To each his own… bollocks to that!

The main gate of Buchenwald concentration camp, showing the motto Jedem das Seine. © Martin Kraft under the free license CC BY-SA 3.0

According to Wikipedia the origins of the English idiom, “To each his own” can be traced back to the German phrase “Jedem das Seine” which is the literal German translation of the Latin phrase “Suum cuique”. While the German phrase is controversial unto itself due to its use by the Nazi regime, the Latin phrase has its own origins in Greek antiquity as a principle of justice that Plato defined in Republic as “justice is when everyone minds his own business, and refrains from meddling in others’ affairs” (sic). The Wikipedia article on “Suum cuique” further goes on to say “Everyone should do according to his abilities and capabilities, to serve the country and the society as a whole. Also, everyone should receive “his own” (e.g., rights) and not be deprived of “his own” (e.g., property)” (sic)

We can all agree that the present day use of the phrase is at least orthogonal if not completely at odds with its origins. First of all as a social animal, human beings are incapable of “minding their own business”. We need constant reaffirmation that we belong to some social structure that in turn gives us a sense of purpose. Secondly, in this hyper connected era that we live in, “taking an active interest in” if not outright “meddling in” other peoples lives is a primary means of entertainment for most and even a source of income to many. Thirdly, the biggest institutions on this planet, namely the three major religions, require that we help our fellow human beings stay on the path to salvation by helping them decide if not dictating to them what is right and wrong.

But as is true with all generally accepted set of rules, there are exceptions, and in this context the exception is the so called “Liberal Left Elites”. The reader should note at this point that since the author is neither a philosopher nor a politician by trade and has minimal knowledge of history of the anthropological origins of liberalism and its subsequent split in to leftism, the term is used loosely to group together individuals who are sufficiently well placed in the social hierarchy wherein they do not have to be primarily bothered by the need to “earn a living”. Nevertheless, the group does include hardworking individuals and prominent thinkers and artists of our times whose opinions are well respected and are capable of influencing political outcomes in general elections but exclude those individuals who still subscribe to the capitalist mandate of creation and retention of private wealth.

Such individuals claim to have achieved freedom from being slaves to the corporate culture and found their “tribes” wherein they can cocoon themselves thereby insulating them from the harsh realities of the world. These individuals have the luxury of picking and choosing the people that they will interact with and invest their energies in to. Whenever they encounter a person with a significantly different doctrine they are quick to quip “To each his own!” and retreat back in to their cocoons filled with delusional fantasies that they are providing a valuable service to their “tribesmen”. Interestingly though they rely on tools that are products of the same corporate culture that they have sought to free themselves of, such as Facebook and Zoom. But in the same spirit we can also let them be by quoting “To each his own!” because they are neither hurting anyone nor are they trying to disrupt life outside their cocoon.

And therein lies the origin of this article which seeks to jolt these individuals out of their delusions and tear down the walls of their cocoons to demand that they come back in to the fold of the prevalent social structure and contribute to the society as a whole to the fullest extent of their capabilities. The personal hardships that they will face as “slaves to the corporate culture” are sacrifices that are demanded off of them for the betterment of the human race which should be every human’s primary purpose. At the same time they also must join in the debauchery of consumerism in their personal lives by participating in the primary purpose of “Life” itself: Reproduction! Any parent today will agree that raising children in the modern age is by far the most challenging aspect of their lives. So how can these elitists be exempted from this moral obligation under the guise of right to self determination? Especially when you have the extreme right wing shouting at the top of their voices that their tribesmen are not reproducing enough!

What a strange world we live in when the wrong people make the right choice!

One can even go as far as to say that those unfortunate (or fortunate, depending on your perspective) enough to be incapable of natural reproduction must then leverage the technological advances in “in vitro fertilisation” and services such as surrogate wombs to fulfil their obligations. Additionally, they must also adopt and foster orphan children to the best of their financial capabilities. A number of celebrities, Angelina Jolie for example, have set excellent precedents for others to follow.

Finally, while entrepreneurship might be the best means of earning a living for many of these individuals they must ensure that they pay adequate taxes and not practice tax reduction or even evasion by restricting themselves to being small business owners. That avenue, in the humble opinion of the author, must be reserved only for tradesmen who can operate shops and thus pay more indirect taxes and also promote consumerism. Unfortunately, the tax code and subsequently the tax collection mechanisms are not sufficiently mature enough to deal with the technological advances that enable the new ways of working. The future of work itself is at a crossroads given the prevalence of the gig economy and the work from home practices necessitated by the global pandemic.

But this article cannot end here as it would then have been unfair in ostracising this one small strata of our society and give a “carte blanch”, so as to say, to the cultists who subscribe to the most nefarious of practices under the guise of “religious freedom”. Religion has been the crutches on which the weakest amongst us have been dependent upon to make sense of the chaos that surrounds us. They refuse to accept that there is no God (or gods) that will help them find inner peace and that life itself can but fight a losing battle against chaos. Atheism requires discipline that even the most orthodox religious practices do not even come close to demanding. Subsequently, religion will remain the opioid for the masses until evolution finds a way!

In conclusion, while we must each choose our battles to the best of our abilities, fight we must against the tyranny of complacency until our dying breath!

“To each his own!” is a battle cry that must resonate across the world to galvanise us all in to action!

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