What is the concept of Individualism?

Individualism carries significant importance within society and has been an essential idea used in politics for many centuries. It is a popular and widespread concept, but one that is regularly misunderstood. The true meaning of individualism varies, depending on who you ask. In this post I will make sure you the reader are clear on what the concept of individualism is and what it truly means.

The concept of individualism is that the individual is the centrepiece of society. It emphasises the intrinsic worth of the individual over the wider collective. Individualism produces a free society where the individual has more power and rights.

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The 6 Principles of Individualism

There are 6 main principles regarding the concept of individualism. They are listed as follows:

  • Economic Freedom
  • Private Ownership
  • Self-interest
  • Self-reliance
  • Competition
  • Individual rights and freedoms

Economic freedom refers to the idea that the individual is free to earn a living in whichever way they choose. They can choose what field they want to work in, the type of role they wish or even whether or not they want to set up their own enterprise. This is crucial as the individual has full control over this. The state cannot intervene. 

Private ownership is an important economic element of individualism. It means that assets are privately owned by individuals, rather than the state. This gives more economic power to the individual and is based on the idea that the individual has a better idea of how to utilise assets rather than the state.

Self-interest refers to the idea that the individual is essentially free to live their life in a manner which best benefits themselves. The individual will almost always have a better idea on how to live their own life than the state.

Self-reliance can practically be summed up as personal responsibility. In an individualistic society, the state doesn’t intervene as often. This means the individual is responsible for taking control of their own lives and securing a living for themselves.

Competition is how individuals compete against one another in the marketplace. A competitive economy is one that spawns innovation and benefits the consumer overtime. It is an essential idea of individualism and one that has immense benefit for society. 

Individual rights and freedoms are crucial to making sure the state doesn’t have any authoritative power over the Individual. It ensures the individual is liberated from any discrimination or coercion from the state. 

These 6 main principles are all crucial to the concept of individualism.

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A value at the core of the concept of individualism is freedom. It is the idea that citizens of a democracy are free from any oppression or coercion from the state. Freedom is important as it gives more power and opportunities to the individual, whilst disallowing the state to interfere with their lives. If implemented correctly, freedom always leads to a happier and more prosperous society in the long run. 

Freedom is crucial in ensuring all the values of individualism are met. It gives more power and rights to the individual, and prevents the state from getting involved in individual affairs. This is essential to the concept of individualism, as advocates of individualism always put freedom and benefits of freedom at the top of the list for arguing why individualism is such a beneficial concept. Freedom allows for private ownership and a free market which spawns competition. These three things help boost the economy, the productivity of the population and therefore the wealth and standard of living of each individual.

Freedom allows the individual to explore their own self interests, and take responsibility for how they go about life and their living situation. It helps eliminate corruption from the state, as the state under a free and individualistic society is less involved. It secures essential rights which are all at the heart of individualism, such as: Freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom to earn, freedom to learn, freedom of choice, freedom of location and freedom of opportunity. Hence why freedom is quintessential to the concept of individualism. If you want to go more in depth on the topic of freedom, click here.

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Personal Responsibility

Another value that is paramount to the concept of individualism is personal responsibility. Personal responsibility means that the individual is responsible for the choices they make, how they want to live their lives and their quality of life. As mentioned earlier, individualism puts a heavy emphasis on freedom, putting less reliance on the state. While this has many benefits, less reliance on the state means the individual has more responsibility and has to take more ownership and accountability of their own lives. 

Personal responsibility means the individual is responsible for how they decide to live their lives. The choices they make, the career or job they choose, how they wish to spend their capital, where they live, who they choose as a partner, whether they have a family or not and how they spend their free time. The individual has to weigh up the pros and cons of every decision they make, and be wary of any opportunity costs they could incur. If the individual grows to great heights and lives what is deemed to be a successful life, then they have reaped the fruits of their own labour and deserve everything they have. If life goes south, then they have to take ownership of their choices, as frustrating as it may be. The advantage of individualism and personal responsibility though, is that even if you do fall you can start making the right choices, get back up and rise to great heights.

Personal responsibility is a very useful value to have at the heart of society. This is because a society that preaches personal responsibility is one that is made up of individuals who are accountable and make good choices. The more good choices individuals make as a whole, the better off society will be. These choices will look different for each individual, as everyone has their own strengths, weaknesses and life story. The individual will always have a better idea of how to make choices that benefit their own lives more than the state. This is why personal responsibility is a value at the heart of the concept of individualism. 

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The concept of individualism is that the individual is the centrepiece of society. It emphasises the intrinsic worth of the individual over the wider collective. Individualism produces a free society where the individual has more power and rights.

The 6 principles of individualism are:

  • Economic freedom
  • Private ownership
  • Self-interest
  • Self-reliance
  • Competition
  • Individual rights and freedoms

All 6 principles play a crucial role in the concept of individualism. They all carry massive advantages for the individual, the economy and society as a whole.

Freedom is one of the core concepts of individualism. Freedom is paramount to ensuring the individual has more power and rights. It ensures the state does not interfere in personal matters and liberates the individual from any state imposed oppression and coercion. Freedom is a value that benefits society immensely, and is one of the main reasons why the concept of individualism is so attractive. 

The concept of individualism brings with it the value of personal responsibility. Personal responsibility means the individual is accountable for the choices they make and must take ownership of any situation. Personal responsibility makes the individual more competent and successful over time, leading to a better and more prosperous society.

What is freedom and why is it important?

Scrolling through twitter throughout the past day, I can’t help but notice the amount of political tweets out there regarding freedom. It got me thinking: What is freedom? And why is it important? I know I’m not the only one who wants to know this. Below I will share my findings in an easy and readable format. 

Freedom is the idea that citizens of a democracy are free from any oppression or coercion from the state. Freedom is important as it gives more power and opportunities to the individual, whilst disallowing the state to interfere with their lives. If implemented correctly, freedom always leads to a happier and more prosperous society in the long run. 

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Why is freedom so popular?

Freedom is an extremely popular political idea, and has been for centuries. The main reason it is so popular is because it gives you the individual more rights and opportunities. It gives you choices and gives you the power to shape your own destiny. It gives you independence, and does not make you dependent on the state.

Freedom is so popular because it is deeply rooted in human biology and evolution. When it comes to living one’s life, not one size fits all. Everyone has their own thoughts, opinions, values, beliefs and ways of being which all shape who they are as people. Freedom allows for people to explore these sides of themselves and become the best versions of themselves that they can be. This in turn makes society itself better, as each individual is harmoniously improving in their own ways. This would not be possible if freedom as a political idea didn’t exist, which would go against one of the most fundamental traits of being human. 

It is for these reasons why freedom is such a popular and adopted political idea. The alternatives to freedom are less popular as it suppresses the desires of the individual. The individual almost always has a better idea of how to run their own lives than the state. 

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The Three pillars of freedom

There are 3 main pillars which are fundamental to bringing the political idea of freedom into tuition. These are freedom of speech, freedom of opportunity and freedom of choice. Each will be broken down below.

Freedom of speech 

Freedom of speech is arguably the most fundamental element of a free and democratic society. It is a term that has been used increasingly frequently in political discourse throughout history. Essentially freedom of speech decrees that the individual allows the individual to articulate ideas and speak without fear of any censorship by the state. Apart from incitement to violence, it means individuals can say whatever they want with no consequences imposed by the government. This is an important element of freedom as it sparks discourse and debate which in turn leads to better ideas, people and a more prosperous society. As soon as speech starts being censored, individuals are no longer free to speak what they believe in, which leads to the gradual decline of freedom within a society. 

Freedom of opportunity

Freedom of opportunity means that all individuals have the same opportunities, regardless of their gender, race, age, sexuality, religion and more. This is an important one as a truly free society allows for all citizens opportunities to better themselves. If the state prevents a certain group from fully participating in society, or gives special privileges to other groups, then it is not truly a free society. All individuals should have the same rights and opportunities regardless of their differences. They should be free to express themselves without fear of the state punishing them. Every citizen should have the same opportunity to succeed despite class and social status. A free society is one where equality of opportunity is practised. 

Freedom of choice

Freedom of choice relates directly to freedom of opportunity. It essentially means that when faced with two options, the individual has the freedom to choose either one without any constraint from the state. 

Freedom of choice is important as it gives the individual control over their own lives. They aren’t tied down to one way of doing things. They can choose what is best for them without being forced to do anything by the state. The individual always knows what is best for them, so this is a crucial pillar of maintaining a free society. 

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The top 5 benefits of freedom

The top 5 benefits of freedom are:

  • More diversity
  • More prosperity
  • More emphasis on the individual
  • Less centralisation
  • Less corruption

Essentially, freedom gives more power to you, the individual. It means there is less centralisation, which helps prevent any corruption. In the long term, this leads to a more prosperous society with more diversity. 

There is a direct correlation with the success of a given society in regards to the amount of freedom its citizens have. The more free a society is, the more productive its economy is. This in turn leads to higher standards of living, higher amounts of happiness, less mental illness, better healthcare, better life expectancy and better education just to name a few. This shows how freedom benefits a society and why it is so important. 

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Freedom is the political theory that citizens are free from any oppression and coercion from the state. It puts more emphasis on you, the individual, rather than a powerful centralised entity. It is a popular idea because not only does it offer huge benefits to society such as individualism, diversity, economic prosperity and happiness. It is also deeply rooted in human nature, so it comes naturally to us. 

The three pillars of freedom are freedom of speech, freedom of opportunity and freedom of choice. All 3 pillars give more power to the individual. If any one of these pillars are non-existent within a society, it is very likely that society is not a free one. 

The top 5 benefits of freedom are more diversity, more prosperity, more emphasis on the individual, less centralisation and Less corruption. All 5 benefits lead to a more happy, healthy and prosperous society. 

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Why Extreme Polarisation is Crippling Society, and What We Can Do About It

If in recent times you have followed the news, listened to podcasts or observed any form of pop culture, you may be feeling extremely worried or confused about the current state of society. I share the same sentiments. It definitely feels as if the world is in turmoil. Day by day we are being sucked into a deeper and deeper hole. Full of hate, division, confusion, tyranny, greed, hopelessness and angst. When you are met with a problem in life, it is in your best interest to solve it before it becomes all-consuming. This is the current situation society faces today in the wake of an increasingly divided political climate and a global pandemic. The question is: How does society navigate through these treacherous waters? 

Let us first address the chaotic political climate. In my opinion the problem of increasing division started with the sudden rise of the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, in 2016. Donald Trump was the ultimate simplifier. Simplicity was his main appeal, as many average working class citizens could understand and relate to him. Where things got problematic was when Trump’s simplistic approach was utilised to popularise the ‘us vs them’ rhetoric. This is an extremely dangerous approach to take in politics. The proof is in the pudding. Go back to any time in history where this rhetoric was used and you see the absolute devastation it can cause. The Nazis, Maoist and the Soviot Union all have used this deadly (quite literally) rhetoric. Trump’s rhetoric slowly poisoned not only The United States, but countries all over the world throughout his 4 year reign.

It is human nature to combat hate with hate, no matter how many times we are told (and know) that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. So inevitably, once republicans started using this simplistic ‘Us versus Them’ rhetoric to spread hate towards the other side of the aisle, the democrats were quick to stoop down to the level of their counterparts and combat it with their own ‘Us vs Them’ rhetoric. This pattern unfortunately infiltrated every western democracy, including New Zealand. This tribalistic mentality goes against everything democracy is about. If I could make one sure bet about politics, it would be that not one person shares the EXACT same thoughts, opinions and beliefs. Politics is too diverse and complex to be viewed as a black and white thing. Nobody in a civilised democracy should be put in a box, and absolutely no one should be judged by the actions of a few outliers. The consequence of all this has been we are now seeing unnecessary hate and division, with no real logic or reasoning behind it. It is truly crippling society to the core.  

Then comes the pandemic. In my opinion Covid has added fuel to fire, sparking a global societal crisis that I would argue is worse than the pandemic itself. In theory, the pandemic should have unified everyone, brought us closer together and unified populations across the globe. Unfortunately, the complete opposite has happened, and is getting worse by the day. Politicians on all sides of the political spectrum, all over the world are responsible for creating arguably one of the worst and most toxic political climates ever seen. From the Right demonising those who actually follow health and safety protocols, and popularising countless conspiracy theories; to the tyrants on the Left invoking vaccine mandates, which are arguably the biggest infringement of personal liberty in the history of western democracy. All are to blame for the shipwreck we have at this moment in time. Covid should have never been politicised, it has funnily enough probably resulted in the pandemic raging longer, while the pillars of western democracy have been crushed in the process. The scars on civilization from this turbulent period will last much longer, and have more consequences than the pandemic itself. There is one common denominator throughout all of these points however, one entity that has enlarged this hate and division like no other, The media.

The media is the main perpetrator of the issues currently facing society. Over the past 6 years the media has relentlessly been divisive, misled and hateful. Gone are the days where journalism was about reporting the truth, and only the truth. The golden era of media where issues were discussed and debated civilly using a wide range of viewpoints is sadly non-existent. Media has unfortunately turned into an avenue for political loyalists (Left and Right) to further their agenda, spread misinformation and demonise their ‘foes’. The best examples are the two biggest mainstream news sources in the US: Fox News and CNN. Both of these entities are guilty of furthering the political divide, especially throughout the covid pandemic. Fox News for example has been extremely dismissive of covid vaccines, despite the science showing their effectiveness. Instead turning the issue into a political problem, The vaccine was only for those ‘communists’ on the left. CNN on the other hand, has repeatedly demonised people on the right who are rightfully against vaccine mandates, labeling them ‘anti-vaxxers’, ‘conspriracy theorist’ and even ‘Nazis’. As you can see, both media outlets are fueling extreme polarisation, which is deeply harming society. The media purposely spreads negativity to get more viewers, as according to what psychologists call the negativity bias, things of a more negative nature have more impact on one’s psychological state. This is all well and good for maximising profit, but it is wreaking havoc across the political landscape and in turn society itself. So what must society do in order to get itself out of this mess?

The world is currently in a very dire situation. If we all collectively fail to play our part then chaos and doom will be inevitable. We must hope that we can carefully manage to manoeuvre ourselves out of our current debacle. It is in our best interest to slowly navigate through this pandemic (which is in decline) without giving up our freedoms that our society has been built on. We must listen to the science and follow accordingly, without discriminating anyone for their personal choices along the way. We must hold the media accountable for their actions. We must only support the sources of news which tell the truth and share a wide range of viewpoints without bias, not ones that further an agenda. We must all do our part as individuals, be kind to one another, show compassion, never discriminate against someone for any reason, constantly challenge your beliefs and sympathise with those who think oppositely to you. We must slowly take small steps to make society and the world a better place. We must unify now more than ever, before it’s too late.