Liberty Forged

the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own. ` Nock


Posted by Jesse on March 28, 2007

Radicals for Capitalism @MIT by Raymie Stata (1992)
Simple layout and defense of the individualist idea.

“As the presidential election nears, we start thinking about the choices we have to make. In the election, we face a basic choice of “left” versus “right.” Although “left” versus “right” accurately describes the choice we face in the voting booth, it does not fully describe the landscape of political thought.

A better way of carving up that landscape is into “collectivism” versus “individualism.” This is not a new dichotomy, but it’s been a long time since politicians have talked in such fundamental terms. Instead, they focus on details of implementation-policies, programs, and tax plans-leaving the fundamental issues implicit and confused.”

“Individualism and collectivism are conflicting views of the nature of humans, society and the relationship between them.

Individualism holds that the individual is the primary unit of reality and the ultimate standard of value. This view does not deny that societies exist or that people benefit from living in them, but it sees society as a collection of individuals, not something over and above them.

Collectivism holds that the group—the nation, the community, the proletariat, the race, etc.—is the primary unit of reality and the ultimate standard of value. This view does not deny the reality of the individual. But ultimately, collectivism holds that one’s identity is determined by the groups one interacts with, that one’s identity is constituted essentially of relationships with others.”

One Response to “Individualism/Collectivism”

  1. Mark T. Market said

    Interestingly, I’ve recently entertained two views on Collectivism. The first is the criticism, the second is a reprise in light of China’s emergence. The two hardly satisfy any debates, but the important lesson for me is to be on guard against naively taking history as a final arbiter on anything, and to remain constantly vigilant and critical of ideas, no matter their merit.

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