Communitarianism, as a doctrine or current of thought, affirms that the individual is not the main object or the one on which the rest of the social order revolves. Instead, it is the community that gives it its personality and that is above the individual.
In other words, communitarianism is a current of thought that defends that the community is the most important unit for the development of society and the individual.
Thus, according to communitarianism, the policies and efforts of social advancement must go in favor of the community, and not of individual people.
Conflict between communitarianism and liberalism
Communitarianism emerges as a current contrary to liberalism. The latter values the individual, and his freedoms and choices, as something superior that the rest of society must abide by and respect.
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For communitarianism, all policies, efforts and progress in any field must be in favor of the community. They reject the liberal theses that each person must seek their own benefit, since this would generate great inequalities among all people, and social, economic and technological advances would not reach the totality of society.
Regarding the formation of the individual, communitarianism maintains that it is the community that provides him with an identity. When one is born in a certain place, uniform patterns are observed throughout the entire population that composes it. These are such as language, traditions, culture, gastronomy, religious tendencies, etc.
That is, the individual does not build his personality from scratch, but is strongly determined by the people around him. This questions the position of liberalism that the individual builds his identity based on his own rational character.
Characteristics of communitarianism
Based on its definition, we can affirm that communitarianism has the following characteristics:
- It sets the community above the individual.
- The individual is a profoundly social being, and cannot be understood without interaction with other human beings.
- It was born as a criticism of the economic and social postulates of liberalism.
- Approved policies must be in favor of the common good, not individual interests.
- The community is the one who determines the identity of the individual, not the individual himself.
Under the prism that communitarianism defends the idea that the community is above the individual, there are many ideologies that identify with this statement. In fact, the communitarians defend that the State cannot be neutral, but must promote the extension of well-being.
All those ideologies derived from Marxism consider that society is above the individual. This, until repressing all the ideas that go beyond what the masses consider desirable.
But not all communitarians agree, far from it, on this lack of individual rights. Ideologies such as the social democratic respect a large part of the personal sphere, but as long as it is accepted that social well-being is above the individual.
Communitarianism also appears in fascist ideology. This, since the community, the nation, is the superior value for which well-being and consolidation must be provided and fight against any external threat.
Communitarianism and the economy
Communitarianism is in favor of promoting the common good, that economic measures go in favor of this idea. Therefore, the economy must be clearly interventionist.
Some of the measures that favor this community welfare are: