Being an individual is not the same as having a unique identity that sets one apart from the community or the whole of society. Ants are individuals within the entirety of their nest, and yet they do not appear to hold any sort of personal identity. Human beings, on the other hand, stand out among eusocial animals because they are atoms in their respective societies and, at the same time, struggle to establish unique identifiers of their own. Individuals with a personal identity are individuals plus ultra, so to speak.
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Seen through this lens, Strauss offers a valuable sketch from a chapter that was practically omitted from European history. Because according to him, what the Allies tried to impose on Germany after it’s historic defeat in the 1rst World War, is what they were trying to impose on the whole world all along: a global state of enforced peace and commercial prosperity, where national differences would be resolved by supra-national entities similar to the British Commonwealth. At the same time, the values of individual citizens would be re-modelled through education to reflect those liberal principles on which this state rested. Only a generation ago, general von Moltke could quickly proclaim that “eternal peace is a dream, and not even a beautiful one.” Still, following Germany’s defeat, the international stage was set for the realization of that dream.