The cowboy image is esp. relevant to the discussion; it has been said that the Japanese revere the American cowboy for his collective work while the American does so for the individual effort he makes outside of the structured society. The truth lies in the balance between those images. While most cowboys would be very offended if I called them socialists, it seems the closest model for your right to be an individual stops where it hurts another (see stealing a horse = death) or if the group needs you more. You do your thing and I'll do mine but we will acknowledge each other politely (tip the hat, open doors for those whose hands are full), keep a weather eye out, and help when needed. That cowboy sounds like a pretty good neighbor to me.