Individual/Human Being

 


 

[1791]  Wilhelm von Humboldt,  The Limits of State Action, Liberty Fund, Indianapolis, 1993

-  "In the physical world, the State does not blow up every rock that lies in the wayfarer's path. Obstacles stimulate energy, and sharpen wits; only those which arise from human injustice are uselessly restrictive." (p. 93)

 

[1863]  Nikolai Chernyshevsky,  What Is to Be Done? Tales about new people, Virago Press, London, 1982

-  "... you ask me what I seek in life. I wish neither to dominate nor to be dominated. I wish neither to dissimulate nor deceive; nor do I wish to exert myself to acquire what I am told is necessary, but of which do not feel the need. I do not desire wealth; why should I seek it? I've never moved in social circles and don't know what it means to be glamorous. I just have no interest in this sort of thing at all. Why should I sacrifice anything for a brilliant position only because someone else considers it desirable? I wish to be independent and live in my own fashion. What I need I feel that I have the strength to earn; what I do not need I do not desire. You say that I am young, inexperienced, and that I shall change with time; that remains to be seen. For the present I have no concern with the wealth and splendor of the world."
"What I do know is that I wish to be free; that I do not wish to be under obligations to any one. I wish to act after my own fancy. Let others do the same. I respect the liberty of others, as I wish them to respect mine." (p. 40)

-  "What are called elevated sentiments, ideal aspirations, all that, in the general course of affairs, is absolutely null, and is eclipsed by individual interest; these very sentiments are nothing but self-interest clearly understood." (p. 81)

 

[1941]  Erich Fromm,  Escape from Freedom (published in 1942 in England as : Fear of Freedom), Routledge, London, 1960

-  "The future of democracy depends on the realization of the individualism that has been the ideological aim of modern thought since the Renaissance."
"The victory of freedom is possible only if democracy develops into a society in which the individual, his growth and happiness, is the aim and purpose of culture, in which life does not need any justification in success or anything else, and in which the individual is not subordinated to or manipulated by any power outside himself, be it the State or the economic machine." (p. 233)

 

[1944]  F. A. Hayek,  The Road to Serfdom, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1986

-  "Not merely nineteenth- and eighteenth-century liberalism, but the basic individualism inherited by us from Erasmus and Montaigne, from Cicero and Tacitus, from Pericles and Thucydides is progressively relinquished." (p. 10)

  -  "Individualism has a bad name to-day and the term has come to be connected with egotism and selfishness. But the individualism of which we speak in contrast to socialism and all other forms of collectivism has no necessary connection with these." (p. 10)

 

[1945]  Bertrand de Jouvenel,  On Power : its nature and the history of its growth (Du pouvoir : histoire naturelle de sa croissance), Liberty Press, Indianapolis, 1993

-  "The hypotheses about the 'natural man' formulated by both Hobbes and Rousseau are one and all rejected by anthropology. He is in fact neither so brutal nor so innocent as they made out." (p. 90)

 

 [1953]  Robert A. Nisbet,  Community & Power, (formerly : The Quest for Community), Oxford University Press, New York, 1962

  -  "The theme of the individual uprooted, without status, struggling for revelations of meaning, seeking fellowship in some kind of moral community, is as recurrent in our age as was, in an earlier age, that of the individual's release from the pressure of certainty, of his triumph over tribal or communal laws of conformity." (p. 11)

-  "Not the free individual but the lost individual; not independence but isolation; not self-discovery but self-obsession; not to conquer but to be conquered: these are major states of mind in contemporary imaginative literature." (p. 12)

 

[1957]  Ayn Rand,  Atlas Shrugged, Signet Books, New York, 1957

-  "Every man build his world in his own image .... He has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of choice. If he abdicates his power, he abdicates the status of man, and the grinding chaos of the irrational is what he achieves as his sphere of existence - by his own choice. Whoever preserves a single thought uncorrupted by any concession to the will of others, whoever brings into reality a matchstick or a patch of garden made in the image of his thought - he, and to that extent, is a man, and that extent is the sole measure of his virtue." (pp. 735-736)

 

[1980]  Milton Friedman and Rose Friedman,  Free to Choose, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1983

-  "... the broad meaning ... must be attached to the concept of 'self-interest'. Narrow preoccupation with the economic market has led to a narrow interpretation of self-interest as myopic selfishness, as exclusive concern with immediate material reward." "That is a great mistake. Self-interest is not myopic selfishness. It is whatever it is that interests the participants, whatever they value, whatever goals they pursue." (p. 47)