Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The Myth of Robinson Crusoe’s Individualism

The individualists demand freedom from religion, clan, culture, moral norms, and politics. They preach that man is like Robinson Crusoe, and that he must live on a metaphorical deserted island where he is free from all collectives. Such views are a sign of their mental backwardness. 

Robison Crusoe, the protagonist in Daniel Defoe’s book, is a brave man who gets trapped in a deserted island. He does all that he can to preserve his sanity, meet the needs of his body, and survive. In normal circumstances, Man is not expected to live like Crusoe. Joy comes to man’s life through the people among whom he lives: relatives, friends, customers, associates, employees, employers, and neighbors. 

Man qua man is a political and social creature. We form bonds with others to find a sense of security and belonging. The one thing we truly dread is loneliness.

The individualist is certainly not a brave and rational man like Crusoe. He is naive, socially ineffective, and alienated. If these individualists end up on a deserted island, they will not last for a week—they will undergo mental disintegration due to loneliness and they will eventually starve to death. Individualism is not a virtue; it is a vice.

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