If the communes of the 1960s teach us anything, they teach us that a community that replaces laws and institutions with a cacophony of individual voices courts bigotry and collapse. Without explicit, democratically adopted rules for distributing resources, the communes allowed unspoken cultural norms to govern their lives. Women were frequently relegated to the most traditional of gender roles; informal racial segregation was common; and charismatic leaders—almost always men—took charge. Even the most well-intentioned communes began to replicate the racial and sexual dynamics that dominated mainstream America.