What if more and more of us went our own way in public life to pursue our own personal agenda? What if each of us was to find our own news, only to forgo that which doesn’t resonate with us? What if you and I began to see ourselves primarily as individual consumers, with little connection to one another?
There’s nothing inherently wrong with individualism or with customizing consumer products. But I often hear a kind of dismissive tone taken to the concerns I have raised here; a belief that all will work out if we merely aggregate each person’s whims and wishes.
But determining the public good requires more from us than merely going our own way. We must see and hear more than our own mere customized desires. We must open ourselves up for public business too.
Excellent! How do we create and maintain public goods when the Hidden Hand drops the ball?