To Beck, that trip to hell does not stop with our politicians. It is societal.

“Too many people are concerned about their party, too many people are concerned about their labor union, and too many people are concerned about their own business,” he says. “You see it with your own children in school, where you see a child that has been misbehaving and they’re called on the carpet, and the parent immediately says, ‘Not my child!’ It is because it’s no longer about the collective; it’s about ‘me.’ ~Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Well, actually, the abdication of parental responsibility and the cult of indulging spoiled children are entirely separate from being principally concerned with your party, your labour union or your business.  The attitude behind abandoning responsibility and forsaking discipline for children is ultimately one of accepting dependency on someone or something else that will provide the constraints and discipline so sorely lacking in your own world.  That attitude is self-serving, which is not quite the same as minding your own business.  The former would very much like others to do things for him without his having to do anything for them.  Such self-indulgence and individualism are rather products of a breakdown of strong attachments to the numerous institutions of local life, be it the company, the union, the church, etc.  There is no sense of broader social responsibility because there is actually very little attachment to the institutions that form the web of relationships that maintain social solidarity.  The problem is not that too many people are too concerned with “their party” or “their labour union,” but that more and more people do not attach themselves to anything beyond their own self-interest.  They do this because they perceive that they have no need for these institutions, and so are indifferent to their conservation and have little interest in their renewal.  What these institutions may have once provided or still do provide, such individualists are only too glad to receive from the state or a megacorp, which in turn reinforces the degrading dependency of these people on the state or the megacorp or both.  The surest road to a real and destructive collectivism is this preoccupation with self-interest combined with Beck’s hostility to the attachments and loyalties people have at a more immediate, personal level.  

Concern with one’s own business is normally associated with the necessary responsibility to attend to that business successfully.   Normal people are concerned mainly with the things most closely related to them, and those are the things that should have priority in their lives.  If everyone were preoccupied with someone else’s business, someone else’s labour union and someone else’s party, we would indeed have a “collective,” but it would be of a stifling, oppressive sort.  To some extent, we are already plagued by the need to meddle and to fix the other fellow’s problems rather than tending to our own affairs.  This disorder expresses itself in different forms in our society.  There are the people who feel compelled to “do something” about Terri Schiavo, there are the Save Darfur folks, and there are legions and legions of people with an activist frame of mind just like them.  There is a drive at the heart of it that may well be that old freethinkers’ impulse to make everyone else just as “free” as you are.  This concern for others is so obsessive and overwhelming that it obliterates all concern for restraint and limits.