Self-Reliance Versus the Collective

Psychologist Alan Ingham ran an interesting experiment to determine the difference of effort between groups of people compared to that of individuals:

The truth, though, is we tend to put in less effort in a group because we know our efforts will be pooled. If you know you aren’t being judged as individuals, your instinct is to fade into the background.

To prove this, psychologist Alan Ingham had people put on a blindfold and grab hold of a rope. The rope was attached to a contraption that simulated the resistance of an opposing team.

The subjects were told other people were also holding the rope on their side, and he measured their effort.

Then, he told them they would be pulling alone, and again he measured their effort. They were alone both times, but when they thought they were in a group, they pulled on average 18 per cent less strenuously.

This phenomenon has been observed in every possible situation involving group effort. Communal farms always produce less than individually-owned farms.

Self-reliance versus collective effort, I’ll always take the first. Call me selfish, but even the military relies on judging individuals on personal effort. Did the private, seaman meet the job he was assigned? The mission requires everyone to be part of a team, but to accomplish the group goals, individual actions must triumph. Communalism or collectivism is a recipe for failure. The slackers can blend into the background and not worry about ramifications. As for the mediocre performers, there are no consequences to their lack of talent. In fact, very often they rise in leadership. Simply, they’ve avoided having to actually produce real results and they can focus on self-promotion with all their free time not working. Think any backwater, tinpot dictator. Do I need to name names?

Building Haiti

Jean Baptiste Benissoir in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Check out this sentence and tell me if the author has not just gone coocoo: 

With the United States taking the lead, international donors pledged billions of dollars to help Haiti “build back better,” breaking its cycle of dependency.

Yes, it takes billions of dollars to break its cycle of dependancy. Could not have said it better myself. . .

The people, the Haitian citizens, need a burning desire to make their country better. We cannot, not even with all the money in the world, fund them to do so. Not without their commitment.

Laugh all you want at entrepreneurial spirit, self-reliance, or upward mobility, but they exist (existed?) in spades in this country. And our success is directly rooted in the foundation to get-ahead. To make a better life both for one’s family now and for future generations of Americans. Yes, I am an American Exceptionalist. Is there any other way to be?