hygienic darkroom retreat

profound rest for the self‑healing psyche

a book by andrew durham


notes toward an individualist form of government

These are semi-organized. They are enough to begin thinking along new lines. Some relevant posts are in the blog, including: politics: distributed and centralized, individualism, and scene: freedom.


Whatever forms legislation, defense, and adjudication take in a society, they make up its state. Every society morally sanctions certain uses of force through these institutions. Man is a volitional being, thus fallible. Principles must guide his actions, personally and socially, especially his use of force.

Every society has a state of some kind. A state is an immutable institution of any society. It is not whether a society will have one, but what kind it has. It is axiomatic. State power (organized force) would be needed to abolish states and keep them abolished, as in the anarchist fantasy. It is impossible.

A state could be the centralized, monopolizing, established beast we are used to. Or it could be distributed, internally competitive, and open-source. A new Individualist Party would advocate a distributed state to best support individuals in the exercise of our natural rights to life, liberty, and property.

individualist distributed hyperstate

This is a state that is:

  • based on individualist principles (the rights of man)
  • embodied by individuals throughout the population
  • of maximum size in terms of number of participants, amount of laws (through contracts), degree of control exercised (by individuals of their own affairs), and amount of power held by them in total.

Individualism sets the operational context of the society. It opposes altruism. This is a pretense of focusing on the good of others. It is actually a pathological denial and sacrifice of self.

The rights of man to life, liberty, and property and the corollary maxims of law will become common sense again. Little children understand, apply, and uphold them. No one will be confused by collectivist appeals to the common good or offers of representation or stewardship. Everyone can be mentally, emotionally, physically, and legally aligned with his self-preserving nature as an organism.

Distribution is the basis of resilience. It eliminates central points of failure through attack, corruption, or manipulation. Everyone is a policeman. Every property’s line is a border. Everyone knows how things work. Everyone is officially responsible. No one imagines otherwise.

Maximization prevents the power vacuums that evil exploits. Like a beating heart, it generates positive outward pressure that prevents contaminants from entering.


Rather than a constitution or proclamation, our party publishes non-binding precepts of rights, crimes, and state functions. These provide a basis for binding law. It would be a short, simple statement. A 10 year-old could understand it. Everyone becomes his own legislator through contracts based on the precepts and the maxims of law. Lawyers help. Defense and adjudication companies help people protect themselves and their property and to settle disputes. Good actors—always a majority—band together to crush rogues.

Individualism is the moral-political philosophy that recognizes the individual as the cognitive and moral agent and political unit in a society. The individual alone possesses reason, the faculty of choice. He is indivisible and uncollectable into another agent or unit. He is an end in himself. Securing his freedom is the purpose of politics.
(Contrast with collectivism.)

Possessing choice, man is fallible. He can do evil to others. The need for enforceable rules of action is inherent in human society. Rules are defined by politics, a branch of philosophy. Politics is applied through a state. A state is whatever form laws, enforcement, and adjudication take in a society.

As an organism, the task of a human being is to live. The action of living is defined by conditional self-preservation. Each individual human being preserves himself by will: a constant process of choice to meet the conditions of life.

To act in order to live is the good. It is right. Thus it is a right. Right is a matter of choice. Choice belongs to individuals. Individuals have rights. Rights are prerogatives of being and action. An individual physically exercises his rights in the space between other people. He justly acts upon others by permission.

To live, an individual needs freedom to enact his choices regarding himself. Freedom is a social condition in which rights—life, liberty, and property (body, motility, and possessions)—are customarily and legally respected. Rights can only be violated physically through the initiation of force: touching or causing something to touch another’s body or property without permission.

Rights are these three. Violation is called crime.

A right is related to oneself. One exercises it at will, by choice, by right.


Life, liberty, and property are rights because they are right. They are right because they enable him to fulfill the essential task of every organism: to live. To live, man, as a mammal, must be, move, and have. Self-preservation is the distinguishing characteristic of life and its absolute imperative.

Every life is an end in itself, not the means to any other end. He exists for his own sake. His existence is the justification of his actions. His existence is not justified by any benefit it affords others.

so much for voting and representation (democracy and republics)

Voting is a nauseating exercise. People like it as much as paying taxes. They only vote because they are desperate. They don’t know what else they can do. The whole business of elections and referendums is disgusting. They don’t want to be involved. They are relieved to turn it over to the cockroaches who seem to enjoy it, then be done with it for another year or two.

An individualist party would finally turn abstention into a meaningful vote. It would delegitimize the establishment, imploding it. Collective inaction is the instinct of everyone with a shred of decency. A distributed state weaponizes decency against the source of corruption: mass delegation of power to a central body. Members of such bodies abuse power, just as the masses deserve. They’ve give up the most precious thing they had: say-so over their own lives. So the centralized politicians start running them for their own purposes. Why would they do otherwise?

All the natural human qualities democracy condemns as civil sins become the virtues of a free state: apathy, inertia, self-interest, “selfishness” (!), short-term thinking,

Data mining and individualized micro-targeting of political ads (watch Brexit: The Uncivil War) is made for individualism and a distributed state. Everyone gripes about some state control or another. The party will rub that nerve raw in everyone. There will be an exodus, a permanent, general strike against central government.


Individualism would likely win a first battle. But without proper preparation (several individuals restored to sufficient power) the collectivists’ strike back could recapture the people more deeply than before with new levels of fear.

current powers

More important than voting is jury nullification of unjust laws. But this has been suppressed by centralized courts.

Far more important is the prosecution of suits in court. Common people can do this without lawyers. Dr Frederick Graves has proven this with his law course, jurisdictionary. This knowledge and skill is useful both before and after the emergence of an individualist government.

Of course, the will to self-defense and the skills necessary are important at all times.


American individualism never had a party or form of government to match it. A state was always taken to mean a centralized state. So with representation, voting, and controversy. This leads to secrecy, corruption, injustice, salvation, and reform. It is all a pointless drama in which everyone is dragged along in everyone else’s demands and sacrifices. It is the primary racket: traumatize people into powerlessness, then offer them protection. Surrender power, bargain for some of it back.

No, it is one’s power to begin with. I say what happens with it. I retain it in my cell of the distributed state. The party is just a restorative force. It nurses people back to psycho-political health and trains them in ruling their own lives.

What can individualists do against, for example, a polluter? Complain privately and offer help to fix it. Point out the problem publicly. Set a deadline. Boycott. Sue.

Anyone who is not an individualist is a criminal or sympathizer. As Gandhi said, “Non-cooperation with evil is as much of a duty as cooperation with good.”


Here are the history and workings of a distributed state.

  1. An ancient cataclysm destroyed nearly everything, including natural human society. Most survivors were rendered helpless. The hero and psychopath emerged to protect and control people. Civilization arose apparently to control the controllers, but really to distribute the shock of cataclysm. Civilization thus maximizes the number and quality of people who are trying figure out what the hell happened and what to do about it.
  2. Meanwhile, millennia of delegating our authority to centralized governments have totally debased us. We surrendered what responsibility we had left and became soft. Our representatives have held a legal monopoly on rightful use of force within our territories.
  3. We should all be managing the use of force ourselves. State functions should be distributed. A critical mass of individuals (5-10) will recover the natural power* necessary to influence society toward it.
  4. An individualist party defines universal yet non-binding precepts of law and government. Definitions are short and simple enough for children to understand and use. Precepts are based on natural rights of individuals to life, liberty, property: the body, motility, and possessions and how they are violated. Everyone knows them. No one likes being assaulted, captured, or robbed.
  5. In accord with the precepts, everyone legislates for himself with contracts, defends himself with force, and settles his own disputes. He hires counselors, defenders, and adjudicators to assist him as needed. He explicitly retains his authority to rule himself. No one has a legal monopoly on the socially sanctioned use of force. Everyone is accountable at all times.
  6. Public objection to the precepts identifies sympathizers with crime. One would lose respect and business. Violators of the precepts are opposed an entire population practiced in upholding them. Violation presents everyone an opportunity to profit by setting the matter straight.
  7. Damages are made up for with money, not punishment.
  8. Recognition of everyone’s rights, including children; and liberation of all rightful activity, including decadence, restores natural incentives. Crime stops paying. Rather than the state, crime will wither away.

The Market for Liberty by the Tannehills explains this detail. They show the intriguing role of insurance companies in funding and organizing most state functions, including armies and weapons of mass destruction. The cost of governance can go down to normal rates of profitability of business.

The Tannehills only err in saying business’s provision of governance services implies the absence of a government or state. No, it just means the state is distributed among the entire population. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (especially part 3, chapters 1-2) show this in action.

Ayn Rand erred with everyone else in assuming a state means a centralized state. Its monopoly on the rightful use of force follows, and she affirmed it. But distribution renders it moot. But she was fundamentally right in asserting the political nature of man, thus his need for a state and for principled control of the use of force. Man possesses the faculty of choice. He can err dangerously or do evil. it needs guiding principles. Occasionally, he must be stopped by force.

To deny what a thing is is to deny that it is. Its destruction follows logically. To deny man’s political nature is to deny his life. To deny the state logically requires force. It disarms everyone and leads to totalitarian dictatorship. Note that an individual is still in control. But not at himself. Of everyone.

Thus every collectivist movement has an anarchist wing. Every collectivist regime starts with anarchy: destruction of the existing state. This leads to even more death. Good politics should improve things from the first moment.

In truth, people deny the state out of self-hatred: denial of the state comes from denial of man’s political nature. Which comes from denial of his social nature. Which comes from social discomfort. Which comes from discomfort with oneself. Which comes from self-hatred. Which comes from chronic, insoluable personal powerlessness and failure. Fortunately, there is a way out.

The problem is not the state, the social embodiment of man’s political nature. The problem is the centralized state arising from personal dysfunction. The solution is the distributed state arising from personal restoration and logic.


*Natural power is the power to live. It is a biological phenomenon. It a function of health. It comes from within. It is recovered by self-healing in profound rest. Profound rest occurs as a physiological response in extended, perfected silence, solitude, fasting, and/or darkness. See hygienic darkroom retreat.

Fully restored to his own natural power, an individual becomes indomitable. His presence puts everyone at ease and melts resistance. It liberates and inspires everyone. His influence dwarfs that arising from external power generated by effort: knowledge, money, technology, weaponry. Lifeforce eclipses even truthforce, Gandhi’s disciplined simulation. Which he used to cast an empire out of his country without war. Which is a miracle.


  • Rights
    • natural basis is that life is conditional. Some things are good for it, others bad. To attain the good is good. For man, the volitional being, to choose to do so among others who could choose to stop him is right. Therefore it is a right. It is his right to live, a human must:
      • be
      • move
      • get
    • therefore these things are right
    • therefore these things are rights
    • list of {crimes in curly brackets}
    • Life: body
      • {poisoning*, assault, battery, maiming, murder}
      • {*usually pollution: noise, air, light, electromagnetism, water, soil. Known with senses.}
    • Liberty: motility
      • {obstruction, capture}
      • {harassment: unwelcome contact with someone in place}
    • Property: possessions
      • originates by “mixing one’s efforts” with natural materials
      • {vandalism, fraud, theft}
  • Party
    • membership by self-identification and natural acceptance by others
    • issues these non-binding precepts as open source project
    • provides forum for networking
    • organizes embassy
    • all activities and projects ad hoc
  • State:
    • Function: to stop crime. Crime is the initiation of physical force by one human against another. It consists of touching another’s person or property without his permission. This is how rights are violated. Self-defense is the use of force against its initiators sufficient to stop them.
    • According to the precepts,
      • individuals
        • write their own laws with contracts
        • defend themselves with force
        • resolve their own disputes
        • hire counselors, defenders, and adjudicators to assist them as needed
      • counselors, defenders, and adjudicators offer and manage their services
      • band together when necessary to thwart large threats

Only individuals have the faculty of choice. Choosing is necessary for life. Therefore it is a right.

People choose in order to gain the good. Good is what serves the life of the individual concerned. An individual is the final arbiter of his own good. Only he can know all the facts and values involved. Only he can attain them. Errors in choosing are politically irrelevant as long as they within his rights.

We acknowledge our need for freedom from each other so that we can sincerely be ourselves and be together.

Freedom means a society characterized by safety from the initiation of force by others.

  • individualism
    • pure: band society
    • civilized: capitalism
    • weak: conservatism
    • pseudo: anarcho-capitalism, voluntarism, agorism
  • collectivism
    • perfect: anarchy
    • pure: communism
    • near: fascism, monarchy, Islam, Catholocism
    • mixed: socialism, democracy, republic, Satanism, tribalism
against anarchy

The worst attitude is to deny the state, as with anarchy. This immature repression causes the state to assume the worst possible forms. Anarchy is the most insidious form of collectivism. Communists spread the lie of anarchy among conscientious but naive youth. They become the useful idiots and cannon fodder of collectivist states.

Government is not mind control but control by the mind, according to principle.


Individualism is based on the ethics of selfism, the epistemology of reason, and the metaphysics of realism. Its foremost philosophical advocates are Aristotle, John Locke, and Ayn Rand. The result is the fabulous freedoms, refinement, and prosperity of Western liberal society for 250 years until the turn of this century.

Collectivism mystically views society as the moral agent. It views an individual as provisional, or illusory, or as a mere cell in the larger “whole” of society. The individual has no will, no rights. The life, motility, and possessions loosely associated with him belong to the state.

The Vatican has operated by Satanic power through the nobility of Europe, communism in Russia and China, fascism in Germany, Italy, and Japan, and Islam in the Middle East. This amounts to a billion murdered in cold blood over two millennia. Not to mention the murders by civilizations from the East and from before Christ.


A politician or intellectual will object, “But people are too stupid and irresponsible too take care of themselves. They need to be protected.”

Don’t patronize me. Your life is more than enough for you to worry about.

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