Boy, one of the biggest problems with ideology is that all ideology is a collective concept. And when expressed that ideology is expressed only in positive terms for the purpose of convincing those why may be skeptical of its value. It only has credibility when a collective of people accept it. The greater the number of persons who adhere to that ideology the higher the credibility that ideology has.
The big argument now is whether society that practices a collectivist ideology or a society that practices an individualistic ideology is the best form of society. Most persons do not understand the dominant differences in the two ideologies. This is because the people have been taught to avoid the idea of extremism as it is called these days. This may be true in practice but we shouldn’t avoid it in thought.
The biggest value that extremism offers is clarity of thought. If we are to understand the pros and cons to any ideology then we must take it to its most extreme position in order to see what ideal it is leading us to. Once we understand what the ideal is then we can ascertain what needs to be sacrificed in order to achieve that ideal. And it must viewed in a non-judgmental manner.
In the recognition of this we can determine the absolute value of the concept of individualism and collectivism through definition of principle. Since we are seeking an absolute value of each concept we must have a common denominator from each. That common denominator is the “person”. In other words each concept must be identified by what is demanded of the particular person.
The concept of individualism declares that the first and only obligation of the person is to his own needs and desires. To take this concept to the extreme we must declare that the person places this obligation above everything even if it means to sacrifice the needs and desires of others. In other words, a person’s needs and desires take priority even if it means depriving the collective of its needs and desires. And if this results the extermination of the collective then so be it.
The concept of collectivism declares that the first and only obligation of a person is to the needs and desires of the collective. To take this concept to the extreme we must declare the person places this obligation above everything even if it means the sacrifice of his own needs and desires. In other words, the needs and desires of the collective takes priority even if it means depriving a person of his needs and desires. And if this means the sacrifice of the individual then so be it.
Now, if we examine the two concepts we can compare the value of each from that particular person’s prespective. We can declare with certainty that no particular person can be the direct cause of the extermination of a collective but it can be said that a collective can be the direct cause of the extermination of a particular person. The death penalty would be a good example to exemplify this.
Collectivism is a construct of society that is the foundational basis for the philosophical concept of altruism on the social level. Socialism/Communism is the political ideology with the goal of creating a society that practices this philosophical concept. The problem lies in the fact that since the end result is an ideal any means that will aid in the creation of this society is allowed even if it means the use of force.
Every collectivist ideology has this idealic goal, the creation of the perfect society. History verifies this. The only thing separating the different ideologies is the determinant of the imperfection that has to exist. Once any particular collective ideology becomes the dominant ideology of a society it will set out to exterminate the imperfections of that society as that particular ideology sees those imperfections to be.