In attempting to end our current authoritarian regime and to re-assert individual rights, it might be useful to discover how individuals ever triumphed over authoritarianism in the first place. It is a journey that can take us back to biblical days.
Individualism arose from the collective, not the other way round, asserts our guest Salim Mansur. It arose when individuals began to question authority, a theme illustrated by the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Having eaten fruit from the ‘tree of knowledge,’ that knowledge itself produced the phenomenon and recognition of free will and individual choice.
It is a mistake to speak of individualism as if it stands in complete isolation from any collective (not to be confused with collectivism). Paradoxically the terms ‘individualism’ and ‘individual rights’ have absolutely no meaning or context without some identifiable collective against which they can be contrasted – and which enshrines those values as being fundamental to that collective.
Today, many nations, provinces, and other jurisdictions no longer protect or defend the very individual rights that once justified their democratic and legal authority. Instead, their politicians and governments routinely violate these rights. They have apparently discovered that throughout history, fear has been the successful pretext for abridging individual freedom, and it is no different today.