“Many men in the Homes of the Scholars have had strange new ideas in the past . . . but when the majority of their brother Scholars voted against them, they abandoned their ideas, as all men must.”
These words of a member of the World Council of Scholars, which exiles Equality 7-2521 after he presents his lightbulb, in Chapter VII, reflect the view, pervasive in Equality 7-2521’s society, that any idea not held by all men is worthless. Equality 7-2521’s confidence in the usefulness of his invention is irrelevant, as the council cares not about advancing scientific progress but rather about controlling it. The World Council will not act unless all its members agree and, as a result, has not approved any technological progress in the last hundred years. The philosophy expounded here by the council member reflects the ideals of collectivism, against which the whole of Anthem is written. Rand believes that when society acts based on consensus, the weakest members of society drag down the most exemplary members, with the result that society never achieves its maximum potential. This system represents the we that Rand considers the ultimate evil in society and against which all her heroes, including Equality 7-2521, fight.