FROM INDIVIDUAL TO COMMUNITY
An ideology is a set of beliefs or philosophies credited to an individual or gathering of people, particularly as held for reasons that are not simply epistemic, in which “viable components are pretty much as conspicuous as hypothetical ones.” Formerly applied essentially to financial, political, or religious theories and policies, in a tradition returning to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, later use regards the term as fundamentally critical. The term was coined by Antoine Destutt de Tracy, a French Enlightenment aristocrat and philosopher, who imagined it in 1796 as the “science of ideas” to build up a level-headed arrangement of thoughts to go against the unreasonable driving forces of the horde. In political theory, the term is utilized from an unmistakable perspective to allude to political conviction frameworks.
Followers of an ideology feel that its legitimacy need not be exposed to check. Various gatherings may stick to various ideologies; henceforth contrasts among them are unavoidable. Belief system, subsequently, offers ascend to cherish disdain relationship, which isn’t helpful for logical temper. Examples of some ideologies are: Capitalism, Marxism, Liberalism, Communism, Anarchism, Socialism, Imperialism, Nationalism, Internationalism, Fascism etc.
These ideologies have different views on individual and community. But we don’t know where does the balance between the individual and the community lie, and where it should lie.
The concept of the individual is one of the cornerstones of Western political culture. Although the term itself has been used since the seventeenth century, it has now become so familiar that it is invariably taken for granted. And yet, the concept of the individual has also provoked philosophical debate and deep ideological divisions. The term ‘the individual’ is so generally utilized in ordinary language that its suggestions and political importance are regularly overlooked. In the most clear sense, an individual is a solitary person. Nevertheless, the idea recommends rather more. Most importantly, it suggests that the single person is an independent and meaningful entity, having a character in oneself.
Community might allude, freely, to a collection of individuals in a given area, as when the populaces of a specific town, city or country are depicted as a community. In any case, in social and political idea the term ordinarily has further ramifications, recommending a gathering of people, an area, town, locale, gathering of labourers or whatever, inside which there are solid ties and an aggregate personality. A veritable community is hence recognized by the obligations of comradeship, unwaveringness and duty. In that sense, community alludes to the social foundations of individual character.
Individualism doesn’t just infer a confidence in the presence of people. Rather, it alludes to a confidence in the power of the person over any gathering of people or collective body, proposing that the individual is vital to any political hypothesis or social clarification However, individualism does not have a clear political character. Some thinkers see individualism and collectivism as polar opposites, representing the traditional battle lines between capitalism and socialism; others, however, believe that the two are complementary, even inseparable: individual goals can only be fulfilled through collective action. The issue is that there is no arrangement about the idea of the ‘individual’. According to Ho and Chiu (1994), value of the individual, autonomy, individual responsibility, individual achievement, and self-reliance were the important components of Individualism.
By the nineteenth century, an unmistakably liberal political ideology had fostered that praised the ideals of laissez-faire capitalism and denounced all types of monetary and social intervention. This became the centrepiece of classical, or nineteenth-century, liberalism. Liberalism is a standard of politics which demands ‘liberty’ of individual as the most important objective of public arrangement.
Liberal idea is portrayed by a promise to individualism, a confidence in the incomparable significance of the human individual, suggesting solid help for individual opportunity. From the liberal perspective, individuals are objective animals who are qualified for the best conceivable freedom steady with a like freedom for countrymen. Liberalism endeavors not to recommend a specific origination of good life, yet to set up conditions in which individuals and gatherings can seek after good life as each characterizes it. The extraordinary goodness of liberalism is its persistent obligation to individual opportunity, contemplated discussion and lenience.
Neo-liberalism upholds full autonomy and freedom of the individual. It seeks his liberation from all institutions which tend to restrict his vision of the world, including the institutions of religion, family and customs of social conformity apart from political institutions.
On the other hand, Marxists have criticised the liberal commitment to civic rights and political equality because it ignores the reality of unequal class power. Marxism, in its legitimate sense, first showed up in the middle of the nineteenth century in light of the harsh conditions made by the capitalist system. By then Liberalism had accomplished the objective of establishing capitalism under which a small class of capitalists enjoyed exceptional power and advantages to the detriment of the vast larger part of the working class.
Karl Marx considered the individual, his nature, freedom and development as inseparably connected with society. Karl Marx agreed with Rothbard that individual privileges lead to imbalance. Marxism tries to comprehend the issues of human society through verifiable examination and treats history as a cycle of contention between antagonistic forces and classes. This contention emerges from the issues in the method of creation in which one class comes to gain ownership and control of the means of social production and compels the other class to work on terms and conditions dictated by itself. This contention can be settled only by overthrowing capitalism, putting all methods for social production under social ownership and control, enforcing universal labour and guaranteeing full advancement of the forces of production.
Fascism is the idea of an organically unified national community, embodied in a belief in ‘strength through unity’. The individual, from a strict perspective, isn’t anything; individual character should be totally assimilated into the community or social group. Fascists see society as a unified organic whole, implying that individual presence is unimportant except if it is dedicated to the benefit of all instead of the private good.
Conservatives believe that community should be viewed as an organism, a living entity. Community thus has an existence outside the individual, and in a sense is prior to the individual; it is held together by the bonds of tradition, authority and a common morality. Feminists argue that individualism is invariably construed on the basis of male norms which legitimize gender inequality and Communitarians denounce liberalism for depicting the self as asocial and acultural and for failing to provide a moral basis for social order and collective endeavour.
The Communitarian tradition has its starting points in the nineteenth-century. It grew explicitly as a critique of liberalism, featuring the harm done to the public culture of liberal social orders by their accentuation upon individual rights and liberties over the requirements of the community. From the communitarian viewpoint, the focal imperfection of liberalism is its view of the individual as an asocial, atomized, unhampered self. Such a view is apparent in the utilitarian assumption that individuals are rationally self-seeking creatures.
Communitarians emphasize, by contrast, that the self is embedded in the community, in the sense that each individual is a kind of embodiment of the society that has shaped his or her desires, values and purposes. Communitarians argue that their aim is to rectify an imbalance in modern society and political thought in which individuals, unconstrained by social duty and moral responsibility, have been permitted or encouraged to take account only of their own interests and their own rights. The authoritarian features of communitarianism originate from its inclination to underline the obligations and duties of the individual over their rights and entitlements.
Political idea is profoundly partitioned about the connection between the individual and the community, either should the individual be urged to be free and self-reliant, or will this make social solidarity impossible and leave individual disconnected and insecure. Supporters of the former position have regularly bought in to a specific Anglo-American tradition of individualism, portrayed by US President Herbert Hoover as ‘rugged individualism’. This practice can be considered as a extreme type of individualism, its underlying foundations being found in classical liberalism. It considers the individual to be as on the whole isolated from society, thus limits or downsizes the significance of community.
It depends on the conviction that individuals not just have the capacity for self-reliance and hard work, yet additionally that individual effort is the source of moral and personal development. Not only can individuals look after themselves, yet they ought to do. The solution is to achieve a move from social responsibility to individual responsibility, urging individuals to take care of themselves. Critics of such arrangements, in any case, call attention to that insofar as social imbalance and hardship keep on existing, it is hard to perceive how individuals can be considered to be completely liable for their own conditions.
This line of contention shifts attention away from the individual and towards the community. A wide range of political thinkers, socialist, conservatives, nationalists and fascists have at various occasions, styled themselves as anti-individualists. In most cases, anti-individualism is based upon a commitment to the importance of community and the belief that self-help and individual responsibility are a threat to social solidarity. Among contemporary critics of liberal independence have been communitarian scholars who stress the significance of common or collective interests. In that view, there is nothing of the sort as an unrestricted self; oneself is constantly established through the community. As anyone might expect, socialists have likewise taken up the cause of community, considering it to be a method for fortifying social responsibility and harnessing collective energies.
This is the reason socialists have frequently dismissed individualism, particularly when it is barely connected to self-interest and self-reliance. Albeit current social liberals recognize the significance of individual enterprise and market rivalry, they in any case look to adjust these against the participation and unselfishness which just a sense of community can foster. Individualism has likewise been respected with doubt by numerous conservative scholars. From their perspective, excessive individualism is damaging for the social fabric. Individuals are tentative and uncertain creatures, who look for the rootedness and solidness which only a community can provide. In the event that individualism advances a way of thinking of ‘each for his own’ it will just prompt ‘atomism’, and produce a general public of frail and disengaged people.
- ANDREW HEYWOOD, POLITICAL THEORY AN INTRODUCTION, PALGRAVE MACMILLAN, HOUNDMILLS, BASINGSTOKE, HAMPSHIRE, NEW YORK 10010, THIRD EDITION, 2004.
- ANDREW HEYWOOD, POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES AN INTRODUCTION, PALGRAVE MACMILLAN PUBLISHERS LTD, 4 CARIAN STREET, LONDON, UK, THIRD EDITION, 2003.
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