Individualism vs. Collectivism

Prof. Aeon Skoble claims that if we really care about the wellbeing of communities, we should keep in mind the unique and autonomous individuals that make it up. Each individual is deserving of respect and dignity, and should be free to pursue their own ends as long as they don’t infringe upon the freedom of others. Although the concept of community is important, it does not warrant overlooking the individuals that comprise it.


  1. Matt Wavle

    It would be in line with liberty to have the right to freely associate.  If you choose to freely associate in a commune, that would be congruent with the freedom of a large family unit.  But each individual within the commune must retain the choice to stay or leave at any moment, or else it would be considered a cult.  And cults are in there very nature, NOT libery-loving entities. 

  2. Matt Wavle

    Marx was based his views in determinism, which is at odds with the reality of the individual’s freedom to choose. 
    — Today we often hear many an oxymoron relating to "group rights".  Rights are an Individual thing, much like emotions.  No group can magically posses rights that they did not already posses each as individuals. 

  3. Anonymous

    you seriously missed the point entirely, …………."AS LONG AS YOUR FREEDOMS DO NOT INFRINGE UPON THE OTHER." This is the boundary line! Get it! You must be one of those fundies who think that their communism, mafiasims, fascisms, or any other cloned -isms will be the best -ism!

  4. Jakub Kubas

    Prof. Skoble argues that individuality is the basis of our communities and that they – individual choice and preference – are the reason people choose to take part in different community and cultural events, thus driving them forward. But can true individualism, in which each being is completely self-defined and autonomous, become the breeding ground for a community, which, ex definitione, is a collectivist environment like all other societies? Collectivism would see the exploration and/or creation of links that bring individuals together, creating a culture or community based on common traits, interests, and ideas, which simply cannot be created in individualist environments because of their focus on highlighting the differences between individuals. 

    Undoubtedly, the rights of the individual are important and it is the duty of the government to protect those rights, among which "are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." However, it is also the responsibility of the government to establish limits to the free society so as to protect the rights of all individuals within it and in order to maintain a relatively closely-knit national society as a means of maintaining the public peace and securing the nation from subversive forces (such as those that the United States was exposed to during the Cold War at the hands of the Soviet Union, as Mr. Yuri Bezmanov would claim). 

    I, personally, would hold true to the classic rule of the Golden Mean: perfection is hidden somewhere in the midst of both extremes. Societies should be free so that individual expression and free will would not be bound in the chains of tyranny, however they should be limited so that certain moral and social standards do not decay, as well as to prevent a society based on the worship of self-interest: a contradiction of the values of any republic, or "res publica" – a common affair.
  5. Chocolate Thunder

    Greg, you seem to enjoy playing the role of the caricatured libertarian, who has no nuance in studying the social sciences, but sees every question exclusively in terms of his ideology. How does your moral question negate the idea that there are such things as individualism and collectivism?

  6. kevinbuttrum

    I believe the Big nanny state government we currently have, is killing our individualist based communities, by forcing us to only be a whole nation community, instead of individual State communities. The Federal Government should only enforce negative rights, since it is a Republic. Only the States should mandate postive rights, because all the states are democratic.  

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