This is not going to be one of my usual light-hearted posts. It won’t be peppered with sarcasm or photoshopped snark. It is meant to be a serious message, and I hope to God we can all stop the clock for a moment and really think about this.
We’ve all blown our stack over the “You didn’t build that!” remark for various reasons; we’ve been insulted and outraged and have shouted back “Yes we DID, Moron!” and then went back to our lives, satisfied by the reclamation of our identities. In spite of that, an uncomfortable rumbling persists. It makes me uneasy, and I feel as if the ground has shifted beneath my feet ever so slightly. My antennae are up searching for the source of that pervasive “Oh shit – here it comes!” feeling that I just can’t shake.
The implication that our individual accomplishments are not our own but instead, the result of a collective (composite?) society could be the early stirrings of “Transforming America” as described by Barack Obama in 2007 (see link). It is a dangerous path to tread and I fear that as this campaign season labors on, that message of a collective society will be so oft repeated that it will accepted as an inevitability.
According to Encyclopædia Britannica, “collectivism has found varying degrees of expression in the 20th century in such movements as socialism, communism, and fascism.
The least collectivist of these is social democracy, which seeks to reduce the perceived injustices of unrestrained capitalism by government regulation, redistribution of income, and varying degrees of planning and public ownership.
In Communist systems collectivist economics are carried to their furthest extreme, with a minimum of private ownership and a maximum of planned economy.” (emphasis mine)
COLLECTIVISM VS INDIVIDUALISM
OK, now I know why I’m so uneasy… Ayn Rand was very vocal about the disparity between Collectivism vs Individualism. In a nutshell,
- Collectivism means the subjugation of the individual to a group—whether to a race, class or state does not matter. Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called “the common good.”
- Collectivism holds that, in human affairs, the collective—society, the community, the nation, the proletariat, the race, etc.—is the unit of reality and the standard of value. On this view, the individual has reality only as part of the group, and value only insofar as he serves it.
- Collectivism holds that the individual has no rights, that his life and work belong to the group . . . and that the group may sacrifice him at its own whim to its own interests. The only way to implement a doctrine of that kind is by means of brute force—and statism has always been the political corollary of collectivism.
- The political philosophy of collectivism is based on a view of man as a congenital incompetent, a helpless, mindless creature who must be fooled and ruled by a special elite with some unspecified claim to superior wisdom and a lust for power.
I don’t take this lightly. The President’s campaign message lauding a collective society vilifies not only his opponent but by extension, those of us who don’t agree with his message. The attack is focused on citizens who have enjoyed the deserved rewards and success that hard work can bring, and the solution is to re-distribute the resources of our labor by the government to others that they deem deserving.
We are now told that individual success is not a reflection of any one person’s ‘grit’ or work ethic; rather, it is the the collective society that has made our success possible – not the individual. In short, without Collectivism, we would be nothing.The operative and subliminal message is “those who have worked hard to improve their own standard of living are being selfish, and need to pay more to the government so we can support those who cannot or will not work.” Dude – seriously??
I’m done now. I’m still uneasy, perhaps more so. I still hear that rumbling. I hope we can preserve our individual identities in an orderly and lawful fashion. The alternative would be devastating.