Individualism - Within History

The Hedgehog Review, Vol. 4, No. 1 (Spring 2002), 49-56

8 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2012

See all articles by Amitai Etzioni

Amitai Etzioni

The George Washington University

Date Written: 2002


Individualism - The "-Ism" Indicates A Doctrinaire, dogmatic, overboard commitment-has been so soundly and repeatedly defeated that one must ask: Why is it standing at all? It is a concept so intellectually defective and morally misguided, that one cannot but wonder: Why do people still hold onto this fool's gold?

Possibly individualism feeds on its being a highly flattering view of human nature, certainly compared to most, if not all, other views. Individualism promises those who believe in it that they are free-standing agents, able to formulate their own conceptions of the good, pursue a life that is guided by reasonable deliberations, and render rational decisions in their self-interest. And, as bearers of inalienable rights, they have a long list of entitlements, but no inherent duties or obligations unless they choose to embrace them.

Suggested Citation

Etzioni, Amitai, Individualism - Within History (2002). The Hedgehog Review, Vol. 4, No. 1 (Spring 2002), 49-56. Available at SSRN:

Amitai Etzioni (Contact Author)

The George Washington University ( email )

2100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Suite 4058
Washington, DC 20037
United States

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