To me, this debate will always be to some extent a case of Tories vs Labour, and the core beliefs associated with each party. To readers who may not understand these concepts, collectivism is defined as ‘the practice or principle of giving a group priority over each individual in it.’ In other words, working together for a set of collective beliefs. While individualism, being the opposite is defined as ‘a social theory favouring freedom of action for individuals over collective or state control.’ In summary working for your own self-interest.
This debate really boils down to the basis of Socialism vs Capitalism, and as shown in previous issues of Petty Bourgeoisie, youth tend to flock to Labour, hence why collectivism, a key factor shared by all 3 strands of socialism, entices today’s youth. Individualism is typically related to words such as “selfish”, “greedy” or “self-centred”, which nobody, not just youth, likes to be connected with.
Labour, especially with the rise of left wing Jeremy Corbyn, has become more appealing than ever to 18-24 year olds, in the election seeing student-dominated areas such as Cambridge and Canterbury with a higher turnout than ever before recorded, rise in Labour appeal and therefore the appeal of collectivism is growing massively.
However, with fear of creating a simplistic debate, basing it primarily on left wing vs right wing, we see a large surge of individualism not linked to party matters. Individualism is described as “favouring freedom of action for individuals”, and in this growing age of acceptance for homosexuality, immigration and religious beliefs, more and more millennials are emphasising their liberal tones, in such a way that proves contradictory to the stigma surrounding the political definition of individualism.
On one hand you have the idea that individualism is linked with the Conservative Party – or “the nasty party” – promoting a breed of people who are selfish, power-hungry and greedy, however looking at individualism in its basic form, freedom for the individual, promotes much more liberal ideas of acceptance, which in youth today is a key factor linking us all together: our ability to be open minded. This contrasts with our grandparents, or even our parents with their views being often more traditional, one may even say bigoted, meaning theoretically they would not be linked with this liberal idea of individualism and freedom. However taking a political slant on the matter is in fact polar opposite; if we take the general view of associating over 60’s with the Conservative Party, which polling from the most recent general election showed, we would naturally associate them with individualism. But with their more traditional views, speaking about individualism from a psychological point of view, it makes sense that traditional views of over 60’s do not fit in with the criteria of acceptance that individualism states.
The debate could come down to Tories vs Labour, or it could come down to generation vs generation, but in a time of pure political uncertainty, with a weak minority government, who don’t really know what they stand for themselves, it makes it hard for the youth of today to make a clear judgement on their views on such a topic.
Written by Heather Rainey