For the past 100 years or so there has been an ideological struggle dividing the United States. On one side are those who believe that each and every individual is the most important political entity. On the other side are those that believe the needs of the individual must be subservient to the needs of the group, whether the group consist of those of a certain race, religion, economic class, or political ideology.
For most of the history of the human race the needs of the individual were subservient to those of the group. The United States is the only nation that is firmly built on the notion that each and every individual has equal value, and are all politically equal, with equal rights. This philosophical difference with the rest of the world produced enormously positive results which are explained in this Townhall article Americans Must Bring Back Individual Freedom and Individual Responsibility
In order for the US to become the largest, most prosperous economy in the world, there were essentially four principles that were followed. The principles were 1) individual freedom, 2) individual responsibility, 3) low rates of taxation and 4) a limited role for government.
Despite the overwhelmingly positive results achieved by the United Sates because of the emphasis on individualism, progressives have been steadily turning this nation into a nation where collectivism reigns over individualism.
Ayn Rand was one of the greatest spokespersons for individualism. Here is how she defines that crucial concept in The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism
Individualism regards man – every man – as an independent, sovereign entity who possesses an inalienable right to his own life, a right derived from his nature as a rational being. Individualism holds that a civilized society, or any form of association, cooperation or peaceful co-existence among men, can be achieved only on the basis of the recognition of individual rights – and that a group, as such, has no rights other than the individual rights of its members.
Ayn Rand was as harsh a critic of collectivism as she was an ardent champion of individualism. Here is how she defines collectivism in this quote from The Objectivist Newsletter, August 1962, 35.
The political expression of altruism is collectivism or statism, which holds that man’s life and work belong to the state—to society, to the group, the gang, the race, the nation—and that the state may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good
It has been maintained by those who do not properly understand individualism that living and functioning in a society means that you must surrender your individualism. Ayn Rand sets the record straight through a speech by the character John Galt in Atlas Shrugged.
Individualism is not opposed to living in society, so long as one is free from the initiation of force by others. Individualism is not opposed to one living in society as a trader; it is opposed to one living as a slave. Individualism holds that it is much better for a human being to live on a deserted island than to live in a society where one is nothing more than a serf ready to be sacrificed to the altar of the “public good.”
Because of their very dramatic lurch to the left the Democratic Party has firmly embraced collectivism. Originally the Republican Party strongly believed in individualism, now too many in the establishment embrace a softer version of collectivism when it comes to many issues.
The sanctity of property rights is one of the fundamental issues for individualists, and any money earned through work is the sole property of individual doing the work. Collectivists believe that all property and money earned belongs to the community. Because taxes are not collected voluntarily, individualists believe taxation is theft, and collectivists believe surrendering a large percentage of money earned is the duty of every member of society.
Individualists believe that they alone are responsible for providing for their healthcare. Collectivists believe they have the right to confiscate the money of some to provide for the healthcare of others. Collectivists also believe that they can use government provided healthcare as an instrument to control behavior and government healthcare should be mandatory.
Individualists believe the same about healthcare as they do about retirement income and money to live on. Collectivists believe they have the right to confiscate money for social security and welfare from others.
Freedom of Speech is another issue that divides individualists and collectivists. Individualists such as myself are very rabid opponents of political correctness
Individualists believe the Right of Conscience is sacred. Collectivists believe that they can use the coercion of government to force others to violate their Right of Conscience.
Free Exercise of Religion is championed by individualists while the mythical separation of church and state is crammed down the thoughts of everyone by collectivists.
It is so obvious which position is championed by which side when it comes to the Right to Life and abortion. The life of every individual is sacred.
Individualists believe every individual has the right to use guns to protect their lives, their loved ones, their property, and their rights. Collectivists believe only members of the government have the right to possess weapons.
Identity politics is the lowest form of collectivism. Grouping everyone by race, sex, sexual orientation, or other classification and setting the groups against each other for political gains is wrong. Treating everyone as a unique individual with the same value and dignity is far superior.
Only a return to individualism will return the United Sates to its previous status as the freest and most prosperous nation that ever existed. We must vote wisely in 2020.