Letter to the editor: Individualism

The following is a letter to the editor I wrote regarding an opinion written two weeks previous. My opionion was published in the Philipsburg Mail on 7 June 2018. The letter I am responding to is Amundson’s opinion (PDF).

Dear Editor:

Regarding Norris Amundson’s letter that published on 24 May 2018, I could not agree more strongly that We as a collective nation have been on a dishonest path for a very long time.

I have complicated and mixed emotions of patriotism and “being an American”. I enjoy many benefits that are only possible as a result of the blood shed by my ancestors such as a relatively free and peaceful country and I employ the technologies only made possible because of such a free market. I do not, however, pay penance for the wrongs of others. My ambivalence towards patriotism is that a collective people cannot ethically share consequences. The individual may own a responsibility and own a consequence. We have a presumption of individual innocence until proven beyond a reasonable doubt of their guilt. If an individual owns the responsibility of driving a vehicle, he also owns the consequences if he causes harm to others. A collective cannot ethically own that same responsibility and consequence. We may own the responsibility of maintaining a safe neighborhood but who owns the consequences of a dangerous neighborhood?

Amundson refers to the CIA and its history of deception, as well as the government. The CIA and the government is nothing but a stack of paper in an old building. These are individuals who make unethical decisions under the guise of a collective whose responsibility is safety but receive no consequences for the collective failure of that group. If “the government” assumes the responsibility of “ending poverty” and fails, who owns the consequence? If “the government” assumes the responsibility of “peace in the Middle East” and fails, who owns the consequence?

I am ambivalent about Amundson’s closing statement, “Take stock of ourselves and repent.” The American Heritage dictionary defines “repent” as “verb: to change for the better as a result of remorse or contrition for one’s sin”. While I am not a theist, I wholly promote sorting ourselves out and making the changes we need to rectify past wrongs and to prevent reoccurrences in the future. This is similar to advice given by Dr. Jordan Peterson, “stop saying things that make you weak”. I encourage myself, my loved ones, and the readers to take it one step farther. Stop doing things that make you weak. Let’s make individualism great again.

Jeremy Aal


“Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.
Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!”
-Benjamin Franklin

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