Freedom and Individualism Notes
Only For Individualists
"If you are waiting for the government to change, or society to change, or for some program or movement to be successful to find freedom, you will never be free."
[NOTE: This is the first in a series of articles on freedom and individualism. Many of these will reprise articles originally published in the "The Free Individual." There is no longer a link to the Free Individual on The Moral Individual, but all the files are still available. For those interested this link, Free Individual, will take you to those files. This link is also available from the index to these articles.]
If it is truly freedom you want, then an individualist you must be. I am not, however trying to encourage anyone to be an individualist if that is not their own choosing. I do not, in fact, believe it is possible to make someone who is not an individualist become one, or even want to.
There is no such thing as individualism and something else; individualism excludes everything else.
Libertarianism, voluntaryism, minarchism, agorism, mutualism, anarchism, market-anarchism, and even individualist-anarchism are all departures from individualism.
All of these hold as a basic principle that every individual owns their own life and must be free to live their life as they choose; that much certainly is individualism. But every one of these also holds a view that individual freedom is to be secured by some social means, some method of changing society or culture through education, or promoting a movement, or political activism.
All methods that aim, "to bring about social change," are wrong, no matter what the objective is. There are no "social solutions," there are only personal individual ones. It is not anyone's society to change. Attempting to make a society one you think you would be happy in is a collectivist view, not an individualist one.
Individualism Is A Moral Issue
Morality pertains only to individuals—not societies and not cultures. The nature of any society or culture is determined by the individuals a society or culture is made up of. Any attempt to make a society anything other than what it is, is an attempt to make the people in that society other than what they are.
The only truly moral individuals in any society are the independent individualists. Everyone else is, to some degree, dependent (relying on the wealth and prosperity produced by others) and collectivist (finding their own value and purpose in society or others—their opinion, their approval, or their agreement).
Freedom, too, pertains only to individuals—there is no such thing as collective freedom. There is only freedom if individuals are free to live their individual lives as they choose; only independent individualists can be free—freedom and dependence are mutually exclusive. To the extent one is dependent on others they are the slaves of those others.
What If You Are Not An Individualist?
Since most people in society are not independent individualists, I've been asked what I have to say to them about how to be free? Quite frankly, I do not know. I do not know how to tell people who are not independent individualists the best way for them to live their lives. As far as I'm concerned, there is no good way, although some ways are probably less bad. It is a bit like asking me how to live successfully as a gangster or a bum. If you think it is possible to live successfully, that is, freely, as anything other than an independent individualist, perhaps you should write a book: How To Be Free As An Irrational, Hedonist, Non-productive, Collectivist, Parasite. I have no advice for such people, I only write to and for individualists.