United We Fall


Like you, I’ve heard “united we stand, divided we fall” hundreds of times, probably thousands. If fact, we’ve heard it so many times that by now it triggers emotions in us: All together we can’t be stopped! And so on.

Except that it’s mainly a trap. Unity is the downward path – the road to decline.

In fact, being united has value in very few areas of life. If you want a mass of bodies to charge another mass of bodies on the other side of a battlefield – then unity matters. But when you want honesty, intelligence, compassion, innovation, and evolution, unity is your enemy.

Unity works for body-power, but it works against all the higher and better aspects of our nature. And to be blunt, that’s why the sacrifice collectors of mankind love unity – they want obedient bodies, not self-determinant minds.

Spiritual Unity?

The really pernicious thing about unity is that it’s sold as some kind of spiritual ideal: We each sacrifice our ourselves, then we somehow become magical, collective superheroes.

Again, this is false. The high and good – the truly spiritual – forms only in individuals. As I’ll illustrate below, the more united our minds are, the farther they sink to an animal level. The more individual our minds are, the more they rise toward the good and the ultimate.

Unity in the religious sense is a spiritualized dream of a free fix. By embracing unity, people hope to solve their personal deficits by magic. Unification calls the magic down from heaven, and boom! we’re all fixed… no work required… it’s “spiritual,” after all.

The truth is this: Where individuality has had the upper hand, prosperity, growth, and invention have defined the times. Where collective ideals (like melting into one) have had the upper hand, humanity has sunk toward an animal level of existence.

You Want Proof?

Let’s start with this: Every mass tragedy since 1900 has not only featured unity, but has been built with unity as its central component. This becomes utterly obvious with the use of just one word: collectivism.

Collectivism is unity by definition, and it stood at the heart of Mao’s China, Lenin and Stalin’s USSR, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, and the various Kims’ North Korea. As a first approximation, these unity traps killed 100 million people.

Then we can add Hitler and Mussolini, who enforced unity; nonconformists were imprisoned or killed. We have more tens of millions dead here.

This fact hasn’t been lost on observers. Here are just two quotes:

[A]n individual immersed for some length of time in a crowd soon finds himself – either in consequence of magnetic influence given out by the crowd or from some other cause of which we are ignorant – in a special state, which much resembles the state of fascination in which the hypnotized individual finds himself in the hands of the hypnotizer.
– Gustave Le Bon

Man as an individual is a genius. But men in the mass form a headless monster, a great, brutish idiot that goes where prodded.
– Charles Chaplin

And yes, our abusers know this too. Here’s a quote from Edward Bernays, who made a living teaching people to manipulate the masses:

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.

Want More Proof?

Here are some thoughts from people who knew something about creativity, discovery, and creating a better world:

[E]verything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom.
– Albert Einstein

Civilization can only revive when there shall come into being in a number of individuals a new tone of mind independent of the one prevalent among the crowd and in opposition to it… the ethical comes into existence only in individuals.
– Albert Schweitzer

[T]his I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world.
– John Steinbeck

The Power of Numbers

Every leader of a movement – or wannabe leader of a movement – stresses the necessity of numbers: “Every one of us needs to show up and make them take notice!” That, I hasten to tell you, is a fatal error. It’s wonderful for the wannabe leader – he gets to be “the great one” – but it destroys the followers.

When you have a mass movement following a “noble leadership,” individual-level virtues are squeezed out and actual improvement along with it. Like this:

  • Listening to the leader displaces self-judgment.

  • Following the leader displaces self-motivation.

  • Lauding the courage of the leader displaces the courage to act alone.

  • Quoting the words of the leader displaces self-responsibility.

If we want real and enduring progress in the world, we must each make our own decisions, we must each take full responsibility for our lives, and we must each muster the courage to act alone. Until we can do that, we won’t move the world forward by any appreciable amount.

Mass movements and leaders always drag us in the wrong direction.


So, if you need a pile of bodies to knock down other bodies, unity’s your ticket. If you want a large number of people to turn off their minds and obey you, unity’s also your ticket, especially if you mix in some fear.

But if you want, thinking, creative, upright, beneficial human beings, ditch unity and call for self-will.

As individuals we rise.

United we fall.

* * * * *

If you’ve enjoyed Free-Man’s Perspective or A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, you’re going to love Paul Rosenberg’s new novel, The Breaking Dawn.

It begins with an attack that crashes the investment markets, brings down economic systems, and divides the world. One part is dominated by mass surveillance and massive data systems: clean cities and empty minds… where everything is assured and everything is ordered. The other part is abandoned, without services, with limited communications, and shoved 50 years behind the times… but where human minds are left to find their own bearings.

You may never look at life the same way again.

Get it now at Amazon ($18.95) or on Kindle: ($5.99)


* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg

15 thoughts on “United We Fall”

  1. It’s no accident that the symbol and name-origin of fascism – one of the most potent ideologies of ‘rulership supremacy’ – is the ‘fasces’, the symbol of a bundle of sticks tightly bound together and ‘united’ into one entity.

  2. I agree that unity is the great destroyer. And I will add one other example to those stated in the article. One that isn’t usually thought of in this sense.
    The value of a nation’s currency is dependent upon the nation holding together. And on the nation’s power to steal from (tax) its citizens. If a government loses the ability to take from those it has universal power over, then it loses the ability to function. No one outside their borders will trust it. And all those locked within its borders will go down with the ship.
    Unless they got their lifeboat before the storm hit.
    But this shows why currency should not be confused with money. Currency only holds value because some government says that it has value to them, whereas the value of money is universal. It does not rely upon a government saying that the piece of paper you are holding has value.
    This is something that many will come to realize too late for it to do them any good.

  3. Nicely put, Paul. It’s unfortunate that your very apt and catchy phrase, United We Fall, has already been used as the name of a 2005 hip-hop album and a 2014 movie. But there’s no reason why those should not fade into obscurity while your use to convey an important idea triumphs.

  4. Paul,
    I do not agree with your article entirely. Unity is a double edged sword. Unity consciousness in a positive and purposeful individual can achieve positive outcomes for humanity. “Energy follows thought” and accelerated with critical mass guaranteeing a speedy intended purpose. Your examples were of negative personalities, but there are also the positive personalities in history. who changed humanity for the better which could not have been achieved without “unity” of intent and purpose.

    1. Working together is fine, so long as each sees the goal individually and wills independently.
      Unity as an end in itself, however, is something else.

      1. An idea must first be presented and then refined and built upon consensus in order to be actuated. This is “unity” of an idea. Done individually with no agreement the process dies from lack of energy.

  5. I just finished reading “The Breaking Dawn”, and was greatly affected by it. (Thanks, Paul) The ideas expressed in this post are really adding some wind to the shit storm that the book stirred up in my 66 year old brain. I have considered myself “Libertarian” for many years now, but I am finally starting to understand what that means.

  6. “But if you want, thinking, creative, upright, beneficial human beings,
    ditch unity and call for self-will.” The “individual-self willed”
    thinking man’s card is pulled to draw man into another “unified pool”.
    of human action. The descriptive term “upright” placed on the
    individual who abhors the masses is misleading. One doesn’t just turn
    the corner and become upright. There has never been an age where
    individuals lived together as upright, beneficial human beings. I know
    its not pretty, but there is the sin-nature of mankind which has always
    interfered with an upright, honest and responsible society. This was
    dealt with by the Intelligent Designer of men’s souls 2000 years ago.
    The right action by humans would be to trust in the story told us by
    Someone who knows all and disclosed it in the Apostle Paul’s 13 epistles
    of the King James. By rightly dividing the KJB we can know the present
    age “revelation of the mystery” Rom 16:25 apart from the prophetic
    revelations concerning another group of “individuals” and learn man must
    be regenerated in order to live together peacefully and forever
    prosperously. Christ (God Himself) did that for us by the Gospel (found
    in I Cor 15:1-4). Trusting this will place us in the new age where
    creativity, thinking, upright, beneficial human beings can live freely
    in the liberty we were originally designed for.

  7. Paul, I usually agree with your commentaries wholeheartedly, but here I believe you overlook some of the advantages of unity, by which I mean working together with others–almost always limited to only a few–towards a common goal otherwise unobtainable. Here may be one instance where two may be better than one: “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”–Matthew 18:19-20 Another instance I can think of where even more than just a few working together voluntarily can accomplish the task of pulling victims from the rubble of buildings demolished by an earthquake, where working “alone” even by many who were not united in the effort would fail to complete the rescues before the victims expired. Don’t be quick to dismiss *voluntary* unity, which is entirely unrelated to collectivism–a forced proposition.

  8. Paul,
    I think you recognize an existing issue, but have misdiagnosed it. You have broadly defined unity as an injurious force that produces authoritarianism and a loss of individualism. However, the instances that you have cited, such as Hitler’s Germany, were not brought about through a unified body of National Socialists, for instance. Conversely, the majority of Germans were not ideological Nazis, a fact that is evident in the radical reformation of Germany in the decades following WWII. Instead, the reason that despots steal individual rights and liberties is due to a lack of unity, not an excess of it. The greatest threat to authoritarianism is a populace unified in political and moral philosophy; this is the very reason that the colonists severed their ties with the English crown. Further, humanitarian tragedies, such as Nazi death camps or slavery, were ultimately defeated by groups of individuals or nations that were united in political philosophy (Western powers defeating the axis), or moral principles (Christian men combating slavery on the grounds of divinely granted equality). It seems to me that the solution to mindless conformity is a foundational and uncompromising unity of belief.
    Further, you claim that individualism is lost through unity. I’m not sure how you define “individualism,” but the great intellectual and creative peaks of human history have not been accomplished through individual will, but a collective spirit of discovery and truth. The Enlightenment revolutionized the scientific world, not through individual and non-uniform will, but through a collective embracing of a specific empirical philosophy that informed men on how to approach the world. The United States’ most prosperous time was when it was most morally and philosophically uniform. The centralization of government and growing unaccountability of elected officials have arisen through an increasingly diverse populace reliant on individual autonomy over traditional institutions (family, church) and principles (federalism). Arguably the most intellectually stagnant time in world history, the Dark Ages, was marked by a complete breakdown in temporal unification and, instead, a reliance on reclusiveness and individual will.
    Lastly, you criticize reliance on authority, however the majority of your post is claims to authority through quotations of authoritative figures. I think that you have diagnosed the problem inversely. Instead of unification being the enemy, the “right” kind of unification is the key. A unification of traditional principles, specifically Protestant principles, is the ultimate safeguard against governmental abuse. The American Republic was founded on English Jurisprudence, western political philosophy, and underlyingly, Protestantism. The way to avoid governmental deterioration is a reliance on unifying political philosophy and morality. The decline of nations starts with an attack on culture (language and religion), and only then ideology. In contemporary America, and other countries, the cultural foundation of the nation has fallen due to radical individualism and sub-nationalism (identities based on gender and race). The only pillar still standing is a foundationless political ideology. As we have seen through history, ideology does not stand without a strongly unified culture.

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