Greg Swann emails to give me some input on my last post, Serving Ideals.
Regarding individualism versus collectivism, it is more precise, I think, to speak of anti-individualism. Collectivism is a nice catch-all, but although Abel doesn’t necessarily always pursue collective ends, he is always opposed to individualism. Consider a cloistered nun, for example. The altruists would argue that her objective is selfish, but no one who understands the self would call her an egoist. Collectivism is a form of anti-individualism, and it is a very potent form because it is so hard to argue against. Environmentalism is another hard-to-argue-against form of anti-individualism that doesn’t even have any thing to do with people, either singly or in groups. The point of every superficially varied form of anti-individualism is simply that, an opposition to egoism that the advocate hopes is incontrovertible. To paraphrase Ayn Rand, roping her into my own metaphor: Abel doesn’t want to live. He wants for Cain to be prevented from living as he chooses, guided only by his own rational choices. It truly is a war against the mind as it really is. There is no way that Abel can win this war, not without killing every Cain, down to the last mind.