I posted this in the comments at Bitch PhD. I'm pleased with the way it came out, and am as self absorbed as any blogger, so I repeat it here.
I've been thinking a lot recently about the relationship between self-reliance and mutual aid. The Right has not been alone in championing self-reliance, nor is self reliance a vice or even an indifferent thing. Self-reliance promotes personal agency and responsibility, just as mutual aid promotes compassion.
The question is surely when and how much to be self reliant. The left emphasizes self-reliance in thought, and the right self-reliance in the creation of material well being. I tend towards the left here, as in many places. As for how much, I would borrow terminology from the Buddha and from Aristotle, and define "right independence" as a mean between rugged individualism and bland conformism.
Well, that's what i've been thinking recently.