Socialism and Individualism

Many people have trouble understanding what socialism really is. We tend to fall for the line that it derives from an alternative view of economics, but that alternative view is simply a side effect of a more fundamental difference in view regarding human nature. Socialism literally does not believe in the existence of individuals or more precisely it views humans as mere components of society. It was not originally defined in opposition to capitalism. Socialism has always opposed individualism. The only reason that socialists spend so much time attacking laissez-faire capitalism is because individualism is foundational to the economic reasoning behind capitalism.

Socialists see individualism as a perversion of their view of the natural order: from single-celled organisms to multicellular organisms, from single multicellular organisms to communities of such organisms, from communities to societies, from current local societies to some future organizational form that subordinated all local societies to the global good. The intellectuals of early socialism sought this and many believed that it was inevitable.

The reason that this often sounded so appealing to the average person (and average young intellectual) came from the socialist view of the unitary human. The unitary human equals a pure average of all humans. The unitary human possess average intelligence. This being has average needs. It has average skills and it can not exist outside of society. All that a good socialist has to do to solve all the problems facing humanity is model a system in which unitary humans can thrive then persuade everyone else to adopt it.

Most opponents of socialism attack the current economic theory it espouses. Given the way the political winds like to blow, this is understandable. In the long run though, the ideas of socialism change to incorporate whatever new model can create their utopia. If Leninist, Stalinist, and Maoist dictatorships no longer appear that they will work for that unitary average human, then the socialists will accept markets or democracy or both or whatever they think can achieve and maintain their utopian model. The real danger lies not in economics, but in the necessary devaluation of individual diversity. By most standards of societal norms, I am a freak. During my life, I have met average people that find my very existence offensive. The socialists believe they can help freaks into equality with their achetypal average human through education and outreach. As a freak, I can tell you that will never work.

There is a simple graph that comes up a lot in statistics. Statisticians call this the "bell curve." This shape comes up a lot whenever you have large enough of population samples. I bring this up, because it is a clear demonstration that in a large population there will always be outliers and deviants (otherwise known as freaks). Socialism effectively defines the freak out of existence in any utopian model it finds acceptable. A freak brings discord perhaps intentionally, perhaps unintentionally, but in either case, we freaks come to respect and value the importance of dissent and keeping social dynamics in at least a little bit of flux. Socialist theory can never, by its defining nature, adapt to the existence of freaks and statistically there will always be freaks. Thus, socialism can never work successfully, and if you value the intellectual stimulation of wildly divergent opinions as I do, then you should not desire any sincere attempt at its implementation.

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Dear Dan, I believe BilLee

Dear Dan,

I believe BilLee Miller has moved onwards in the year since he/she wrote that post. I would not hold my breath if waiting for an answer.

Dear BilLee Miller, Please

Dear BilLee Miller,

Please explain how you are a "freak." That is expand on this: "By most standards of societal norms, I am a freak. During my life, I have met average people that find my very existence offensive."

Dan