Individualism is a concept that holds substantial influence over the political landscape. It is a value of quintessential importance to western civilization. Seeing that it is such an important concept, it is important to know what the main idea of individualism is.
The main idea of Individualism is that it emphasises the importance of the individual, and puts the individual above all else. It focuses on the moral worth of the individual, and makes the individual the primary focus. The importance of the individual directly includes self interest, self reliance and freedom.
With the main idea of individualism being the importance of the individual, It is crucial to cover what the importance of the individual actually entails. One of the main factors that helps stress the importance of the individual is self interest. Self interest essentially means that the individual has the power, rights and freedom to live their life in a way that is of the most benefit to them. It means that the individual is in charge of their own destiny. They have the freedom to choose how they want to live their lives, as long as they don’t cause harm to others and private property.
They are free to choose their education, and how educated they want to become. They can choose the career and job that best suits them and their abilities. They can choose to start their own enterprise, offering goods or services that they have expertise in. They are free to invest their capital to build their wealth. They are free to marry who they wish, free to decide whether they want children and if so how many. They can choose where they want to live and their own mode of transport. You can see that the concept of self interest ties right in to stressing the importance of the individual. The individual has the freedom to make their own life choices, which represent how that certain individual wants to live their life.
Self Interest gives the individual ample opportunity to flourish and be successful within a given society. All the tools are there to live a life of prosperity and abundance, as long as the individual works hard, takes calculated risks and makes good choices. Individualism creates a population of individuals who for the most part make better choices to benefit themselves and therefore society. This is because the individual actually has an incentive to work hard and to contribute to the marketplace. They will be handsomely rewarded if they do so, and struggle to progress if they do not. Self interest is crucial in emphasising the importance of the individual.
Another crucial element of the importance of the individual is self reliance, which is closely tied to self interest. Self reliance essentially means that the individual is responsible for caring for themselves and their own living situation. They are held accountable, and bear consequences from good or bad decisions they make. It is the individual’s responsibility to make a living, choose a career, start a business, marry a partner, start a family and live wherever they choose. The individual must live with the consequences of these decisions, whether they are positive or negative. This indirectly forces the individual to make sound decisions which benefit themselves, their family, their community and society as a whole. An individualistic society is set up in a way that those who take on greater risk, bear more responsibility and make better decisions will be rewarded for their efforts. This is because individuals who take on risk, are responsible and make calculated decisions will benefit society greatly as a whole.
Self reliance stresses the importance of calculated risks, such as starting a business, investing your capital and purchasing property. Risk taking is important for society, as it is how innovation spawns and great businesses come into fruition, Both things that benefit the economy. Jobs are created, and the quality of goods and services improve. It is important for investment, as it is investment that helps fund these new innovations and businesses. Although risks don’t always pay off, the risks that do pay off benefit society so greatly that the ones that fail don’t even matter. This is why self reliance is an important element of individualism.
Although self reliance does have its critics, the pros far outweigh the cons in terms of the benefit it gives society and therefore every individual. It is true that self reliance can be a bit daunting, considering the fact that the individual is left to their own devices and has the possibility of living an unsatisfactory life. The beauty about self reliance, though, is that you can always get back up. Through persistence and hard work, self reliance gives the individual all the tools they need to flourish regardless of their past. It is a crucial element of individualism and emphasises the importance of the individual.
Another element that makes up the main idea of individualism (stressing the importance of the individual) is freedom. Freedom in this context means that the individual is free from any oppression or coercion from the state. This is a quintessential element of individualism as the importance of the individual cannot come into fruition if freedom is not one of the main values of a given society. This is because freedom is the main thing that allows the individual to explore, to live as they wish to live, and contribute to society in the way that comes most naturally to them. Freedom cannot be achieved if the individual is restricted in the things they can do. This is why freedom plays a crucial role in the main idea of individualism.
Freedom brings with it important values such as freedom of speech and freedom of expression. The potential of the individual will never be realised if the individual is not allowed to speak freely and express themselves freely. Freedom of speech is crucial for self exploration, open dialogue and pursuing truth. All these things stress the importance of the individual. Open dialogue is important as it is how new ideas come into fruition and how ideas are debated. It allows the individual to challenge their own beliefs and pre-existing notions, leading to a more robust world view. Freedom of speech allows the individual to organise his or her thoughts, and is therefore essential in allowing the individual to explore many ideas and articulate themselves as they wish. It cannot be expressed how important freedom of speech and expression is in ensuring the importance of the individual.
Lastly, freedom is also important in ensuring the importance of the individual as it gives the state less power and control over people’s lives. How can an individual be deemed important if the state intervenes in that individual’s day to day affairs and tries to control how that individual must live their own life? To ensure the importance of the individual, it is paramount that the state does not get involved and has as little power and authority as possible. Individuals must be free to navigate through life by themselves, to explore their own identities and live a life that best suits them. Ensuring the importance of the individual is the main idea of individualism, so it is of crucial importance that society gives the individual the power to be free.
The main idea of individualism is that it emphasises the importance of the individual, and puts the individual above all else. It focuses on the moral worth of the individual, and makes the individual the primary focus. The importance of the individual directly includes self interest, self reliance and freedom.
Self interest is essential in ensuring the importance of the individual as it allows the individual to go about life in the way that best suits them. They are free to take risks, work in the field they desire, start a business, choose who they want to marry, whether they want to have kids and where they want to live. All of these examples show that self interest puts the individual above all else as it allows them to truly live a life that they desire.
Self reliance is directly tied to self interest, and an important aspect of emphasising the individual. Self reliance is important as it means the individual is the captain of their fate and the master of their soul. The individual is responsible for taking calculated risks, and is incentivised to do so for the benefit of society. This means the individual has to take ownership, and live with the consequences of their decisions and actions.
Freedom plays a crucial role in stressing the importance of the individual. Freedom is quintessential in allowing the individual to explore their own lives, make their own decisions and not be tied down to any conformity and intervention from the state. Without freedom, the individual is not free to go through life as they wish and therefore deemed not important. Freedom puts the individual above all else and therefore is paramount to ensuring the importance of the individual.