At the time of the Neanderthals, the only peace to be found was within small bands (of 5-10 families) of people. War with other bands was common. And just prior to the time of Hammurabi, the only peace to be found was within tribes of 200-1000. Now, -- with more than 400 times more people on the planet -- we have as many as a billion people living together in peace.Anything said about Neanderthals is pure speculation, nor do I subscribe to the theory that early man was ignorant and child-like. I believe early man to have been pretty much like men today, some superstitious and some curious enough to try to determine the why of things.
As to your argument, numbers do not encumber. It is a matter of percentage. We have a billion people live together not in peace, rather not yet at war. Man is quarrelous by nature. A violent disagreement between two individuals is just as much a war and a violent disagreement between nations. The number of individuals involved does not change the basic nature of the conflict.
As for freedom, there is only one bastion of freedom in the world today, the US, and that may quickly be changing.
Rand says the following:
"Since there is no such entity as "society," since society is only a number of individual men, this meant, in practice, that the rulers of society were exempt from moral law; subject only to traditional rituals, they held total power and exacted blind obedience--on the implicit principle of: "The good is that which is good for society (or for the tribe, the race, the nation), and the ruler's edicts are its voice on earth."
This was true under all statist systems and under all variants of the altruist-collectivist ethics, mystical or social. "The Divine Right of Kings" summarizes the political theory of the first--"Vox populi, vox dei" of the second. As witness: the theocracy of Egypt, with the Pharaoh as an embodied god--the unlimited majority-rule or democracy of Athens-the welfare-state run by the Emperors of Rome-the Inquisition of the late Middle Ages-the absolute monarchy of France-the welfare state of Bismarck's Prussia-the gas chambers of Nazi Germany-the slaughterhouse of the Soviet Union.
All these political systems were expressions of the altruist' collectivist ethics-and their common characteristic is the feel that society stood above the moral law, as an omnipotent, sovereign whim-worshiper. Thus, politically, all these systems were variants of ~n amoral society. The most profoundly revolutionary achievement of the United States of America was the subordination of society, to moral law.
The principle of man's individual rights represented the extension of morality into the social system-as a limitation on the power of the state, as man's protection against the brute force of the collective, as the subordination of might to right. The United States was the first moral society in history.
All previous systems had regarded man as a sacrificial means to the ends of others, and society as an end in itself The United States regarded man as an end in himself, and society as a means to the peaceful, orderly, voluntary coexistence of individuals. All previous systems had held that man's life belongs to society, that society can dispose of him in any way it pleases, and that any freedom he enjoys is his only by favor, by the permission of society, which may he revoked at any time. The United States held that man's life is his by right (which means: by moral principle and by his nature), that a right is the property of an individual, that society as such has no rights, and that the only moral purpose of a government is the protection of individual rights.
A "right" is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man's freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man's right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action--which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)
The concept of a "right" pertains only to action--specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men.
Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive--his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating his rights.
The right to life is the source of all rights-and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave.
Bear in mind that the right to property is a right to action, like all the others: it is not the right to an object, but to the action and the consequences of producing or earning that object. It is not a guarantee that a man will earn any property, but only a guarantee that he will own it if he earns it. It is the right to gain, to keep, to use and to dispose of material values.
The concept of individual rights is so new in human history that most men have not grasped it fully to this day. In accordance with the two theories of ethics, the mystical or the social, some men assert that rights are a gift of God—others, that rights are a gift of society. But, in fact, the source of rights is man's nature."