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The part and the whole

November 6, 2015

The interests, rights, and welfare of the individual must always be placed above those of society.

Consider Darwin’s finches. They did not develop specialization as a result of an inter-island avian conference, at which the best beak shapes for their various habitats were designed through mutual consultation. Instead, at some point in their history, one bird was born with an oddly-shaped beak as a result of a cosmic ray striking his genetic code or another similar accident. This accident gave him a competitive advantage over his fellows when feeding. As a result, he was stronger and faster than they were. He was also more successful at passing down his altered genes to his offspring, some of whom inherited the same beak shape. It made them more successful in their turn, and over time, the new shape replaced the old – because of a random change affecting a single individual.

Evolution and innovation can only occur as the result of actions at the individual level. Anything which interferes with individual inclinations, such as the collective will of a society, is a hindrance to human discovery and learning, and thus a disadvantage for humanity as a whole. Fred Hoyle once wrote that he could conceive of no man so selfish as to put his own interests above those of the human race. In reality, that paradox never arises. The desires of the individual are always identical with the best interests of humanity, because they result in the greatest gains for humanity over time.

Water is composed of two elements, hydrogen and oxygen. Take a cup of water and split its molecules apart by means of electrolysis. The water ceases to exist; the elements of which it was composed remain. Reunite them, and the water springs back into existence. The analogy between the water and a human society is an exact one. A society cannot exist separately from its component parts. The individuals of which it is made up, however, continue to exist regardless of whether or not they are incorporated into it. If the existence of society is dependent upon the prior existence of individuals, and is only a byproduct of their existence, which is the base state, the normal condition, of humanity?

Individuality is one of the defining characteristics of humanity. Socialization is not.


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