The Musketeers Got It Right
Back in 1966 The Mamas and the Papas sang these words:
You gotta go where you wanna go / Do what you wanna do /
With whoever you wanna do it with
Then in 2016 a group call Next Step repeated the theme:
I play how I wanna play / I really don't care if you criticize /
I do what I want that's every night / Even if it's wrong, who are you to decide? /
I do what I want, don't care how you feel / 'Cause I’m number one you're just a sequence /
I do what I want and I do what I like / I do what I want, you got this?
There is validity in taking control (to whatever extent it’s possible) of one’s own life and striving to make righteous decisions for oneself. The problem that all too often rears its ugly head is when personal control and decision-making are totally self-centered with nary a care about how what I want or choose affects anybody else.
So-called rugged individualism which claims individual rights above any and everything else can be, and often is, an evil blight on society. Note the word: society. THAT is how human beings live . . . in society, together, interdependent. The I’m-number-one-and-you’re-just-a-sequence mindset is that a person should be able to do whatever one wishes and to hell with anyone who doesn’t like it.
Paul Krugman wrote in a NYT July 2020 article titled The Cult of Selfishness Is Killing America that “many are enraged at any suggestion that their actions should take other people’s welfare into account.” Government regulations of almost any kind that one doesn’t like or infringe on one’s personal liberty are wrong, so goes this thinking. They can rightfully be ignored. Mandated wearing of masks to control the spread of COVID-19 is a prime example. After all, it’s a personal right to not wear a mask regardless of who one might infect, sicken, or kill.
The do-what-you-wanna-do attitude is fine and dandy if one lives alone on an isolated island. But it can easily be a curse upon others when embraced in a societal setting . . . one in which 99% of us live.
I recognize and respect that not everyone is Christian. But I am, so I quote from the biblical writings an admonition echoed by all major faiths. “Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4 That attitude and its consequent actions lead to communities of peace and unity rather than the conflict and division resulting from unbridled self-interest.