Anarchic Individualism and Collectivism

“Society does not speak of the matter of the one and the many; most people are ignorant of the problem, even though it is basic to all life and thought. But because of man’s failure to solve the problem, society is caught between anarchic individualism and anarchic collectivism. Philosophy of recent years has abandoned the battlefield. The problem of the one and the many may be avoided in the classroom, pulpit, and press, but it cannot be avoided in life. The question remains: which has primacy and priority. Is the state more important than the individual, or does the individual have a reality which the state does not possess? What is the locus of Christianity, the believer or the church? Does marriage have a reality which makes its condition mandatory irrespective of the conditions of the husband and wife, or do the person in the marriage take priority, in their wishes, over the idea of marriage? Is education to be geared to the development of the individual or to the welfare of society? This points us to the ontological trinity as the answer to the problem of the one and the many. Immediately we have a distinction which does not exist in non-Christian thought: we have a temporal one and many in the created universe, and we have an eternal One- and-Many in the ontological trinity, an absolute and self-complete unity…Since both the one and the many are equally ultimate in God, it immediately becomes apparent that these two seemingly contradictory aspects of being do not cancel one another but are equally basic to the ontological trinity, one God, three persons. Again, since temporal unity and plurality are the products and creation of this triune God, neither the unity nor the plurality can demand the sacrifice of the other to itself. Thus, man and government are equally aspects of created reality. The locus of Christianity is both the believer and the church; they are not independent of or prior to one another. The wishes of the husband and wife do not take priority over marriage, nor does the institution of marriage have primacy over the partners to it…Education must be geared both to the individual and to society, but above all, to God. (emphasis in original)”

Rushdoony, The One and The Many, Thoburn Press, Fairfax, Virginia, 1971, pp. 362-363; 8

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