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Placing Me Before We in Ayn Rand’s Anthem

Placing Me Before We in Ayn Rand’s Anthem

Ayn Rand’s classic story of one man’s desire to become an individual in a nameless society presents a compelling refutation of collectivism in all forms. The hero, labeled “Equality 7-2521” by the State, chooses to challenge conventional authority as he learns the joys of experimentation and discovery, the ecstasy of human love, the challenge and fairness of liberty, and the happiness of self-interest. Equality 7-2521 writes three unique phrases in his journal: 1. “My happiness needs no higher aim to vindicate it. My happiness is not the means to an end. It is the end.”, 2. “We know that we are evil, but there is no will in us and no power to resist it.”, 3. “The word ‘We’ . . . must never be placed first within man’s soul.”. These phrases will be discussed individually in the remainder of this essay.

1. “My happiness needs no higher aim to vindicate it. My happiness is not the means to an end. It is the end.”

In the tale, this thought drives the entire actions of Equality 7-2521 as he progresses in his attempt to become an individual. His happiness is not satisfied when he must share it universally with all men. Not every man can be as happy as the next, and therefore the forced brotherhood of all men will only deplete the spirits of those who are successful. In Anthem, Rand tells of Equality’s joy when he “discovers” electricity. At that moment he knows that the joy of discovery is only his to relish, and that it cannot be shared or manipulated by any other man. In that regard, his own well-being is the end of his striving; he has fulfilled his wishes. To say that his happiness was only the means to, say, world peace would be to abolish his status …

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… by individuals who had some self-interest at heart. However, the creator of a product is justly entitled to his own happiness, and therefore it is at his discretion that his invention is distributed. One who creates a great thing cannot be forced to share it with mankind unless he desires. In most cases, it is in the self-interest of the originator that his creation be distributed freely.

Thus, man is no longer a free man when he thinks of the group’s interest above his own. It is fine for someone to be compassionate, but it is foolish to place the happiness of anyone else in front of your own. When men choose to follow groupthink, they forfeit their identities, and the end result is a world without freedom or creativity.

Mankind is composed of sovereign individuals, and each person only has one obligation to self: think of “me” before “we.”

Free Terrorism Essays: We Need the United Nations

We Need the United Nations in Our War Against Terror

The United Nations has often been criticized, but events after the terrorist attack of September 11 show how essential it is to international peace and security. The United Nations Security Council, in particular, has proved its value in the present crisis.

To combat terrorism, and specifically Osama bin Laden’s network and the governments of Iran, Iraq, North Korea and other countries, a broad and diverse coalition is necessary. President Bush quickly realized that the active cooperation of other countries, including Muslim countries, was essential to the intelligence and policy work needed to find terrorists and destroy their networks. The support of these countries was also important to avoid a severe political backlash against the use of military force in Afghanistan.

To secure such cooperation and support, country-by-country negotiations were necessary, but they were not sufficient. The campaign against terrorism needed to be rendered legitimate in the eyes of the world – particularly in countries whose governments and people are suspicious of the United States. Unilateral American action could have too easily been portrayed as lashing-out by the powerful “hegemon” at the expense of the poor and the weak.

To be legitimate, action had to be authorized collectively, in a public forum representing the whole world. No such forum exists except the Security Council of the United Nations. Its fifteen members currently include three Muslim countries – Bangladesh, Mali, and Tunisia. Hence unanimous resolutions by the Security Council belie the claim that efforts against terrorism are “anti-Muslim.”

The Security Council has passed two unanimous resolutions on terrorism since September 11. Meeting in New York the very next day, it adopted Resolution 1368, which unequivocally condemned the terrorist attacks on the United States, and called on the international community to redouble its “efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts.” Resolution 1368 also referred to the “inherent right of individual or collective self-defense,” in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. In effect, it declared that military action by the United States against those responsible for the attacks would be lawful.

Last Friday, September 28, the Security Council passed a more specific and equally far-reaching resolution, Resolution 1373. In this resolution it acted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which gives the Security Council authority to order states to carry out “the measures decided upon by the Security Council.

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