Philosophical Musings

Philosophical Musings

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Collectivism, Freedom, & the State

Language is always evolving. Definitions change. Words mean different things in different cultures, even in the same language.

I try to address the ideology, or the basis of the view, rather than worry about labels. But when doing that, labels inevitably come up. I tend to use 'leftist' rather than 'liberal' as it conveys a clearer, less muddled concept. I also think 'statist'  is a better description in many cases. To me, 'liberal' has become whatever the speaker or writer wants it to mean. It is like what Lincoln said of 'liberty'.

"We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men's labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name - liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names - liberty and tyranny." ~Abraham Lincoln

You can be a statist without being a collectivist, but you can't be a collectivist without being a statist. Without the power of the state to force compliance, people would not follow the collectivist rules. Some would either coast & not work, or they would work for themselves & be capitalists.

In reality, there is no way a collectivist system can operate without strong central leadership, i.e., statism. I don't care if it is the Party, the Chairman, a charismatic leader, a Pope, King, or whatever. Centralized state power, with enough juice to force compliance, is critical for any collectivist system.

Any that have tried voluntary compliance fizzle really fast. The only communes in the 60's that survived for long had a strong leader to force compliance. The mayflower pact was a collectivist venture. It completely failed as well. But once freedom was extended, the colony prospered.

So you can quibble about fine points of definition, but you cannot show any collectivist experiment that did not have strong state power to enforce compliance.

More libertarian ventures, like the early american pioneers, did not need statism, & had little to do with the state. They were successful with a capitalistic society, where people worked for their own interests. Sure, they helped each other out, & were compassionate neighbors, but that is different from mandatory collectivism.

I think it is fine to have some loyalty & identity with our locale. Common culture, language, heritage, etc all contribute to that camaraderie. But when i say 'i love america', it is deeper. It is ideological. It is historical. Sure, i love the grand canyon, yellowstone, the rockies, the land. And i love & admire the american people. But if you take away the basic ideology.. the idea of america.. freedom, liberty, limited govt.. you lose the best part. THAT, imo, is what we are in danger of losing. The people will adapt, even with a statist system or nanny state. We will survive, even if we become a socialist country.

But i don't want to see the leftist agenda succeed. I don't want us to become another euro nanny state. I see that as a negative & a step backward in our history. America is unique.. we are a nation 'conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.' We are historically centered on the individual, not the state. I would like my children & grandchildren to live in this idealogy. But i fear it is too late. There are too many now who want a state centered ideology. They want govt, not freedom. Guarantees, not responsibility. Security, not opportunity. The illusion of the left's carrot is strong, & i don't know if historical america will survive. We are already morphing into the 'new' america.

During the last couple of centuries, there have been many regional economic booms. The Northeast saw manufacturing. ..there was oil in Texas, Mining and technology in various places. ..But there was always something that was made.. something was created that increased the wealth of the region. Now we have a new region of wealth. It is the federal government. ..Except they don't make anything, they only take. They take from the producers of the nation and redistribute it to the rich, wealthy area around Washington DC.

They do not do it honestly by taxing us, directly. They know we would revolt. . No, they spend by borrowing. They obligate us with future debt and spend money that they do not have. Is the worst kind of redistribution because they not only take our money now, but they take from our children and grandchildren.

The powers that be have managed to deceive the bulk of the electorate, so that we pay them to oppress us. There are honest & sincere people who would make good representatives, yet they cannot compete with the 'scoundrels'. Why? Because we, the voting public, believe the deceptions, rather than see through the scams they are selling. Our media is complicit with them, in too many ways. Truth is hard to find, & it is easily manipulated by the smooth talking politicians.

It could be corrected. But it would require a determined electorate who wanted truth & reality, rather than fantasy. The idea of a 'reset' or a crash of the system might very well be in store, but i do not think it will be a good thing for the majority, nor for the idea of america & freedom. Those things seldom are, & we will more likely end up with some kind of despotic system. The left hopes they will end up on top, shouting victoriously over the carcass of capitalism, but that is a fantasy. The greedy, oppressive bosses they despise now will only increase in power with authoritarian control. Your evil rich will still be in control, there will just be changes in the bit players who perform as their mouthpieces.

No, the american system needs to be revived & implemented. If we are to retain our freedoms, we need to prioritize that, not prosperity at any price, not economic justice, not social engineering. The collectivist utopia will not produce freedom, just oppression. They always have & always will.

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