Incarceration and Independence

Just had a thought about parts versus the whole: The more independent you believe a person (or a system) is, the more likely you are to punish them if they fail. This may explain why the US has the highest incarceration rates IN THE WORLD. The old west attitude of “I pulled myself up by my bootstraps” fosters this attitude of severe independence that is not balanced with society as a whole.

Republicans are fond of highlighting business owners who started a profitable business “all on their own”. In fact, no one can create a business in a void. There are usually landlords, suppliers, regulatory agencies, and of course, CLIENTS.

The Republican party is also fond of such statements that favor the individual over the collective, such as gun control, anti-abortion, and smaller government.

It’s like our politics is personifying this ego vs. collective dynamic balance to the extremes.

The democratic side tends to look out for the whole group: social services, bigger government, more taxation of wealthy to balance the economic pain, recognizing that some people are profiting at the other’s expense.

I’m not saying either extreme is correct, but I’m definitely siding more toward the holistic or “whole picture” model over individual. This does come at a cost, and democracy is correct to balance group needs with individual needs, as we wouldn’t want to lose freedoms granted to individuals. However, sometimes the price for freedom is incarceration, rather than rehabilitation and identifying causal factors.