Let’s start with what methodological individualism is not. It has nothing to do with “rugged individualism.” It is not ideology at all. It is a term that describes the essential nature of human thought and action. It is a bedrock principle on which Mises grounds his entire exposition of economics.
.. only individuals act, “group action” means nothing more than the concerted actions of individual group members. Yet we constantly hear people talking in ways which imply that groups in and of themselves really do act..
The language of group action gets serious with politics. The very first sentence of the U.S. Constitution, which declares that “We the People” established it, is simply a myth. A few select individuals voted it into existence, and they’re all dead. We might like the Constitution very much and wish the politicians would obey it, but in no way does that leadoff sentence morally bind anyone alive today.
It gets really serious when warfare is involved. It may be a convenient shortcut when a U.S. citizen says, “We are sending drones into Pakistan.” But the corrosive implication is that all of us Americans are somehow responsible for the actions of the CIA operatives and others who actually send in the drones.
.. I submit that our social and business relations are more satisfying for us and for those around us when we are grounded in the recognition of each individual as the source of his or her own actions. We are more likely to find people we can admire and trust and less likely to get mixed up with fools.