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{HOOK: Something about dystopian movie. Borg?

(Basically a depiction of the evils of collective


thinking}
[Include: Talk about collectivism in other countries. Example of what it looks like in a world
where individualism is NOT emphasized- Venezuela, Cuba, Russia? Or dstopia?]
Libertarians are concerned not just with liberty, but with individual liberty, with the unique
pursuits and actions of individual agents.
Individual liberty is important because each person should be treated with respect. We ought to
recognize the dignity of each individual person. We recognize that dignity when we respect the
choices that persons make, when we leave people free to choose.

[Start with positive - why is the individual important as a unit? Maybe something here about
dignity and respect? Religious types believe that individuals were created in Gods image.
Secular types take this to mean that humans are endowed with a dignity that stems from their
free will or their freedom to choose, and that respecting someones dignity as a person requires
that we respect their freedom to make choices on their own.]
Individualism tells us that the rules we set up, and the laws we are to follow, should not address
or conceive of us as members of a collective or community. They should address us as
individual agents.
We should not be hauled before a court for the crimes of our mother or father. We should not be
punished for the actions of other people, even if they are our close friends or members of a
community that matters deeply and profoundly to us.
This means we are to be regarded as individual agents, responsible for our own actions, not the
actions of others, and accountable for what we do.
Individualism is not the view that we are atoms, unconnected with community or with others. It is
perfectly consistent to be an individualist, but to believe that who we are and what we do is
strongly, deeply influenced by others, by our families, our friends, our neighbours, and the
communities of which we are a part.
It also recognizes the possibility that each of us can choose our own communities. Despite
being born into a family of sailors, for example, theres no reason to think that we ought to
prevent you from becoming a land-lover, who prefers the joys of skateboarding to those of
sailing the open seas.
Thats true too for things that matter more, like the choice of what religion you belong to. Maybe
you are born to a Protestant, or a Roman Catholic family. Maybe you are born into an Amish
community. But being born into those communities does not mean that you should not have a

choice about whether or not to stay in those communities. You might be happy there, but you
might not. An emphasis on individualism tells us that, once you reach the age of reason and
become an adult, your family and community cannot keep you from pursuing your happiness in
your own way. Even if that means you pack your bags and say good bye to the Protestant,
Catholic, or Amish way of life.
To be sure, these communities should be free to pursue their customs, traditions, and to live
their communal lives according to their beliefs. But what individualism tells us is that they cannot
conscript anyone into service. You cannot make other people members of your community. And
you cannot keep members of your community from leaving if they dont want to be a part of your
community any longer.
You should be free to make those kinds of choices for yourself. You should be free to choose
not just what you do, but who you do it with. You should be thought of and treated as an
independent individual.
[Conclusion- tie it back to the beginning.]