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Collectivism – the subjugation of the individual to the group – whether to a race, class, or state does not matter. In Anthem, Ayn Rand will present a collectivist society that is stagnant and primitive, and the word "I" is obsolete.

The individual . . .

is owned by the group

has no right to a private existence

has no right to lead his own life, pursue his own happiness, or use his own property

exists only as part of the group

Slide 7

Collectivism vs. Individualism

Collectivism vs. Individualism

Individualism/Objectivism – regards every man as an independent, sovereign entity who possesses an inalienable right to his own life, a right derived from his nature as a rational being. Individualism does not mean that one can do whatever he feels like doing; it means that every man or woman is an individual and has the same rights.

The individual . . .

has rights

will not run anyone else’s life, nor let anyone run theirs

will not rule or be ruled

will not be a master nor a slave

will not sacrifice themselves to anyone, nor sacrifice anyone to themselves

Slide 8



Anthem dramatizes the view that the self is destroyed in a collectivist society.

Selflessness is shown in the following ways:

No one has a personal name because under collectivism, individuals are interchangeable.

To prefer one person over another (as a friend or romantic partner) is committing the cardinal sin known as the “Transgression of Preference.”

It is wrong to disagree, to have independent thoughts, or to ask questions because these things will set you apart from others.

Self-assertion is forbidden.

All decisions are made by the “Council” in the name of the whole.

Individuals have no rights.

Everything which is not permitted by the law is forbidden.

Slide 9

Selflessness (cont’d)

Selflessness (cont’d)

Anthem depicts what happens to a society that implements selflessness. The result is what Ayn Rand believes is a subhuman society; what makes human beings human is having a self, which means having a mind.

A selfless individual is a mindless individual.

To practice selflessness, one must abstain from thinking and obey one’s masters. One must merge himself into the group and obliterate the individual identity. The result is a society of mindless robots as found in Anthem.

Slide 10

Free Will

Free Will

When people have free will, they can make choices, make up their own mind, makes decisions, and can direct their own lives by the ideas and values they adopt.

In Anthem all the characters actually have free will, although most will believe that they do not. It appears that all the individuals are brainwashed, with no power to control their own lives.

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