So writes Firmin DeBrabander, who is a philosophy prof at the Maryland Institute College of Art, in the corner of the NYT called "The Stone," which calls itself "a forum for contemporary philosophers on issues both timely and timeless."
I'm not familiar with Firmin DeBrabander but I would like to know if he extends his principle generally to all of the individual rights currently protected in the various interpretations that have emanated from the Supreme Court.
Does our abortion culture/free speech culture promote a fatal slide into extreme individualism? Do abortion rights/free speech rights foster a society of atomistic individuals, isolated before power — and one another. Would Professor DeBrabander say that abortion rights and free speech rights are not freedom but the opposite?
Let me offer a bonus literary reading to sharpen the question. It's from a famous book. I've added some boldface to stress things relevant to DeBrabander's philosophy:
"You are thinking... that my face is old and tired. You are thinking that I talk of power, and yet I am not even able to prevent the decay of my own body. Can you not understand, Winston, that the individual is only a cell? The weariness of the cell is the vigour of the organism. Do you die when you cut your fingernails?...
"We are the priests of power.... God is power. But at present power is only a word so far as you are concerned. It is time for you to gather some idea of what power means. The first thing you must realise is that power is collective. The individual only has power in so far as he ceases to be an individual. You know the Party slogan: "Freedom is Slavery." Has it ever occurred to you that it is reversible? Slavery is freedom. Alone— free — the human being is always defeated. It must be so, because every human being is doomed to die, which is the greatest of all failures. But if he can make complete, utter submission, if he can escape from his identity, if he can merge himself in the Party so that he is the Party, then he is all-powerful and immortal. The second thing for you to realise is that power is power over human beings. Over the body— but, above all, over the mind....
"We control matter because we control the mind. Reality is inside the skull. You will learn by degrees, Winston. There is nothing that we could not do. Invisibility, levitation— anything. I could float off this floor like a soap bubble if I wished to...."