The world has slid far-far away from the true and beautiful idea that noncoformity, individuality, and eccentricity are virtues — which they are — and about which John Stuart Mill, among a few others, once so eloquently wrote, back in the olden golden days when Liberty was hip and conformity a thing strictly for squares, which it is.
Conformity, I repeat, is strictly for squares.
“The mere example of non-conformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service,” John Stuart Mill wrote. “Precisely because the tyranny of opinion is such as to make eccentricity a reproach, it is desirable, in order to break through that tyranny, that people should be eccentric. Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage which it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time.”
“For the development of the human race depends upon the development of the individual, and where self-culture has ceased to be the ideal the intellectual standard is instantly lowered, and, often, ultimately lost.” — Oscar Wilde
“Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No human is safe in her opinions, person, faculties, or her possessions.” — James Madison
“Care what other people think of you and you will always be their prisoner.” — Lao Tzu
“We defraud ourselves out of what is actually useful to us in order to make appearances conform to common opinion. We care less about the real truth of our inner selves than about how we are known to the public.” — Montaigne
Methodological individualism rests upon the principle that the relevant object of political and ethical inquiry are the individual human beings in question, as distinguished from a society, race, class, sex, or any other group. Quoting Karl Popper:
“Social phenomena should always be understood as resulting from the decisions, actions, attitudes, etc. of human individuals, and we should never be satisfied by an explanation in terms of so-called ‘collectives’ (states, nations, races, etc.).”
The reason this principle is so critical to ground in the facts which give rise to it (and to thereafter deeply defend) is this: any other view of humanity — which is to say, any view that doesn’t recognize the individual as the proper standard by which societies are gauged and maintained — results in command and control: other humans, purveyors of force, seizing control over other individual human lives.
“There comes a time when you do have to give up what you consider your individual right of making your own decision for the greater good of society.” — Anthony Fauci, October 3rd, 2021 (Note the sloppy phrasing: “what you consider” — instantly revealing that this sub-human has no actual understanding of inalienability, nor any idea whatsoever where rights ultimately derive.)
“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails and any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” — Frederick Douglass
“The one who does not think for himself does not think at all.” — Oscar Wilde