The limits of Individualism.


Peterson and Shapiro. Jordan is delving deeper than Ben and this is not a meeting of equal minds, but I do enjoy many points made by both and the fearlessness of their character. Yet, regarding Shapiro it must be stated that we should all be wary of some of his underlying tendencies, his rampant Americanism and dogmatic Libertarianism. Plus, beware of anyone who references Leo Strauss. Paul Gottfried offers a wonderful critique of this sophist and even has a book dedicated to the matter.

Moreover, the tradition of ‘individual’ of which they both speak, in spite of it’s many good points doesn’t rise to the Theology of the ‘Person’ that we find in The Church and work of Berdyaev, Florovsky, Lampert, Lossky, Zizioulas et al.

I suspect the lack of sufficient depth in the individualist tradition is relevant to why collectivism has such power over men and women today.

Shapiro’s reliance on the American founding fathers and libertarianism, again it should be said, is ultimately shallow and it makes sense that he isn’t able to article the fuller truth because he’s not an orthodox Christian. (Same for JBP).

This may seem like a scandalously strong claim and in many ways it is but is one that flows from what The Church actually is, which includes elements of ‘Polis’, as helpfully highlighted and ironically enough by James KA Smith, Peter Leithart et al.
In the Trinity you get both Personhood and Communion, on earth as it is in heaven.

For the particulars of the claim that Individualism doesn’t provide us with enough of what we need and it’s relationship to Personalism, see Vladimir Lossky’s Orthodox Dogmatic Theology. He goes through Personalism, Individualism, etc rather swiftly and effectively. (Another danger would be to perceive Personalism as complete in itself but these Theologians don’t do that and they’re trying to share what it means to be created in Love by The Holy Trinity- which transcends all divisions, limitations, monisms, etc)


In remembering other of the finer elements that took root in the west, let’s remember St Benedict and the work of his particular community.

Fr Martin Thornton’s suggestion for the threefold rule of St Benedict applied to all Christians in some form is fantastically practical and will help us get that balance in our ‘Postmodern’ time- Mass, Office and Personal Devotion.



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