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The DP - A Community of Individualists

A while ago I was inspired to write a post about the DP as a community. Since then I've been on a journey to define what kind of community we are.

Recently I've taken notice of a lot of collective behavior on this forum. Who should "we" support? What should "we" do to save the world and "you aren't Libertarian enough to be in the Liberty movement" and "you aren't standing for Liberty the right way". This sort of idea is centralized and dangerous. Even the DP- a community of Liberty, if not cautious runs the risk of becoming our own worst enemy.

The definition collectivism.

col·lec·tiv·ism noun \kə-ˈlek-ti-ˌvi-zəm\
: a political or economic system in which the government owns businesses, land, etc.
1: a political or economic theory advocating collective control especially over production and distribution; also : a system marked by such control
2: emphasis on collective rather than individual action or identity

I specifically emphasize number two.

From Wikipedia:

Collectivism is any philosophic, political, religious, economic, or social outlook that emphasizes the interdependence of every human. Collectivism is a basic cultural element that exists as the reverse of individualism in human nature (in the same way high context culture exists as the reverse of low context culture). Collectivist orientations stress the importance of cohesion within social groups (such as an "in-group", in what specific context it is defined) and in some cases, the priority of group goals over individual goals. Collectivists often focus on community, society, nation or country. It has been used as an element in many different and diverse types of government and political, economic and educational philosophies throughout history and most human societies in practice contain elements of both individualism and collectivism. Some examples of collectivist cultures include Pakistan, India and Japan. Collectivism is discussed extensively by Objectivists.

Collectivism can be divided into horizontal (or egalitarian) collectivism and vertical (or hierarchical) collectivism. Horizontal collectivism stresses collective decision-making among equal individuals, and is thus usually based on decentralization and egalitarianism. Vertical collectivism is based on hierarchical structures of power and on moral and cultural conformity, and is therefore based on centralization and hierarchy. A cooperative enterprise would be an example of horizontal collectivism, whereas a military hierarchy would be an example of vertical collectivism.

I believe what we are seeing here at the DP is called Philosophical Collectivism, which means that one should submit themselves to a group in the belief that the group’s goal should triumph or be superior to the individual. In a community of Philosophical Collectivism, there is a battle to conform to a single idea in order to achieve a single goal. A sort of "our way or the highway" way of thinking and those who don't quite fit the mold are ridiculed or even cast out.

I like to think of the DP as a community of individualists. How is it possible to have a community of individualists?

The term Individualism as defined by dictionary.com says:

in·di·vid·u·al·ism [in-duh-vij-oo-uh-liz-uhm]

1. a social theory advocating the liberty, rights, or independent action of the individual.
2. the principle or habit of or belief in independent thought or action.
3. the pursuit of individual rather than common or collective interests; egoism.
4. individual character; individuality.
5. an individual peculiarity.

Wikipedia says this:

Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that emphasizes the moral worth of the individual. Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance and advocate that interests of the individual should achieve precedence over the state or a social group, while opposing external interference upon one's own interests by society or institutions such as the government.

Individualism makes the individual its focus and so starts "with the fundamental premise that the human individual is of primary importance in the struggle for liberation."Liberalism, existentialism and anarchism are examples of movements that take the human individual as a central unit of analysis. Individualism thus involves "the right of the individual to freedom and self-realization".

It has also been used as a term denoting "The quality of being an individual; individuality" related to possessing "An individual characteristic; a quirk."Individualism is thus also associated with artistic and bohemian interests and lifestyles where there is a tendency towards self-creation and experimentation as opposed to tradition or popular mass opinions and behaviors as so also with humanist philosophical positions and ethics.

The purpose of a community is to develop in light of meaningful exchange. Their purpose is natural and common. Their goals are not fixed, but evolve as the community progresses. The beneficiaries are the citizenry — sometimes even those who do not directly participate, rather than a select minority of elites. Communities work best when purpose and destiny are self-determined.

In a community of individualists, there is voluntary participation. It is a system that operates on honesty, conscience and individual will. There is no need to mold the individuals notions.The rights of the individual are respected and the more varied the insights of a population, the stronger it becomes.

A collective community promotes the idea that “we are all one.” However, they usually end up becoming antisocial and uncaring. A community of individualists seek to help each other because they desire an atmosphere of goodwill. A community of individualists defend one another, knowing that if the fate of one’s neighbor is ignored, the fate of oneself may also be ignored by others. No one is “expendable” in a community. Everyone is expendable in a collective.

How can we function as a community if we all don't conform to the same ideas or the same notions? That's simple, in a community of individualists, we are often not on the same page but in the end we are all on the side.

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The part I liked best

"In a community of individualists, there is voluntary participation. It is a system that operates on honesty, conscience and individual will. There is no need to mold the individuals notions.The rights of the individual are respected and the more varied the insights of a population, the stronger it becomes."

If I believe that I have a conscience toward God that ought to weigh in above my decisions on what others say contrary; then I must also believe that I ought to weigh my neighbor's needs and critiques, to either confirm, or correct, my convictions on what is true.

Replying to skeptics has helped me look deeper than I might have on issues, and made me aware of doubts others harbor that I didn't know effected their positions.

Persuasion only happens when we hear better reasoning, and voice it as our own. Even though it might seem much different from where we began, there is usually a clear path to that better perspective.

Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them. - Frederick Douglass

looks like

i'm a little late for the party. appears an excellent DP original. i marked it to give a close read later.


...Thanks for writing that.

This post helped spark certain ideas/thoughts that helped me tonight.

Thanks again.

Onwards with Liberty!

Keep your eye on the prize! - Ending legal tender laws in order for the Federal Reserve System to self-destruct is of the upmost importance.
What in the World are They Spraying https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jf0khstYDLA


I have to say , that was the best commentary, on what liberty "is" I have seen on these pages lately, in along time. Spoken in the true SPIRIT of our forefathers. Thank You.


Cyril's picture

Yes indeed I could feel it: this is the return of the individual

Yes indeed, I could feel it: this is the return of the individual :)

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Awesome post.

Awesome post.

Check out http://ronpaulforums.com for activism and news.

I should point out, rather ironically

You are saying 'we' should be less collectivist.

I lol'd anyway heh.

It gets a little tricky

It gets a little tricky doesn't it?

*...looks in the mirror...

...Yep...I'm still cool...

Michael Nystrom's picture

Individualists choose to be themselves

I was thinking about your post today, and later, Samantha took me to see a movie, Ernest and Celestine. They are both such individualists!


Celestine is a mouse who is told to fear "the big bad bear." She doesn't listen to that - she just wants to be friends with Ernest. Celestine is supposed to be a dentist, but she rejects that because she doesn't want to be a dentist. Ernest was supposed to be a judge. His father, his grandfather were judges. But he wanted to be a musician, so that's what he became.

It is a lovely movie. They both chose to be themselves, and that, I think is what defines an individualist.


He's the man.


"I would like you to ACCEPT ONLY ONE PRAYER, and that is LAUGHTER -- because when you are totally laughing you are in the present. You cannot laugh in the future and you cannot laugh in the past.

All those people who have created this retarded humanity have taken away all juice, all laughter, all smiles, and dragged everybody into being inauthentic. AND IF YOU ARE INAUTHENTIC, INSINCERE, YOU CAN NEVER GROW THE SEED that has been given to you by this great compassionate universe....

LIFE SHOULD BE NOT A SERIOUS THING. It should be a deep playfulness, a fun.

And every individual should be allowed ABSOLUTE FREEDOM TO BE HIMSELF. The only restriction will be that you cannot interfere in another individual's life sphere -- it may be your wife, it may be your husband, it may be your child, it does not matter.


BE YOURSELF AND LET OTHERS BE THEMSELVES... and this life, this planet, can become the lotus paradise here-now."

Continue Reading:

"Air is the very substance of our freedom, the substance of superhuman joy....aerial joy is freedom."--Gaston Bachelard--

all ya'll can do your thing

I'll do mine and post it here :)

We're not a collective

we're a collaborative...if we want to be.

Collectivism uses force or compulsion. People debating about who is the most individualistic is not collective.

Tu ne cede malis.

Candidates for Liberty Webpage:

2016 Liberty Candidate Thread:


we [wē]

We is used to show a collective group of people, generally including the speaker or writer.


sovereign dwellers of the Milky Way galaxy

swirling around the spiral
rising and falling about the ecliptic
@ system Sol . . .

late 14c., from Old French comunité "community, commonness, everybody" (Modern French communauté), from Latin communitatem (nominative communitas) "community, society, fellowship, friendly intercourse; courtesy, condescension, affability," from communis "common, public, general, shared by all or many," (see common (adj.)). Latin communitatem "was merely a noun of quality ... meaning 'fellowship, community of relations or feelings,' but in med.L. it was, like universitas, used concretely in the sense of 'a body of fellows or fellow-townsmen' " [OED].

An Old English word for "community" was gemænscipe "community, fellowship, union, common ownership," from mæne "common, public, general," probably composed from the same PIE roots as communis. Community service as a criminal sentence is recorded from 1972, American English. Community college is recorded from 1959.


song: Night Bird Live ( feat. Eric Mouquet )
album: Deep Forest - Night Bird Live - single
artist: Deep Forest

We're individualists because collectivism is a trick

When they say the group is more important than the individual what they are really saying is the individuals ruling the group are more important than other individuals.

Even in a democracy, especially in a democracy, this is true. The privileges of individuals that win the vote trump the rights of the individuals that lose the vote.

Collectivism is merely the creation of predator and prey classes, of rulers and subjects, of ranchers and livestock, masters and slaves.

All of whom are individuals. Every slave is an individual. Every master is an individual.

It's just under collectivism some individuals have whips, scepters, crowns, badges, taxes, machine guns, cages, uniforms, tasers, napalm, etc, and the rest of the individuals either get to live in fear, or develop livestockholm syndrome and learn to love their masters.

Anyone advocating collectivism is either a dupe, or isn't a dupe. If he's not a dupe he knows he's advocating masters and slaves, and he intends to be the one holding the whip.

People do not need whips to work together collectively. People need whips to make others work for them.

If you want real harmonious human collective action, reject the evil philosophy of collectivism.

Cyril's picture

^^^ BUMP.

^^^ BUMP.

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

Cyril's picture



If he's not a dupe he knows he's advocating masters and slaves, and he intends to be the one holding the whip.

Yes, and that's because that one thinks he ranks among the Supermen :


And how are such collectives best "organized" by those Supermen?

Thanks to the good old trick of antagonisms :



Divide, and then Conquer.

An evergreen strategy of the plunderers.

"Cyril" pronounced "see real". I code stuff.


"To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous." -- Confucius

that's a great post.


Thank you for the kind words.

Thank you for the kind words. Feel free to steal the piece if you know anyone it may help break their chains.

What the Daily Paul

reminded me of is the beatnik era in the 50's in some area of New York. A group of wildly creative, diverse and fiercely independent thinkers with ideas and solutions that the outside world would have ignored. With good looking men and women. LOL

"We can see with our eyes, hear with our ears and feel with our touch, but we understand with our hearts."

As individualist...

...as we are, we're still all interdependent; can't escape the actions of each person in time and space contributing to the net ripple effects that impact us all in some way. No one is really an island. One of the themes of 'Cloud Atlas' I appreciated.

This is nonsense.

A community is, by definition, a collective.

You conclude by asking, "how can we function as a [collective] if we all don't conform to the same ideas or same notions?, then answering, "in the end we are all [conforming to the same ideas and same notions]".

I can appreciate the idea of a collective of individualists. Individualism has been a driving force in Western civilization, a vast collective.
However, the reasoning in the original post evokes a mental image of a dog, chasing its tail. Does this make me an individualist/non-conformist, compelling collective community censure? LOL ↓ Or, will you respect my diversity?

Please, allow me to expound by sharing a recently published article,
The (In)compatibility of Diversity and Sense of Community, Zachary P. Neal • Jennifer Watling Neal, Published online: 6 November 2013, Society for Community Research and Action 2013

Community psychologists are interested in creating contexts that promote both respect for diversity and sense of community. However, recent theoretical and empirical work has uncovered a community-diversity dialectic wherein the contextual conditions that foster respect for diversity often run in opposition to those that foster sense of community.
Full report here.

But the DP is a community a

But the DP is a community a of libertarians. And libertarians in a community is sort of an oxymoron isn't it? Libertarians are typically by definition individualists. So is it possible to have a community of individualists?

This post is just me trying to figure out exactly what the DP is. You see, the DP has it's very own classification like no other.

Interesting right? Well, maybe not. And probably not even all that important either.

jrd3820's picture


Is it interesting to you as an individual?

Yes? Well then it is interesting.

Same with the importance.

Some people will find it interesting and important, others will not.

Group think and online communities are things Michael has discussed in posts before, so he clearly finds it interesting also.

I have been interested in the world of interactions in libertarian communities for years. My whole life actually. So this post is interesting and important to me.

As I type this it has 13 upvotes and some tweets, so other people also find it interesting and important.

The DP goes beyond the realm of weirdness that can occur in libertarian groups and also incorporates the relatively new world of socialization that happens in online communities. People socialize online in different ways than they do in the real world.

Anyways...what I am getting at is; good post unknownuser, thank you for taking the time to think about these things and type them up.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

Well, it could be just

Well, it could be just nonsense and gibberish to others and that is ok too.

Tweets? I don't use Twitter. How does one tweet this post?

jrd3820's picture


The point you and I have been making the whole time.

To some it could be gibberish, to others it could be extremely important, to others still it could just simply be...they might not care either way. So who is to say who is right.

Sorry, I lied about the tweets. At the top of the posts though there are the social media icons and the bird one is twitter & it will have number by it to say how many people posted it from here to twitter. I could have sworn this one had some tweet numbers by it when I was typing that comment, I was wrong though.

I don't know, I don't use twitter either lol, I just noticed those social media icons a couple months ago.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

It's funny, I suppose I

It's funny, I suppose I didn't have to write such a lengthy post on the topic. I tend to get a bit wordy and sometimes lost in translation.

jrd3820's picture

I think it is just the right length

Wordy? I wouldn't worry about it. There are tons of DP philosophers here who write partial novels in their posts, this one doesn't even come near the length of some Dp originals.

Sometimes I write such long comments, I think, huh...I should have made that a post, but I don't really like posting originals still for some reason so I keep my ramblings to comments.

The group of libertarians is really quite interesting to me because a lot of people around here say they don't often run into other libertarians or socialize much with other libertarians, but it is quite the opposite for me.

I have been around groups of libertarians for years and they can become quite vicious trying to tell people how to act. I have liberal friends who appreciate individuality more in some cases. I don't have to worry with them about what to say and what not to say.Around here I have to worry about so many things before I post or comment....'did this article come from a DP approved news source?' 'Is this musician in any way shape or form ant liberty?'
'Does the meal I just made that I want to put in the chow session have any GMO products in it, if so will they scold me for it?'

While I think YAL serves a good purpose and a lot of people I know had great experiences in YAL, that was one of the most authoritative and cult like groups I've ever encountered.

It's a lot to consider before making a post or comment around here.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.”
― Dr. Seuss

I myself am hardly a

I myself am hardly a philosopher. There are posts here that are way over my head and become a huge task for me to tackle. Then after reading them, I often feel more stupid.

You have nothing to worry about when posting. When people volunteer their opinions...simply thank them and tell them it's ok to have an opinion then move on.

The only time this gets touchy is when the abortion topic comes up. I'm not sure this falls into a belief system but rather an immoral and unjust way of life. As libertarians, we defend Liberty for all and to me that includes the ones that cannot fend for themselves.

Woah. Totally getting into a semi post situation here.

Anyway, live and let live.