Individuality, it seems, has not been respected for too long. It is more than just a few decades, no? The increase in disrespect for individuality, even coming from those who think they are expressing their individuality most pronouncedly, is part of the problem our freedom faces. The erosion of liberty is a problem for any society wishing to uphold anything like the Four Freedoms of the First Amendment; the Patriot Act is a heinous call to fear, a succumbing on the people’s part to the basest instincts of their homo-sapiens‘ nature. Not much in the way of our humanity remains. Nature is not civilization; civilization is not Nature. I have not put them in diametric opposition, nor have I categorized them as mutually exclusive or as mutually annihilating forces such as matter and anti-matter. However, they are not to be handled or mixed without care.
The First Amendment is not for the great social en-masse, if you permit me; it is firstly and lastly for you and for me, but also for him and for her, as it is for everyone, each and every single separate person regardless of race, of color, of ethnicity, of political or religious persuasion, often neither very different form the other, or sexual orientation. Although, this unique freedom for everyone not exactly for all is just that, a connundrum; not exactly all because all is all, not everyone; everyone and all are distinct, grammatically, thus rhetorically, but also metaphysically. And politics has a metaphysics, as does freedom. The Four Freedoms delineated in the First Amendment are individual freedoms, never for all and not every, which is what we mean sometimes by all the people. We often use we in this collective sense and collectively exclusively.
Now even if the difference above between singular and plural is too subtle to grasp on first observation, it will become apparent on further examination: the latter is singular; the former is plural. This plurality has a special realtionship to the individual in the metaphysics of freedom: I am we the people as you are we the people as she is as he is as anyone must be otherwise we the people becomes meaningless.
If I am not we the people then no one is we the people; I am only becasue everyone else can be too, and is too, each to his own central position in any freedom at all. If I am not we then we debase the freedoms of the Constituion and make of them something collective; they become subjectto the rhetoric of numbers, all discussions of freedom or any dialogue on the ethics of being free will be quantitative and not qualitative; all matters in social ethics will become numerically verifiable. If our ethics and law become numerical, arithmetic, they will be subject to the whims of addition and subtraction, which is a bourgeois bureacrats paradise, but a nightmare for a people wanting to live free.
There will always be an untotalizable sum in the irreducible individual human being; therefore, when freedom is bureaucratically administered arithmetically it becomes an ever elusive kind freedom, one in name only. Freedom cannot be summed or summarized, yes, freedom is non-totalizable; but in this way it remains apart from bureaucratic decisions, something only realizable ion a metaphysics of individuality honored and respected above any collectivism. Here in our contemporary America, individuality is divisible, easily and with fragmentation for everybody.