My species are INCREDIBLY individualistic, self-centered, and independent. Evolution has promoted and favored individuals whom can, and prefer, to stand on their own, utterly unaided.

My dilemma is, would they ever even invent a government?

They do group and work together periodically based on necessity, but if confined or kept in tight spaces or large groups, they will experience anxiety comparable to humans in absolute isolation or sensory deprivation.

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    $\begingroup$ If they work together based on necessity then evolution has not promoted and favored individuals whom can, and prefer, to stand on their own, utterly unaided. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Feb 28, 2020 at 2:44
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    $\begingroup$ Evolution does not generally favor those who work alone, completely unaided. Especially at higher levels of functioning. $\endgroup$
    – Halfthawed
    Feb 28, 2020 at 3:07
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    $\begingroup$ I think that the main problem with a fully individualistic (i.e. non-social) species is that they may not be able to evolve to be intelligent enough to form a government. But if they can somehow get past that barrier, then an organized social structure provides enough benefits to be plausible regardless. $\endgroup$
    – Misha R
    Feb 28, 2020 at 5:31
  • $\begingroup$ The only way this can happen is if they devolved from a social species to a bunch of egotistical creatures. And this is only a transient moment along the path of devolution towards extinction (by the hands of a social species which pushes them aside or by a disease/parasite they can't survive on their own). "Survival of the fittest" is not a guarantee for species survival. $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2020 at 9:36
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    $\begingroup$ Does “self-centered” imply the strong will dominate the weak unless a government prevents? $\endgroup$
    – WGroleau
    Feb 28, 2020 at 14:59

7 Answers 7


This from the "Form follow function and all that as a motor for evolution" book

Evolution has promoted and favored individuals whom can, and prefer, to stand on their own, utterly unaided.

Huh, so evolution created yet another kind of tiger.

Which will react to any other individual from the same species with "Get outta here, that's my territory. I want to be alone and it won't be me to keep the distance"

Only on occasions, the reaction would be "Hey, let's fu.... err... procreate, 'cause I have this 7 years itch".
As a note, the fact that the humans are fertile no matter the season evolved from the fact they had conditions to breed all year round (lower variation of food availability with the season) and they had available breeding partners all year round, because they lived and done all the work together all the time

So, what give? "Get out" or "Let's eff..."? You don't need too much of a language to share in common for those.
"Form follow function" and

  • no speech center in their brain, which leads to...
  • no complex frontal cortex to deal with abstract things

So, low level of intelligence? Like, not able to see the potential of carrying a stone axe with you? Even if, by accident, one individual discovers such a thing does work wonders for hunting, no common language guarantees his discovery won't be shared and will die with him (to be discovered by chance once in a while by others, who will suffer the same fate).

No common language and territorial? Not likely a big chance to educate the youngsters and pass the accumulated experience between generations. Even more, the cubs will grow to compete with the parents for territory, so at least the males will likely be a danger for the life of the progeny.

Planting seeds and growing crops? Forget about, not only this requires a higher level of intelligence (above animal), but it will require cooperation with other members of the species, to guard those crops against all the other animals that find the crop tasty.

No common language? No trade. Besides, to trade something means the other side must recognize the value of what you have for the barter. Individualistic/territorial style of living will almost guarantee the life experience will be different enough for the other side not to give a fuck about that stone that you hold, even if it's bound to a stick. Because why the heck would anyone want to carry a stone with him all the time, you can't eat stones, can you?
A practical demo by the wannabe seller is likely to result in that stone axe being exercised on the cranium of that potential trade partner (what the heck is a partner anyway) followed by taking the thing the stone axe wielder was accidentally interested in. A rough deal, one would say.

Nah, such a species will evolve exactly like the today's tigers. Territorial and rare, pushed towards extinction by a gregarious species of social monkeys who don't appreciate the freedom of doing whatever the fuck one pleases.

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    $\begingroup$ That's a rather...blunt way of putting it. $\endgroup$
    – Seraphim
    Feb 28, 2020 at 16:25
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    $\begingroup$ +1 for the last paragraph, monkey's with cellphones and "morals". $\endgroup$
    – coblr
    Feb 28, 2020 at 20:55
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    $\begingroup$ "Nah, such a species will evolve exactly like the today's tigers. " I'm reminded of a passage from John Brunners ''Stand on Zanzibar'' (not verbatim): "When a group of monkeys moves anywhere, EVERYONE moves out, even lions and lions aren't exactly helpless creature". $\endgroup$ Apr 23, 2022 at 10:17


The whole point of government is to provide for a collective. It might start out as a mutual defense pact (for example), but that defense comes at a price; Usually, a clan chief who says 'I will protect you' is really saying one of two things;

1) My job is keeping you safe, so you all have to feed and clothe me and I'll get right on that, or
2) You all pay me a set amount of money, and I'll find people to fight on your behalf.

When you go to scale this up, only the second one makes sense. Above a certain size of either threat or area to protect, a single person, even a badass, can't protect against all comers. So, you pay someone who is entrusted with the spending of that money on an army.

That model of course works really well for other things as well. Soon you're setting up police, schools, hospitals, roads, courts and whatever other communal infrastructure is required by the populace but which is uneconomic for a single group to provide.

In the modern world of course, multinational companies are now even larger than a lot of the countries in which they operate, meaning that many of the roles that WERE the sole domain of government end up being 'privatised', or tendered out to large companies once the government has made the decision on what to do. But, we're getting off track.

The point is, that your species has no communal interest. They can't possibly have a communal interest and be solitary animals, as being solitary by definition precludes the use of communal assets wherever possible.

On Earth, most solitary animals are solitary due to a lack of resources to support more than one animal within a defensible territory. Extending this model to your species, coming together would only be for set reasons, like procreation. Even solitary animals come together to do this for obvious evolutionary requirements. I'd imagine that your species is much the same, albeit with a slightly larger set of concerns that might cause them to group together for a period of time.

In that sense, they have no need for mutual defense as they can look after themselves. They have no need for roads, they have no need for doctors, education, etc. They have no need of the rule of law as they prefer not to be working with each other unless necessary, meaning they need no courts, no rule, no government.

There is however a price for living this way. Your species is unlikely to gain any real technical proficiency. The reason I say this is that what has led to the huge rise in the human capability over the last 10,000 years or so is our ability to record knowledge and share it with each other and the next generation. Whether that be through cave paintings, hand written notes, the printed word, or the digital stores of the internet, the ability of humans to do great things is predicated on our ability to rapidly learn the lessons of those who came before and then build on that foundation, making it bigger and better for the next generation to learn quickly and build even more on it in their turn.

Your solitary animals don't do that. They are highly unlikely to learn to read or write for their own use, let alone for those in the next generation. As such, some basic lessons may be passed down in a child's early days about how to do certain things, but your ascent into technical and scientific proficiency, let alone anything of a more artistic bent, is likely to be swamped with the day to day efforts of survival.

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    $\begingroup$ "Your species is unlikely to gain any real technical proficiency" - heck, they'll be unlikely to reach intelligence as we understand it today. 'Cause it's the social life that pushes for communication and language, which exercise the brain functions functions that are necessary for dealing with abstraction. $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2020 at 3:42
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    $\begingroup$ @AdrianColomitchi I actually agree with this entirely, but I dialed it back to keep the focus on the OP question of government. There's also a strong case IMO for them living shortened lives due to constantly being under the stress of having to look out for every danger by themselves as there's no-one else 'on watch' so to speak. Just taking time out to think about your day could be a dangerous distraction. $\endgroup$
    – Tim B II
    Feb 28, 2020 at 4:52

Your guys are going to be in the stone age for a very long time. If they are loners to the point of being nearly phobic about it, it's going to be incredibly hard to develop any kind of division of labor to create advancements.

The only kind of government I can see is going to be one at the tribal level, at best. Big predator moves in to the area. Ugh knows Iggy is near by. Ugh goes to Iggy and says "Big beasty over there., It's hungry. If we don't help each other out, Beasty will eat me and then you. If I poke it from the left and you poke it from the right, we kill the beasty. You get half, I get half. I go back to my valley. Ok?" Ugh is the leader, kind of, because he had the idea.

That is going to be the limit of your government for a very, very long time. They aren't going to get division of labor down enough past poking the predator from the left and right because as soon as the threat is gone, the association breaks up. Innovations won't get shared except through very occasional contact, and then, only maybe. Ugh may figure out how to knap flint and make a better spear head while Iggy is just hardening sharpened sticks briefly in the fire. Ugh is not going to go out of his way to tell Iggy what he just figured out.

At that rate, it will take millions of years for any significant advancement to happen. Even after those millions of years, they may be severely clannish. Getting to the point of needing an actual government...I just don't see it happening without some very strange circumstances.

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    $\begingroup$ They'll have trouble even doing that. How do you develop a language if you live alone? $\endgroup$
    – Ryan_L
    Feb 28, 2020 at 5:35
  • $\begingroup$ Language isn’t necessary to work together. Many earth species have a set of mutually understood signals. Not enough of a language to form a government, though. $\endgroup$
    – WGroleau
    Feb 28, 2020 at 14:57
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    $\begingroup$ @Ryan_L Developing a language is easy if you live alone. Good luck finding someone else who speaks it though $\endgroup$
    – Thymine
    Feb 28, 2020 at 15:14

They will occasionally work together.... so, Yes they will form a government. At least occasionally.

The question is what sort of government, and how long.

It would probably look something like a Viking Government. Any contender for the "throne" would have to convince each and every group of vikings, sometimes right down to the individual to side with them. Only to have them leave when they wanted to go it alone.

The "king" would be a literal salesman selling the seriously unwanted product of working together toward this goal. So hopefully that goal is one that a lot of people want. Otherwise they'd be the "king" of a very lonely hill (which isn't a problem per se, given the desire for lonesomeness, its just not what the "king" was hoping for).

Most of the important/desired governance structures would eventually stabilise, even though the churn on who is who would probably be very high. Definitely no entrenched/career bureaucrats/employees. More like a conscientious mob.

Anyone attempting to perform Human Resources will probably go insane, or wander off never to be heard from again.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for pointing out the poor HR person $\endgroup$
    – Paul TIKI
    Feb 28, 2020 at 3:41

No. Because your whole premisse is based on the notion of anti-governmentism, which is not so much flawed as it is an utter lie: It's not a real nor CREDIBLE thing to occur. Every group of beings needs a form of government and works together and depends on those that came before them, even if they loudly proclaim they do not.

Your species would not be able to exist, since such a species can't evolve because evolving would need working together which would need a government. The only way anything remotely what you describe would occur is in a story already written, about a species that consists of just ONE individual being each time it does evolve, and which is better and stronger than the previous individual. And that story has the advantage of not being some sort of biologically flawed excuse for a failed and mendacious political system: so-called rugged individualism, which is anything but individualism, given the huge subsidies farmers, billionaires and Big Oil and multinationals receive. There's a reason reightwing science fiction isn't popular. Not even with they themselves: Reality has a leftwing bias. (See: Evolution, science and Neil DeGrasse Tyson.)

  • $\begingroup$ Spiders are non cooperative, and they exist from way before than humans $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Feb 28, 2020 at 16:21
  • $\begingroup$ @GngrWtch Do you consider ants, termites, bees, etc to have any form of "government"? (The queen in a beehive doesn't tell the rest of the hive what to do. She just lays eggs.) What about slime moulds? SIngle-celled slime-moulds vs humans, creating transportation networks: arxiv.org/pdf/1203.2851.pdf $\endgroup$
    – alephzero
    Feb 28, 2020 at 18:08
  • $\begingroup$ This seems like a rant rather than an answer. Adjust the tone and presentation, and you might have something. $\endgroup$
    – T.J.L.
    Feb 28, 2020 at 18:53

Do they have families? Do they have a language or other mean of communicating? Are they invariably hostile when they meet?

Without some of the basics, its hard to see how they could ever form any sort of society, let alone a government.

HOWEVER: being independent and self-reliant you may still take advantage of others. So maybe you have a hierarchy of powerful, but effectively autonomous individuals, like some sort of feudal system or dictatorship. This may be repugnant to the 99% who form the lower orders, but there have been human societies which function in a not dissimilar way.


Only if they absolutely had to

Your species would only form a government if these two conditions are met:

  1. They've evolved to a point where they are capable of higher reasoning and deliberately managing their own instincts for long term benefit.
  2. They are badly losing a conflict with another species because the enemy species has a government.


Human beings do things every day that go against our nature, like sit still for hours at a time even when we are bored, refraining from punching people who make us angry etc. We do this in exchange for the benefits that society gives us.

If your species has a high aversion to the very nature of government itself, you need to give them an equally strong enticement, and the only thing I can think of is escape from inevitable extinction. If they are being whittled down by an organized foe and intelligent enough to recognise the advantages government is giving the enemy, it will make a strong case that they should attempt something similar.

It will be structured in a way that's more comfortable to their nature, but ultimately they will make necessary sacrifices if the need is pressing.

The government will only last long term if the threat remains for a long time, or individuals lose the skills to fend for themselves.


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