There’s No Such Entity as Society
Note: The following is my reply to a commenter nicknamed Biogeek who asked me the following question: “How do individualists put ‘individualism’ into practice, beyond the individual?” Read Biogeek’s full comment here.
An individual of self-esteem and pride is not a second-hander, or one who wants to be great in the eyes of others…
Congrats [to the Ateneo Blue Eagles] and I appreciate your comment. Regarding your query I have to say that I’m humbled. I have talked about this in one of my blogs written about a year or two ago –> https://fvdb.wordpress.com/2008/02/17/individualism-versus-collectivism/. You asked me “How do individualists put ‘individualism’ into practice, beyond the individual?” You mean to say how does man practice individualism? In practice I believe that ego exists, and this is the source of your understanding of self-esteem and pride, including other important abstractions. However, such an ego must come from your objective understanding of reality, as well as your honest understanding of human achievement. You go by reason, not faith. Reason is the faculty that identifies and integrates the material provided by your senses. It is immoral for man of ego and self-esteem to take things on faith.
A man of ego has pride and self-esteem. He is the individual– the one who thinks on his own, who never asks for the help of others, and who never relies on the pity or charity of other people… It means he is primarily motivated by his desire to achieve, not by his desire to beat others. Now, is there any economic or political equivalent of individualism in the real world? There is, and this is the system of capitalism. I have talked also about why capitalism is the only system that can save this country. In a true capitalist society, the individual is the one who produces or who works for the producer for compensation. I would like to clarify that that we are not a capitalist country; we are a mixed economy.
Why is capitalism the economic and political tool of individualism? The only answer is because it is the only economic system consistent with man’s rights– his right to life liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. Ayn Rand made a good explanation on this matter. It means that a true capitalist country is spared by government intervention, and the only proper function of a government are the following: police to maintain peace and order, law courts to settle disputes, the army to defend the state from invasion or rebellion. Taxes continue to rise because of excessive government spending in its welfare state projects. I explained this concept in my blog entitled Why is Text Tax the Philippines’ Gateway to Hell?.
Men must interact with each other as a human being according to objective rational principles and moral standards.
An individual of self-esteem and pride is not a second-hander, or one who wants to be great in the eyes of others, like Mikey Arroyo and most politicians. You don’t care what other people tell about you so long as you know you’re right. Their only weapon against you is laughter… You only rely on your ability. Now I’m referring to real capitalists who don’t rely on government subsidies, political connections, and the help of moochers-by-law and looters-by-law.
Do you think Mike Defensor, who received government help for his mining companies, is a real capitalist? Hell no! He is, by objective definition, a crony or a robber baron. I think one cannot practice individualism beyond the individual. It does not mean you should exclude yourself from society. Collectivism is a system that subjugates the individual to a collective. It preaches the sacrifice of the strong to the weak for the sake of the common good. Now take Obama’s health care reform as an example and the 2 to 7 trillion dollar bailout of ailing banks and companies at the disadvantage of the tax payers. In regard to this matter, the money will not directly come from taxpayers– it will be printed by the Federal Reserve that prints money out of nothing. This will eventually cause inflation. This monetarist and Keynesian system is actually taught and endorsed by educators from Harvard University.
In individualism, the individual must not sacrifice his life to others, nor ask others to sacrifice theirs to his. I can only suggest the following books to better understand individualism: Anthem, The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (all by Ayn Rand).
There’s no such thing as a society… it’s all of us. That which most people call a society is a composition of individuals of different economic status and levels of intellect and driven by diverse beliefs, convictions, and goals in life. Men must interact with each other as human beings according to objective rational principles and moral standards. A society is composed of individuals– it is not a living entity. It has no rights, values or conscience like a human being. Furthermore, there is no such thing as society that “promotes individualism.” As I said, the standard of value of a state is the individual, not a society, and every individual must take self-interest as his ethics.
Individualism regards man—every man—as an independent, sovereign entity who possesses an inalienable right to his own life, a right derived from his nature as a rational being.
Observe that in every society (composed of individuals of different economic status, understanding of reality, behavior, intellect, purpose and beliefs) the common code of morality is altruism. It is impossible for a society to promote the ideals of individualism, and if there were such a very rare, very impossible occurrence, what code of morality of individualism would it promote and what would be its purpose? In my latest blog entitled Self-interest versus Altruism (https://fvdb.wordpress.com/2009/10/10/which-is-the-real-evil-self-interest-or-altruism/ ), I discussed that man’s ethics is self-interest, his metaphysics is objective reality (that reality exists), his epistemology is reason, and his politics is capitalism. It is important to understand that contradictions cannot exist. Your code of morality must not contradict your understanding of reality– that A is A. For instance, you can’t run a business with altruism as your code of morality. A president can’t save the economy through government spending, too much regulations and interference into the economy and printing money out of thin air. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
A society that promotes individualism is a contradiction at best. However, I must warn you that several philosophers like Nietzsche are “fake” individualists. It is disappointing to note that even those in the academe have been sold to this evil lie that Nietzsche was an individualist. Philosophically, Nietzsche is a mystic and an irrationalist. His metaphysics consists of a somewhat “Byronic” and mystically “malevolent” universe; his epistemology subordinates reason to “will,” or feeling or instinct or blood or innate virtues of character. This is the reason why the father of racist and bigot Nazi Germany is Nietzsche and Hegel.
Thus, individualism regards man—every man—as an independent, sovereign entity who possesses an inalienable right to his own life, a right derived from his nature as a rational being. Individualism holds that a civilized society, or any form of association, cooperation or peaceful coexistence among men, can be achieved only on the basis of the recognition of individual rights—and that a group, as such, has no rights other than the individual rights of its members.