What is the worth of an individual? Is William Shakespeare more valuable as a human being than the single mother who works two jobs to provide for her family? Is a farmer more valuable than a doctor? Or a teacher? Obviously, these questions are impossible to answer fully. The fluidity of human existence mandates that the answer given be: It depends. It depends on proximity to circumstances and one’s perspective, and, among other considerations, the criteria used to determine the measurement.
Logically, it follows that any other conclusions reached in pursuing these inquiries would invariably be wrong and mutable under varying criteria, or from a distinct, separate perspective. Thus, we swiftly reach the very essence of what makes us human–our own individuality. The disparate combination of genealogical heritage, environmental influences, and personal synaptic connections and interruptions that comprise each of our beings are never presented in exactly the same manner in any two instances. We are, each of us, unique. Short of widespread cloning, there appears to be no feasible way to eradicate this particular phenomenon.
Government, by its very nature, cannot countenance the individual. Government is for the collective. Individuals are dangerous. Individuals can be radical. They can be outspoken against particular policies, or government officials in general.
“We must abolish the cult of the individual decisively, once and for all” — Nikita Khrushchev1
“What a free society offers to the individual is much more than what he would be able to do if only he were free.” — Friedrich August Hayek2
There cannot be two more diametrically opposed philosophies in all of the discussions ever held on government. These two expressions denote the poles of thought regarding all human institutions. The demarcation between the two is complete; they are mutually exclusive.
- Ibid … Friedrich August Hayek …