so there's a certain strand of the contemporary left - building of course on a basic element in the tradition - which associates the enemy with 'individualism.' there's a certain triumphalism of that right now. individualism is regarded as something anachronistic and tea-partyish, and people associate it specifically with white men and our racism and sexism, etc. you might even hear someone like ta-nehisi coates pointing out once more that jefferson and madison were slaveholders and that racism and sexism are at the heart of the american political tradition and specifically of its emphasis on individual rights, which is also often associated with capitalism. now, however, before you dispose of american individualism and cook us all into a big human borscht, i want you to read this essay, and as you do so i want you to repudiate it sentence by sentence. i want you to let your own position express itself by a negation of each of emerson's assertions.