Ik krijg weleens de vraag: "Dat 'classicalindividualist' in je twitterprofiel, wat bedoel je daar eigenlijk mee?" Lees hieronder, in het Engels -wellicht later eens een vertaling- van de persoon die term geduid heeft, filosoof Tibor Machan (1939-2016).
“The human essence is the true individuality of man.
There is an inescapable individuality to human nature. It is by their own particular initiative, circumscribed by their family backgrounds, traditions, habits, customs, evironment, opportunities, climate, and so forth, that people must confront living their lives. So they must implement or establish their individuality every moment of their lives.
This also points up to the social nature of human life – being thinking animals implies that their flourishing is interwoven with their fellows. They will learn from them, find enjoyment and love from them, trade and play with them, and carry on all the most exciting aspects of their humanity with them.
Classical individualism places before us certain stable (enough) principles of community life that are necessary for us to even embark upon a morally indepent, peaceful, and productive social existence. This aspect of the social moral nature of human life is a result of both one’s humanity amd one’s inherent individuality as the author of one’s moral character and conduct.
It is wrong to confuse conduct one should have engaged in of one’s own free will with regimented behavior imposed by some planning authority, politburo or regulatory agency. There is, in short, no such thing as coerced morally right conduct.”
Tibor R. Machan: ‘Classical individualism – The supreme importance of each human being’, Routledge, 1998, p. 8-11
“The natural rights doctrine, as developed from John Locke and subsequently by libertarian political theorist, accomplishes the conceptualization of justice along normative individualist lines. It does this by identifying the nature of each human being as that of an individual capable of rational choice and requiring the utilization of reason for virtually any significant task in the guidance of his or her life. This, in turn, requires the kind of political community for human beings in which their human individuality may flourish properly; that is a community that upholds each (adult) person’s sovereignty. This is accomplished by means of implementation of the doctrine of natural individual human rights starting with the right to life and all that this implies: the rights to liberty, property and the pursuit of happpiness, as well as more subsidiary or special rights, such as the right to freedom of expression, association and religious worship. Justice in such a political society is conceived as strict adherence to public policies guided, firstly, by the goal of protecting individual rights and, secondly, by the process of not violating those rights even as they are being protected, which are approximated by the civil rights we hear so much of about in connection with the administration of justice in, for instance, the USA.
Qualitative or classical individualism locates individual responsibilty at the heart of human nature, namely in free choice – a fundamental capacity of rational beings. This also locates the ultimate standard for morally good conduct: namely human rationality or, as Aristotle called it, right reason. In plain terms, this means that the highest virtue for human beings is to initiate clear thinking about their lives in this world, to guide their actions towards success in life by careful consideration of their lives. In turn, the natural rights doctrine initially placed on record by John Locke goes on to generate from these foundations a conception of political virtue – justice – although John Locke himself did not quite achieve that mission.
Political and legal justice within this framework requires that for each person some ‘moral space’, or sphere of exclusive jurisdiction, be secured within the legal system. Within this exclusive, though within the general theory indeterminately ‘sized’, sphere he or she is able to excercise moral choice. Since moral choice is just that, choice – and not, as in the mechanistic framework of economic science, merely a selection process that may be quite automatic, in the way that computers make selections given their built-in programs – there is no guarantee that it will turn out right. Thus a just system cannot be utopia or guarantee perfection. It can merely make virtue legally of institutionally possible for memebers of a community. That, as well as the infinite diversity of objective human excellences, explains why the free marketplace gives the appearance of being neutral with respect tot he issue of justice. In a free market many decisions may not turn out to be morally proper yet may not be prohibited.”
Tibor R. Machan ‘Capitalism and individualism – Reframing the argument fort he free society’, Cybereditions, (1990) 2000, p. 83-84
Wat denk jezelf?
"Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds...", zingt Bob Marley. Hoe makkelijk is het om in te voegen, om aan te sluiten, om mee te buigen met al hetgeen anderen bedacht hebben en als waarheid zien. Deze blog wil het vanzelfsprekende uitdagen. Het vanzelfsprekende of het gemakzuchtige in je denken op levensbeschouwelijk, politiek, ethisch gebied. Dit komt de kwaliteit van denken en besluitvorming ten goede.