What does pro-individual mean?

Updated: 12/15/2022
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It can mean anything, if you say it does. But historically it refers to the philosophy of individualist anarchism (rugged individualism , in the USA), a philosophy not founded by, but popularized by Thomas Jefferson and other pre-20th Century Classical Liberals. Classical Liberalism is not anything close to modern liberalism, or what we mostly have now, neoliberalism. It is actually, believe it or not, a precursor to conservatism and Libertarianism. It also has little resemblence to modern conservatism (now what is refered to as neoconservatism). The neoconservative roots lie on the middle left, while conservatism, libertarianism, and paleoconservatism (old school conservatism ala early 20th Century) lie on the political right. Pro-Individual would mean you are in favor of Individual Rights, not deriving Rights from the state, but from the individual (humanity) or God. It also denotes you are not Pro-Institution (the common expression is not being Pro-Government, the most popularized and demonized institution). However, being Pro-Individual is not synonomous with being Anti-Institution. Individualists reject violence, and therefore coercion, and therefore uniformity. We stress individual responsibility, self sufficiency, and nonconfomity. We follow the economic philosophy of several different schools, depending on where on the left/right paradigm we lie. Many individualists are against wage pay, but most do not swear off capital, or Free Markets. In fact, most follow Adam Smith's economics philosophy, with some "updates" from Austrian economics. Most prefer percentage pay, or some other Mutualist exchange for labor, as we see wages as an illegitimate form of authority (and a rip-off for both employer and employee, as percentage pay does not make lay-offs advantageous during down periods, and as percentage pay increases worker productivity and overall profits).

Individualism, overall, is a Free Market (voluntary economy, whether socialist or capitalist) economic philosophy, a code of ethics that has only one Law, Natural Law, which roughly says violence (to most this includes theft) is the only crime. Coercion is considered violence. All coercion must be challengable at all times, all government (or association with institutions of any type) must be proved legitimate, or it is a criminal enterprise. Individualism does not seek to elimiante institutions, they seek to keep them local, and small enough to prevent them from growing beyond the control of those they serve and who create it...which inevitably leads to those large and distant institutions to claim they have entitlement to Rights (which is impossible, since individualists believe only individuals have Rights). Individualism can be seen as the opposite as statism (etatism), and collectivism. At all times, it allows for a voluntary government, due to it's rejection of force, uniformity, and conformity. Individualists do not seek a "utopian" society, they seek voluntary associations only. They are quite aware that some folks will always choose to live in what others may consider tyrany...but that choice is theirs, and therefore is not in conflict with individualism. Without coercion (the crime we mentioned earlier), no such uniformity can be possible.

So Pro-Individual, for all intensive purposes, can be embodied in the American Homesteader, and more modernly embodied in the libertarian movement (with some subtle differences). It holds that sovereignty lies with the individual, that the only law the individual is subject to is Natural Law, and every individual has Natural Rights (despite where they are born). It uses Natural Justice as a form of courts, and juries. It is worth noting that the Constitution of the United States, and American jurisprudence, is held to an ultimate standard. It may be itself, the law of the land, but even the Constitution has a standard. The standard is Natural Law. Otherwise, no outrage would occur when an evil amendment like slavery is passed (or exists). No moral outrage can occur, if the Constitution is the last, end of the line, standard. This is because whatever you amend to it, in theory, becomes constitutional. Individualist anarchist Lysander Spooner proved this illogical before the Civil War in his book "the Unconstitutionality of Slavery", demonstrating that just because a law is on paper, doesn't make it moral, ethical, or legal at all. He asserted the natural outrage of people to such laws occurs from Natural Law, and out of an innate knowledge of it. We just naturally realize that some laws on paper are tyrannical. Unless a law is congruent with Natural Law, it's penalty congruent with Natural Justice, and the individuals involved have Rights congruent with Natural Rights, the whole thing becomes tyrany. So in the end, the Pro-Indivdual point of view was vindicated, as slavery was in fact ended, and now we all pretty much universally recognize as Americans that in fact, it was never legal. It was a crime perpetrated by the government. As was segregation, as was the subjegation of women. As is the drug war.

Pro-Individual is a philosophy nickname, for Individualism. It can be summed up in a single phrase...the Seal of Thomas Jefferson, the first proposed Seal of the United States (it was voted down):

"Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God."

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