America became the greatest country in the world by being a nation of individualists and independent thinkers. Now, when too many Americans have become group-thinkers, we seem to be in need of a little advice on independent thinking from Oscar Wilde.
October 16 is the birthday of the brilliant Irish poet, playwright, and novelist Oscar Wilde (1854-1900). Oscar Wilde did not exactly lead an admirable personal life—he abandoned his wife and children in favor of pursuing homosexuality and pleasure. But he was an undoubted genius, and much of his writing reflects the fact that he always knew what was right, even when he didn’t practice it. Two of Wilde’s quotes capture the importance of being an individual rather than a mere member of a group, a vital lesson that America needs to re-learn if we are not to collapse.
The first, with a touch of Wilde’s famous humor, is: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” The second quote is: “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”
There are many examples of group-think that have nothing to do with reality in our culture. The enthusiastic protests in support of brutal Palestinian terrorists are one current example; these anti-Semites neither know nor care about any of the history or facts behind the Hamas-Israel conflict. Another example is LGBTQ ideology, especially when it comes to Christians supporting LGBTQ insanity in explicit violation of Biblical principles.
Most people cannot give a definition of “what they mean” on a given topic, even when pressed (both leftists and conservatives), and most of us have imbibed lies told to us by leftists or other pernicious peddlers of deception without even realizing it. Marxism is an ideology of group-think, and with the growth of Marxism in government and institutions we see ever more herd mentality.
There is a significant number of us in America who woke up to the infiltration of our institutions with COVID-19, even if we weren’t awake before. We started to question the mainstream or government narratives, and we started to ask ourselves how much we had taken on trust that was actually harmful and false. But there are still a lot of Americans who are brainwashed. Young people, of course, seem to be the most in danger of this. They largely dress the same way, listen to the same music, watch the same movies, and believe the same political and social nonsense. Millions of young Americans center their lives around what their favorite celebrities or influencers are saying today, or what they are told by their woke teachers in school.
We are informed that each person is not Steve or Peggy, with his or her own completely unique background and talents, but rather “a woman” or a “black man” or “a lesbian.” There’s a whole package of political nonsense that comes automatically with each identification, so we are informed that we are required to think and act a certain way based on our sex or skin color. As Democrat Joe Biden infamously said, if you didn’t vote for him as a black American, “then you ain’t black”. All white people are told that they are inherently racist and privileged. There is a hierarchy of supposed victim groups. Americans are told to hate or distrust each other based on skin color, class, “sexual orientation,” wealth, and sex.
We have to break out of that mentality. What made America great and unique in history was that we were a nation of independent thinkers. It used to be that every farmer and shopkeeper had spent time thinking about politics and religion and society, and had formed his views, whether right or wrong, based on that thought and analysis. America became a shining city on a hill for the world because we believed so passionately in individuality and independent thought. Here one’s fate was not wholly dependent on one’s parents, or the social class into which one was born, or one’s race, as it was in other countries. Here Abraham Lincoln was born in a frontier shack and became president. Here Frederick Douglass went from slave to acclaimed orator.
Now, as our nation is perilously close to destruction, the only way to save it is to return to a philosophy of individuality and independent thought. I am not denigrating community or teachers or mentors or a sharing of ideas. I am simply pointing out that each person has to take the time and effort to examine what his stated beliefs are, to understand them, and to make sure they conform to reality. No one else can do your thinking for you.
Don’t just go along with the crowd, even if it is a lot easier. Or, as Oscar Wilde put it, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”