Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"Science" Argues for Collectivism

David Brooks, writing in the New York Times, opines on the ideals of the West vs. the ideals of China and collectivists everywhere. Emphasis added by yours truly.
The individualistic countries tend to put rights and privacy first. People in these societies tend to overvalue their own skills and overestimate their own importance to any group effort. People in collective societies tend to value harmony and duty. They tend to underestimate their own skills and are more self-effacing when describing their contributions to group efforts.


...individualistic societies have tended to do better economically. We in the West have a narrative that involves the development of individual reason and conscience during the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, and then the subsequent flourishing of capitalism. According to this narrative, societies get more individualistic as they develop.

But what happens if collectivist societies snap out of their economic stagnation? What happens if collectivist societies, especially those in Asia, rise economically and come to rival the West? A new sort of global conversation develops.


The Glorious Collective, Comrade

For one thing, there are relatively few individualistic societies on earth. For another, the essence of a lot of the latest scientific research is that the Western idea of individual choice is an illusion and the Chinese are right to put first emphasis on social contexts.


The rise of China isn’t only an economic event. It’s a cultural one. The ideal of a harmonious collective may turn out to be as attractive as the ideal of the American Dream.
Really? A harmonious collective? Eh, no thanks. Call me crazy, but I'll take my unhinged, lunatic, individualism any day. In the words of William Wallace....FREEDOM!

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