I tend to believe there's something of a autocatalytic relationship between population size, technological advancement, and political administration. They all give each other positive feedback. On the other hand, I believe all three of those things, especially political administration, have a negative relationship to self-reliance.
It has been my opinion for some time now that if you're talking about a society of 300 million people, with 21st century technology, self-reliance is not feasibly anywhere close to the degree Libertarians tend to expect.
This has to do with the fact that self-reliance is a lot of work. It leaves little spare time and few options. To develop any one of the interconnected parts of the great autocatalytic process, you have to start building a system where people can rely on each other to hold up different aspects of life and pursue different enterprises. Specialization forms. Humans become interdependent as a collection of different specialists. We rely on the self no more.
It must be said though that even as hunting and gathering bands we were already in some ways very collective. Humans in that time would probably have died without cooperation of band members.
Go to sleep, iguana.
INTP. Type 1>6>5. sx/sp. Live and let live will just amount to might makes right
For basic survival, self-reliance is possible. It's probably not possible to be completely self-reliant and live in a modern civilization without running in to a few problems however. Self-reliance, in the sense that conservatives and libertarians use the term, seems to be synonymous with personal responsibility(taking responsibility for ones basic needs) rather than living independently with no social attachments or no outside support.
“Some people will tell you that slow is good – but I’m here to tell you that fast is better. I’ve always believed this, in spite of the trouble it’s caused me. Being shot out of a cannon will always be better than being squeezed out of a tube. That is why God made fast motorcycles, Bubba…”