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Community, the ‘State” and Individuals

December 23, 2020

Like you, I’m watching many more “movies” than I would were I not confined at home during this viral Pandemic.

The films and television series that I watch are “streamed” at Netflix, Prime and something called “Britbox,” a service of Britain’s BBC and independent ITV.

Since I spent a year in London doing research and writing a Ph.D. dissertation, I got to know some differences between “us” and “them.”  We were considered ill-mannered because we spoke much too loudly and we permitted our law enforcement officers to carry weapons.

I explained that our police were armed in order to better protect “us,” a shocking idea to the “Brits” and, I suppose, most Europeans, where the police are officers of “the State.”

That’s why I found it interesting that Britbox featured European television series about “individuals.”

This insight bears further scrutiny but I think the very long development of European monarchies that elided into an omnipresent and all-powerful administrative State accentuates the role, or better said, the eccentricities, of individuals.

Though we Americans talk a lot about “individualism,” we live in subsidiary communities apart from “the State,” and when tragedy, earthquakes or fires disrupt our lives in communities, we turn to one another—not the State—for help.

In other words, in nations where “the State” dominates, individuals with no self-reliant community support structures and attitudes, become visible largely due to their irrelevance–their eccentricities.

There are many such individuals to be found at Britbox–many more than are visible on Netflix and Prime. That is changing, of course, as our own administrative State—the “deep State”—becomes more dominant. In that context, Donald Trump is an example of an eccentric “individual.”   

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