The Conservative Fear of the Community

Conservatives believe in individual autonomy and fear ceding any individual control to others. This view undergirds their disdain for any type of collective or communal activity. It is why they don’t like unions, why they don’t like the government, and why the disdain communism more than anything.

Unfortunately this hostility toward collective action shows a surprising ignorance of human nature, human history, and human behavior.

Human Nature: Humans are a social animal and cooperative species. We evolved in kin groups and evolved with a learned sense of living with, working with, and cooperating with, other human beings. While humans are not herd animals like bison, they are also not lone animals like wolves or sharks. Humans are primates, and virtually all primate species are social animals that live in extended family groups. Humans evolved with a sense of sharing and cooperation. Human survival depended on the ability of each person to work with the people around them.

Human History: Society is perhaps the greatest human invention. Humans began to dominate the world when they began to live in larger and larger groups. Humans only thrived when we became communal, when we invented civilization.

Human Behavior: Conservative disdain for group behavior seems based on faulty logic. They don’t seem to understand that there is a difference between cooperative behavior and outside control. Humans often work together, and there are various levels of interaction. The lowest level might be cooperation, where two or more people work individually but on a group project. A neighborhood pot-luck dinner might be an example. Everyone brings something to share. The next level might be collaboration. Same neighborhood, but now a Halloween Party where a couple of families arrange for the food and drinks, and invite everyone else. At the far extreme would be communism, where all property is owned communally. An example would be a Kibbutz in Israel.

There are undoubtedly many levels between cooperative behavior and communism, but most conservatives conflate it all. Any group effort, of any kind, is, in their mind, the first step toward the commune.

Author: Mike

I am a patent attorney in Lexington, Kentucky. My law firm web site is I ran for State Representative in 2010 and lost in the primary. Many of these posts are based on writing that I did for that election. Rather than delete it all, I decided to dump it onto the internet.

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