Kramer shows a variety of ways in which postmodernity not only extends individual freedoms, but also makes the individual the measure of all things. In regard to individualism, he argues that the contemporary era is strongly postmodern. The ascendancy of individualism has resulted in self-indulgence, in declines of civility, empathy, and social commitments, and in a social distancing that has fostered unhappiness. A brief excursus examines how American novelist David Foster Wallace epitomized some of these problems in his life and how he addressed them in his novels. Kramer then discusses some of the constructive aspects of postmodern individualism: freedom from certain communal forms of oppression and increasing freedom to decide where the balance between pleasure and self-control should lie for the individual.