Each individual is his own person with a universe of thoughts, emotions, biology, and experience unto himself. Each person is a miracle who will not be replicated in the history of the universe.
Joy, love, sadness, and even anger, all are legitimate emotions that each person possesses. Each person has a psyche, which is the Greek term for both a mind and a soul.
When I look into the eyes of a child, I see a unique person blessed with a special set of gifts. A little boy or girl adventuring out into the world, someone who is irreplaceable and precious. I want him to do the most with his life that he can, well-provided with opportunities to learn and grow, with the maximum amount of personal challenge and the necessary support to develop into an intelligent and self-reliant adult.
But leftists see a child as yet another dependent, someone to be molded and created in their own image, someone to be brought up to be yet another member of a group: the “community,” the “tribe,” even “the nation.” All children equal, none individual, none struggling to be excellent and therefore none superior or inferior. Faceless, nameless people to be managed from a centralized government far away.
The more centralized and bureaucratized the government, the more abstract the individual becomes. He becomes an instrument of the elites to perpetuate their own power and advance their political causes. His will, his self-interest, becomes pitted in a zero-sum game with the ruling class, with ever-creeping coercion stealing away ever more of the individual’s right to self-rule.
Collectivism and individualism are the most fundamental dueling ideologies of our age. Whether it be nationalism, socialism, or any other form of collectivism on one side, and a Constitutional government sanctifying the individual’s right to life, liberty, and property on the other, the dilemma is the same: Who decides the course of the individual’s life?
Democracy, the great political watchword of the West, is a form of majority rule that suppresses the minority, especially whom Ayn Rand called the greatest “minority” – the individual.
When combined with increasing social engineering, through state-run education, “non-profit” agencies, and influence over media, “democracy” becomes transformed over time not into an expression of the collective will, which is bad enough; but a slavish extension of the rulers’ will over individuals.
As collectivist government seeks to impose its will on a people, it insists that all individuals are rigidly members of “groups,” and attempts to isolate and alienate those who do not conform. The individual who expresses himself and endeavors to live his life in pursuit of truth and excellence, regardless of group esteem, eventually becomes ostracized; if not socially, then legally. Those who challenge the group or the government are termed “radicals” or “extremists” for wanting to live their own lives without interference.
Autonomy is something the group cannot tolerate. The individual belongs to the group and its enforcement arm – the state.
The country’s turn to collectivism has profound consequences, as we see with the socialized healthcare bill ridiculously upheld by the Supreme Court. The individual becomes a mere tool of “society” to advance the goals set by the leaders.
Over time, an individual’s behavior can “justifiably” be micromanaged in any way the ruling class sees fit; whether or not he smokes, what he eats, what car he drives, and how much soda he is allowed to imbibe. For the individual in a collectivist society, there is no limit to manipulation by the government.
Ultimately, whether or not politicians violate our individual rights depends on the culture, and how we the people hold elected officials accountable. Politicians who fear the citizens’ wrath are far less liable to provoke it.