Does the desire of the individual matter in the era of the mob-mind state?

Once upon a time, there was a nation founded on the principle of individual liberty. With the exception of a few rules, people were free to do whatever they pleased, and they did. They filled a continent, built a promise so attractive that everyone else around the world longed to go there, and eventually conquered every imaginable distance from traveling coast to coast to traveling to the moon by the force of their collective will.

And all of this happened, arguably, because every person–granted some later than others–had the chance to be whatever he wanted to be. The limit wasn’t the sky, it was the imagination.

What happened to that nation?

Some would say that some of the people realized that they could use their collective will to take from other people’s labor, thereby not having to work so hard themselves; however, I say that it was not so much a question of labor but a question of failed imagination. Some element of society came to resent those who still showed that original spark that made that nation into what it was, and instead of finding their own spark, they decided to take it from those who still had it.

So, now there is a question: does the desire of the individual matter in an era when some people will simply take what that desire might produce? Is there any room for individual liberty in the will of the mob?

Too many people will scoff at that question and will discount it with cries of “What about all the poor and suffering?” and “Well, if they succeed, then they should have to share!”, never realizing that by taking those positions they are saying “Quit trying.” and “Do what you want, but we’ll take that too.”

And then they wonder why people quit trying and there is nothing left to take.

This is how nations end.