Individual vs. Community



“Many see both sides in the “culture war” making individual freedom and personal happiness the ultimate values rather than God and the common good. Liberal’s individualism comes out in their views of abortion, sex, and marriage. Conservatives’ individualism comes out in their deep distruct of the public sector and in their understand of povery as simply a failure of personal responsibility.” Tim Keller

This is very troubling to me. I understand that this country has always been driven by a “rugged individualism”, but the idea that we have now elevated individual freedom above corporate responsibility and community wellbeing terrifies me.

I have many thoughts on this subject, but they are shaped and guided by better people who have gone before me. I give you their thoughts for your consideration:

We have lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world…We have fulfulled the danger of this by making our personal pride and greed the standard of our ehavior toward the world – to the incalculable disadvantage of the world and every living thing in it. And now, perhaps very close to too late, our great error has become clear…We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world will be good for us. ” – Wendell Berry, “A Native Hill”

We discover who we are face to face and side by side with others in work, love and learning…We are parts of a larger whole that we can neither foget nor imagine in our own image without paying a high price.” – Robert Bellah, Habits of the Heart

The life of a neighborhood is a gift.” – Wendell Berry, “It Wasn’t Me”

Perhaps the common good is also our own good…


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