People love to debate Republican vs. Democrat or Conservative vs. Liberal, but those terms have no inherent meaning. A person calling himself “conservative” one day is often seen supporting a supposedly “liberal” policy the next.
Parties and bearers of those labels shift their positions with the political winds of change, sometimes for no reason other than self-preservation or more likely – self-perpetuation. This is no way to define political philosophies. In fact, I have found this lack of clarity to be the source of most political disagreements. So allow me to offer a Rosetta Stone for political discourse…
If you believe this very simple idea – the bigger the STATE, the smaller the individual – which is necessarily true in order to give the STATE the money and power it needs to be bigger, then you have found the source code for the great debate of our time. Political discourse should be viewed through the lens of small government (strong individual) vs. big government (weak individual) or more specifically as individualism vs. collectivism.
Collectivism (central planning, big government, big STATE, etc.) necessarily requires the subjugation of personal and economic freedom of each individual in order to remain functional. An individual is forced to give up individual liberty and property to serve the need of the many. Dependence of people is stressed over independence, and the STATE’s goals are valued over individual goals.
In short – for the STATE to grow, the individual must die. And that is the great debate of our time.
Understanding how to better articulate and clarify this perspective makes political conversations far more precise. It makes agreement on philosophy much easier, and it provides clarity and goals for politicians or policy.
Below are a series of videos which helped me gain a very basic understanding of individualism and collectivism, and for me – solidified that the great evil of our time was the rise of collectivism. I hope these ideas become a Rosetta Stone for you as well.
Each video is only about 5 or 6 minutes, so take a peek!
Introductory Video and Overview: Individualism vs. Collectivism
Part 2: Group Supremacy
Part 3: Coercion vs. Freedom
Part 5: Proper Role of Government