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Individualism is a philosophical or moral position that is based on the belief that individuals should be free to determine their own ends and within limits, act accordingly, rather then being coerced to act in accordance with the ends of other individuals or the supposed ends of a "collective". This position is based on the fact that because individuals' scales of values will undoubtedly differ, and furthermore because no individual can conceive of but a small section of the desires of society, a complete scale of values or set of ends for a society or collective towards which all should act would be impossible.[1] Any set of ends for a collective rather then being a true reflection of the desires of all, which is impossible due to differences between individuals, would instead only be an arbitrary selection of certain ends by those in a position of power or influence. Friedrich Hayek states that the essence of individualism is "this recognition of the individual as the ultimate judge of his ends, the belief that as far as possible his own views ought to govern his actions".[1] While Ludwig von Mises has stated that "individualism is a philosophy of social cooperation and the progressive intensification of the social nexus".[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Hayek, Friedrich. "The Road to Serfdom", 1965, page 44.
  2. Ludwig von Mises. "Human Action", 2010, page 153.