If you believe that the community is more intelligent and capable than you alone, then why wouldn't you choose the community over your self, why wouldn't you value the community over yourself?
If you believe it is your lifeblood, that it is vital, then why wouldn't you sacrifice yourself for it if it provides all these shelters and protections, and many advantages for both you and your family and children and children's children into the future?
Freedom Vs. Security
Which do you choose? Which is the rational choice? Which is the better investment?
[Statement about Rand removed until it is replaced with a quote or given a source. -- GP]
You are free to contradict me where I am inaccurate, I welcome it.
I see two significant philosophical issues in this question:
(1) Value of the social form of existence; and
(2) Second-hander's approach versus independent thinking.
Ayn Rand discusses these issues in VOS, Chapter 1 (pp. 35-36 in the Signet paperback edition):
It is only on the basis of rational selfishness -- on the basis of justice -- that men can be fit to live together in a free, peaceful, prosperous, benevolent, rational society.
The question expresses "being community-driven if you believe the community knows best," but the questioner doesn't mention how or why one would know or believe that. If all one does is surrender to whatever the "community" tells him is true and tells him to do, without any independent thought of his own, he won't actually be able to produce very much for the benefit of either the "community" or himself. Productiveness depends on rationality, i.e., independent rational judgment. Submerging one's mind in a "collective sea" of others' beliefs, feelings and ideas leaves one at the mercy of forces that one will not understand and will not know when or how to oppose if warranted. In general, trying to do whatever others do without much thought leaves one vulnerable to all sorts of errors and intentional perversions by others; it leaves one unable to know whose example is safe to follow and whose isn't and why. And safety is not to be found in the mere numbers of people who believe the same thing; shared beliefs, whether rational or not, are philosophically induced. Without independent thinking, one cannot identify the philosophical principles that underly common beliefs, and cannot judge whether those principles are valid. The idea of validity itself becomes displaced by "collective consensus" as the only test of veracity, and the philosophical roots of consensus become completely obscured and beyond the reach of all but a select few who choose to deal with philosphical fundamentals to shape the collective. The Fountainhead dramatizes the second-hander's approach and its debilitating consequences in vivid detail and variety. Refer also to the topics of "Society" and "Social System" in The Ayn Rand Lexicon.
In America today, in particular, it is becoming increasingly and urgently critical for independent thinkers everywhere to comprehend what the influence of bad philosophy has been doing to this country, and where it will ultimately lead if the trend is not reversed. Simply "following the crowd" will not save or protect anyone for long. Entire societies can perish; they are not automatically assured of enduring indefinitely without an explicitly identified, proper philosophical foundation.
answered May 30 '12 at 02:51
Ideas for Life ♦