The Morality of Individualism

Posted on January 15, 2019 by Robert Ringer


With child star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a large portion of the Democratic Party now openly promoting socialism/communism, it’s a good time to take a look at its polar opposite, individualism.  Liberals insist that individualism is a “selfish” philosophy devoid of compassion.  But is it?  To address this claim, let’s begin at the beginning and examine the foundations of individualism.

On a macro scale, it’s clear that the universe thrives on individuality.  There are no two galaxies alike; no two solar systems alike; no two planets alike; no two suns alike.  There are, in fact, no two objects anywhere in the universe that are precisely the same.  The undeniable nature of the universe is diversity.

Here on earth, the same can be said of vegetation, grains of sand, snowflakes, and all other matter.  But what about animals?  Don’t all lions, for example, look exactly alike?  Actually, if you look close enough (not recommended), they don’t.  But even if they did look the same to the human eye, it’s axiomatic that no two lions are exactly the same in every respect.

Further, the more complex the matter, the more diversity that is built into it, and human beings represent the most complex matter on earth.  No two human beings — not even identical twins — are precisely the same in every respect.  You and I may have the same type of personality, but there are an infinite number of subtle differences in our individual personalities.

In addition, each individual has unique abilities and needs that, while they may be similar to those of other people, are not exactly the same as those of any other person.  This self-evident fact is what makes life so interesting.  Can you imagine what a dull world it would be if everyone were exactly the same?

Which brings us back to the sovereignty of the individual, a concept that grows out of the universal principle of individuality.  This principle states that all matter has its own peculiarities that distinguish it from all other matter of the same genre.

No two things, no two people, and no two events are precisely the same.  No action, transaction, or set of circumstances have ever corresponded precisely to any other action, transaction, or set of circumstances.  Infinite diversity is a universal law.  It reigns throughout both nature and the universe, and mocks all of mankind’s attempts to implement laws, constitutions, and regulations intended to make things and people uniform.

Every attempt to get human beings to subordinate their personal interests to that of the collective is futile.  Governments based on the belief that conformity is a desirable way of life for their citizens are doomed to be frustrated by the power of the principle of individuality.  Since time immemorial, people have been pushing back against government attempts to repress the human instinct of self-interest.

Self-interest is neither good nor bad; it’s simple a reality of human nature.  By itself, it does not harm anyone.  Only individuals can engage in good or bad behavior — i.e., in ways that are helpful to others or that violate the rights of others.

Because everyone has a natural right to sovereignty over his own life, the only kind of government that is legitimate is one that recognizes the sovereignty of the individual.  Because a human being is endowed with consciousness, no other person or institution has a right to make decisions for him.

On the most fundamental level of individuality, objects bound together contrary to their nature will seek to rectify themselves by breaking the bonds that confine them, while those that come together as a result of their natural affinities remain content.  The latter is the only way society has a chance of being harmonious.

Nevertheless, statists, whether ignorant or simply naïve, often see the individualist as a callous person who believes he can do anything he wants to others in order to achieve his ends.  They are, of course, wrong.  The true individualist recognizes that a person’s sovereignty does not give him a license to do anything he pleases.

Why?  Because it’s not just a single individual who is sovereign; all men and women are sovereign entities.  And it is this concurrence of sovereignty that naturally limits the sovereignty of each individual.  In other words, the individual only has sovereignty over his own life, but has no right to interfere in the sovereignty of any other person.

The question then becomes, where does sovereignty end and encroachment begin?  A good way to look at it is that every individual is the rightful sovereign over his own conduct in all things, in so far as the consequences of his conduct affect only him; i.e., the sovereignty of the individual can be exercised only to the extent it affects his life.

Thus, the “pursuit of happiness” has limitations.  Pursuing the life of a serial killer because it makes one happy doesn’t cut it.  The axiomatic rule is:  Whoever has to bear the cost of the consequences should have the deciding power in every applicable case.  I can’t decide to take your property from you just because I believe it would make me happy, because you would be the one to bear the consequences of my action.

In summation, the individualist believes that all people would be better off in the long run if they were allowed to control their own destinies.  More important, he believes that the right of each individual to do as he pleases with his own life, subject to his actions not impinging on the same rights in others, ensconces him on the moral high ground.

From everything I have said in this article, it logically follows that the exceptional individual has a right to be exceptional.  Billionaires have a right to be billionaires.  Hall of Fame quarterbacks have a right to be Hall of Fame quarterbacks.  Superstar entertainers have a right to be superstar entertainers.

Any attempt to thwart people’s desires, ambitions, or achievements, whether they be average people or exceptional people, is tyranny and will always be met with resistance, either inwardly (mental) or outwardly (physical).  Mutual dependence is the root of despotism, while individualization of interests is the root of liberty.  There is no rational opposing viewpoint on this matter.

That said, if you would like to go down in history as someone who helped stem the tide of  tyrannical collectivism in America, all you have to do is figure out a way to explain what I’ve said in this article to AOC and millions of other low-IQ and low-information folks, especially those in academia and the sports and entertainment industries.

Good luck.

Robert Ringer

Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.

39 responses to “The Morality of Individualism”

  1. Jurgy says:

    capitalism works so well because it is based on the natural instinct of self-interest …

    • Scott theczech says:

      Right you are. I'd like to ad here if I may that capital consists of currency, labor, material, natural resources, intellectual property, etc., etc. All of the ingredients necessary to create and grow wealth. The real question of course is; control of capital. In those societies where the individual (or a group of individuals contracting, i.e. cooperating freely and for mutual benefit) is largely in control – they thrive. In societies where the central planners have the greatest control – they fail to thrive. I prefer to see as many individuals as possible have the opportunity to prosper and thrive as opposed to the elite, few.

      • lee says:

        The elite thrive by controlling the individual.through brainwashing and telling them what they want to here.

    • Jean says:

      Lee – what evidence do you have that "billionaires become billionaires by exploiting other people."? Did Bill Gates become a billionaire by exploiting others, or did he create a product that increased productivity, allowed personal freedom, enhanced communications and opened new vistas for creativity? And what exactly is "exploitation"? When you trade your time for money, are you being exploited? And isn't that your choice when you accept a job? You do have the ability to say "no", walk away and find another position you know. When you buy food in the grocery store, aren't YOU exploiting the talent and skill of the farmer who produces it, the distributor who developed the logistics for getting fresh food to market and the grocer who chose to go into this line of business? And doesn't that make YOU an integral part of the problem? So in your little mind, it's better for a centralized government planning bureaucracy to exploit the talent and skill of everyone, rather than allowing individuals to make deals with those in the position to "exploit" and try to negotiate the best deal for the product or service they render? You are one of those people I predicted who would sign up for slavery if it were re-enacted and allowed to be an option. You obviously are incapable of managing your own life, so would prefer to have others do it for you. Choose your master wisely, however.

      AOC is a sock puppet, and her acolytes are equally delusional. It's funny that the Dem party, which tried to create the meme that all conservatives / individualists were racist, uneducated blue collar workers now have as the face of their party the female, ethnic version of Archie Bunker – blue collar all the way, uneducated or poorly educated, opinionated and happy to live without being "factually correct" because she believes she's morally superior. And that includes to people like you, who she wishes to control. As I stated previously, choose your master wisely. It will be a life sentence for you.

      • Jay S. says:

        Jean – I commend you for taking action to try to educate Lee. I am afraid that it is as futile as Robert suggested it would be to educate the low information folks. Lee and the millions of minions just like him are not open to factual evidence and higher-IQ information absorption. And besides, Lee is an expert in his limited beliefs and opinions. He, like the others will try to drag you down to his level and to beat you with experience. Someone once said that wisdom is wasted on all but the wise. I think that applies here…

    • Bob Stuuts says:

      Exploit? You obviously fail to grasp that here she has the same opportunity – as you have had – to become a billionaie – not by the exploitation of others – but by others eager willingness to surrender themselves and their money to just a tiny bit less work… Keep blaming other for your own failings

    • Joel Walbert says:

      I wouldn't be too quick to label others as low IQ when you post comment with 3rd grade level sentence structures. And actually most billionaires become billionaires by creating something that people want to buy from companies that people want to work for. Case in point, Steve Jobs became a billionaire by offering products that customers chose on their own free will to purchase and were manufactured by people who by their own free will chose to work for him. Nobody put a gun to anybody's head for a single penny he earned. Where is the exploitation when everybody involved did so voluntarily?

  2. kauai_mike says:

    That's the Robert Ringer we know & love! Here's to every individualist!

    • Rick G says:

      And here is to Robert Ringer, the greatest philosopher of all time and the one who has had the greatest impact on my life ever!

  3. L. Kimball K Romney says:

    Science has found that even the elements of this earth combined in a certain way never yields up the exact results everytime.

  4. Rick G says:

    Excellent article, Robert. The immoral desire to squash individualism always fails as history has always shown. Yet, there are those who are relentless in their attempts to destroy individualism by ignoring reality and promising false utopias that will never work, except for those in power who will use brute force to impose it.

  5. Larry W Moran says:

    Every individual in our country has certain rights as established and stated in the Constitution. But, as Robert has shared, no one's individual rights are absolute. Which is to say, that we view the right to do anything we wish in the name of the pursuit of our personal freedom, to the harm or violation of the rights of others. Our rights are relative; relative to the respect and value placed on all rights of others.

    • Robert NUNYER says:

      ALL human beings, the world over, come into this world with the same "natural, essential, and inherent rights ‒ among which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing, and protecting, property", and all the corollary and auxiliary rights that necessarily attend these; what we do with them after that is up to each and every one of us, individually.

  6. Jacque says:

    When the wants of many exceed the ability of the few there will be war.

  7. Scott theczech says:

    “An individualist is a man who says: I will not run anyone’s life – nor let anyone run mine. I will not rule nor be ruled. I will not be a master nor a slave. I will not sacrifice myself to anyone – nor sacrifice anyone to myself.” Ayn Rand

  8. Rick G says:

    A la Ayn Rand, here is what it all boils down to. It is individualism and freedom versus collectivism and slavery. There is no other way! Such a stark contrast was never portrayed better and clearer than by Ayn Rand in her novelette, Anthem, my favorite by her. It is all about "I" versus "We", individualism versus collectivism, freedom versus slavery. A great book which had a great impact on me.

    • lee says:

      Lions may not look exactly alike.but they hunt together so they have a better chance that the individual lion will survive.when people in a group work together to be free.the individual in the group has a better chance to be free.then if he goes at it alone.

  9. larajf says:

    I read once somewhere that the "pursuit of happiness" really meant that the person had the freedom to choose their own job…they were free from the cast system (if my father's a baker, i have to be a baker). And that goes hand in hand with individuality. We get to choose our own destiny. Now if only the globalists would get out of the way!

  10. TheLookOut says:

    At the end of the day we all will be judged, and held accountable
    for our own individual actions regardless of whose team wins.
    Individual accomplishment no matter how small is the only
    thing that builds self esteem, character, and earns respect.

  11. Reality Seeker says:

    Good luck, indeed.

  12. DOL says:


  13. Scott theczech says:


  14. Jay S. says:

    Robert, Please tell us how this book ends. You have left us with a cliffhanger. Do the morons take over America? Or, do the Patriots rise to defeat the hordes of brainwashed imbeciles?

    • lee says:

      The so called patriots will keep telling the brainwashed moron imbeciles that they are patriots by supporting they can keep exploiting them.

  15. Pitch says:

    Please forward a copy of this to Bill de Blasio and every school in America.

  16. Joe P says:

    Proud to see you stand up for trans gender rights. Thanks Rob!

  17. Paul Herring says:

    Thanks Robert – as always, thought-provoking. I wonder if I might add a thought from left-field here.

    Agree with you that governments exist only through the control they can exercise. And it is fair to say that not everything governments do is for the betterment of their citizens. Sometimes far from it! Their power comes from the rules they make and enforce.

    However, individualism isn’t the answer either. Why not? Because we humans are imperfect, self-interest is often the key driver in whatever individuals want and often carry out. So while collectivism isn’t ideal, neither is individualism.

    Governments can’t legislate decency, kindness, fairness and agape love―concern for the welfare of others―in its citizens. This can only come from the individuals who make up our societies. At the same time, the only way an individual will be inspired to take on the qualities mentioned just above is if they see a reason to do so.

    As a regular contributor to Robert’s posts I’ve often presented the Bible’s view on them. The God of the Bible sets out very clearly the kind of qualities he expects in his worshippers. From that we can choose to apply them or repudiate them. If we all applied them the world would be a different and far better place than it is now. In the near future, it's then and only then, that the human family will experience true unity.

    • lee says:

      I am the lord and there is none else.there is no God beside me: i girded thee, though thou hast not known me: that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west,that there is none beside me.i am the lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: i make peace and create evil: i the lord do all this things. Isaiah 5-7 king james version.

    • Dave says:


      You sound like one of those wishy-washy Demo-O-Crats. You want your freedom but still looking for a shelter. I bet you go to church with Hilary and the Dems!
      Move outta the way and let a real man like Donald TRUMP lead. He's a true MAN that knows to look out for #1 (also title of Robert's book)

      • lee says:

        Donald trump and robert ringer.are looking out for number one.Themselves and not for you.stop being brainwashed by them thinking they are going to shelter you.and be a real man and think for yourself.

        • Ross Ross says:

          Of course Donald Trump and Robert Ringer are looking out for number one. That is the whole point! What makes you think they should be looking out for you? Why on earth should they shelter anyone? Why not be a real man and assume responsibility for your own life and decisions and stop looking to be baby fed.

          • lee says:

            That's my whole take responsibility for your own life.robert ringer says he supports trump.because he is rooting for if trump can give him freedom.many people that post here say they support trump.because they think trump is going to do something to help them.what iam saying is trump tells them what they want here to keep enriching himself.Robert ringer does the same thing to sell more books.

      • Paul Herring says:

        No, Dave. I'm an Australian so can't be a Democrat nor would I be if I lived in the US. That said, I wouldn't be a Republican either. As a Bible student, I'm not political at all because the leader of Christianity, Jesus, said that 'his followers are no part of the world'. (John 17:16) You are free to choose whom you prefer at the polls, likewise I have the freedom to believe what the Bible says on matters, including our world and its political systems.

  18. Angina says:

    "Exceptional individual has the right to be exceptional" I agree with you absolutely.

  19. lee says:

    Rober ringer.based on your logic.alexendria ocasio cortez.being an exceptional politician.has a right to be exceptional.

  20. Botox Leeds says:

    Thanks for sharing such amazing morality articles. Nice work.

  21. NZ Steve says:

    Get ready, they're coming for you money*: After reading Looking Out For #1, I was certain I would make it. I am now comfortably retired and thankful, while so many of my contacts are still struggling.

    *We need more Ringer-type blogs. This one is by Simon Black a retired US military intelligence x-pat:
    Source: http s