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Individualism is a moral, political, and social philosophy, which emphasizes individual liberty, the primary importance of the individual, and the “virtues of self-reliance” and “personal independence”. Individualism embraces opposition to authority, and to all manner of controls over the individual, especially when exercised by the political state or “society.” It is thus directly opposed to collectivism, which advocates subordination of the individual to the will of the society or community. It is often confused with “egoism,” but an individualist need not be an egoist. Individualists promote the exercise of one’s goals and desires and so independence and self-reliance while opposing most external interference upon one’s choices, whether by society, or any other group or institution.

Individualism makes the individual its focus and so it starts “with the fundamental premise that the human individual is of primary importance in the struggle for liberation.” Human rights and freedom are the substance of these theories. Liberalism, existentialism and anarchism are examples of movements that take the human individual as a central unit of analysis.

It has also been used as a term denoting “The quality of being an individual; individuality” related to possessing “An individual characteristic.” Individualism is thus also associated with artistic and bohemian interests and lifestyles where there is a tendency towards self creation and experimentation as opposed to tradition or popular mass opinions and behaviors as so also with philosophical positions and ethics.

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