I don't follow you when you say, "...the sense of personal freedom is innate." I have a "sense" of personal freedom that varies with my circumstances. It is like a background feeling. If my bank account is flush it is likely to be a stronger sense of personal freedom, as compared to seeing far more bills coming in than income would make me feel less free. In a different context, when I'm out doing a long distance sail, my sense of personal freedom is very high. When I get myself obligated to a number of social or business commitments, I might start feeling tied down. I'm not sure how this would be "innate."
Surely, however, one cannot extend the viability of the individual back to any time beyond the rather immediate present.
The interaction between the interests of the individual and the herd go back far beyond our industrial age. I'll certainly grant you that the requirements and the elements change with the technological/cultural/economic context, but there is still the question to be asked about what belongs to the individual and what belongs to the herd. We see dogs, cattle, meer cats, chimps, and every animal that has a social context observes boundaries between individual and herd.
...we need to develop our innate individualism in the right way, by emphasizing the very positive virtues of which Rand speaks.
I'm not sure what the "innate" does in your statement. But I clearly agree that developing character strengths, and self-esteem are important... and more so the higher the technological stage of civilization with its more fluid, fast-paced economies, and its much higher levels of specialization. And because it is much more likely to call for "mind" work more than "muscle" work and that requires higher levels self-esteem.
... the qua-ness of which Rand speaks is an admirable goal, or a potential.. It's not real, lived experience as it exists today. For someone who's soon to be a psychologist, this makes all the difference in the world.
You need to elaborate on that some because I'm not following you. That man's nature and the nature of the world is what it is, we should use reason direct our lives where we have choices.
A.) Required, to some degree,
B.) An admirable goal, in that it can be pursued and it's practice improved,
C.) Real - it is a statement of our nature,
D.) Lived experience, in that as a clinician some of the people I saw needed more reason, and less emotionalism, or denial.
Are we talking past each other on some aspect of "qua-ness"?