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Monday, April 29, 2013

Understanding Collectivism

With a hat tip to Maggie's Notebook for the graphic below:

C.S. Lewis: "Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive."


  1. The family unit is a collective unit. There absolutely IS a ruling authority (the parents) that sets common moral, social, and economic aims, and parents dictate the standards and rules by which individuals (their children) live study, and work.

    So a collectivist system is imposed on a family unit, and that is the the most desirable system under which parents raise their children. The father and mother set the rules, in many cases seen as "arbitrary" by their children. Some children in families are allowed teevee watching, some are not, some families have strict rules on dress codes for their teenagers, some do not; some families have rules on religious instruction; some do not, etc., etc. Arbitrary--since most family units are left alone to decided which rules, common moral, social, and economic work best for the family unit.

    Collectivism is practiced in a family group/unit, and from what can be observed, it is almost universally accepted as the best way to raise a family.

    Not all collectivism is evil; and in fact, many conservatives/libertarians support it. The military is another example of a collectivist system. The individual is subordinate to the ruling authority in all matters.

    And yet conservatives support the military.

    For another point of view, there is THIS.

  2. Is Shaw an unhappy child in a "Family Unit"?

    AOW, this states it very clearly. In other words Shaw, make everyone equal to the lowest denominator To make any socialist happy.

  3. Shaw, parents expect their children to leave the nest when they are ready to be on their own. The State never wants you to leave the nest.

  4. We were talking about this yesterday. I think it was Kirsten Powers who said she loved her nieces and nephews, but she didn't want to take care of them, it was their parents job.

    I agree.

    We've had too many people have kids because they are the only possession they have. Literally. They don't have jobs, they don't have homes, they don't have many possessions, but they can pop those babies out and the government will pay them.

    Right Truth

  5. I’m not certain that family units are a good example of collectivization, unless everyone is working in tandem to get the kids out of the house as soon as possible. I do agree that there are instances where collectivism is an acceptable arrangement, such as the example provided about the military; individuals do not win battles. On the other hand, I think it is dangerous to human liberty when the state forces citizens to work toward goals established by the state to benefit the state more than the people.

    Of course, it is possible to disguise this notion in many different forms, such as the tripe that came out of Joe Biden’s mouth while talking to Katie Couric. Paraphrasing now, he said, “Come on Katie … time to step up to the plate; time for patriotism. Its time to pay more in taxes for the good of the nation.” Naturally, what Joe Biden didn’t say is that his entire career was spent living off the hard earned incomes of the American taxpayer, and not once did Joe Biden place himself in harms’ way for the citizens of his country.

    I knew an elderly Vietnamese man, now deceased, who after the fall of Vietnam was told the government would allow him to continue producing rice and sweet potatoes, but they would take 75% of his crop, and he may earn his annual living from the remaining 25% of his labors. The old man drained his rice fields and flooded his potato beds. He told me, “I would rather have 100% of nothing, than 25% of an entire year’s labor.” This man loved the idea of human freedom more than most people living in this country today.

    I think we must be wary of schemes that mostly benefit government, if for no other reason than bending one’s knee to any master is an un-American habit, and one guaranteed to produce an unhappy result.

  6. conservativesonfire,

    True, but when those children leave the nest, they very often make family collective units themselves, thus carrying on the system.

    My comment was to show that collectivism is supported and encouraged in the family and the military. Two very important parts of our culture.

    I notice you didn't say anything about the military and its collectivist system.

  7. Let's all support MORE Corporate Collectives! Outlaw the 1040!

  8. Jonathan! Jonathan JONATHAN!

    from Wikipedia "Socialism"

    The People's Republic of China, North Korea, Laos and Vietnam are Asian countries remaining from the wave of Marxism-Leninist implemented socialism in the 20th century. States with socialist economies have largely moved away from centralised economic planning in the 21st century, placing a greater emphasis on markets. Forms include the Chinese socialist market economy and the Vietnamese socialist-oriented market economy. They utilise state-owned corporate management models as opposed to modelling socialist enterprise on traditional management styles employed by government agencies.

  9. Oh, wait, corporations are BAD, NnnKay?...

    Never mind. I suppose we'll just have to wait for the OWS crowd's solution...

  10. Which one of you heathens deleted Black Sheep's comment this time? Come on, fess up.

  11. The early church survived by being collectivist.

    There will always be movement along the scale of collective versus individual. Denying it with a pithy post like today's isn't going to change anything, AOW.

  12. If a parent has a kid, it is their duty to raise that child in the way he should go. That isn't collectivism, it is teaching. There is no aim of parents besides teaching them. They set rules, and expect them to be obeyed. If not, the kid is punished. But very few parents dictate their kids lives- sure, there are some requirements, but the as the kid becomes old enough to think for himself, he gets to live his life. Yes, young children are little more than puppets, but young children are IDIOTS. No one has ever proposed that parents eternally raise their children. They raise them, like in the wild, until they can function on their own without help ie when they grow up. That system doesn't, to me, seem to ring of collectivism.
    As for the military... that is how it works. And that is the main reason the battlefield is the freakin battlefield and not the homeland! The de-humanitizing of the soldiers is suppose to be a temporary, but necessary, measure. And honestly, the military has never been in the same reality of the civilized world, for good reason. And honestly, if we were to use the military as an example of conduct, why don't we all just blow up anyone when we're told to, for no good reason?


    The point is, in a civilized world of adults, collectivism sacrifices the person for the good of the state. It is one thing if that person is a child who truly can't function, and quite another if they are a full-fledged adult. This whole thing seems to be saying authority and collectivism are the same thing, I cry foul on that. Do I know enough to say why its wrong? Nope. I do know the ideas are different, if only in outcome. We have authority in this world for a good reason. We have rules, laws, standards. But collectivism seems to take all that- which is all well and good- and corrupts it. It steps over a line, into something detestable.

    Maybe its just this: the point of law (and government) is to punish evil and uphold good. That's it. Not to make everyone equal, things fair, to ensure happiness and contentment. It is suppose to punish those who break the law, and not hinder those who mean good. The former must be reigned in by what we call evil. (We do not, anymore, say adultery is punished by death for a reason.) The latter is why collectivism is wrong. That system does not allow a person to be a person, to do anything but what the government dictates. It hinders people, it hinders freedom,and it hinders good. It is no governments place to tell a person they cannot buy food if they have the money for it, or say they cannot keep what they make. A person can decide that for himself! A society can set up a system of voluntarily making things equal and right, but the key word is voluntary. Not forced, demanded or coerced.

    A system where people, of their own free will, submit to a ruler or cause or ideal is not collectivism in its true form. The church does not count. A person can at any time opt out of helping (unless you're English... and I have never agreed with that state religion system). Collectivism requires the system being forced to obey, not obeying of their own free will. And authority, and authorities, are necessarily limited in power and control. It is not absolute power. There IS a difference, and there is a line.

    Though, to be perfectly fair, the line is extremely hard to find!


  13. @WStar --- collectivism sacrifices the person for the good of the state.

    Sacrifices the person? Entirely?

    There are no actions by, say, the social welfare state that can make the general quality of life better?

    Of course there are. Your hyperbole is risible.

  14. A social welfare state can make life better for everyone except anyone who values human liberty and freedom from state tyranny. This point is lost on you, Ducky because you value the state over human liberty. This makes you a very odd duck, indeed.

  15. Blogs can also be collective units, when only those who write the articles are right no matter how wrong they really are. Like when Sam beats up on Sufis and uses some 13th century gabble to "prove" what he says. I challenged Sam to give just one, only one, example of a Sufi committing a terrorist act but he can't, so instead he sneered at and insulted me, as his response.

    Honesty means being able to admit that maybe, just maybe, no more than that, maybe you *might* be wrong.

    Dictators come in all sizes, large and minuscule, as does blog tyrnny, and blog dictators who can't say "I was wrong", let alone use the words "sorry" or "apology", are cheap and plentiful, just like they are everywhere else.

  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. Collectivism is practiced in a family group/unit, and from what can be observed, it is almost universally accepted as the best way to raise a family."


    The selfish misconception that induces you to transform into eternal laws of nature and of reason, the social forms springing from your present mode of production and form of property – historical relations that rise and disappear in the progress of production – this misconception you share with every ruling class that has preceded you. What you see clearly in the case of ancient property, what you admit in the case of feudal property, you are of course forbidden to admit in the case of your own bourgeois form of property.

    Abolition of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists.

    On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form, this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the family among the proletarians, and in public prostitution.

    The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital.

    Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty!
    - Karl Marx, the Communist Manifesto [Chapter 2]

    Please refrain from attempting to appeal to family values in the future, Comrade Shaw.

  18. Here's one for Sam :

    But the radical infirmity of the "Articles Of Confederation" was the dependence of Congs on the voluntary and simultaneous compliance with its Requisitions, by so many independant Communities, each consulting more or less its particular interests & convenience and distrusting the compliance of the others.

    -- James Madison, Notes On The Federal Convention, 1787

  19. Excerpt from "The Role of Private Property in a Free Society":

    "The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen in his person and property and in their management." --Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Kercheval, 1816.

    Few concepts have been more important for human survival, yet maligned as unjust by intellectuals, as the concept of private property rights. Since at least the time of Aristotle, the superiority of private property over collective ownership in generating incentives to use scarce resources effectively has been recognized. It was a core idea of the Scottish Enlightenment thinkers such as David Hume and Adam Smith, as well as the American Revolutionaries such as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington....

    Pursuing one's own economic interests clearly CAN AND OFTEN DOES benefit the group, however "group" is defined.


    In my view, collectivism destroys individual incentive AND individual accountability most of the time.

    What happens when individuals see their own interests constantly subjugated to those of the group?

  20. Speaking of welfare programs:

    Tsarnaev family received $100G in benefits

    The Tsarnaev family, including the suspected terrorists and their parents, benefited from more than $100,000 in taxpayer-funded assistance — a bonanza ranging from cash and food stamps to Section 8 housing from 2002 to 2012, the Herald has learned.

    “The breadth of the benefits the family was receiving was stunning,” said a person with knowledge of documents handed over to a legislative committee today....

    Freeing up time for the Tsarnaev brothers to plan a jihad attack? Just askin'.

  21. The Constitutional Convention was looking for ways to strengthen the authority of central government over the states. It would naturally follow, then, that Madison believed that the will of congress should be imposed over the will of the states. Madison also argued against a bill of rights, so we cannot say that his mindset at this time was without criticism, in hindsight. Add to this, Madison in later years wondered if he had not done too good a job in helping to formulate the Constitution.

    My problem is not that we must have a strong central government; it is that the central government routinely exceeds its Constitutional authority, and the American people who are its beneficiaries, refuse to chastise their elected officials for these transgressions.

  22. No Sam, your problem is that you put yourself above everyone else on this blog.

  23. When you've understood this scripture, throw it away. If you can't understand this scripture, throw it away. I insist on your freedom.

    ~ Kerouac 'The Scripture of the Golden Eternity'

  24. "Throw it Away!"

    Good advice, for once, from Kerouac

  25. Black Sheep,
    Your statement about Sam @ April 30, 2013 at 11:13:00 AM EDT is not true. Sam made an on-topic comment. Nuff said.

  26. It is true. He won't admit error and insults those who point his errors out.

    You obfuscate. You would have to be intensely stupid not to know, which I'm sure you do, that I was referring to his past behavior, because you and I have been discussing exactly that on my blog.

    You're not an idiot, you know perfectly well that I took his "My problem" out of context. You're trying to spin this so I look bad and Sam looks good. This is incredibly poor behavior on your part. Maybe you're in the wrong profession, Ms.AOW, you should go to work for Jay Carney.

    There's no Truth here.

  27. I’ve been reading this sniping for a few days now, AOW. I’m beginning to wonder if there is something wrong with this Black Sheep character. I haven’t seen so much whining since the second grade. Must be a low self-esteem problem, which I’m told comes from bed wetting.

  28. SK,

    "The family unit is a collective unit"

    Does this place you at odds with the latest Liberal rant against the traditional family unit? I'm confused as to what you consider to be a "family unit'. Do you espouse the absurdity exposed on this link?


    Further, do you confuse military necessity with a completely different situation which flourrishes best with freedom and individual initiative? Do you idealize North Korea? Are you a bit challanged by the application of common sense?

  29. Collectivism: Collectivism is any philosophic, political, religious, economic, or social outlook that emphasizes the interdependence of every human being in a society or civilization.
    1. Any religion
    2. Any corporation
    3. the Tea Party
    4. Many governments
    5. the Library
    ...tis a misused word thrown around by those who should know better.

  30. Black Sheep,

    It's rather absurd to suggest things have to be "spun" to make you look bad. I don't know what has inspired your tedious jihad against Sam, and let me emphasize that I can't be made to care either. You could conclude fairly that I specialize in not giving a damn about what you have to say.

    I mean, you keep going on and on about wanting an honest discussion, yet you fail time and again to admit that you're a blithering idiot. I don't get people like you.


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