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Prospects For Democracy: Individualism/Collectivism As Sources Of Association/Community

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Chapter Summary

The "intellectualization" of government policies is the direct result of government being far removed in experience and perspective from the people they serve, so that intellectualizing and ideology are used to fill in the gaps, which is a quite definite mixed blessing. It should be remembered that individualism in societies, which at an extreme can produce narcissistic individuals, and collectivism in societies which at an extreme can produce authoritarian individuals, are only opposites at the extremes, and also tend to be extremely unstable. For all the idealization of democracy in both Europe and America, there is little enthusiasm among elites for expansion of direct, as opposed to representative, democracy. Thus political families in traditional societies tend to be from prestigious and acclaimed families.

Keywords: America; collectivism; democracy; Europe; individualism

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