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Individualism Over Collectivism

February 17, 2008

I’M totally against totalitarianism and communism.

I’m against fascism, socialism, Nazism, and authoritarianism.

I’m strongly opposed to imperialism, theocracy, and plutocracy, which all seek to turn men into slaves and whose purpose is to protect the status of both the political and business elite who benefit largely from corruption, venality, slavery and official mooching.

I’m against collectivism and any ideology that seeks to subjugate individuals to an absurd collective whose aim is to abolish individual rights and freedoms for the sake of what their proponents claim as the “common good.”

Today, there are lots of political ideologies and philosophies that continue to confuse the people. We

have various “isms” that advocate the goals and visions of their respective creators. Communism, for example, which was conceptualized by Karl Marx in the 18th century, promotes the establishment of a classless, stateless society based on common ownership of the modes of production.

Freedom versus slavery...

Freedom versus slavery...

But the political ideologies I’ve mentioned above, while they may differ in terms of economic and social aspirations, they have but one thing in common. Totalitarianism, communism socialism, imperialism, fascism and authoritarianism— they are all part and parcel of collectivism, a social, economic and political outlook that stresses human interdependence and the primacy of a collective, rather than the significance of individuals.

This is to say that there are only two major political umbrellas, which cover existing distinct political ideologies and philosophies. The one is individualism, that moral, social and political perspective that puts emphasis on human independence and the importance of self-reliance and liberty, while the other is collectivism.

Obviously, most failed and rogue states like Myanmar, which is ruled by a military junta, North Korea, Communist China, Kenya, among others, subscribe to collectivist communism and socialism. Others that subscribe to collectivist political system are Cuba, Venezuela and some Latin American countries.

But this is not to say that states claiming to be democratic like United States of America, Philippines and India are the most ideal place to live in. Today, most self-claimed democratic countries are now under the claws of elected dictators, who aspire to bring their respective kingdoms to the realm of collectivism.

It must be noted that all dictators and evil leaders in the past like Julius Caesar of olden Rome, Napoleon Bonaparte of France, Adolf Hitler of Germany, Mao Tse-Tung of China, Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, and Polpot of Cambodia ruled under the aegis of collectivism with the ardent promise to deliver the “common good”. Another form of totalitarianism is also rising (or has already risen) in Russia, a former socialist empire under the defunct USSR.

No tyrant ever rose to power without spreading the delusive gospel of “common good” and “equality”.

The United States of America nearly embraced socialism over a century ago. It must be remembered that during the term of former U.S. Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Americans lived under a de facto socialist regime after the late war president adopted a program called the “New Deal” initiated between 1933 and 1938, with the goal of giving relief, reform and recovery to the people and economy of the U.S. during the great depression.

Part of the New Deal is the confiscation of gold from all Americans in 1933 because of the then existing “national emergency.” FDR stated in an Executive Order in April 5, 1933, that “the continued private hoarding of gold and silver by subjects of the United States poses a grave threat to the peace, equal justice, and well-being of the United States; and that appropriate measures must be taken immediately to protect the interests of our people.” In short, even the remaining property most Americans were seized by the U.S. Government for the sake of what is called the “common good.”

Also under Roosevelt, National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) was signed into law to pave the way for “opening the way for cooperation between the federal government and businesses in order to stimulate the economy during the Great Depression.” By virtue of said act, America was in effect under socialism for the law allowed to reduce what it called “destructive competition” and that it gave so much power to the president. The U.S. Supreme Court later ruled in 1935 that the Act was unconstitutional because of the undue arrogation of “too much” power to the chief executive.

It looks like history is repeating itself in America. After the September 11 attack in America, President George Bush seized too

The evil of the Dark Ages...

The evil of the Dark Ages...

much power by the U.S. Congress to fight what he dubbed as “terrorists”, “islamofascists”, the “axis of evil” and the elements of terror.

Right after the attack, the U.S. signed into law the Patriot Act which expanded the authority of law enforcement agencies for the purpose of fighting terrorism at home and abroad. It also gave too much power to the president. Aside from that, the Congress also authorized wiretapping by virtue of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which expired on February 1 but was given a 15-day extension by the legislature that also lapsed on February 16.

On the said day, Bush warned that “the House’s failure to pass the bipartisan Senate bill would jeopardize the security of our citizens.”

Bush said, “At this moment, somewhere in the world, terrorists are planning new attacks on our country. Their goal is to bring destruction to our shores that will make September the 11th pale by comparison. To carry out their plans, they must communicate with each other, they must recruit operatives, and they must share information.”

This reminds me of his remark that it’s easy to be a dictator these days.

Indeed, national emergency sometimes is beneficial to the sitting president for it justifies the concentration of too much power in the office of the commander in chief.

In the Philippines, the regime of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is also applying the same political tactic in order to maintain its tight its grip on power and to keep the social structure intact.

So why did I say those aforementioned ideologies/philosophies are under the collectivist umbrella?

The life and influence of collectivism lie in the confusion of the people. Because of the many ideologies under its aegis, the people usually get baffled and distracted.

Ayn Rand once wrote on Reader’s Digest over half a century ago the following line: “the greatest threat to mankind and civilization is the spread of the totalitarian philosophy. Its best ally is not the devotion of its followers but the confusion of its enemies. To fight it, we must understand it.”

All leaders under imperialistic, communist, socialist, and authoritarian regimes subscribe to totalitarian ideology. Imperialism (that of America) may be different from socialism and communism (that of China) in terms of economic and social persuasion, but their leaders use totalitarian authority in order to perpetuate the established system.

A totalitarian leader uses or subverts the law, establishes the rule of majority, and exploits his/her appointing and executive powers to keep the society intact and to perpetuate public obedience. His/her actions often result in the disregard of the rule of law and the disrespect of the individual rights and freedoms of the people.

President Arroyo, in order to maintain her grip on power following the Hello, Garci expose, issued executive orders that mocked the established constitution and ran roughshod over the civil liberties of the people. Among the laws are the E.O. 464 aka her gagging power, and P.D. 1017, or her muzzling and extra-constitutional power.

Individualism recognizes man as a distinct and separate individual with existing rights and duties. Every individual is equal as to human capacity and the ability to feel and think. The equality then is not by economic status but by individual capacity to use his/her God-given intellect and conscience— reason.

Every man, in order to survive, must use his intellect and human strength. That in order to survive, his rights— rights to life, property, liberty— must be duly respected and never abridged by others, particularly those given the authority to make and execute laws. A government, on the other hand, exists so that man may live well, but this doesn’t mean it has the right to curtail man’s inalienable freedoms and rights in its official exercise of function or duties. The individual is the basis of a regime, therefore the latter must respect the existence of the former.

To live on earth, man must also respect the rights and existence of others. If problem occurs, that’s the time the authority of the government comes in.

Every individual is not obliged to offer his life for what the government calls the “common good.” Self-interest must always be the basis of his existence and survival. But every individual has the moral (not that religious morality) obligation to defend himself and his country against invaders so that he will not be reduced to a slave.

Man must not live for and depend on others. He must not offer or sacrifice his life for others. To do so would make him the slave of men who live and feed on the services and labor of people who were either fooled or forced to sacrifice their lives for the sake of what they call “common good.”

Throughout history there are two kinds of invaders who preached the gospel of slavery and the surrender of every man to a collective.

The one are the invaders-by-law, or those who use the law by virtue of their authority (either through election or revolution or by birth.) This situation usually exists in a collectivist state that regards its subjects as mere fodders for its imperialistic or fascistic goal. Hitler used his power as Germany’s supreme fuhrer to send the Germans to a causeless, greed-inspired war. Also, George Bush sent the young Americans to Iraq, a country that never threatened a single American, for oil that now benefits the America’s elite. As a result, thousands of Iraqis died in a war that was based on lies while thousands of American soldiers were systematically killed by militant jihadists who refused to recognize the presence of foreign soldiers on the Mesopotamian soil.

In order to survive, man must use his mind and reason. It is only through reason by which man can detect deception and understand the lies and the necessary illusion created by evil men in order to confuse or mislead him.

Alas, those fooled by its proponents and those who have chosen to be enslaved by this ideology, either consciously or unconsciously, will surely become “another brick in the wall…” A brick that would form part of the wall that protects those in power– the wall of slavery, of ruthless savagery and of thought control.

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21 Comments leave one →
  1. cha permalink
    July 27, 2008 3:38

    You did well in explaining both individualism and collectivism. However, you did not explain why people follow or embrace the ideology of collectivism. Let me explain in my own little way the emergence of a state. It s where a group of people or individual (during the old times) finds it necessary to be as one for survival reasons (economic and security). This is one concept of a state. And since the population grew, laws had been made to govern the people. Have you read “The Lord of the Flies” by William Golding? This is a good book actually. It explained the very dark behavior of men and why it was necessary to have norms or structure to govern them. According to Hobbes-“Man is only civilized unless he is part of a social structure, you take away the structure then he will become a beast.

  2. July 29, 2008 3:38

    Thanks for the comment, cha. Individualism does not mean you don’t have to be part of the social structure. It means upholding “I” as a sovereign, that an individual should think and judge independently. The concept of individualism is not a threat to community or the formation of a community or a tribe. It means that the community or a group must have to respect the individual as one independent, sovereign, and thinking entity. That an individual must not be offered as a sacrifice or that he must not be obliged by what you call and Hobbes call “social structure” to sacrifice his life for what politicians call today as the “common good.” I believe in the Aristotelian concept regarding the emergence of a state. A state is formed so that men may live well. But you must understand that a state is formed by individuals, thus an individual is the basis of a state. But an individual, being an independent entity, must protect his right and the right of his/her loved ones against intrusion, invasion, or conquest. His ethics is the pursuit of happiness and self-interest. But if a state is being used to serve a powerful unit composed of a privilege few, then that act is the prostitution and perversion of the concept of what you call society and community, thus the emergence of teh concept of collectivism.

  3. Souquero D'Cocco permalink
    August 7, 2008 3:38

    https://i0.wp.com/3.bp.blogspot.com/_51-Q8QAJcQw/ScB0CxQRNQI/AAAAAAAAFiY/v3PwaoNKuDw/s320/banned.png

  4. fredo permalink
    August 21, 2008 3:38

    https://i0.wp.com/3.bp.blogspot.com/_51-Q8QAJcQw/ScB0CxQRNQI/AAAAAAAAFiY/v3PwaoNKuDw/s320/banned.png

  5. alexis permalink
    August 21, 2008 3:38

    https://i0.wp.com/3.bp.blogspot.com/_51-Q8QAJcQw/ScB0CxQRNQI/AAAAAAAAFiY/v3PwaoNKuDw/s320/banned.png

  6. Mark T. Market permalink
    January 14, 2009 3:38

    I think a consideration of context is important in criticizing the philosophy (collectivism).

    I’ve recently entertained two views on Collectivism itself. 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.

  7. Kriselle permalink
    February 9, 2009 3:38

    I agree in the individualism part… what sucks is that, society forms our minds to think as a collective and not more like an individual through the mainstream educational systems worldwide run by (no other than) the governments. I wouldn’t have my future kids learn like that though.
    I think communism is not a bad thing really, at least the idea of it is not, it’s just that no country has ever succeeded to implement it without such unrealistic sense of nationalism thus the control of the masses always aroused and stupid actions of defense and offense against other countries or parties that opposed the leaders’ crooked ideas.
    It takes a lot to grow out and learn to think and act independently but coexistingly in this world, and it takes more effort to have a government that works like it… Norway’s the only country that rings a bell whenever I think about this. Hmmm

    u said “Man must not live for and depend on others. He must not offer or sacrifice his life for others.” — well one of the basic principles of economics is that everyone is better off trading.. look where it got us right now… (recession which is just getting worse and worse)

    anyways, opinions are always healthy just don’t let it get seriously into you 😀

  8. February 9, 2009 3:38

    “I think communism is not a bad thing really, at least the idea of it is not, it’s just that no country has ever succeeded to implement it without such unrealistic sense of nationalism thus the control of the masses always aroused and stupid actions of defense and offense against other countries or parties that opposed the leaders’ crooked ideas.”

    Hmmm… I have to disagree. Individualism celebrates individual rights, collectivism does not. Any country that disregards or is silent as to civil liberties does not subscribe to individualism. The idea of communism is the subjugation of the individual to a collective. Observe that most socialist or communust countries do not recognize man’s right to property and liberty. Observe that most countries that subscribed to individualism like the US in its early years experienced tremendous progress.

    I must be very clear that not a single country, not even America, is a pure capitalist society. America is a mixed economy. The proper economic arm of individualism is capitalism.

  9. philost permalink
    September 15, 2009 3:38

    I noticed that you are a staunch believer of Rand, do you consider yourself a capitalist as well? If so, what is your reaction to the imperialist use (or misuse) of capitalism?

    • September 16, 2009 3:38

      Hi Philost,
      I believe in the ideals of Ayn Rand because they respond to reality. Objectivism, to me, is the only philosophy consistent with man’s nature, civil liberties and ends.
      Do I consider myself a capitalist? Yes, if that means supporting capitalism. I support capitalism because it is the only economic system that is consistent with man’s rights– his right to life liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. I cannot cover this particular argument here; it takes a full-blown article to explain why capitalism is consistent with man’s right. But I think this is self-explanatory. Only in a capitalist society can man own a private property, as well as the products of his own mind. Under a socialist or communist system, all properties are owned by the state. Can you imagine if you discovered a great invention and it will be owned by everybody or seized by the state in the name of common good? You will not profit from it, you will only reap a trophy, a token or just a cash reward or certificate from the presidium for your efforts.
      Supporting or defending capitalism does not mean you must own a big business or run a corporate entity. Capitalism encourages a person to develop his own potentials and improve his/her skills. This means that every vocation has the opportunity to flourish in a capitalist society. For instance, a writer can sell his/her novels and make his/her ideas known to readers without government help and without fear for government retaliation for negative commentaries and criticisms. An artist is permitted under a capitalist system to sell the product of his mind. Capitalism does not focus on big businessmen alone, although in a capitalism society, people transact and deal with each other as traders with mutual consent and free from compulsion.
      Now, going to your main question- what is my reaction to the imperialist use or misuse of capitalism. My answer is capitalism and imperialism are contradiction in terms. Imperialism is not synonymous to, and does not embody the ideals of, capitalism. That is the usual propaganda of the left or the socialists and communists when they try to destroy capitalism. They try their best to associate CAPITALISM with the United States. This fallacious association is rubbish and malicious at best. Those who attempt to destroy capitalism through malicious propaganda best embody this principle popularized by Lenin: “Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capitalism is established; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun, in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed.” But if you try to look at the product of his ideas, Soviet Socialist Russia, you will find out that he was a man of contradiction. The defunct USSR did not only conquer foreign lands, millions and millions of Russians were also murdered by its evil leader Stalin. In a collectivist state, there are no such things or principles as individual rights. Anybody can be killed or executed without due process or the benefit of an open and impartial trial.
      Therefore, there’s a need to define terms here.
      What is capitalism? Ayn Rand gave the most accurate and consistent definition of capitalism. Based on Ayn Rand’s concept of capitalism, this economic system has the following attributes:
      1) it is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.
      2) it means a full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism—with a separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church.
      3) its moral justification does not lie in the altruist claim that it represents the best way to achieve “the common good.”
      4) it is a system wherein all human relationships are voluntary, and that men are free to cooperate or not, to deal with one another or not, as their own individual judgments, convictions, and interests dictate.
      Genuine defenders of capitalism like Ludwig von Mises also endorsed these attributes of capitalism. To quote, Mises states: “under capitalism, material success depends on the appreciation of a man’s achievements on the part of the sovereign consumers. In this regard there is no difference between the services rendered by a manufacturer and those rendered by a producer, an actor or a playwright.” I would like to warn you that there are those who wrote their own treatises on capitalism but failed miserably in trying to defend capitalism. These alleged thinkers include the like of Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes, Murray Rothbard and Milton Friedman. This is to say that Ayn Rand and Mises offer the best defense of capitalism.
      Now based on these attributes of capitalism, can we conclude that the United States is a capitalist country? The answer is NO. While the United States introduced capitalism to the world, it never wholly practiced this economic system. A study of American history will tell you America is not a pure capitalist country and never practiced capitalism. So what then is the economic system of America? It is mixed economy.
      I must say that there is one effective test to determine whether a country is a capitalist economy. The test of regulation, or whether a country imposes extensive regulatory policies on the economy. Is too much regulation choking business? Are some economic policies of a state supporting a group of businesses and killing the other group? Do we see the rise of “robber barons” who benefit from government subsidies, political connections and award of contracts? Are these scenarios part and parcel of capitalism? The answer is No.
      A mixed economy, meaning a mixture of some attributes of capitalism and socialism, only leads to the rise of robber barons or cronyism and what you call “imperialism.” In a mixed economy, what is being surrendered are some of the attributes of capitalism, thus it is not a mixture of capitalism and socialism. Capitalism does not seek the plunder of the wealth of other nations. You must remember that imperialism was practiced by the royal families in Europe even before the birth of the United States.
      Now, what is the main difference between capitalism and imperialism? What does capitalism and imperialism seek to achieve? Capitalism demands the best in every man. That is why the world achieved unparalleled economic success in human history only after the Industrial Revolution. Much of technological inventions and discoveries occurred in the past 100 years because of capitalism. The recognition of man’s right to property led to the promulgation of laws on intellectual property and property rights law. The standard of living improved after the Industrial Revolution because there were men who were willing to produce and discover new ideas.
      Ever wonder why most great men and thinkers in the past 100 years migrated to the United States? Did this particular question not occur to you? It is because the United States is the only nation that respect individual rights, where man is allowed to own property and to discover and dispose of the products of their mind. Perhaps you must have heard that America was built by immigrants. But the question is, what kind of immigrants? A few them include Ayn Rand, Mises, Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, Jan Ernst Matzeliger, among others. (I’d like you to read my blog entitled America: An Obituary). The best legacy of America is the ideal of capitalism. Now most countries have opened their borders to the principles of capitalism. For instance, China, through its open-minded socialism, welcomed foreign investors but without surrendering its socialist principles.This means that China only accepted a few attributes of capitalism, as it still exercises the power of state intervention. (Try to read another blog of mine entitled ” Lessons of Tiananmen Square: We must secure our freedom and rights.” In this article, I discussed that China’s former premier Zhao Ziyang recognized capitalism as an effective economic system to solve poverty and unemployment.)
      On the other hand, the object of capitalism is the conquest of nature. What do I mean by this? Man discovered new machines and ideas through his own mind alone; it was done not by means of force and compulsion. Man is only permitted to think, discover new things and ideas and profit therefrom under a capitalist system. Look at the best epitome of collectivism in the world—North Korea. People in North Korea experience poverty because of the acts of their government. King Jong Il had to kidnap a renowned South Korean filmmaker just to complete his own propaganda films. Why? Because no one in North Korea could ever accomplish such kind of complicated work for him. He had to bribe or kidnap scientists to work on his nuclear program. A dictator cannot force man to think.
      Going to imperialism. The object of imperialism is the conquest of man and physical land. That is why when a nation or territory is conquered its inhabitants will be reduced to mere slaves. Most great nations today, including America are guilty of war crimes and imperialism. It is maliciously wrong to attribute this crime to capitalism. Capitalism has been attacked, distorted and vilified for decades as the necessary evil. Today, capitalism is again under fire as the Obama regime, including intellectuals and academics blame, it on the economic crisis. The worst enemy of capitalism today is not the communists; it is the universities and colleges. The economy failed because of too much government intervention. If you try to study the laws passed in the United States, particularly the Community Reinvestment Act, you will find out why financial crisis occurred. Health care problems also occured because of government policies that forced health insurance companies to admit applicants regardless of their age and preexisting health conditions.
      The economic crisis is a very complicated and mind-boggling jigsaw puzzle that can hardly be understood by ordinary individuals, and this is the reason why they just have to nod when somebody tells them the economic crash was caused by capitalism. They simply take things on faith. One of the main attributes of man is his mind. To understand things, you must use it.

  10. anti-essentialism permalink
    October 13, 2009 3:38

    Are collectivism and individualism polar opposites? That is to say they are mutually exclusive?

    Individualism, or shall I say post-Enlightenment rationality, is an ideology in itself, unless you can prove that man indeed has basic rights by the very nature of his humanity. As an ideology, it cannot entirely reflect reality: ideology has claims which are normative in nature and therefore cannot be a complete reflection of the context upon which it extracts its meaning and persuasive force.

    The individualist rhetoric only gains moral and ethical sense if we situate it within the context of the state. Without the existence of the state, such rhetoric miserably fails to makes sense. State and individualism are dialectical coordinates which infuse meaning on each other.

    The point simply is that in any talk of ideology, one must not forget the very structure that institutionalizes its moral and rational force. These means we should ask questions like “under what conditions does human rights and freedoms actually make sense?” or “can individualism as a totalizing narrative account for pre-societal structures of community?” These are relevant questions that show how certain political beliefs evolve and develop, opening paradigms for their very critique and support.

    • October 13, 2009 3:38

      anti-essentialism,

      Consider it my generosity to deal with a total stranger online who don’t even have the courage to identify himself. Since I have claim on this blog and that it is part of my intellectual property, I can demand anybody who’s willing to deal with me to identify himself in a manner that I can validate his real identity. I have set my rules here: https://fvdb.wordpress.com/about-2/ .
      You said: “Individualism, or shall I say post-Enlightenment rationality, is an ideology in itself, unless you can prove that man indeed has basic rights by the very nature of his humanity. As an ideology, it cannot entirely reflect reality…” I’m not a Kantian and anyone who who attempts to question the existence of man’s basic rights “by the nature of his humanity” has the burden of proof of proving or establishing his proposition. You must be lucky to have lived in a generation where civil liberties are being regarded as man’s inalienable rights. No, I don’t want this world to revert back to the rule of the mystics.
      You said: “Without the existence of the state, such rhetoric miserably fails to makes sense.”
      Who said that individualism rejects the existence of a state? Are you using words here according to your whimsical or arbitrary purpose? Those statement do not even make any sense– and in what way would you associate them with the contents of my blog entry?
      You said: “The point simply is that in any talk of ideology, one must not forget the very structure that institutionalizes its moral and rational force.”
      Since I’m discussing with a subjectivist linguist, I’d like to know what you mean by a “structure that institutionalizes its moral and rational force” and how is it associated with my blog.
      Finally you said: “These means we should ask questions like “under what conditions does human rights and freedoms actually make sense?” or “can individualism as a totalizing narrative account for pre-societal structures of community?” These are relevant questions that show how certain political beliefs evolve and develop, opening paradigms for their very critique and support.”
      Now I’d like you to expand that, convert these very vague, undefined and undefinable abstractions into concretes. That’s what really funny with Kantians and the so-called absurd linguists. They try very hard to make their statements and the use and choice of words vague and complicated, perhaps to make it appear that since what they try to convey is difficult to understand, people would think that it must be deep. It’s like impressionism in painting.

      • anti-essentialism permalink
        October 14, 2009 3:38

        No, I am not a Kantian linguist, and once again, the way you respond to my queries reveal a Roarkian stubbornness that undermines the intellectual prowess you have endowed on yourself. After all, you have stated in many occasions that “I’M JUST GOOD AND I JUST KNOW WHAT I’M TALKIN’ ABOUT.” I do not seek to challenge this, as it would be better for us to engage in a more intelligent, less abrasive manner.

        Then again, I would like for you to accord me the same respect as well, and resist the temptation of automatically dismissing my thoughts on the plain reaction of unintelligible-ness. Trust me, my thoughts have meaning. I do not just write to make people think the I’m throwing something “deep” in the air. For someone who is anonymous as myself, such imputed motive seems paradoxical.

        Anyway, I shall be true in engaging you on an intellectual and more civil manner. As to the burden of proof which you have just asked me, human rights did not exist in the form that it now appears since only the last two centuries. In fact, it is a product of societal evolution. Isn’t it? Therefore, we cannot say a priori that natural rights exist in and of itself. In the age of the stone, for example, there was no need to stipulate the right of a man against unreasonable searches and seizures: there simply wasn’t a point to it.

        Here comes the state: We understand rights, and in the same way as you, I believe that they are inalienable. But, and this is crucial, only to the extent that the State exists. Its a form of dialectical reasoning when we claim that how we understand rights today is contingent on the very conditions that make such understanding possible, i.e., the existence of the state and the capitalist mode of production it supports. Without these premises, human rights simply becomes esoteric, ungrounded concepts.

        I would like to establish a relationship with my queries to the content of your essays. First, you have posed a direct opposition between collectivism and individualism, but you have not accounted for why these two “paradigms” are antithetical to each other. Why cannot one coexist with the other? Simply put, all I am requesting is for you to substantiate in a more nuanced fashion how such categorizations make sense in light of the existence of the state.

        Again, I am not engaging you in a confrontational manner. Please respond civilly and hopefully, with more elaborations and less accusations.

      • October 14, 2009 3:38

        If you want to deal with me, reveal your identity. We are in a civilized world I think it’s more proper and civil for you to show who you are. That’s a sign of respect and civility. Don’t simply hide behind an absurd pseudonym. Do not evade by simply saying I’m stubborn. I can’t talk to a ghost or something who refused to reveal his identity. I think you’re smart enough to know what I mean. In every debate or forum, the identity of the parties is a prerequisite. The willingness of a party to reveal or establish his/her identity manifests his/her readiness to engage in an intellectual discussion. In regard to that statement of mine you just quoted, that’s my answer to hippies whose intention is simply to insult me. One is not supposed to argue with people like them. Now, are you a hippie? What you did is actually context-dropping. I don’t want to deal with commenters who cowardly argue with me behind an absurd pen-name. I hope you’ve no intention to suggest that you’re a coward.

  11. anti-essentialism permalink
    October 14, 2009 3:38

    Hiding behind a pen-name is not cowardice, Mr. Bersamina. Anti-essentialism, neither, is absurd. Its actually a philosophical product of critical theory.

    The reason why I do not reveal my identity is that I do not believe in authorisms. It was Roland Barthes, a renowned cultural theorist, who said that texts are relevant irrespective of its author, as texts themselves, in the very act of being read by a reader, permits the creation of meaning. He signaled the age when the “Author is Dead.”

    Again, even without my identity, my texts will still retain meaning. Now, is this “meaning” something you want to engage in? If not, then I shall disappear completely. But, if we can hurdle the obstacle of anonymity, then we can proceed as engaging each other in an intelligent manner.

    I have been civil and proper all along, and have not been throwing motives, insults,or accusations at you (which I do not intend to do even if you have done the same things to me), and there is no reason therefore, for this magnanimous engagement to end simply on the basis of mal-identity.

    • October 14, 2009 3:38

      Then I don’t see any reason to waste my time on you. It’s clear, however you define your refusal to reveal your identity, it’s a sign of cowardice, and I don’t want to deal with a coward.

  12. cristel permalink
    May 20, 2010 3:38

    tnx about “individualism” topic cause it really help my paper report,…

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