Individualism individualist

The political philosophy that only the individual is important and that all policy should be devoted to ensuring that individuals can pursue their own interests. It is the basis of the most extreme varieties of capitalism and the direct opposite of socialism which asserts that individuals need to cooperate in families and larger societies to do things the individual cannot do on his own.

It is the prevailing ethos of the United States. Is its extreme application responsible for crime and poverty? The extreme expression comes in the works of Ayn Rand and Friedrich Hayek. A result may be the inability of government and other organisations to allow people’s larger needs to be satisfied.

Perhaps it is the antagonist of what Ibn Khaldun calls "group feeling" - the quality he says gives strength to states.

Last revised 14/08/10


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