Individualism vs. Collectivism

Here’s an excellent piece by Crispin Sartwell on the false dichotomy of individualism versus collectivism.  To summarize: The former does not preclude the latter; not only that, but you can’t really have the latter—a genuine version, at least—unless you have the former.

But that doesn’t stop certain leftist types from portraying opponents of any and all government programs or regulations as selfish children who don’t want to share their toys with the other kids, or as willful adolescents who refuse to accept the fact that they can’t live without other people.  As I mentioned in the comments section at Sartwell’s blog, I’ve actually seen libertarians, or others of an individualist persuasion, dismissed outright by such people as “children” and “adolescents.”  Ironic, considering that what individualists are objecting to (in part, at least) are laws that treat people like children.

Of course, the real division, as Sartwell notes, is not between individualism and collectivism, it’s between individualism and authoritarianism.