Individualism vs. Collectivism

While browsing a ‘competitor’, a passionate poster (Chris Buors) of my new had casually posted a response intimating that individuality was inherently superior to any kind of collectivism. I had to respond.

But after awhile the idea of individualism is by far superior to collectivism, in ever respect, comes shining right through.

link (posted by tigerman)
You cannot make bold statements like that without backing them up. How, in any way, is collectivism inferior to pure individualism? While on our own we can be quite talented, the greatest achievements of our species are created when we work collectively towards unifed goals. Look at the pyramids, the great wall of China, the transcontinental railroad, the internet, etc. These are all impressive productions of mankind that were only created through collective work.
Indivuality is great, don’t get me wrong. Personal liberty is something that we must all strive for. I think, however, that if we keep in mind the goals of our society as we make our own personal choices in life, we should be able to strengthen both at the same time. If that involves sacrifice in the now, then perhaps the series of connected events that occur from your actions will come back and help you out when you’re in need. You can call it Karma, but really it’s just waves and echos in a vast complex web of life.
Your Liberatarian philosophy is also only interested in the life of one individual. You believe the generations of children that follow us are irrelevant, the consequences of our lifestyle are their burden and not ours. If you lose sight of our struggle here on Earth as a species then you only become interested in your own personal comfort level. What if though the oil you consumed driving down to 7-11 meant the difference between survival and death to a forsaken future where every drop of energy was precious? Can you live with the future deaths of those people?
To follow the path of personal liberty at any price is to ignore the voices of our future, to lose the respect of our unborn grandchildren. I personally don’t want this generation of people to be despised 50 years down the road for our living our lifestyle the way we do. I would much rather reduce my consumption now and live happier knowing that it might mean more to someone else in a time when I’m no longer here.

11 thoughts on “Individualism vs. Collectivism”

  1. Well said ChefQuix. The conventional wisdom seems to be that we’ve “learned” about the evils of collectivism and have vowed never to tread that path again. In reality though, collectivism has been spared for certain uses, corporations, Wall Street, Political Parties etc.. because of its proven effectiveness at generating money, power and most importantly, change.
    The gospel of individualism is preached to workers and consumers to minimize their ability to resist power. So Unions are evil, as well as government and the courts. We, the individual are stripped of any power that we might use to fight back against the collective power of the wealthy, who use their collective power in a myriad of ways.
    While individualism is a wonderful thing. You will often need collective power to maintain that individual liberty.

  2. Yet some people will always fear the abilities of any form of government… One feels this way (as does Chris Buors) because of his wranglings with the law (for example getting busted selling pot).

  3. Well, the debate continues on… Chris Buors (a.k.a tigerman) is a talented wordsmith but I think I took the wind out of his sails with my latest post. Not that any of you care. 😉

  4. why should it be a question of superiority? i am of the opinion that both ideas have merit. i think either school of thought could learn from the other. collectivism is not the enemy of individualism. those who say so simply misunderstand the idea.
    what i think is needed is a sort of balance.let us take the example of culture. there are individualistic and collectivist cultures in the world. europe and north america have individualistic culture. africa is predominatly collectivistic.
    dont you wonder why people in the west are so much more successful and wealthy. they have thriving economies and the whole world holds countries like america in high esteem. if individualism is so good, why are so many americans unhappy and depressed? IF COLLECTIVISM IS SO GOOD, WHY ARE SO MANY AFRICAN POOR, THEIR COUNTRIES IN DISARRAY AND WAR? they are poor but studies show they are generally happier.who decides what makes something good or even better?
    obviously we could learn from each other. then we might find the whole world independent and in a better financial state, as well as happy with a healthy support system. as for me, if individualism means i have to live a solitay life, being a slave to my own independence, then you can keep it. if it means that i have to get lost in a sea of ‘we’, the collectivism is not for me either. surely there has to be some kind of balance, so that i can be me within a system tha tsupports and respects me without imposing itself on me.
    anyway what do i know about all this? i am just an undergraduate in the seventeenth poorest country in the world…..

  5. Well that’s an interesting point, and I tend to agree with you. As much as I argue for the rights of the majority I understand that we are nothing if all of our voices are the same. Still, what I would like to see is an understanding that we are in fact collectively part of something greater, but it’s only great because of each person that comprises that greater self is a unique individual. In that sense, individualism can lead into collectivism.

  6. Individualism is much better than collectivism because people are much happier when they can let their true colors show. Collectvism may be a good way to get things done, but definatly not the best way.

  7. DOnt get it i need to get more info but this aint helping me……………send email so i can undersand collectivesm

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