It's in part a generational thing, this selfishness, this insistence on 'my rights', this always putting yourself first. The selfish used to disguise their vice under the cloak of 'anarchy' and now it's frequently 'libertarianism'. We've all had to tolerate the selfish ones; those with the 'right' to play loud music late at night, to suffocate us with their Summer barbeques, to screen the Sun from our faces with their Leylandii, to push and elbow and shove. Even on the seas these days, the last bastion of selfless courtesy, the ill-mannered louts have been in the ascendant with speed and wash and 'assertive' piloting. They seem not to have heard the same old Master Mariner who once gently advised that there were no rights in COLREGS (the marine Highways Code), only responsibilities.
And as David Willetts writes in 'The Pinch', which I recommended last year, the more that individuals focus on themselves, the more that they disassociate from family, neighbourhood and community, the more that they eschew Burke's 'little platoons', the more they create the need for a powerful Central State to take the place of all these local institutions. The State must take on the responsibilities that extended families and communities used to shoulder. Even nuclear families lead this tendency; the better parents we've become, the more we care for our own offspring, the less time we have to volunteer and contribute to the care of those about us. Together with the collapse in trust from the prevalent paedophobia this has left even more to the Central State to do, or not be done at all.
It is ironic, is it not, that those most vociferous in defence of individual rights, the anarchists and libertarians, are perhaps most crucial in implicitly if unknowingly supporting the Leviathan Central State?