Ayn Rand's Anthem: Collectivism in America

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The word collectivism often makes people cringe. Overall, there is a general fear of not being able to make personal decisions in America. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, collectivism can be defined as; emphasis on collective rather than individual action or identity (“Collectivism”). In Anthem, Ayn Rand describes an extreme collectivist society. Although Anthem’s society seems extremely surreal, aspects of its collectivist society closely mirror today’s society. By its use of majority rule, America’s democracy models a collectivist society. Take elections for an example. Although, Americans vote individually, the decision ultimately is based on the country as a whole. The use of majority rule relates to the representation of the ideas of the masses rather than the ideas of the individuals. As expected, there is always a number of people who disagree with the majority's opinions. Disagreement is frowned upon, which Andrew P. Naplitano highlights in his book, It Is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom. Due to America's use of the majority rule, this title often holds true. Similarly, it is a problem to disagree with the government in the novella Anthem. In this novella, the government is represented by a House of Scholars. Consider this quote, "And if the Councils had decreed that you should be a Street Sweeper, how dared you think that you could be of greater use to men than in sweeping the streets" (Rand 71-72). This quote is stated by Collective 0-0009, one of the members of the World Council of Scholars. Meant to resemble America's president, Collective 0-0009, tells the protagonist, Equality 7-2521, that he best not disagree with the ... ... middle of paper ... ...cal, the government places the country before the individuals. As a result, the government often makes decisions for its individuals. Anthem is fantastical, though not extreme. In fact, who knows if America may end up like the society in Anthem? And how far away is this predicted outcome? Works Cited “Collectivism.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2013. Jones, Kyler. “Collectivism - the opposite of Individualism and America.” Science Leadership Academy. Science Leadership Academy, 13 May 2011. Web. 19 Dec. 2013. Napolitano, Andrew P. It Is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom. USA: Tomas Nelson, 2011. Print. Rand, Ayn. Anthem. New York: Penguin Group, 1961. Print. "The Standards." Common Core State Standards Initiative. Common Core State Standards Initiative, n.d. Web. 23 Dec. 2013.

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