Today, many believe the individual exists to contribute to the collective good of government/society.
It is the later philosophy that has given us the stimulus package, taking the earnings of individuals via taxation to redistribute in an effort to boost the collective economy for all. It is at the core of ObamaCare. It was the thinking that gave us Kelo v. New London.
The city fathers of New London believed that the greater good of the community was served by taking the homes of individuals and deeding it over to developers who would build businesses that would pay higher taxes; therefore, achieving a greater good for government/society. The U.S. Supreme Court said this comported with the letter of the Fifth Amendment. It surely did not comply with its basic spirit.
The concept of collective good being superior to individual ambition was voiced by then-candidate Barack Obama in his 2008 commencement address to the graduating class of Wesleyan University:
“It’s because you have an obligation to yourself. Because our individual salvation depends on collective salvation. Because thinking only about yourself, fulfilling your immediate wants and needs, betrays a poverty of ambition. Because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential and discover the role that you’ll play in writing the next great chapter in the American story.”
There appears to be a fundamental struggle for the character of the nation: Man or insect?
Hear the above Obama quote at about 9:20 into the speech.