What is individualism? I cannot say it any better than Ayn Rand herself. “An individualist is a man who says: ‘I will not run anyone’s life – nor let anyone run mine. I will not rule nor be ruled. I will not be a master nor a slave. I will not sacrifice myself to anyone – nor sacrifice anyone to myself. ‘” Individualism starts at the indivisible. The last reduction to the last indivisible portion – you.
Why is individualism important? Again, I turn to another author to offer a better answer. Joseph Brodsky, Poet Laureate of the United States and a Nobel Prize recipient. In a 1984 commencement address he stated, “By the same token, the surest defense against Evil is extreme individualism, originality of thinking, whimsicality, even—if you will—eccentricity. That is, something that can’t be feigned, faked, imitated; something even a seasoned impostor couldn’t be happy with. Something, in other words, that can’t be shared, like your own skin—not even by a minority. Evil is a sucker for solidity. It always goes for big numbers, for confident granite, for ideological purity, for drilled armies and balanced sheets. Its proclivity for such things has to do presumably with its innate insecurity, but this realization, again, is of small comfort when Evil triumphs.”