Individualism bad, Collectivism good.., – or..

share medium Individualism bad, Collectivism good..,   or..

I’ve just skimmed through this great article, and I really should give it more of my time, but as I am busy playing chess, I will basically just recommend it:

Are Individuals The Property Of The Collective?

Do you agree with the following: Your children are not yours to raise, but products of the collective to be molded..

I don’t, but then listen to this:

Individualism bad, Collectivism good, – or…

“Collectivism always presents itself with the flair and sexiness of the “new”, or the progressive, while individualism tends to wear the unpleasant battle scars of hard earned principles and heritage. “

“Collectivism is the hot looking but mentally unstable bombshell blonde making promises of excitement and long term comfort she has no intention of keeping”.

“She is so seductive not because she has any profound inner qualities, but because she has a knack for letting you believe she is exactly what you fantasize her to be”.

“Only when it’s too late do you realize she’s a psychopathic pill popping man-eater…”

Marvellous..

share medium Individualism bad, Collectivism good..,   or..

6 Responses to Individualism bad, Collectivism good.., – or..

  1. I live in China and, even though it’s a capitalist society, there is still quite a collectivist vibe. I personally find it quite disturbing…

    • Was it Deng Xiaoping who said: “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice“, -- in other words: The end justifies the means.. -- Question is, -- what is the envisioned End ?.. -- The priority given to economic developement is promoted as a means to.. lift (more) people out of poverty ? -- I haven’t been to China, but I don’t completely trust the “noble” intentions of the Chinese leadership and I take note of the “collectivist vibe” you are reporting. Anyway, the future is bright, -- let’s be optimistic :)

      • The future is bright, I agree. I am a transhumanist myself, recently come out of the closet if you will. I say ‘come out of the closet’ because our scientific optimism and yearning for a technological utopia is usually seen as foolish and naive (or even dangerous) by some of our peers. But I must confess, I am a reader and admirer of Singularitarian minds like Ray Kurzweil’s and Peter Diamandis’.

        Having said all that though, I am not a “fan” of collectivism of any stripe. Concentration of power in any one party -- or a one-party state, which essentially all collectivist ideologies tend to lean toward (like communism) is an inherently bad proposition.

        I actually grew up in a communist state and it was unpleasant to say the least. Voices of dissent disappearing in the night (liquidated), gulags, witch hunts and heresy trials, kangaroo courts, etc. I think the ends cannot always justify the means, morally speaking, and the right form of government is the one that tries to strike a balance between the ‘needs of the many’ and the ‘rights and protections of the individual’. As Churchill once said, “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.” Sometimes we don’t appreciate what we have in the West.

        I am a left-leaning libertarian myself and I see with some of my more liberal friends that they despise their own country (to the point of political and cultural masochism sometimes) because they think the ‘grass is greener over there.’ But it isn’t… I can personally attest to that. We can still get to -- and as a foolish optimist I believe we eventually will -- a technological utopia where scarcity and want and poverty are eliminated but we have to do this with respect to a robust constitution that will always protect the rights of the individual. What I am saying is, that a utopia like that can be organically grown in Western civilization if we simply let democracy and technology do their work. We don’t need to rush to adopt collectivisms of any stripe in order to achieve this particular ‘end’.

        • Thank you VERY much for your comment. It is just about the best comment I’ve had since I started blogging, and just what I need to keep writing ! -- I’m saying as I’ve lost steam lately..

          You manage to say many great things, above all this: “..the right form of government is the one that tries to strike a balance between the ‘needs of the many’ and the ‘rights and protections of the individual”. -- That is Social-Liberalism, and that is how I define myself: as a Social-Liberal. Striking this balance is what Scandinavian countries are good at. We value both egalitarianism and individual freedoms. We all know, -- you better than any, -- how individual freedoms were “sacrificed” in communist states, and we all know also how deep inequality is the price America pays for extreme Libertarianism. -- Social-Liberalism, however, is a term Americans have difficulty understanding, so “left-leaning libertarian” is probably better and more accurate, and it is definitely how I’d define myself also.

          Your words about “Liberals”, -- (do they even know the literal meaning of this word anymore..), -- and their self-loathing and “cultural masochism” is SPOT ON !

          How wonderful to hear from a sane, wise and harmonious human being who is also optimistic about the future. I’d say you deserve being quoted as much as Churchill for saying this:

          [Utopia]..can be organically grown in Western civilization if we simply let democracy and technology do their work

          However.. I am not a fundamentalist democrat. I am law-abiding up to a point, which is to say.. I would follow my inner convictions any day, should they be in serious conflict with the law.. -- In that sense I am actually some sort of fundamentalist after all.. -- Some call it anarchism.., and yes, that is an essential part of my thinking also, but again, striking a balance is the key. I am not “religulous”, but there’s a saying in the Bible I quite like: “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God“. I read that as give to the State /Collective what belongs to it, and give to the Individual what belongs to it.

  2. Joern,

    Good points. I think the Bible is quotable; certainly an important literary accomplishment, for its time and context -- I am not going to deny it that honor. And I say this as an atheist and an anti-theist, to borrow a sub-category from one of my favorite writers and thinkers, Christopher Hitchens.

    Well, thank you for the generous and probably undeserved compliments. The “harmonious” part had me smiling a bit because I don’t usually see myself as much of a “harmonious human being”. In fact, it seems to me that the more thoughtful and philosophical I get, in other words the more useless according to my wife, the less harmonious my inner state can sometimes become. Of course it is not always like that but generally more thinking can lead to seeing more complications in life (even where there may be none in which case these are invented), which in turn can increase one’s anxiety and worries. In some ways the old cliche, “Ignorance is bliss”, holds true.

    About these political categories: you know I only say ‘left libertarian’ because maybe that comes closest to what may encompass my political beliefs but sometimes categories are insufficient. Social liberalism sounds fine too -- though, again, I probably don’t fit super-neatly into any one category. I am left on most issues (healthcare, science, education, gay marriage, taxes/progressive, conservation) while not necessarily left on others. For example, I am an interventionist on foreign policy -genocides like Darfur, Rwanda where something more than twiddling-our-thumbs needed to be done or even necessary fights like the one in Afghanistan to depose the Taliban -- so I believe sometimes that military intervention is warranted, which puts me at odds with most libertarians who tend to be isolationist and most liberals who tend to be pacifists. Even Clinton acted on Bosnia (sometimes my pacifist liberal friends tend to forget this).

    I am against affirmative action (as MLK said we should judge people by the content of their character, or in this case by the content of their professional merits) and for capital punishment (why should a mass murderer or a serial killer be allowed a bed and three square meals at our expense?), which again puts me at odds with most of my peers on the left. I am for abortions up to the first trimester, which is neither left nor right. At first glance, it seems like a strange position. I call it scientific and humanist -- because after the first trimester the fetus develops enough to exhibit a humanity (cns system matures, hearing, reactions, etc). So terminating it in the second or third trimester does not seem right to me.

    I am strongly against authoritarianism of any kind, whether it’s far right-wing (fascism) or far left-wing (communism). Again the key for me seems to be striking a balance (extremes are not good) between the Jeffersonian model of democracy, of super-limited federal governments, and the Madison model of democracy, which includes a big, potent federal government. Of course a Bill of Rights and ‘checks and balances’ are a must for me (there can be a tyranny of the majority too you know- i.e. ‘mob rule’). I may be a touch sentimental as the son of a family of Eastern European political refugees, but I like our constitutional republic. I love the United States of America. Can it use some tweaking (poverty, corporate power, education, etc.)? Sure, it can -- but it’s better than most stuff out there even with its shortcomings.

    Strangely for a libertarian, which is why I guess I am a ‘left-libertarian’ (again only a term of convenience for as close as I can get to any political category), is that I believe that tyranny cannot just be limited to governments -- corporate conglomerates, if left unchecked, can also wield tremendous power. Too much power… Classical libertarians unfortunately don’t grasp that, or don’t want to -- they think power can only be abused by governments. They don’t see what some corporations are capable of doing, and are, in fact, doing. On the other hand, entrepreneurship needs to be nurtured -- small to medium-sized businesses are good and could use our help- as opposed to just helping or bailing out the bigger, more influential players.

    What else? Well that’s enough for now. I hope I haven’t bored you to death.

    I like the blog and I’ll try to comment on other articles/posts as you create them. I won’t always have time because oftentimes I’m getting squeezed in by the holy trinity of family, work and school (going back to school for another degree). But I’ll try to comment whenever I can.

    Anyway, it’s been a pleasure and wonderful to meet a like-minded, fellow transhumanist. All the best in the meantime,

    B.

    • Bored ? -- No way ! -- Your wise and detailed observations prove that what I said about you is well deserved. You simply don’t fit in a box, and like me you reject the over-simplified left-right paradigm. Yes, thoughtfulness can cause anxiety and worries, but being harmonious also requires empathy, and you obviously are empathetic and, yes, strike a fine balance between pure thinking power and caring for your fellow human beings, so.. harmonious you are, take my word for it :)

      Briefly, I agree with your “interventionist” strategies, and for the same reasons I can’t say I am against authoritarianism of any kind. I am a Libertarian up to a point, and the “Social” in Social-Liberalism is what “compels” me to accept a certain degree of (state) authority. In that sense I am typically European. Your point, that there can be a tyranny of the majority too you know- i.e. ‘mob rule’, -- a very important point !, -- tells me you know exactly what I mean about only being democratically-minded up to a point also..

      Re: The USA can use some tweaking.. -- LOL -- I’ll keep my mouth shut.., but.. Europe could use some tweaking too..

      I sure hope I will manage to write something worthy of your attention. You are a great help, -- thanks again.

      Ps. Re: capital punishment -- Here I am in line with most Liberals, -- I simply don’t trust the U.S judicial system…

      Re: Abortion: Your position makes sense, but I’ll have to look up “trimester” :)

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