at airports, getting patted down by security guards, and walking through body scanners. The National Security Agency was authorized in 2002 to monitor the phone calls and emails of thousands of Americans without warrant. Their right to privacy was given up in the name of security.

There is more of a focus on security than there is on freedom in society today, after 9-11. Individual rights are sacrificed in the name of community safety. The balance between the individual and the community has not been achieved. The relationship between individualism and collectivism is a fine line; if we lean too far in one direction, we may fall off.

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