Just as there is no such thing as a collective or racial mind, so there is no such thing as a collective or racial achievement. There are only individual minds and individual achievements — and a culture is not the anonymous product of undifferentiated masses, but the sum of the intellectual achievements of individual men.

A nation’s culture is the sum of the intellectual achievements of individual men, which their fellow-citizens have accepted in whole or in part, and which have influenced the nation’s way of life. Since a culture is a complex battleground of different ideas and influences, to speak of a “culture” is to speak only of the dominant ideas, always allowing for the existence of dissenters and exceptions.

“Don’t Let It Go”
Philosophy: Who Needs It, 205

The acceptance of the achievements of an individual by other individuals does not represent “ethnicity”: it represents a cultural division of labor in a free market; it represents a conscious, individual choice on the part of all the men involved; the achievements may be scientific or technological or industrial or intellectual or esthetic — and the sum of such accepted achievements constitutes a free, civilized nation’s culture. Tradition has nothing to do with it; tradition is being challenged and blasted daily in a free, civilized society: its citizens accept ideas and products because they are true and/or good — not because they are old nor because their ancestors accepted them. In such a society, concretes change, but what remains immutable — by individual conviction, not by tradition — are those philosophical principles which correspond to reality, i.e., which are true.

“Global Balkanization”
The Voice of Reason, 119
All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Plume, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.