posted on Nov, 1 2010 @ 02:17 PM
It is pointless to castigate people for not using labels in the manner you would have them do so. Particularly those who reside in the United States,
a nation that has gone from being fairly liberal in their politics, to adopting federalism, soon after witnessing the rise of the
Democratic-Republicans, alternatively called the Republican-Democrats, eventually becoming Democrats, or Jacksonian Democrats, while the Federalists
morphed into the Whigs, although given that the word Federalist had become a pejorative most Whig's denied it, pointing out they were Republicans.
Eventually it came down to a two party system of Republicans and Democrats, and did so in spite of the Dire Warnings George Washington gave about
political parties in his Farewell Address, he being the sole President who served that office without any party affiliation.
Throughout all of this the terms "liberal" and "conservative" have morphed quite a bit in the past two centuries, now to the point where several
charts are produced with a multitude of hyphenated labels to describe peoples political ideology.
Frankly, if there has to be labels, in my humble opinion, I think it can be simplified quite a bit, and reduced down to collectivists, and
individualists. These two ideologies mark the great divide between people, at least in the United States, and I suspect the world over. If freedom
is at all going to be the gauge by which we measure politics, then it certainly comes down to collectivists and individualists. Whether a
collectivist leans right or left, or whether an individualist leans right or left is less important than whether they are collectivists or
In terms of freedom, the individualist will insist that freedom is defined by the unalienable rights that are cherished by that society, and the
collectivist tends to define freedom as a democratic system of voting government leaders, and will tend to argue that rights are not unalienable but
are legal grants given by the existing government. The collectivist will place society above the individual, and the individualist will argue that
society has no meaning without individuals. The collectivist will argue in favor of social contracts, and the individualist will argue in favor of
the right to contract with whomever one sees fit, dismissing social contracts as illegitimate forms of contract because they do not conform to the law
As is the case with any attempt to label people, even the simplification of collectivist and individualist can be easily blurred, as many people tend
to hew fairly close to a center. Thus, any given individualist can see value in certain social programs implemented by the government, and therefore
justified in taxation, which becomes a sort of social contract, and any given collectivist can see value in individual rights and will expect
government to protect these rights.
However, the divide between collectivist and individualist seems to be widening, and in terms of numbers, the collectivists seem to have a distinct
edge, as there is no greater minority than the individual. Also, individualists tend to adhere to their own ideals and care less for party
affiliation, and allegiances that might crimp their style, so there can be a number of individualists but they are a disparate bunch who rarely unite
as one unified group, since such an act would be antithetical to their beliefs. This gives the collectivist an advantage, as part of the collectivist
mentality is that each individual owes allegiance to the group, and must agree to accept the rules and regulations of that group. For the
collectivist, unity is a large part of that ideology. For the individualist, being left alone to govern themselves is a large part of that ideology.