John Locke's Theory Of Individualism

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says that “the human society is essentially a series of market relations; and political society becomes a means of safeguarding private property and the system of economic relations rooted in property” (Macpherson, 1). John Locke (1632-1704), another eminent political thinker based his notion of individualism on the premise of theological justification. He views all individuals as being created equal in the eyes of the creator and therefore God reserves the right to ownership of all the individuals. And therefore it becomes incumbent on the part of an individual to recognise the right and freedom of the other individual . The basic essence of his theory of individualism is that an individual is expected to live within the confines of a social…show more content…
He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention........ By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.” (Smith…show more content…
His advocacy of individual and economic freedom had augured well the path for individualism to be imbibed by the individuals in the society. Hence, his theory of individualism is called economic individualism. He is of the view that “it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong” (Bentham 3). And this very principle as enunciated by Bentham constitutes the basic essence of his philosophy of utilitarianism. However, this very principle of utilitarianism also faces criticism in later time for the fact that it cannot adequately safeguard the rights of every individual person and that happiness depends on many other things other than based on this principle. It is also as against the extreme form of individualism that many thinkers stand opposed to the same. Many thinkers fear that the practice of individualism may bring the organic social order and harmony of the society into jeoparady. Edmund Burke (1729- 1797) is of the view that liberalism which is identified with modern notion of individualism has no positive influence on the society if exercised alone. In such a case, it may give rise to unruly behaviour on the part of the individual in the society. He says that “the unsteady and precarious contribution of individuals” therefore would never be able to promote welfare either in politics or in any
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