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

The society in which the novel takes place is collectivist. Equality 7-2521 lives in a society which seems to be set sometime after a world war, as evidenced by the debris of the old world still present (for example, it uses candles instead of electric lights). The people have become extremely collectivist and avoid any forms of self-expression or showing emotion. Because there is no individuality in this society, even the words "I" and "me" are prohibited. In fact, everyone in the community is referred to as "Equality 7-2521," including babies who have not yet been named. This reflects one of the main themes of the story: equality.

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The political structure is collectivist. The society has regressed because maintaining a collective identity is more important than technological or artistic achievement. For example, even though this dystopic world doesn't use electric lights, but instead candles, it is not interested in changing that. When Equality 7-2521 discovers an old electric...

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The political structure is collectivist. The society has regressed because maintaining a collective identity is more important than technological or artistic achievement. For example, even though this dystopic world doesn't use electric lights, but instead candles, it is not interested in changing that. When Equality 7-2521 discovers an old electric light and tries to introduce it, he is punished for his efforts.

Because of the extreme emphasis on the collective mindset, nobody uses personal pronouns anymore. Equality 7-2521 thinks of himself as "they," thus indicating he understands himself as part of a larger group rather than as a distinct individual. People in this society are not allowed to fall in love, as that would set the two lovers apart from the group. Nobody, even a person of great talent, is permitted to stand out or be separate from anyone else. When Equality 7-2521 shows an interest in study, he is forced to become a street sweeper.

Rand's work is based on her time living in the Soviet Union in the early years after the Revolution. She shows the downside of a collectivist state by emphasizing and possibly exaggerating how it values the faceless mass over everything else.

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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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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.

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