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Old 04-20-2011, 12:17 AM
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Default Individualism Vs Collectivism

Generally on this debate forum, I notice that a lot of disagreements arise as the result of an underlying contention between two opposing notions. The first of these is "individualism." Individualism is the belief in the primary importance of the individual and in the virtues of self-reliance and personal independence. On the opposite side is the idea of "collectivism." Collectivism states that the well being of the collective, the group, is considered more important than the individual who must sacrifice his self-interest for the good of the group.

Now before we all jump in with mighty claims saying that "invidualism always is better" or "collectivism always is better" it is important to note that few people are entirely collectivist and few people are completely individualist. For example: most people would agree that if it were in your interest to kill someone you should not be allowed to. Yet on the reverse side, most would agree that the majority should not be able to vote to kill someone if he or she becomes burdensome or a detriment.

Now let us apply this to issues that are less stark as the one above. Consider the question of the environment: Should people be able to exploit natural resources just for their own sake for profit? Should resources instead be devoted to providing for everyone instead? Another good example is population growth. Should we force people to limit their childbearing to keep the population down for the benefit of everyone? On the reverse side, you could say "you cannot force them too."

I myself am generally collectivist across the board but I do have individualist views. In the case of population growth, I would say that you should not force or coerce people into limiting childbearing. It is also important to clear up some potential misconceptions about collectivism and individualism. Collectivism does not necessarily mean that you support an authoritarian or powerful draconian government. If a government was highly parasitic, then it is not benefiting the populace and should be dismantled. If you are an individualist, you are not necessarily selfish. In some cases it can be in your best interest to see to the interests of others. The problem comes when we hit this grey area in which the choice between collectivism and individualism is not so apparent.

So what do you think takes priority? Individualism or Collectivism?

Last edited by Banefull; 04-20-2011 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 04-20-2011, 12:47 AM
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Well, I'm mostly Collectivist. Or in my words, a socialist-libertarian neo communist.

If I had my way, the Earth would be completely unified. I mean, that's the fastest way we're ever going to get anywhere good. However, I completely respect the needs and wants of an individual. After all, while we are social, we are still our own little person inside, and that needs to be cared for as well, lest we go mad.

But what I don't respect is when an individual's own wants are dominant over anothers, or if their wants cause expense or harm to other people. What you might expect from criminals.
But this (especially the dominance over others) is quite prevalent in Capitalism. And there's the root of this problem, this behavior.

Capitalism. Competition. Dog eat dog.

Of course, the needs of a person are different. You can't deny them that, if you have any morals. And as sentient creatures, of course we have desires. But in our creation, it appears we never gained the ability to be completely fair to one another. Exactly why we have wars. Why we have censorship. And why the public is seen as a threat to the government. And so, I think it would be in our best wishes that we teach ourselves equality. Proper equality.
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:22 PM
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You can't be collectivist and libertarian, they're essentially opposites

I'm an individualist, definitely - I support causes that affect everyone (such as the environment, space, technological development), but people are people and it is their choice as to how they live on a personal level. Individualism applies over most of people's lives, and while people tend to associate in groups, they are groups of individuals, and not of worker drones.
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Old 04-20-2011, 10:13 PM
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You can't be collectivist and libertarian, they're essentially opposites
No, no they're not, outside the US at least. I don't know if "libertarianism" includes laissez faire economics in the UK. Does it?





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Old 04-20-2011, 11:08 PM
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You can't be collectivist and libertarian, they're essentially opposites
Well I'm mainly Collectivist then, but I support the freedom posed by the latter.
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:25 AM
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I'm collectivist, I think that socially we are better off that way since instead of thinking about individual actions and the consequences such the viewpoint of "This will be bad for me if I do this." You can look at the consequences of your actions for the wider community and community mindness actually benefits everyone including yourself.

I was just reading an article about poverty and inequality in developed countries and the relationship between this and the neo liberal economic policies that the governments have brought in. The whole thing encourages and even expects competition instead of co operation and since there is the expectation that the individual should look after their own welfare. The poorer people aren't able to get themselves in a good enough state to look after themselves properly since they are muscled out of places for health care, education, adequate employment and housing in the public system ect and it's an endless cycle since the children of poor families get lower education and less opportunities and the governments are reducing public welfare programs and policies even more.

I agree that people should be rely on themselves to a degree but this shouldn't be at the extent that everyone fights each other over basic human needs. Poverty is a human construction, it shouldn't exist if we allocated our resources equally but everyone seems to be out for themselves now. >.<
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Old 04-22-2011, 12:20 PM
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That is mainly due to overpopulation.
Collectivism is a way of seeking to eradicate individuality, in effect to make people nothing more than worker drones. Without competition, there is no drive to innovate and improve - although yes, it can lead to situations where cooperation would be more effective (e.g. on a national level), at lower levels then if there was no reason to, no work would ever get done.
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Old 04-22-2011, 12:37 PM
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No not quite but a good educated guess. It's due mainly to the discrimination of the privatised companies that seek profit. Poor people can't afford to go into private sectors because they have less funds then the people with more cash and the increasing demand on public services stop them from accessing these as well due to long waiting times as everyone else who can't pay has to queue up. It's a matter of distribution of wealth and poor management of services by the government. Most people have jobs but the poorer people have very poor pay because they have less skills and more disabilities than the middle class. It's a destructive cycle.

Individuality is one of those things that is different depending on the eye of the beholder. I think individuality is more of a personality and experiences thing. Some one else might see it as individual pursuits and gains.
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Réalisant mon espoir, Je me lance vers la gloire. Je ne regrette rien. (Making my hope come true, I hurl myself toward glory. I regret nothing.)

Last edited by Pa'li Makto; 04-22-2011 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 04-22-2011, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pa'li Makto View Post
I was just reading an article about poverty and inequality in developed countries and the relationship between this and the neo liberal economic policies that the governments have brought in. The whole thing encourages and even expects competition instead of co operation and since there is the expectation that the individual should look after their own welfare. The poorer people aren't able to get themselves in a good enough state to look after themselves properly since they are muscled out of places for health care, education, adequate employment and housing in the public system ect and it's an endless cycle since the children of poor families get lower education and less opportunities and the governments are reducing public welfare programs and policies even more...
..and the richer get richer and the poorer get poorer.
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:41 PM
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Lessons from S. Covey,

As children, we are dependent on our parents for what we need. As we grow, we are expected to become self-relient, independent people (although that often doesn't fully happen with a lot of people). Maturing further, some people will reach interdependence, which is when individuals work together for maximum effectiveness. It doesn't mean loss of personal identity. In fact, it's often chemistry between these individuals that makes effective teams.

I lean towards collectivism. I believe that while we are all different, we often share common goals - wealth, happiness, peace, comfort etc. As individuals we can work with our personal strengths, where others might have weaknesses, and make these things happen.
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Old 04-23-2011, 06:23 AM
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Lessons from S. Covey,

As children, we are dependent on our parents for what we need. As we grow, we are expected to become self-relient, independent people (although that often doesn't fully happen with a lot of people). Maturing further, some people will reach interdependence, which is when individuals work together for maximum effectiveness. It doesn't mean loss of personal identity. In fact, it's often chemistry between these individuals that makes effective teams.

I lean towards collectivism. I believe that while we are all different, we often share common goals - wealth, happiness, peace, comfort etc. As individuals we can work with our personal strengths, where others might have weaknesses, and make these things happen.
That is a very nice point. That's what I see when I think of collectivism. There is nothing wrong at all with sharing common goals, it doesn't mean that we are drones or simple minded.
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"Try to see the forest through her eyes."

Réalisant mon espoir, Je me lance vers la gloire. Je ne regrette rien. (Making my hope come true, I hurl myself toward glory. I regret nothing.)
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Old 04-23-2011, 03:35 PM
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Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called 'the common good. Individualism holds that a human being should think and judge independently, respecting nothing more than the sovereignty of his or her mind. I strongly lead towards individualism, though it seems it's mostly lost today.
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Old 04-23-2011, 05:29 PM
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^^ This.
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Old 04-23-2011, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Советский меч View Post
Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called 'the common good. Individualism holds that a human being should think and judge independently, respecting nothing more than the sovereignty of his or her mind. I strongly lead towards individualism, though it seems it's mostly lost today.
*reads post*
*looks at avatar/sig*

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"Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy **** we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off." - Tyler Durden
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Old 04-23-2011, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Советский меч View Post
Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called 'the common good. Individualism holds that a human being should think and judge independently, respecting nothing more than the sovereignty of his or her mind. I strongly lead towards individualism, though it seems it's mostly lost today.
That is... quite surprising coming from you.





Sort of reminds me of this:

Quote:
1936 CONSTITUTION OF THE USSR

Adopted December 1936

CHAPTER X

FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF CITIZENS

....

ARTICLE 124. In order to ensure to citizens freedom of conscience, the church in the U.S.S.R. is separated from the state, and the school from the church. Freedom of religious worship and freedom of antireligious propaganda is recognized for all citizens.

ARTICLE 125. In conformity with the interests of the working people, and in order to strengthen the socialist system, the citizens of the U.S.S.R. are guaranteed by law:

freedom of speech;
freedom of the press;
freedom of assembly, including the holding of mass meetings;
reedom of street processions and demonstrations.

These civil rights are ensured by placing at the disposal of the working people and their organizations printing presses, stocks of paper, public buildings, the streets, communications facilities and other material requisites for the exercise of these rights.

....

ARTICLE 127. Citizens of the U.S.S.R. are guaranteed inviolability of the person. No person may be placed under arrest except by decision of a court or with the sanction of a procurator.

....
Quite ironic isn't it.

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