The philosophical and political fight between individualism vs. collectivism was resolved by knockout many years ago. But collectivist ideas keep getting up in the ring, as dazed, confused and wrong as they continue to be. The collapse of the Soviet Union ended the military fight. And in the battle of ideas, collectivism keeps getting the living crap beat out of it by anyone with even moderate reasoning ability. Individualism is the idea that a person’s life belongs to him, not a group or society. People don’t live for the “greater good”. We have inalienable rights to live and pursue the priorities we choose, not the ones imposed upon us by the State. It’s the individual, not the group that is the fundamental basis of reality, knowledge and morality.
The collectivist’s notion of morality is evil and false. They argue that the individual must subordinate his own desires and inclinations for the benefit of all. But who decides? As famed individualist, Ayn Rand, puts it:
“The greatest good for the greatest number” is one of the most vicious slogans ever foisted on humanity. This slogan has no concrete, specific meaning. There is no way to interpret it benevolently, but a great many ways in which it can be used to justify the most vicious actions. What is the definition of “the good” in this slogan? None, except: whatever is good for the greatest number. Who, in any particular issue, decides what is good for the greatest number? Why, the greatest number? If you consider this moral, you would have to approve of 51% of humanity enslaving the other 49%
What’s astounding is that politicians continue to espouse collectivist positions. But the corrupt absurdities of those ideas have been exposed for a long time. Leftism cannot directly confront the rational arguments against it. Proponents of collectivism have to appeal to human confusion, ignorance, dishonesty, cowardice and despair. They dare not stand intellectually toe to toe with the robust, just idea of individualism.
Ludwig Von Mises (1881-1973) believed that collectivist anti-capitalist sentiment was rooted in resentment and jealously towards the successful. Free competition in a market allows no excuses for one’s failures. Your Estate Planning War Chest is steel trunk of individualism. It’s your Estate, your family, your security and happiness and you are responsible for it. Collectivist philosophy is an attack on all of these. Fortunately, it’s an intellectually weak, beaten opponent that’s being dragged up in the ring just before the 10 count by dishonest thinkers who ignore or try and rewrite intellectual history.