INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Socialism and Individualism: It is a very common error to regard Socialism and Individualism as antithetical concepts. As a matter of fact, there is no antagonism between the two. The Socialist contends that true individualism is impossible under capitalism and that fact constitutes no small part of his indictment of the existing social order.
Individualism is not an absolute but a relative term. There has never been a time when any individual could live his life within the boundaries of human society absolutely untrammeled by the lives of others or their requirements. The most despotic monarch has always been bound in some degree by convention, influenced by advice, restrained by fear of revolt or coerced by circumstance. Even when exceptional liberties of individual activity are enjoyed by favored individuals or classes they are never absolute and unlimited. Absolute individual freedom is hardly conceivable, even as an abstract conception. It is very evident that by its very nature society places upon the liberty of every individual some limitation, some restraint. It is equally evident that when excessive individual liberty is granted to an individual or a class, enabling that individual or class to oppress other individuals or other classes, true individualism does not exist. Neitzsche's Superman is often referred to as the perfect apotheosis of individualism, but that view is not warranted, for the reason that he could only exist by crushing the individuality of others. True individualism is inseparable from equality of opportunity. The freedom and opportunities of each individual must be bounded by the equal freedom and opportunities of every other individual.
Capitalism and Individualism: Under a system which is properly described as wage-slavery the workers have little