I think our disagreement re Durkheim is one of trying to understand him as a philospher (you) vs as a sociologist (me).
In other words, If Durkheim were saying that we 'ought' to turn society into a worshipped object, I'd agree that he'd be making a collectivist statement of goals, to which I, too, would disagree.
Rather, I read him as a scientist trying to define how people are: moderns do worship society as much as do tribals, albeit in different ways.
Bergson caught on to this, and constructed an 'ought' model of individualism based upon a sort of struggle---as one would work his/her way through a crack in the cristal, the 'je-fele'.
Now for three philosophical points as such:
* Hume. Statements of 'is' must not be confused with 'oughts'.
* Individuaity is not 'given'. Rather it's achieved. Yet Rand seems to speak is if assertion is sufficient. So to the extent that I do understand Rand, I disagree.
Despite the urgings of Rand, Nietzsche, Sartre & Bergson, most don't, at least in terms of 'individualism' as defined by the philosophers as cited.
* Deleuze, influenced by the psychology of Guattari, developed a model of 'individualism' that greatly lowers the bar. In sum, we're all individualistic in our own way, developing 'lines of flight' away from socially-demanded norms.
Per Kant, this sense of self is innate. What becomes an 'individual' is, again, in the details of development.
(Edited by Matthews on 2/19, 9:14am)