The central theme for the 2020 election will be Individualism vs. Collectivism

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The central theme for the 2020 election will be Individualism vs. Collectivism

For the past 100 years or so there has been an ide­o­log­i­cal
strug­gle divid­ing the United States. On one side are those who believe that each
and every indi­vid­ual is the most impor­tant polit­i­cal entity. On the other side are those that believe the
needs of the indi­vid­ual must be sub­servient to the needs of the group, whether
the group con­sist of those of a cer­tain race, reli­gion, eco­nomic class, or
polit­i­cal ideology.

For most of the his­tory of the human race the needs of the indi­vid­ual were sub­servient to those of the group. The United States is the only nation that is firmly built on the notion that each and every indi­vid­ual has equal value, and are all polit­i­cally equal, with equal rights. This philo­soph­i­cal dif­fer­ence with the rest of the world pro­duced enor­mously pos­i­tive results which are explained in this Town­hall arti­cle Amer­i­cans Must Bring Back Indi­vid­ual Free­dom and Indi­vid­ual Responsibility

In order for the US to become the largest, most pros­per­ous econ­omy in the world, there were essen­tially four prin­ci­ples that were fol­lowed. The prin­ci­ples were 1) indi­vid­ual free­dom, 2) indi­vid­ual respon­si­bil­ity, 3) low rates of tax­a­tion and 4) a lim­ited role for government.

Despite the over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive results achieved by the United Sates because of the empha­sis on indi­vid­u­al­ism, pro­gres­sives have been steadily turn­ing this nation into a nation where col­lec­tivism reigns over individualism.

Ayn Rand was one of the great­est spokesper­sons for
indi­vid­u­al­ism. Here is how she defines
that cru­cial con­cept in The Virtue of Self­ish­ness: A New Con­cept of Egoism

Indi­vid­u­al­ism regards man — every man — as an inde­pen­dent, sov­er­eign entity who pos­sesses an inalien­able right to his own life, a right derived from his nature as a ratio­nal being. Indi­vid­u­al­ism holds that a civ­i­lized soci­ety, or any form of asso­ci­a­tion, coop­er­a­tion or peace­ful co-​existence among men, can be achieved only on the basis of the recog­ni­tion of indi­vid­ual rights — and that a group, as such, has no rights other than the indi­vid­ual rights of its members.

Ayn Rand was as harsh a critic of col­lec­tivism as she was an ardent cham­pion of indi­vid­u­al­ism. Here is how she defines col­lec­tivism in this quote from The Objec­tivist Newslet­ter, August 1962, 35.

The polit­i­cal expres­sion of altru­ism is col­lec­tivism or sta­tism, which holds that man’s life and work belong to the state — to soci­ety, to the group, the gang, the race, the nation — and that the state may dis­pose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of what­ever it deems to be its own tribal, col­lec­tive good

It has been main­tained by those who do not prop­erly
under­stand indi­vid­u­al­ism that liv­ing and func­tion­ing in a soci­ety means that
you must sur­ren­der your indi­vid­u­al­ism.
Ayn Rand sets the record straight through a speech by the
char­ac­ter John Galt in Atlas Shrugged.

Indi­vid­u­al­ism is not opposed to liv­ing in soci­ety, so long as one is free from the ini­ti­a­tion of force by oth­ers. Indi­vid­u­al­ism is not opposed to one liv­ing in soci­ety as a trader; it is opposed to one liv­ing as a slave. Indi­vid­u­al­ism holds that it is much bet­ter for a human being to live on a deserted island than to live in a soci­ety where one is noth­ing more than a serf ready to be sac­ri­ficed to the altar of the “pub­lic good.”

Because of their very dra­matic lurch to the left the
Demo­c­ra­tic Party has firmly embraced
col­lec­tivism. Orig­i­nally the
Repub­li­can Party strongly believed in indi­vid­u­al­ism, now too many in the
estab­lish­ment embrace a softer ver­sion of col­lec­tivism when it comes to many
issues.

The sanc­tity of prop­erty rights is one of the fun­da­men­tal
issues for indi­vid­u­al­ists, and any money earned through work is the sole
prop­erty of indi­vid­ual doing the work. Col­lec­tivists believe that all prop­erty
and money earned belongs to the com­mu­nity.
Because taxes are not col­lected vol­un­tar­ily, indi­vid­u­al­ists believe
tax­a­tion is theft, and col­lec­tivists believe sur­ren­der­ing a large per­cent­age of
money earned is the duty of every mem­ber of society.

Indi­vid­u­al­ists believe that they alone are respon­si­ble for
pro­vid­ing for their health­care.
Col­lec­tivists believe they have the right to con­fis­cate the money of
some to pro­vide for the health­care of oth­ers.
Col­lec­tivists also believe that they can use gov­ern­ment pro­vided
health­care as an instru­ment to con­trol behav­ior and gov­ern­ment health­care
should be mandatory.

Indi­vid­u­al­ists believe the same about health­care as they do
about retire­ment income and money to live on. Col­lec­tivists believe they have
the right to con­fis­cate money for social secu­rity and wel­fare from others.

Free­dom of Speech is another issue that divides
indi­vid­u­al­ists and col­lec­tivists.
Indi­vid­u­al­ists such as myself are very rabid oppo­nents of polit­i­cal
correctness

Indi­vid­u­al­ists believe the Right of Con­science is
sacred. Col­lec­tivists believe that they
can use the coer­cion of gov­ern­ment to force oth­ers to vio­late their Right of
Conscience.

Free Exer­cise of Reli­gion is cham­pi­oned by indi­vid­u­al­ists while
the myth­i­cal sep­a­ra­tion of church and state is crammed down the thoughts of
every­one by collectivists.

It is so obvi­ous which posi­tion is cham­pi­oned by which side
when it comes to the Right to Life and abor­tion. The life of every indi­vid­ual is sacred.

Indi­vid­u­al­ists believe every indi­vid­ual has the right to use guns to pro­tect their lives, their loved ones, their prop­erty, and their rights. Col­lec­tivists believe only mem­bers of the gov­ern­ment have the right to pos­sess weapons.

Iden­tity pol­i­tics is the low­est form of col­lec­tivism. Group­ing every­one by race, sex, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, or other clas­si­fi­ca­tion and set­ting the groups against each other for polit­i­cal gains is wrong. Treat­ing every­one as a unique indi­vid­ual with the same value and dig­nity is far superior.

Only a return to indi­vid­u­al­ism will return the United Sates
to its pre­vi­ous sta­tus as the freest and most pros­per­ous nation that ever
existed. We must vote wisely in 2020.

For the past 100 years or so there has been an ideological struggle dividing the United States.  On one side are those who believe that each and every individual is the most important political entity.  On the other side are those that believe the needs of the individual must be subservient to the needs of the group, whether the group consist of those of a certain race, religion, economic class, or political ideology.

For most of the history of the human race the needs of the individual were subservient to those of the group.  The United States is the only nation that is firmly built on the notion that each and every individual has equal value, and are all politically equal, with equal rights.  This philosophical difference with the rest of the world produced enormously positive results which are explained in this Townhall article Americans Must Bring Back Individual Freedom and Individual Responsibility

In order for the US to become the largest, most prosperous economy in the world, there were essentially four principles that were followed.  The principles were 1) individual freedom, 2) individual responsibility, 3) low rates of taxation and 4) a limited role for government.

Despite the overwhelmingly positive results achieved by the United Sates because of the emphasis on individualism, progressives have been steadily turning this nation into a nation where collectivism reigns over individualism. 

Ayn Rand was one of the greatest spokespersons for individualism.  Here is how she defines that crucial concept in The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism

Individualism regards man – every man – as an independent, sovereign entity who possesses an inalienable right to his own life, a right derived from his nature as a rational being. Individualism holds that a civilized society, or any form of association, cooperation or peaceful co-existence among men, can be achieved only on the basis of the recognition of individual rights – and that a group, as such, has no rights other than the individual rights of its members.

Ayn Rand was as harsh a critic of collectivism as she was an ardent champion of individualism.  Here is how she defines collectivism in this quote from The Objectivist Newsletter, August 1962, 35.

The political expression of altruism is collectivism or statism, which holds that man’s life and work belong to the state—to society, to the group, the gang, the race, the nation—and that the state may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good

It has been maintained by those who do not properly understand individualism that living and functioning in a society means that you must surrender your individualism.  Ayn Rand sets the record straight through a speech by the character John Galt in Atlas Shrugged.

Individualism is not opposed to living in society, so long as one is free from the initiation of force by others. Individualism is not opposed to one living in society as a trader; it is opposed to one living as a slave. Individualism holds that it is much better for a human being to live on a deserted island than to live in a society where one is nothing more than a serf ready to be sacrificed to the altar of the “public good.”

Because of their very dramatic lurch to the left the Democratic Party has firmly embraced  collectivism.  Originally the Republican Party strongly believed in individualism, now too many in the establishment embrace a softer version of collectivism when it comes to many issues.

The sanctity of property rights is one of the fundamental issues for individualists, and any money earned through work is the sole property of individual doing the work. Collectivists believe that all property and money earned belongs to the community.  Because taxes are not collected voluntarily, individualists believe taxation is theft, and collectivists believe surrendering a large percentage of money earned is the duty of every member of society.  

Individualists believe that they alone are responsible for providing for their healthcare.  Collectivists believe they have the right to confiscate the money of some to provide for the healthcare of others.  Collectivists also believe that they can use government provided healthcare as an instrument to control behavior and government healthcare should be mandatory. 

Individualists believe the same about healthcare as they do about retirement income and money to live on. Collectivists believe they have the right to confiscate money for social security and welfare from others.

Freedom of Speech is another issue that divides individualists and collectivists.  Individualists such as myself are very rabid opponents of political correctness

Individualists believe the Right of Conscience is sacred.  Collectivists believe that they can use the coercion of government to force others to violate their Right of Conscience.

Free Exercise of Religion is championed by individualists while the mythical separation of church and state is crammed down the thoughts of everyone by collectivists. 

It is so obvious which position is championed by which side when it comes to the Right to Life and abortion.  The life of every individual is sacred. 

Individualists believe every individual has the right to use guns to protect their lives, their loved ones, their property, and their rights.  Collectivists believe only members of the government have the right to possess weapons.

Identity politics is the lowest form of collectivism. Grouping everyone by race, sex, sexual orientation, or other classification and setting the groups against each other for political gains is wrong. Treating everyone as a unique individual with the same value and dignity is far superior.

Only a return to individualism will return the United Sates to its previous status as the freest and most prosperous nation that ever existed.  We must vote wisely in 2020.