There's no such thing as society… only individuals and families.
This famous Margaret Thatcher quote is philosophical twaddle. The same principle then applies to government, corporations, religions, etc. It is based on the unscientific and fallacious claim that individuals are the only valid level of analysis, common to the methodological individualism of Austrian Economics.
Margaret Thatcher meant that she wanted people to take care of themselves privately rather than rely on government. However, many libertarians take this sort of thing literally and simplistically. Both ignore the idea of Social Capital, which is in large part due to government.
- Philosophical Individualism (4 links)
- Individualism is merely one viewpoint in an enormous hierarchy of viewpoints ranging from Planck length to the universe. Individualism as a tenet of a philosophy transforms that philosophy into a Procrustean bed that cannot model the real world well, because the real world is not based on individuals.
- Myth: There's no such thing as society… only individuals and families. [More...]
- Perhaps the first important thing to note is that these are semantic games. Society is a "collection of individuals," even formally defined... The belief that humans are autonomous individuals leads to a logical error called the "fallacy of composition."
- Social Capital (4 links)
- "Social capital is a form of economic and cultural capital in which social networks are central, transactions are marked by reciprocity, trust, and cooperation, and market agents produce goods and services not mainly for themselves, but for a common good." (Wikipedia) The answer to Margaret Thatcher's rhetorical "There's no such thing as society… only individuals and families."
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