I like 'associations' better than communities. A union of persons in a company or society for some particular purpose prevents the rise of group think. In associations, when the explicit purpose is no longer evident, one is freed from the ties of a value system that might no longer serve individual interests. New social contracts can then be initiated by autonomous individuals for new purposes. The idea that I must (or might need to) subordinate my interests for the benefit of the whole compromises my freedom of movement, and somehow assumes the group is of more value than the individual. Groups don't have value; only people have value.
I am against egoism; it's wrong to be selfish. But that does not mean one must be duty-bound to any socially-imposed morality. Nor are people somehow moral atoms, for humans are social creatures that need others to identify and reach their potential as individuals. (Ayn Rand, for example, was too simplistic of a thinker to recognize this.) Reasonable individuals, when allowed to determine their own goals, are in the best position to identify their own purposes. Again, this makes voluntary 'associations' the best vehicle. There are other reasonable people in this world, and I want them to have the same opportunity to set goals and identify purposes as I do. Communities make it too hard to reset goals and identify individual purposes. Associations allow flexibility.
I am not advocating relativism, either; for, an external society should interfere in an individual's acts, but only when a very compelling need to do so arises (such as someone threatening a person's life, or commonly granted freedom of movement, or pursuit of others' fair resources for self-advancement.)
This is why the whole emphasis on 'community' creeps me out, especially when repeated as a mantra by religious people.
[image] "Walking Man" http://www.traveladventures.org/
Labels: association, Ayn Rand, community, ethics, individualism