by Robert Gore
Two often overlapping professions represent an apex of human evolution on both an individual and social level: the entrepreneur and the inventor. Because they are an apex, they only emerged as identifiable professions relatively recently, within the last 250 years. Their emergence required hospitable social, political, and legal conditions, and their disappearance will be the hallmark and consequence of broader deterioration and regression.
Humanity has been communal since the days of cave dwellers. The preponderance of people have been defined and have defined themselves as members of a group: a family, clan, tribe, village, town, city, province, or nation. Rare indeed have been the individuals who have simply defined themselves as individuals. That rarity is not because individualists are genetic mutants or sociopathic misanthropes, but because of reflexive group hostility towards those who isolate themselves, especially those who question group beliefs and ideologies. The most prominent purveyors and enforcers of beliefs and ideologies have been religions and governments, and they have been the most intellectually regressive institutions.
Despite their imperfections, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were revolutionary when drafted and remain so today. The most significant philosophical departure was their embrace of individual rights and their protection by a government subordinated to that task. That stance remains an ideal, not a realized outcome, but it was an important intellectual advance. It put out an unprecedented welcome-mat for individualists and they responded, making the young United States a scientific, technological, industrial, and economic giant within a century.