Fashionable Non-conformity

There is a level of cowardice lower than that of the conformist: that of the fashionable non-conformist. -- Ayn Rand

That quote effectively describes hippies who think that by not shopping at Wal-Mart they’re making some sort of profound social statement. Also, rabid Apple fanatics. And I say that as someone who avoids Wal-Mart and uses Macs exclusively. The difference is that I’m just doing what’s in my best interests — I’m not trying to slaughter myself on the altar of societal betterment like so many doe-eyed Leftists.


  1. says

    Hey I’m with you. Eating and shopping organic an d local, and cutting down on meat, makes me feel physiologically and psychologically great — partly because it helps me identify with a certain group of people.

    But I do make a point of going to Macdonald’s every now and then and enjoying a big Mac — cuz I don’t want to keep myself honest and not turn into a self-righteous ‘fashionable non-conformist’.

    We all exist in groups though, to whose fashions we conform are own; I think that’s just human nature, and I think it’s OK. The key is not to ‘disassociate’ from our groups’ fashions, but to challenge and oppose them now and again.

  2. says

    Sure, we associate with social conventions, ‘belong’ to peer groups and shuck the jacket when it becomes too tight. Methinks it gets skewed when instead of living within them we ‘become’ them.

    And as you quote Ayn Rand; here’s a case where a solid, consistent and perfectly good philosophy (that she called ‘objectivism’) becomes to some people just the sort of ‘faith’she opposes in it. Blind faith in Ayn Rand Who Can Say No Wrong! I call it “Aynranity” (Ms. Rand would hsave hated that).

  3. says

    I have my issues with Rand. Her support of interventionist foreign policy and her strong anti-homosexual sentiments are two difference that come to mind. I just thought it was a good quote about the people who express their individualism by joining groups and following anti-trend trends.

  4. says

    Ultimately, no. It’s a contradiction in terms. That’s the point, really… it’s sub-culture conformity as a lame rebellion against big-culture conformity.