Collumn on Fallacy of Collectivism

A Fallacy of Collectivism
Tibor R. Machan
Be it the gargantuan or minuscule kind, human collectives face an
insurmountable obstacle in their governance. There simply is no way for
everyone in the collective to get proper representation.
Communitarians, for example, who are today’s version of people who believe
the tribe is the most fitting group for people, always show their
inability to provide all members with proper representation when their
leaders and spokesmen keep using the pronoun “we” as they talk of their
system and the policies they recommend for it. Even though “we” refers to
everyone on the community, the people making use of it are clearly not all
but just the self-anointed leaders. “We will pursue peaceful lives,” said
by one or two people who have decided to speak for everyone just will not
count as a promise from all to do so. “We will take care of everyone”
similarly fails to be convincing since only the defenders of
communitarianism give voice to the sentiment.
Individualism is unavoidable because when sentences are spoken, they are
spoken by individuals not choruses. Sure, now and then the mob is forced
to shout out slogan together but these aren’t at all convincing. I recall
when I was about 12 years old, all the school children in Budapest had to
gather almost every Saturday at a huge place called Heroes’ Plaza where
Stalin used to show up on his visits to Hungary. And we are all forced to
shout together, “Our dear father Stalin.” But no one believed this
nonsense, if was a farce and the only reason we stuck it out for the
duration of the parade is that if we bolted, our teachers would dock our
grades.
Even in North Korea, where they still force people to come together in
these humongous parades, it only appears they are all together, one! The
clothing they wear appear the same, all blue denim, but in fact those in
charge get to wear silk blue pajamas while the garb of the rest is made of
progressively less fancy fabric!
Still, there are people who keep up the propaganda in favor of “the
community” and against the individual, spreading the lie that
individualism means some kind of isolationism or, as one world famous
Canadian critic calls it, “atomism.” (This critic is Charles Taylor, a
philosopher from McGill University who quite bizarrely received the highly
coveted and hefty Templeton Prize a few months ago!)
Now if communitarianism is so obviously false to the facts of human
community life, why is to promoted to avidly by some pretty high level
academics in philosophy and politics? Well, I don’t know most of these
folks personally but the few I do know seem clearly to be intent upon
becoming leaders of the community. In short, they see communitarianism as
a means to furthering their own ends, ends that may not be so awful but
are, nonetheless, just their ends and few others in the community share
them.
Indeed, whenever the public or common or community interest of good is
being promoted, one can be reasonably certain that what is really being
advocated is that members of the community accept the agenda being pushed
by one or two blokes. “The community supports” or “We pursue” means that
these leaders support or pursue, nothing more. Yes, they will usually have
a few others on their team but hardly ever all those who make up the
community. But pretending that they speak for the community can intimidate
the rest and remove effective resistance to the alleged will of the group
or collective.
Plain fact is human beings are individuals, first and foremost, once they
reach adulthood. They have minds of their own and unless these minds are
shut down by force or its threat, they tend to think up different goals
for them to pursue. A just human community is one in which the goals of
all the members can be pursued provided they are peaceful, non-aggressive.
All this talk of the community, the public, we and so forth amounts to
some people’s efforts to obscure that fact and secure for themselves
control over others. Maybe the intent behind it is benign but the outcome
is a disaster.

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3 Responses to Collumn on Fallacy of Collectivism

  1. Unknown says:

    Indeed, the influence of such individualism bearing the mask of collectivism shows itself with such vigor in representative democracy (where a vote involving 20% of the population with 5% of total population supporting) can be seen as a landslide- i.e., Reagan\’s election. Collectivism bearing the mark of the state and the mark of a "representative" of any sort brings the hallmark of despotism to its core- such that subsidized industries like agriculture, military, space, pharmecueticals, bio-medical, and high-tech populate themselves with tenacity for the good of the whole, while the most basic of necessities are forgotten.
     
    Of course, thats why believers in a radical democracy are careful about power- they develop terminology for it, write books on it, and spend extensive time talking about group dynamics. And even more so, any organizer or any participant in a modern social movement (any one with value, at least), knows that to use the term "we" is a way to get shot down. The first ground rule you learn is to only use "I" statements, because "we" is term reserved for those who wish to (consiously or not) control the dynamics of the meeting, without caring about what other people think. I would recomend looking at http://www.coloursofresistence.com to learn more about collectivism and social libertarianism before assuming that unions are what modern social movements or communitarians act like. The distrust of previous social movements and their resultant monsterous formations has taught a bitter lesson for most.

  2. 小西 says:

    研究研究~~~

  3. Unknown says:

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