This view of a society of free and autonomous individuals distinguishes in two essential respects Liberal social theory from the approaches of its most important contemporary rivals, conservatism and socialism. Firstly, conservatism and socialism have in common the belief that the basic units, the 'building blocks', of human society are structures much vaster than the individual.
The conservative sees society as a naturally ordered, harmonious hierarchy; while in the eyes of the socialist, the basic structures of society are irreconcilably hostile classes...Both agree that individual persons are but incidents of larger entities. Although liberal social theory does not deny the existence or significance of such larger categories, it insists upon the priority of the individual. It is the distinctive claim of liberalism that the individual person is the central unit of society and is therefore prior to and of greater significance than the social structures through which he pursues his ends.
Brandis doesn't frame things the right way. If you want to defend the individual then you have to defend the social entities which he belongs to, which express his social nature, which make his social commitments possible, which help to define him and which bring significance and meaning to his life.
So it's not helpful to think of the individual as being either prior to the social entities or subordinate to them.
If your starting point is the autonomous individual as the central unit of society, then you are not doing the individual any favours as you are taking him as an abstract entity and stripping him of important aspects of who he is and of how he fulfils himself in life.
It is a false and artificial starting point.