Warren based anarchism on the principle of individuality, "the Practice of Mentally Discriminating, Dividing, Separating, Disconnecting Persons, Things, and Events, according to their Individual Peculiarities." He emphasized that different things and different people all have their individual properties, propensities, and qualities, and that the primary mistake of artificial society is that it treats them as the same. For people, this non-recognition of individuality creates conflict and discord. Even in human language, the individuality of people's minds make understanding of even simple phrases and propositions problematic. Even the concept of individuality will be understood differently by different people.
There is no certainty of any written laws, or rules, or institutions, or verbal precepts being understood in the same manner by any number of persons. This Individuality is unconquerable, and therefore rises above all institutions. To require conformity in the appreciation of sentiments, or in the interpretation of language, or uniformity of thought, feeling, or action where there is no natural coincidence, is a fundamental error in human legislation - a madness that would be only equalled by requiring all to possess the same countenance or the same stature.
Thus, harmony is created by recognizing the diversity of people rather than blindly forming groups and associations ("combinations" Warren calls them). The only useful associations are those which recognize the individuality of its members, meaning that they allow members to opt out when/if they no longer see it to their advantage to associate, and strictly limit the degree and personal cost of association.
Individuality thus rising above all prescriptions, all authority, every one, by the very necessities of nature, is raised above, instead of being under institutions based on language. Institutions thus become subordinate to our judgment and subject to our convenience; and the hitherto inverted pyramid of human affairs thus assumes its true position! - Josiah Warren, Equitable Commerce
The directing power, or the lead of every movement must be individual, or there is no lead, no order, nothing but confusion. The lead may be a person or a thing - an idea or a principle; but it must be an Individuality, or it cannot lead; and those who are led must have an individual or similar impulse, and both that and the lead must coincide or harmonize, to insure order and progress. - Josiah Warren, Equitable Commerce