It seems to me, the egoist demands liberty for himself but slavery for everyone else, while the individualist seeks liberty for everyone else and self control for herself. There is a tension that is inherent in egoism that results from this underlying conflict. The egoist demands from others that which he is unwilling to give. Individualism however lacks the conflict since the individualist demands of himself more than he demands from others. This vein in human relations passes through many other qualities of personality. Moreover, it has profound implications in the wealth of a society, it’s civility and social cohesion. Sadly, egoists seek political power to assuage their egos, while individualists humbly seek to live their lives in peace. This is why government is such a destructive force, those who should be in power are not and those who should not be, are.
Egoism is an immature human trait that has held humanity back since the dawn of time. Sociopathy and psychopathy are extreme forms of egoism but not the only ones. Egoism takes many forms. The egoist need not be unbalanced only selfish. The “great men” of the ancients had egoism in common. An emperor will invade a peaceful neighbor killing thousands, a king will execute a subject for something he does all the time, an aristocrat will order someone flogged for an inadvertent insult, and a bureaucrat will charge and fine or imprison someone for violating an arcane impossible to know regulation that the bureaucrat made up that afternoon, all without a spec of sympathy, remorse or humanity.
We are born egoists and slowly grow out of that immature state to the wisdom of adulthood by the efforts of our parents and society. Of the two however, parents and family life are the biggest positive factor in our maturing. Philosophers have described the maturing effect of family life since the time of Socrates and Confucius. The destruction of the family has shown some of it’s pernicious effects in the rise in the percentage of the population that are egoists. With the rise in the population that are egoists, social cohesion must fail, our economy can only be depressed and our governments naturally become tyrannical.
Individualism on the other hand is a mature state of being. The individualist is tolerant because she seeks tolerance of herself, he is forgiving since he wishes to be forgiven, she is compassionate because she understands people are flawed including herself and he is honest since he wants others to be honest with him. The individualist seeks to be left alone and doesn’t seek power over others. It is learned in the family environment. We each learn to get along with our siblings by the give and take that family life demands. The actions that betray egoism are discouraged by our parents. Lying, stealing, fighting, etc… are all things immature children do. Those actions are punished by good parents teaching children not to be selfish but tolerant.
The vein of holding others to a higher standard than oneself, exposes itself when those with no tolerance demand their evil actions not only be tolerated, but appeased. An egoist will demand their antisocial, selfish and even violent actions be tolerated by others, while at the same time being intolerant of anything she doesn’t like, even the most virtuous actions. Simply demanding tolerance for the intolerable actions of an egoist is not enough but the rest of us must participate. Like the Mapplethorpe exhibits that were intended to offend Christians. Christian individualists tolerated that the exhibit existed but were upset that they were made to pay for it. Meanwhile those who forced Christians to pay to be offended, demand they not be offended by Christianity, let alone pay to promote it.
Political power is to the egoist as heroin is to a heroin addict. The egoist is an immature small person, who holds himself to a very low standard, if indeed he holds himself to any standard at all. Yet the egoist demands everyone else toe the line and will use violence to force tolerance and even participation in their childish antisocial actions. Government is the perfect place where the egoist can get her wants met. The coercive power of government allows the egoist to enforce her own twisted desires on the rest of society. The government’s monopoly on violence gives the egoist the security to apply violence to anyone who seeks independence from the egoist’s will. That is why government is such a powerful force for destruction, economic, social and civil, governments are populated by egoists and shunned by individualists. The exact opposite of what would form good government.