Describe the society/political structure in which Ayn Rand's Anthem is set.

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The society in which Equality 7-2521 finds himself is that of a collectivist state.  That means that the political philosophy behind this type of government is based on the premise that all people live and work for the benefit and good of everyone else. If no one is selfish, or thinks of himself, then everyone's needs will be met and no one will suffer too much, or be too happy. It seems like everyone has a place or a part of the government because no decisions are made without complete consensus of the populace. Truly, however, the leaders who are considered smarter or better than the laborer makes the decisions for the larger lower class as separated by intelligence or any other valuable trait. The World Council, in this story's case, is the group that makes the big decisions, but says that they must consult everyone first. The peasants aren't asked about their opinions, for example, because their views might be biased and the Councils need to make the decisions for everyone based on society's need as a whole. Therefore, everyone is separated into controlling vocations and homes in order to control the individual so the society can maintain stability.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As was mentioned in the previous post, the dystopian society depicted in Ayn Rand's novel Anthem is collectivist in nature where the ideas associated with individuality are forbidden by the authoritarian regime. Beginning at birth, citizens' entire lives are controlled by the government. Each person is part of the entire community and the concept of "we" is promulgated. Various aspects of society are controlled by different agencies known as councils. The Council of Eugenics is in charge of procreation and determines which citizens have intercourse with others. The Council of Vocations determines which occupations citizens will hold and the World Council of Scholars is considered the authority on intellectual matters. Only the World Council of Scholars can ask questions and experiment. This council is not made up of the most intelligent individuals, however, because only obedience matters in the dystopian society. All decisions must pass unanimously in the World Council in order to be enacted, which limits innovation and progress.

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