hygienic dark retreat

profound rest for the self‑healing psyche

a book by andrew durham

formerly darkroomretreat.com


notes toward an individualist form of government

These notes are semi-organized. But they are enough to begin thinking along new lines.

First, please read individualism, a short piece from my blog. It links to scene: freedom, which links back here.


Legislation, defense, and adjudication exist in some form in every society. Whatever forms they take in a society make up its state. Society morally sanctions certain uses of (physical) force through its state.

Man is a volitional being, thus fallible. Principles must guide his actions, personally and socially. This is especially true of his use of force. Force is where personal error or virtue crosses over and affects the lives of others criminally.

Every society has a state of some kind. It is an immutable institution. It is not whether a society will have a state, but what kind it has. It is axiomatic. State power—force organized for political ends—would be needed to abolish a state, as in the anarchist fantasy. It is impossible. Always, there is a state.

A state could be the centralized, monopolizing, elitist beast we are used to. Or it could be a distributed, competitive, and open-source state. An 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 precepts, which assert the rights of man)
  • undertaken and operated by all individuals throughout the population
  • of maximum size in terms of
    • number of participants
    • comprehensiveness of laws (through contracts)
    • amount of power held and degree of control exercised, but by individuals over their own affairs

Individualism sets the operational context of the society. 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. 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 lawmaker, policeman, soldier, and judge. 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 when one is cut, it generates positive outward pressure that prevents contaminants from entering.

Individualism opposes collectivism. Which is the false assertion of a collective being. Individuals are merely cells in it and owe obedience to it.

Individualism opposes altruism, the ethics underlying collectivism. It pretends to the good of others. Really, altruism is self-sacrifice, a pathological denial of self. No one will be confused by collectivist appeals to the “common good” or offers of representation or stewardship.


Rather than a constitution or proclamation, our party publishes non-binding precepts. These are statements of eternal facts about human nature. They outline natural rights, their moral and metaphysical basis, the basic crimes that violate them, and how a state functions to stop them. These provide a basis for binding law. The precepts would be a short, simple statement, say 200 words maximum. A 7 year-old could understand it.

Everyone becomes his own legislator by making contracts based on the precepts and according to Maxims of Law. Lawyers help. Defense companies help people protect themselves and their property. Adjudicators help 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 both 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 only these three. Violation is called crime. Crime is forbidden and stopped by whatever force is necessary.

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 man 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 choice. 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 (legislature, executive, judiciary)

Members of central bodies abuse power, just as the masses deserve. The people have given up the most precious thing they had: their personal, living power to lead their own lives, their say-so over their own lives. So centralized politicians start using them for their own purposes. Why would they do otherwise? The people proved themselves unworthy of more.

All the natural human qualities democracy condemns as civic sin 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 (A la, the Velvet Revolution in Czech Republic, Atlas Shrugged, and in the movie, “La Belle Verte”, the brief history the youths share at 1:07:30.

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. The Revolutionaries assumed a state meant a centralized state. This meant representation, voting, and controversy. This lead 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 my 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 calls 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.”

security vs safety

A principal way the centralized state takes over everything is by conflating safety with security. Security—preparations to stop crime—is the normal purpose of government. Safety is a problem of engineering and commerce, to be handled by industry associations, private testing labs, and insurers.

The US government took over the responsibility for safety with its alphabet agencies. It pretends to remove risk and danger from life, an impossibility. With the corona hoax, it practiced siezing total power over the minutest movements of everyone on the planet—for their own safety.

Also, by viewing everything as a militarily strategic resource, the security agencies assumed power over all aspects of life. The legislature extended massive financial support and legal protections to certain industries as part of ensuring security.

Now many people can barely tie their shoes. Polluters call in favors, and manufacturers use limited liability to get away with murder.

In the distributed state, responsibility for personal safety will be returned to the hands of individuals. Those so inept that they can’t survive in the sandbox of industrial culture will continue eliminating themselves from the gene pool, as they do everyday in droves. Just read a table on all causes of death.


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 to figure out what the hell happened and what to do about it.
  2. Meanwhile, millennia of delegating our authority to centralized states have totally debased us. We surrendered what power we had left. It was too little to manage our own affairs with. Our responsibility was delegated with it. We became soft. Our representatives have held a legal monopoly on the use of force within our territories. We were punished for defending ourselves.
  3. Externalities: chief industrial sponsors of the state were excepted from decency. The stench and din of their “unsellable production”—pollution—turned everyone into the filters, silencers, dampeners, and scrubbers that should have been on their factories. They took over whole areas, made them unlivable, enslaved the occupants by barring them legally from doing anything else, and discarded the bodies used up in their mechanical processes with subsistence welfare programs. The whining apocalyptic nightmare drove people mad, made them sympathetic to collectivist moves to control the poisoning, the externalizing—the irresponsible imposition on neighbors—of uncontrolled and dangerous industrial processes. This is the most widespread form of crime that exists. It affects everyone all the time. It has to stop. Probably only a mass strike will accomplish it (as in my favorite book, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, and my favorite movie, “La Belle Verte” by Coline Serreau).
  4. The whole mess results in individual near-powerlessness. What power an individual had left after the cataclysm was insufficient to manage his life himself. He had to delegate it to centralized bodies. We must all recover our full measure of native power, then manage the use of force ourselves. State functions must be distributed. A critical mass of individuals (5-10) will recover the natural power* necessary to influence society toward it. Authority in this comes from ability. It cannot be faked or merely claimed.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Public objection to the precepts identifies objectors as sympathizers with crime. They instantly lose respect and business. Violators of the precepts oppose an entire population that is practiced in upholding them. Violation presents everyone an opportunity to profit by setting the matter straight.
  8. Damages are made up for with money, not punishment.
  9. Recognition of the rights of everyone, including children; and liberation of all rightful activity, including the slow suicide of decadence and dissipation, restores natural incentives. Crime stops paying. Rather than the state, crime will wither away.

The Market for Liberty by the Tannehills explains this in 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 down to normal rates of profitability of business.

The Tannehills only err in saying that non-centralized 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 the issue moot.

But she was fundamentally right in asserting the political nature of man, thus his need for a state and for lawful control of its use of force. Man possesses the faculty of choice. He can err dangerously or do evil. He 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 of himself. Of everyone.

Thus every collectivist movement has an anarchist vanguard. Every collectivist regime comes to power using anarchy: destruction of the last of the existing state (which was eroded through a generations-long campaign of ideological subversion). This leads to even more death. Good politics should improve things from the first moment, not make them worse.

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, insoluble 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 a centralized state arising from mass 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 darkness. See hygienic dark 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. He used it to cast an empire out of his country without war. Which is a miracle.


  • Rights
    • 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 is right. Therefore it is a right. It is his right among others who could choose to physically stop him. To live, a human must:
      • be
      • move
      • get
    • therefore these things are right
    • therefore these things are rights
    • list of rights {crimes violating them are in curly braces}
    • Life: body
      • {poisoning*, assault, battery, maiming, murder}
      • {*usually pollution: noise, material (plasma, gas, liquid, solid), light, electromagnetism. Sensible, at least to some, and in those cases, detectable by anyone with instruments.}
    • 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, or threatening to, with anything physical that is sensible, harmful, and unavoidable. 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
      • all band together when necessary to thwart large threats, by prior agreement and funding through insurance companies


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 is the quality of a society that stands against the initiation of force, both in its laws, defenses, judgments, and attitudes.


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


The worst attitude is to deny the state as such, ie, anarchy. This naive 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, the paid vanguard and cannon fodder of future collectivist states.

Government is not mind control but control by the mind according to principle. To resist government is to resist reason, to defy reality, and ultimately, to seek its annihilation. Which is why anarchists become filled with fear and hatred. They project their own desperate evil outward as they smash and burn what is left of the decency and order around them. It’s a sad waste due to bad training.


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.

This is all a lie. There is no collective entity. One cannot live for others. So it is a denial of what is. It does not uphold the collective. It denies and violates the rights of the individual. It does not help others. It gets people to deny and destroy themselves.

The Vatican has operated by Satanic power through the Jesuits and 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.


Collectivism is a lie. So it is advanced by denials and stealth. You know you’re talking to a communist, for example, when you hear:

  • real communism never happened
  • communism is a myth
  • communists don’t exist

Collectivism has to be advanced in secret, by deception. Observe the:

  • self-sacrificing (“charitable”) ethics and centralizing politics of secret societies
  • closed-door sessions of special committees
  • black-book projects of military and industry
  • blackmail that participants operate under (Epstein)

Individualism, by contrast, wins in the open, by proud assertion of right, and transparent action. It takes very little of this to reverse a collectivist tide. Let’s get cracking.


Many things now taken for granted as public functions will cease to be administered by the state. Some will be discontinued and dispersed. It will fall to individuals and organizations to handle them or disperse them.

  • Laws of Enclosure: this system of enslavement will stop. Unused land will be considered unowned land. Anyone can claim it by “mixing his efforts” with it. This is how John Locke described the process of turning something in nature into property.
  • State-issued money
  • Safety regulations: Security is the concern of the state, not safety. Security means ensuring harmlessness among criminals. Safety means ensuring harmlessness among non-criminals. This is a critical distinction lost on us for decades.
  • Post offices, roads, schools, hospitals, etc: obvious collectivist nonsense. Yes, every enterprise has an aspect of security. It doesn’t mean it has to be taken over by a centralized state.
  • The “positive state” is a contradiction in terms. The state is inherently negative and destructive. It exists to stop evil, not to create good. That is the job of business and normal (voluntary, non-criminal) society.
  • Many other things. All the pork, handouts, privileges, protections, and exceptions. Something to offend everyone, no doubt. Freedom is not daisies and sunshine, folks.


America is not the land of the free. Freedom here is not guaranteed or handed to anyone. It is merely the land of the opportunity for freedom, if one knows how to claim it, to exercise one’s rights. This is increasingly rare. The system has taken over the raising of children and brainwashes them against self-reliance. But the opportunity still exists for those who will curb their complaints enough to take the action necessary to claim their birthright.

Thus the distributed system I described exists implicitly in America already, and will as long as the constitution stands. Some people are quietly and firmly managing their own affairs. They interrupt state proceedings when such get out of hand, and gently neutralize them with the principle of conditional acceptance. “Sure, I’ll do that as long as you can show me a contract with my signature on it in which I agreed to do that.”

This is taught by TJ Marrs of youarelaw.org and many others now. I started hearing it from dad, from our immovable grandelder, Jack Nuckols, and then my counsel, the late legal genius, DeWaynn Rogers. Its strains are embedded in the American tradition. You can still hear them if you listen. It is not too late to avoid another cycle of collectivist catastrophe, now devolved from its centers and chomping at the bit in disaster zones like San Francisco and Portland.

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