Collectivism and Individualism


philosophers have long debated over
whether it is the collective or the individual who should be viewed as
superior and of more value but rarely has a consensus being met this
unresolved debate is important because the prevailing views on this issue often
determined how a society organizes itself and thus the quality of life for
its citizens in this lecture we are going to examine a critique of
collectivism by one of the most prolific philosophers of the 20th century
Ludwig von Mises Mises was born in 1881 in the austro-hungarian Empire and is
best known for his contributions to the field of economics however he also made
important contributions to many other fields including epistemology ethics
political philosophy social theory and history throughout his life meeseeks
always showed a concern for defending individual freedoms as he saw them as
essential for lasting peace and prosperity consequently he was also
concerned with combating collectivism the meanings of the terms collectivism
and individualism like many of the terms used in political discourse are quite
ambiguous however when discussing them the issue
which is usually of most concern is whether the goals of the collective
should be seen as more important than the goals of the individual which would
be the collectivist position or whether the goals of the individual should be
viewed as supreme the individualist position integral to meeseeks critique
of the collectivist position was methodological individualism a doctrine
which holds that only individuals act to meeseeks the truth of this was obvious
only individuals act and any action by a collective can ultimately be reduced to
the actions of various individuals in the ultimate foundations of economic
science Mises has this to say about methodological individualism in denying
independent existence of their own to the collectives one does not in the
least deny the reality of the effects brought about by the cooperation of
individuals one merely establishes the fact that the collectives come into
being by the thoughts and acts of individuals and that they disappear
when the individuals adopt a different way of thinking and acting while not
denying the existence of collectives methodological individualism denies the
ability of any collective to exist in an autonomous manner independent of the
individuals who compose it me see stressed the importance of
methodological individualism because he believed that often people who favor the
collectivist position will try to assert some form of independent existence to
their collective in order to justify the elevation of its goals meeseeks has two
main criticisms for those who want to elevate the supposed goals of a
collective above those of the individual firstly me see stressed a point which is
easily overlooked that being that the creation of a collective is always
arbitrary in other words because collectives virtually never include the
entirety of mankind criteria must be established to distinguish between who
is to be included and who excluded from the collectives but there is no set way
to determine such criteria and this is why throughout history collectives have
taken so many forms whether it be collectives determined by race religion
wealth or country of birth as such at any given time there always exists a
plurality of collectives and each collective believes their goals are
superior not only to those of the individual but also those of all rival
collectives in his work theory in history meeseeks emphasizes this point
by saying there is no uniform collectivist ideology but many
collectivist doctrines each of them extols a different collectivist entity
and requests all decent people to submit to it each sect worships its own Idol
and is intolerant of all rival idols the second criticism meeseeks put forth was
that the goals which are elevated over those of the individual are never
actually the goals of an autonomous collective as no such thing exists but
rather are merely the goals of those who exert power or in
it’s over the collective at any given point in time meeseeks believed that
this was why countries which become increasingly collective also become
increasingly unstable as he puts it in his monumental work human action it is
true that every variety of collectivism promises eternal peace starting with the
day of its own decisive victory however the realisation of these plans is
conditioned upon a radical transformation in mankind man must be
divided into two classes the omnipotent godlike dictator on the one hand and the
masses which must surrender volition and reasoning in order to become mere chess
men in the plans of the dictator there is no need to point out that such
designs are unrealizable in opposition to collectivist doctrines meeseeks was
in favor of individualism or in other words the ability of each individual to
choose his or her own goals and act accordingly whether that led to the
starting of a charity to help the poor work in construction or just sitting on
the couch all day contemplating the meaning of life
however in executing ones plans meeseeks believed that each individual should
respect the rights and freedoms of others it is important to stress that
meeseeks did not promote individualism because he was somehow against society
or other collective entities rather his strong support for individualism was
based on his belief that the individualist position was essential for
long-term peace and prosperity meeseeks believed that when individuals work to
achieve their own goals they readily recognize the mutual benefits that arise
from cooperation voluntary exchange and the division of labour and that these
social phenomena are not at all incompatible with the individualist
position but rather incompatible with collectivism meeseeks conveys this by
saying the customary terminology misrepresents these things entirely the
philosophy commonly called individualism is a philosophy of social cooperation
and the progressive intensification of the social Nexus on the other hand the
application of the basic idea of collectivism cannot result in anything
but social dissenter and the perpetuation of armed conflict
another philosopher who was strongly against collectivism but likely for
different reasons than Mises was Frederick Nietzsche Nietzsche believed
that only autonomous individuals are of any worth and that those who are bound
up in the ideals and goals of a collective or what he called a herd are
really individuals too weak to create their own goals and meaning for life to
conclude this lecture we will quote a short passage by Nietzsche from his work
thus Spoke Zarathustra which in a much different style puts forth a somewhat
similar view to that of meeseeks somewhere there are still peoples and
herds but not where we live my brothers here there are States state what is that
well then open your ears to me for now I shall speak to you about the death of
people’s state is the name of the coldest of all cold monsters coldly it
tells lies too and this lie crawls out of its mouth I the state and the people
that is a lie behold how it lers them they all to many and how it devours them
choose them and ruminates

100 thoughts on “Collectivism and Individualism

  • If collectivists are consent adults without mental health issues and do not want harm towards other beings and don't want to gain control over other people's choice that opposes their (their children etc) then I don't have a problem with that. It goes same for religions or really any group of people

  • This argument is such a waste of air. It's like listening to a crazy person debate with himself the merits of cutting off his hand or his foot.

  • In response to the 'Dark wanderer' – resorting to personal attacks is a classic sign of a weak argument.

    As for your comment 'you are only scared of the power of collectivistic societies…..', could you please enlighten me on what a collectivistic society actually is and what it has been able to achieve?

    Moreover, I do not read shitty libertarian literature, I take the risk of thinking for myself. What I would add is that I have a very low tolerance for stupid bullshit and it just seems to me that collectivism is full of it.

    Moreover, I do understand the philosophy of collectivism and that it is precisely why I reject it. For example, collectivism defined in the political sense could be described as the principle of big government, small people. In other words, you have the elevation of the state over the individual; a top-down approach to matters of government. Put another way, you have a totalitarian dictatorship at work that seeks control and power over the people and every aspect of political life.

    It's chiefly the reason why the British public voted in favour of BREXIT because the European Union is based on the model of collectivism; this top-down approach which removes power from the people and places it into the hands of unelected bureaucrats out in Brussels.

    I believe that politics should work from the bottom-up and not from the top-down – because In reality politicians are nothing more than servants of the people. They exist to serve our interests, FULLSTOP. They are elected by the people into positions of authority and power – for the people. That is the fundamental principle! COLLECTIVISM WORKS AGAINST THAT PRINCIPLE because it holds to a different ideological strain of thought with which I strongly disagree.

  • Collectivism is the source of Marxism and many other ideologies that promote conformity and mindlessness of common people and is thus a primary source of suffering and oppression.

  • The earth will dictate its laws to a foolish humanity and these 18th/19th-century thinkers and their anachronisms embedded within false choices will help no one….

  • The smoking gun evidence here is that ALL dictators throughout history have always pushed collectivism to cement their power over the people. No corrupt dictator or brutal regime has ever promoted the rights of the individual.

  • would be nice to hear a position favouring collectivism for comparison reasons… let's not forget there are many cultures which collectivism is largely ingrained, combating collectivism is not the way to go?

  • this isnt a video between two opposing philosophies as you so misleadingly say in its title, but a video which only states an individualists view about the wrongs of collectivism and the superiority of the individual…who of course doesnt act individually but needs cooperation with other individuals to succeed its goals, which is an obvious contradiction.

  • To me, the worst part is your garden variety social justice leftist doesn't even realize they are part of a collective in the first place. They are so consumed by the apparent righteousness of their beliefs that they can't conceptualize literally any point of view other than their own, even though they didn't even form said belief themselves. When someone does espouse a viewpoint that doesn't coincide with their narrative, they reject it emphatically and totally.This rejection is reinforced by the approval of the herd, and so they continue to perpetuate the collective ideology whilst operating under the premise that they are progressive free-thinkers who just know better than everyone else, reality be damned. I weep for my country as it continues to slide down this path towards complete suppression of individual thought, as those accelerating this oppression march down the streets like fucking champions of humanity

  • "Each wave in the one Sea is different." "In this regard, each individual needs to understand that, since the body of humankind is one and indivisible, each member of the human race is born into the world as a trust of the whole and that the advantage of the part in a world society is best served by promoting the advantage of the whole." ~Baha’i International Community

  • Every group is made up of a collection of individuals, and so, by honouring the one you honour all. Individualism does not negate the many, since the many are individuals.

  • individual = literate, civilized, books, abstract objective point of view
    collectivist = acoustic, tribal, tv, radio, movies, no point of view

  • When it comes down to it, will the greater good come from promoting the goals of the individuals or those of the collective? With the collective comes strength that is otherwise unobtainable by the individual. A people united by spirit, idea, and action is impossible to be defeated by a single individual taking action, even if that individual is strong in spirit and idea. Individualism promotes division among a people as they see themselves not as one with their neighbor, but as one indifferent to their neighbor. They put their own interests above the interests of others, thus rejecting altruism. Individualism creates a plurality of goals and interests, rather than one strong, united interest aiming for the benefit of the whole.

  • Well right now are living in the Individual era, and a tiny elite few are reaping the benefits and the masses are caughting hell. M

  • Great video. But it cuts off too quickly at the end, thereby diminishing the impact of the final quote. I suggest a simply fix and reupload

  • collectivists are degenerate, so they come together in hopes of forming a smarter consciousness since they lack the brain capacity to think for themselves.

  • In Ancient Greece, citizens of the Ethno State (collective) was guided by religion, and the individual was motivated by glory.
    Individualism is supported by collectivism.

  • Let's say we have a group of individuals working together in a group are they a collective, or just a group of individuals working together? What even is the point of collectivism is it beneficial at all for a free society ?

  • I'm also in support of individualism but as someone who wants to understand both sides, this video I feel is biased. You only shared ideas of people who strongly supported individualism and no one who supported collectivism. you should give both sides not from the same ppl but from diff ppl with diff views

  • Without a centralised governance of public doctrine how can we be individuals, truly behold the state ere we become a degenerate lawless piratical nation

  • Our democratic vote is sacred to the state for that is our opinion and reason, our birthright to do what we will ourselves to do under the laws of our nation

  • I think there is a golden mean between the two. I see both camps fighting each other yet they're both right and wrong about different things.
    I think it depends on what aspect of life you're applying collectivism or individualism to.
    The truth is no individual exists as a singularly.We're part of our environments, or environments mold us and we also inherent things and have a closer relationship to people more than others. Be it a genetic or just ideological, or what ever.

    So we're all composed of different combinations of influences around us. And we're all different because those influences are never exactly the same in the same two people. But some people are more alike than others. And we're like and unlike others in different respects.
    Individually is on a scale anyway. There is the general norm wnd then there is differing extents of deviation.

    So is there many philosophers who have a good middle ground on this issue

  • I think it's about having a good balance of the two. Can anyone suggest some philosophers who are in between the extreme collectivist and individualist camps? 
    Is there any philosophers who think it depends on what aspect of life we're talking about. 
    Because sometimes a collectivist approach is best and other times an individualist approach is. 
    It depends on the circumstance

  • India, Africa and middle eastern muslim countries are collective societies. See what happened to them.

  • radical collectivism leads to ultra nationism/racism, Leninist/Stalinist/Maoist​ tyranny or other forms of populist oppression. on the other hand radical individualism leads to societal moral decline, stark economic disparities and cultural dissent.
    imo balance of both is always needed in a society, with certain elements from both such as individual liberty or collective wellbeing relevant no matter what.

  • there is no debate/// you can have an individual without a collective… but no collective without individuals.

  • How can anyone think that National Socialist Germany was far right and the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics was far left. They were the same animal when viewed by a citizen of those places. They were both police state dictatorships, with no freedoms of speech, religion, press or enterprise. Industries and utilities were owned by the state or run by party hacks. Political prisons everywhere! Thought control through continual propaganda, snitching, gang bullying, brain washing primary education and censorship of universities and entertainment.
    Group think, censorship and intimidation. The two socialist models were almost identical. How did one get labeled far right and the other far left? If you hate one you can’t carry the flag for the other! It’s a most ludicrous display of historical ignorance to do so. But that is exactly what is displayed on campuses today. Where are the history teachers you ask – hiding from of the skate boarding, hoodie/ mask wearing, weapon yielding “FA” mob.

    Or a Socialist, as they are exactly the same thing! USSR and Nazi Germany – NO DIFFERENCE

    Individualism is the Left's Kryptonite. They must hide in mobs. ("2,4,6,8, what do we want, when do we want it")

  • For any idiots that have not figured out 1+1 yet collectivism is good in the long term as it is a method of natural selection, people like to believe the governments want their socities to be collectivist but they dont – collectivism is a way to selectively breed out collectivism, think about vegans, enviromentalism, processed foods and addatives etc leading to dysbiosis and ultimatly infertility. Its good for the species long term as there is no point in just growing a population simply to sustain itself, lets face it most people dont have a clue how the world works and if they dont want to think for themselves they are rightly used as fuel.

  • Ludwig von Mises is not considered an important philospher by anyone outside of his economical fanclub

  • Wow I just realized that Individualism is the entire fiber of my being, I had no clue, thank you for this video.

  • Individualism is just a plain simple lie.One can't make every person in society equally happy.It is just a impossible feat to achieve.If there isn't class division in society,Nobody will work for/under nobody.We human being are inherently egoistic.We always like to regard ourselves in higher position then the people surrounding ourselves.Imposing individualism's ideals on people will only lead to the clashes of egos and self entitlements.As a result,people will become undisciplined and hostile towards each other.Society will become a hell of a mess

  • Horrible video. It critiques collectivism uses von Mises model, which is completely against collective societies. Horrible way to view it. Find a anthropological or sociological model instead.

  • I'm the type of guy who wants to be left alone and do things my way and at the same time saying fuck you to collectives and communists.

  • An interesting discussion. But I think any video on individualism that does not include De Sade does a disservice to it. It's important to consider that whilst most indivdualists would add a proviso that it's not okay to kill or rape others etc., I think it's only fair that we take into consideration there are those individualists who do see the ego as the principle drive and that there is therefore nothing wrong with killing others if it brings you pleasure. As abhorent as these ideas are, they are also very important to the debate.

  • Personally ive always been rather found of mises. His ideas sertenly ring more true today than in previous years with the on going basturdizatuon of liberalism both in name and in practice the ever expanding reach of socialist ideologys in borh the left and right and the all too common suicidal attempt to try to plan an economy. Planing an economy is like trying to prodict the movement of clouds in the sky its nearly impossible.

  • individualists just dont get it , they straw man collectivism because they just dont understand…. they tar with the same brush .

  • Rugged Individualism is outmoded in a society fraught with the proverbial "Barbarians at the Gate". The idea that "Safety < Freedom=deserving of neither" is cordially invited to BLOW ME.

    Given the lack of drug/bomb-manufacturing, child porn and/or affiliation with Radical Islam/Neo Nazism on my computer, the NSA is welcome to peruse my Monty Python memes and comprehensive NWOBM on my hard drive….

    ….and ANYfuckingBODY ELSE'S hard drive they fucking see fit. I'd just as soon not have another 9/11 in my lifetime, ThankYouVeryMuch. So that hot girl that friended you on Facebook was really my taxpayer-funded security aparatus snooping on your computer? Cry to somebody who gives a fuck. I'm an open book, so you can be, too.

    If somebody gets busted for being a pedophile, terrorist or meth cook, Boo fucking Hoo-they brought that on themselves.

    Needs of Many > Needs of Few/One

  • Collectivism is evil and needs to be stamped out forever across the world. It is a system for the weak and the immature, it is an authoritarian system that oppresses the individual and stifles progress, it is a mindset and the antithesis of liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A collectivist culture not only promotes perpetual interdependancy which consequently creates basket case arrested development adults but also puts the needs or wants of 'the collective' above that of the individual, even if it makes you miserable. You and your needs, wants, happiness, your space don't matter. As it is closely associated with communism, a collectivist has no concept of private property either. We (westerners) might think it's wrong to handle someone else's property without their permission, not to the collectivist. We also might refrain from lecturing another person on their vices being that they're adults and surely know the risks and expect them to be self responsible, a collectivist feels it's their duty to save others from themselves.

  • Collectivism is natural. Individualism is only possible in modern societies. But if you go outside big cities collectivism is dominant.

  • Why is this called "Collectivism and Individualism" if all he's going to do is talk about how Individualist philosophers didn't like Collectivism?

  • Collectivism is a tool for progress, not domination. The overarching goal of collectivism is to ensure the well being of all, not to erase the individual. As the three musketeers say, one is certainly a part of all. Focusing on the good of the collective does not inherently exclude an individual; on the contrary, it focuses on the individual as the individual is a part of the whole. One cannot exist without the other. This is what collectivism is about, not erasing identity in order to gain power. This is what the conservative governments of our world do. This is conformity. They push us to fit their cookie cutter molds so that we may fit their perfectly calculated and controlled environment so as to ensure they stay on top and no one else ever gets anywhere near the top. They keep us in line with fear mongering, utilizing misinformation and false promises. They send out their dogs to heard us like sheep. Control is the goal of the beasts; collectivism is the goal of humanity.

    Please feel free to challenge my words!! I know next to nothing about anything but the love in my heart, so I am always eager to hear what other's have to say. I'd love to learn from another perspective.

  • One of the great books on this issue is the book "Out of Step," the autobiography of the individualist philosopher Frank Chodorov. What makes Chodorov's analysis superior to that of von Mises and others who consider themselves libertarians is his recognition that there is a just distinction between those produced, tangible assets rightfully considered to be private property versus natural assets the indivdual control over which is rightfully considered a monopolistic privilege requiring a payment of the market-determined rent to the community.

  • This is a severly bias video. We are all born of a "collective". A cell controlled by a nucleus. forms a brain to control a body, A body controlled by family. Family controlled by a community. Anybody who has parents who regulated them to success are the results of "collectivism" "Moral hazards " with sex, drugs, and violence are when a government allows a policy that favors and individual in over the collective. Our population will double in 100 years and consume 4 times the amount of energy as society emerge from oppression. Individualism can not stop the self destruction of the human race with climate change. We will have to put the wants and needs of the collective human race above our own.

  • Collectivistic society, in everyday REALITY, the individual (generally speaking) does not development fully as an adult. Individuals in this society needs only to do as told, regardless of the validity of the order. To develop oneself and do things logically would be to go against the collectivist activities of this society. In short, reality and logic doesn't matter if the powers that be say otherwise. Collectivistic societies are disasters for everyone.

  • Collectivism and Individualism: two sides of a coin. Like Inferiority / Superiority complex. Both cannot exist without the another, not only theoretically but factually. Ideally, these two are in a 'positively' symbiotic relationship. Anyhow, never can they exist separate from one another.

  • Well, both capitalist individualism and collectivism are two sides of the same coin. Those subjugated to the collective are made to worship one individual tyrant.

  • Great video. I'm about to start my reading of the Great Books of the Western World, and am planning on injecting Human Action by Ludwig von Mises into the order to balance out the collectivist ideas with the individualist idea. Any other suggestions are welcome.

  • dude, change your video title to “the goodies of individualism”, and delete “collectivism”. Your title is misleading…

  • Bias, the video favor individualism and it is irrational. There is no such things as individual. Individual is an illusion because every action of an individual depends on the whole. A death of one or two affect the entire world, although it is not obvious, but it is true physics sense.

  • This video should be reported. Such biased analysis only brings distrust to academic research regarding such topics.

    Please others do the same.

  • We need a balance of individualism and collectivism. Extremities on both sides is horrid. Radical individualism completely tosses away scientific truths and reality in favor of personal fantasies that causes humanity to devolve. Extreme collectivism is basically turning us into robots.

    Radical individualism however is the greates threat to the western world right now. People are becoming self centered, egotistic, irrational, and uncultured.

  • Collectivism alway think that you can make an perfect type of life while still being a group, but the collective seem to not understand that human are more likely wishing for more of an individual merit then a collective merit. The individual seek more than the group that want the freedom of thought. Indépendant and the freedoms of our self merit is the ultimate freedom for everyone while collective freedom will just be another way of saying that the group of individual matter then self esteem yourselves into a greater world while not wanting to have an government like person in your mind that will want you to give the same amount of money to the public without wanting to be able to make it yourself

  • I prefer individualism because I prefer what is best for me
    Not my community because what if what the community wants
    Is not best for me

  • Mises was set up by rockefeller. Austrian economics is being sold to the public as the solution to the western crony capitalism/ponzi scheme banking, though it's mere a renewed form of slavery given a fresh coat of paint.

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