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What Individualism Is Not • Frank Chodorov

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posted on Mar, 20 2015 @ 07:05 PM
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a reply to: Bluesma


I am not sure whether I should be offended here? Are you calling me a "first time thinker?"
Whatever, we'll push that aside....


No not you, I wasn't thinking that. I meant the typical pundit who is Democrat or Republican, the only thinkers that most people encounter, causes folks to believe that our current culture is the only possible way culture could be .



“What they want” is consciously defined according to the ethos of the society they live in,
Yet subconsciously there are other “wants” that may or may not be acknowledged in that ethos. The economic system will serve those consciously acknowledged wants, and not the unacknowledged (socially unacceptable)ones.


"Want" in the sense I meant here, as an explanation of a principle of economic reasoning, is a paraphrase of "why a person actually does anything". Every deliberate conscious choice a person makes is the best or easiest attempt at satisfying a want. The choice is based on what the person believes to be true about reality.

The subconscious can make us want something and the ethos can make various things easier or harder to do or get, but a person always chooses to act towards a goal that he believes will satisfy him the most and that he will be able to achieve.

This idea ties in with supply and demand in the dominant economics. Regular economists make each person an economic man for the purposes of economic equations. The economic man has only conventional economic behavior. He has no fun or love, only a preference for a high quantity at a low price. Austrian economics, or specifically Praxeology, makes demand for a product one of many choices a person can act on. To do Austrian Economics a person must use their historical, philosophical, sociological, (and whatever else can be summoned), knowledge in addition to their economic knowledge.

The summed total of all decisions of all people determine the free market prices. Continuity of social behavior keeps prices mostly the same day to day. No inflation and simpler investment prediction for everyone. Increases in productivity will decrease prices over time. Scarcity of resources will probably raise prices, (substitution can counter this) but the free market will signal this problem sooner and more publicly than a controlled economy does.


The rest of your post later




posted on Mar, 20 2015 @ 07:54 PM
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a reply to: Semicollegiate

Catallaxy or Catallactics is the preferred term over economics.

The explanation being that the root of the word economics means "rules of the house" and hence is limited to a presumption that everyone has the same rules, wants and needs.



Catallaxy is derived from the Greek verb katalatto, which means “to exchange,” or “to become reconciled with,” or “to admit into the community,” or, “to change from an enemy into a friend.”[1] The cognate catallaxy, therefore, refers to a pattern of mutually beneficial interaction ("friendship") that does not require that participants share the same ends.[2]

edit on 20-3-2015 by greencmp because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 20 2015 @ 08:39 PM
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a reply to: Bluesma

Part 2



We can observe that even amongst social animals, there is a structure or code of behaviors which are acceptable or not. Transgressing these codes leads to various forms of punishment, sanctions, even rejection from the group.

These codes are expected of members in exchange for the benefit of protection of the herd, as well as food, territorial and mating rights.

Amongst different species, these codes differ. It is the same with human groupings. We usually refer to them as social duties or responsibilities.

The way I see it, humans all have the natural drive for individual expression, as well as social drives. Darwin ran into this problem of altruistic behaviors in animals, which seemed to oppose his natural selection theory, so came up with group selection.


Animals don't do anything voluntarily and without self interest, the appearence of altruism is a side effect of the code of behavior hard written into the animal's DNA. Group selection follows from the survival strategy of group living.



The Iterated Prisoners dilemma shows us clearly how reciprocal altruism is beneficial both for individuals as well as groupings of them- even when compared to the benefit of totally selfish competivity.


The Prisoners Dilemma assumes two people are exactly the same, don't know each other, and are exclusively calculating personalities. The PD has the same problem as the economic man that conventional economics uses, its not real.

PD is also complicated, if you would like to expound on the insights and usfulness of PD, I will try to follow.



Instinctually and perhaps subconsciously, we know this or feel it, and end up having our social animal instincts, and our drives towards sense of belonging come out, but in uncontrolled ways we do not acknowledge.


Some people waaayy more than others.



The problem with Ayn Rands type of Individualism (which rejects totally concepts such as altruism as having any value whatsoever) is that it is too short sighted- it didn’t include that factor- that such acts also benefit the individual.


Ayn Rand is all for cooperation. Mutually voluntary teamwork. Manditory cooperation, i.e. statist coercion, is placing another person's beliefs ahead of yourown. That is not the same as animal social instinct. That is throwing your individual perspective away, killing your personal path to self developement, and making you an appendage to another person.

A person does something altruistic, (if that is possible) becasue they feel good or less bad by doing so. If a person gets a benefit from altruistic behavior, then how is it altruistic? People are rational and can see a connection between cooperation and benefit.




The opposite problem arises in Communism- it rejects individualism “en bloc”, when even individualism, to an extent, shows to be beneficial for the whole.


I agree, Communism beleives it has "social historical forces" that cause society and culture to progress no matter who does what.



So in extreme Individualist ethos, you get the taboo effect- of (unacceptable) social drives being enacted in hidden, or occult ways. (Crony capitalism anyone?)


I wouldn't call conjob cartelism a social drive. Crony Capitlism uses symbiosys with centralized political power systems.



And in the extreme Collectivist ethos, you get (unacceptable) individualist drives being enacted in hidden or occult ways (the individuals privately profitting off the masses, getting a free ride).

My proposition is that we need to revisit our current ethos, in a realistic way, before even considering making big changes in our economic system.
Swinging from one extreme to the other doesn’t seem realistic to me.
But whatever. It’s just my opinion.


Social instincts are part of our evolution. Individuality is biologically new in a group animal.

Our powers of comparison and reflection are sometimes hard to share with others.

Perhaps individuality is derivative of our being a large evolutionarily successful population of organisms. A first step under a force of speciation.



posted on Mar, 20 2015 @ 08:53 PM
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a reply to: Semicollegiate

This immediately reminded me of this...

Altruistic equations that killed a good man



posted on Mar, 20 2015 @ 10:04 PM
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a reply to: greencmp


Not all that much time has passed since the stranglehold of economic interventionism was first established and the western world had lots of productive output to commandeer.

You can live on the spoils of past success for only so long until the piggy bank stops refilling itself with the magical plenty of seasons long gone.

We are fast approaching that moment.


APPLAUSE

I have written that once or twice myself. Never had a rebuttal. I think JiggyPotamus wrote that once as well.



posted on Mar, 20 2015 @ 10:26 PM
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originally posted by: greencmp
a reply to: Semicollegiate

Catallaxy or Catallactics is the preferred term over economics.

The explanation being that the root of the word economics means "rules of the house" and hence is limited to a presumption that everyone has the same rules, wants and needs.



Catallaxy is derived from the Greek verb katalatto, which means “to exchange,” or “to become reconciled with,” or “to admit into the community,” or, “to change from an enemy into a friend.”[1] The cognate catallaxy, therefore, refers to a pattern of mutually beneficial interaction ("friendship") that does not require that participants share the same ends.[2]


The first definition of economics I read seemed strangely equivocal. Now I know why. Economics was a metaphor in an explanation not an orientation.

I would like to find the von Hayek essays about thought and problem solving and such.



posted on Mar, 20 2015 @ 10:35 PM
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a reply to: Semicollegiate

By the way, I meant to respond to your audio book comment.

I too am an avid fan, once audible got going it has been amazing what has been recorded. The library of congress has virtually everything available on cassette for the blind but, that is a big job to digitize. I am so happy with what archive.org has become I am nearly a statist.

We must give credit where credit is due, what better place for bureaucrats than a library?




posted on Mar, 21 2015 @ 02:59 AM
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a reply to: Semicollegiate




"Want" in the sense I meant here, as an explanation of a principle of economic reasoning, is a paraphrase of "why a person actually does anything". Every deliberate conscious choice a person makes is the best or easiest attempt at satisfying a want. The choice is based on what the person believes to be true about reality.


What a person believes to be true about reality is determined by the culture.
That is, other systems of thought, belief and value, of that collective.

The influencial part is “what” a person wants. That, as Bernay’s showed us can be manipulated through media. With animals we can use “clicker training”, which associates original needs and wants with other symbols, until we can take out the original motivator entirely and replace it with something else.

Humans, despite having a self awareness, do the same thing. They want food, mating rights, territory, physical comfort, protection from the elements or predators,
Advertising repeatedly associates those things with other symbols, and soon, the original “want” is forgotten and replaced with the new symbol.

This effects the market, as the demands are no longer are any evidence of what people need- physically or emotionally, to survive and be productive.




Regular economists make each person an economic man for the purposes of economic equations. The economic man has only conventional economic behavior. He has no fun or love, only a preference for a high quantity at a low price.


Understood. Yet, that is not a realistic idea of human beings. The problem between theory and practice lies within that principle.
When humans beings begin to also see themselves this way, it destroys the solidarity of the collective.

(I point out that some cultures have economies (and economists)who would have worded that « quality » instead of « quantity » ?)

I have already said many times that I do not find it particularly important to make fundamental changes in the current economical system. My focus is on moral and ethical foundations of the people. How they see themselves, and each other- how the relationship between « I » and « other » is represented in their minds.

I’ve had countless discussions with americans lately that refer to love relationships in terms of ones « market value », and the substance and reason for such relations is about trade of sex for money ! Should we really wonder about the rise in mental illness ? (along with the manipulation of beliefs allowed to the pharmaceutical companies…)




I refered to the Iterated Prisoners’ Dillema, sparked by Robert Axelrod, which gave much more elaborate illustrations on human behaviour than did the simple Prisoners Dillema.

Statist coercion is not what I am supportive of in the US, as I have said, nor a controlled economy.

I am supportive of moral and ethical standards being more cohesive throughout the members- I am for young children all being taught a more or less similar form of ethics, which (ideally, in my mind) recognizes interdependence as a reality and necessary part of life, that the good of other, and my own good, are equally important, and striving to respect both is an ideal. That both "egotism" and "altruism" be de-valued in favor of more utilitarian values.

But the actual shared ethical system is less important than having one at all!

A split in the nation between extremes, the "self sacrificers" and the "narcissists" is detrimental to the nation as a whole and will bring it to it’s knees.




People are rational and can see a connection between cooperation and benefit.


Another problem I percieve in our world view- that all people are self aware, very intelligent, capable of reason and philosophic thought. It just isn’t true. In ANY population.

Some people cannot step back and follow the indirect pathways of their experiences to come to such fundamental philosophical perceptions ! –Particularly if they are working very hard, many hours a day,with no vacation, and a mind filled with perceived "needs" in the form of more quantities of objects- the intellectual faculties are depressed at that point: with your nose to the grindstone, you don’t see such « bigger pictures ».

The maternal conditioning* of the middle class masses, that it is only acceptable to be egotistical, does not necessarily mean they will take from that concern for others around them is included in that.

(* I used the french term for the earliest stage of education, which starts even before language is used by the child, and the first layers of relation and cultural belief are instilled)

I can respond to everything you mentioned here, but obviously, this back and forth is monopolizing the thread.

My references to the Social Market economy (or Rhine Capitalism, or Social Capitalism) were only to point to the existing, realistic fact that people can hold a value on social coherence, and also have a capitalistic market. The extreme Individualist ethic is not synonymous with Capitalism . In these systems, there is only specific markets which are protected by the state, those which are considered essential elements for the survival and basic health of a human being, so that the middle classes can’t be manipulated into forgetting they need that. So those fundamental needs cannot be exploited .

That is a result of their collective values, ours could be different and give forth a different system (including Laissez-faire) IF we can have an equally strong moral cohesion behind it. In the beginning of our country, that was supplied by a strong shared religious bond. It doesn’t have to be a religion – but some form of common shared ethical and moral structure would need to exist to make even Laissez-Faire work as it theoretically should.


As a business owner myself here, in a market that did not have a parallel public form (commerce not health), I didn't find it that different from the US. But a difference that I learned was in the consumers- placing too low a price on goods made them NOT buy. It seemed totally illogical to me at first! I had to learn that the french people will see that as evidence of low quality. Raise the price, they start buying.
That is just to illustrate that some of the ideas we can assume are universal motivations or drives of human beings simply are not. They are result of our cultural values and they are learned. They are the ideas others have fed into us. No matter what, because of that early stage of enfancy, our "self" is based on what we are fed at the beginning- so all the conscious choices of being we make after will be born of that first type of "feeding". If any of us think we are purely "self made" , we are mistaken. The self which made the self was "other-made".
edit on 21-3-2015 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 21 2015 @ 09:01 AM
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a reply to: Bluesma



The extreme Individualist ethic is not synonymous with Capitalism.


As a disparagement, the term capitalism was/is specifically intended to denote a totally economically driven system with no social/political component at all.

That is the argument made by socialists themselves who coined the term.
edit on 21-3-2015 by greencmp because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 21 2015 @ 10:46 AM
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a reply to: Bluesma

Advertising is something to be overcome. People will always be subjected to influential contacts in society. Education provides discernment. Like the best defense against the abuse of free speech is more free speech against the abuse, the best defense against advertising and mind control is more education. I have always held that education is the only real source of beneficial change to the system. Any other change is a minority opinion.

Morals and ethics happened after the first successful economic systems began to provide food and shelter to the average person. Starting a philosophy with morals and ethics is similar to starting an economic system with demands and controls. While not categorically wrong in intention, starting with morals and ethics presumes to know everything about human societal action and psychological needs. Our society is evolving, hopefully evolving away from constant coercion of individuals by other individuals.


My references to the Social Market economy (or Rhine Capitalism, or Social Capitalism) were only to point to the existing, realistic fact that people can hold a value on social coherence


In praxeology, all choices are based on individual values, and for some people every economic choice will have a social component. Individualism has no qualm towards socialistically bent folks making a socialistic community or state. Natural born socialists are individuals too, and should be able to live where ever their inclinations are best served.

One major difference between collectivism and individualism is that, a voluntary collectivist polity can exist within an anarcho-capitalistic, non-aggression principle governance. It would be like joining a club with dues. The opposite is not true of a collectivist governance. Collectivism claims authority over everything.

I have gained valuable criticisms of my writing from a technical, stylistic, and grammatical point of view from your responses. Thank you for your time on that. I really appreciate it.



posted on Mar, 21 2015 @ 11:37 AM
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originally posted by: Semicollegiate
a reply to: Bluesma

Advertising is something to be overcome. Education provides discernment.


Except educating kids that have the notion "I won't let anyone influence my choices, because I am an individual" blocks them from being receptive of overt offers of information, and more vulnerable to occult ones like subliminal programming.




Starting a philosophy with morals and ethics is similar to starting an economic system with demands and controls.

Ethics and morals are born from a philosophy- a structured perspective about reality, about what things "are".
Only from there can people even begin to form ideas on what is ethically acceptable and what isn't.




morals and ethics presumes to know everything about human societal action and psychological needs.


What we know about human societal behavior and psychological needs grows all the time, therefore the morals and ethics need to grow and adapt accordingly. Our knowledge of psychology and behaviorism has made a huge leap in the last 200 hundred years, as I pointed out in my first post on this thread- the nature of the subconscious, unconscious, and the limitations of the ego-awareness has revolutionized our understanding of freewill.




Our society is evolving, hopefully evolving away from constant coercion of individuals by other individuals.


That would necessitate acknowledgement of it being a fundamental part of being human, and potentially unavoidable.
The only way to avoid it is to live on an island alone.

I never proposed any support of a collectivist system. I made commentary of observed benefits of a possible "Third Way" which is neither Individualist, nor Collectivist, so the repeated explanations of why Collectivist systems are faulty by other posters is unecessary.
A balanced synthesis of the two concerns, at neither extreme, is what I personally would find ideal, but acknowledge that even if the social side of it was totally unofficial, not part of any legal system, simply a matter of how mothers educate their children in morals and ethics, could still have the needed balancing effect .

I only meant that as a response to teaching future generations MORE of the "me first" crap that has caused the rise in narcissistic and anti-social behavior we've seen starting from the Millenials.

I'm a mom. I think individualism is for mature adults, who have firm bases of morals, ethics and self/other perception. I also think they should learn to read music before learning an instrument and getting creative with it. I think they should learn the alphabet before setting off on the freedom of writing poetry. I think they should learn the multiplication tables before exploring creative math. I think they should learn the rules of the road before they get that freedom of driving a car.
I guess, I think much Freedom is largely earned, not given at birth. A foundation needs to be laid first- that is where collective philosophy, morals, and ethics come in.

In the system I live in, there is universal or multipayer healthcare- but NO ONE is obligated to use it, no one can get it without being employed, and if you become an employer, a business owner? You're out. You are no longer eligible. You are on your own, by your own choice, and set free. You are no longer part of the protected (and guided) anymore.

That makes sense to me, I guess. Not everyone wants to be free to be manipulated and carry lots of responsibility, some aren't ready, some aren't capable.
My mentally retarded sister has the "freedom" from aid and the "freedom" to take whatever job she wants.... but she is not capable of recognizing predators who want to take advantage of her (or rape her child). She is not capable of getting anything other than slave labor which will not pay enough for her to have a roof over her head.
She is the kindest, most ethical, hardworking person I know, so the whole Puritan or Protestent work ethic looks like one great big FAIL to me.
Yay freedom of the individual! Thank god we're all equal in the eyes of the government! All intelligent, strong, mature, and perfectly capable of defending ourselves against wolves!
Blah. Sorry. I got worries about loved ones, and they are affecting my thoughts. I'll stay out for a while.





edit on 21-3-2015 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 21 2015 @ 12:02 PM
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originally posted by: Bluesma
I never proposed any support of a collectivist system. I made commentary of observed benefits of a possible "Third Way" which is neither Individualist, nor Collectivist, so the repeated explanations of why Collectivist systems are faulty by other posters is unecessary.
A balanced synthesis of the two concerns, at neither extreme, is what I personally would find ideal, but acknowledge that even if the social side of it was totally unofficial, not part of any legal system, simply a matter of how mothers educate their children in morals and ethics, could still have the needed balancing effect .


"The Third Way is the fastest way to the Third World" -Václav Klaus



posted on Mar, 21 2015 @ 12:22 PM
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a reply to: Bluesma

The free market would have helped your sister by making everything less expensive and wages relatively higher.

Inflation and the money wastefully spent by the government income created though inflation on WW1, WW2, the cold war and the banker bailouts amounts to about 20 times the current value of the US dollar. WW1, WW2, the cold war, and the banker bailouts were all empowered by collectivist progressive ideologies.

Without collectivism, there would be more houses, hospitals, schools and products for sale. Everybody would have more stuff. And all wages would buy more value.

The economic problem with the "third Way" is that regulation begets more regulation. Regulations cause market failures (and usually don't address the problem they were designed to address) which then leads to more regulations.

For example, if milk is regulated to be sold at a certain low price, then some farmers may not be able to pay their costs. The result is less milk on the shelves. So the government regulates the suppliers of dairy farmers needs. Then the suppliers have cost shortages etc...

Any intervention into the markets will lead to more intervention until the government has written the entire economy into law.





edit on 21-3-2015 by Semicollegiate because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 21 2015 @ 01:53 PM
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originally posted by: greencmp
I hear this claim all the time, that there has never been a free market in the US.

The whole of the western part of the country was founded by people operating in a totally free market with almost no government oversight.

Government isn't the only thing that can impose itself on a market.



posted on Mar, 22 2015 @ 03:25 AM
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a reply to: daskakik

No but, you can destroy anything else that does.



posted on Mar, 22 2015 @ 04:21 AM
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originally posted by: greencmp
a reply to: daskakik

No but, you can destroy anything else that does.

Or it can destroy you.

You being an individual.



posted on Mar, 22 2015 @ 04:31 AM
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a reply to: daskakik

Monopolies require the deployment of force or else they can be thwarted by competition.



posted on Mar, 22 2015 @ 04:40 AM
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a reply to: greencmp

Yes they use force and unless individuals come together, they don't stand a chance, but at that point your OP becomes meaningless because we are no longer talking about individuals.
edit on 22-3-2015 by daskakik because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 22 2015 @ 04:46 AM
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a reply to: daskakik

What?

I thought you were saying that, in the absence of strong governmental oversight in the economy, some other force would take over and that force would be a monopoly.

Monopolies are ordinarily the product of the regulatory state not the private market. If they do exist as so called 'natural' monopolies, they are only problematic if they attempt to invoke monopoly prices.
edit on 22-3-2015 by greencmp because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 22 2015 @ 06:02 PM
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originally posted by: greencmp
Monopolies are ordinarily the product of the regulatory state not the private market. If they do exist as so called 'natural' monopolies, they are only problematic if they attempt to invoke monopoly prices.

Monopolies are a product of anyone having enough money to pay for thugs to drive out the competition. Sometimes it includes government, sometimes it doesn't.



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