I am writing a persuasive essay and need some examples to support the following thesis:
Choosing options that will benefit the society and group as a whole is better than choosing a person's own option that will only benefit them and their needs.
The examples can be from either fiction or history, but cannot be purely hypothetical.
One way to focus the issue you are talking about and provide examples is to look at Garrett Hardin's seminal paper called "The Tragedy of the Commons", originally published in Science in 1968 (see the first link below). This paper talks about the dilemma of common agriculture land. If many people share a pasture, it is in the interest of each person as an individual to graze as many animals as possible on the land. Unfortunately, if everyone behaves this way, the land deteriorates and everyone suffers.
A key example of this is ongoing controversy over grazing on public lands in Utah. If the lands are leased to ranchers who overgraze, with no regulation, as happened in the 1960s and 1970s, the land deteriorates and everyone, including the over-grazers themselves, suffers. More sustainable grazing practices (see second reference below), lead to higher long-term yields, benefiting both the environment as a whole and the responsible ranchers who engage in those practices.