Saturday, June 13, 2009

Rugged Individualism v. Community

New York Times columnist David Brooks comments on John Ford westerns. He says Ford did not exalt the "rugged individual," but rather "civic order."

But "civic order" in the West was not created by government programs and Washington bureaucrats. It was not imposed by the government. Community was created by "rugged individualists." Discussion.

"Individualists" are not anti-communitarians. They are pro-liberty. That makes them anti-government, since government is the enemy of freedom.

Not all "individualists" are "survivalists." "Survivalists" deny the division of labor, or believe a breakdown in the division of labor is coming, and therefore seek radical self-sufficiency. Individualists are not "isolationists." They buy from others and sell to others, they play in orchestras or join bowling leagues, and, to quote Brooks, they're interested in "religion, education, science, culture, [and] etiquette." But "individualists" make individual choices about churches, schools, creation or evolution, symphonies or garage bands, and don't use the sword to impose their individual choices on others.

Community is ultimately an expression of morality, which is religion externalized.

Government destroys religion, education, science and culture. These things are created by human beings enjoying freedom, not the barrel of a gun. Coercion, compulsion, and threats of violence are the opposite of community. They are also the opposite of morality.

For further reading:

The American West: A Heritage of Peace - Ryan McMaken - Mises Institute

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