Western Rifle Shooters Association

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Friday, September 17, 2010

"Collectivism" - Defined?

From a commenter on the post below:


CA,

It would be most helpful if you or others could provide a concise definition of
collectivism. I ask for this because, for one thing, the term itself seems to be thrown around quite a bit absent context and in ways that seem to contradict its literal definition. For another, we will at some point have to act as a collective in some respects (March divided and fight concentrated) without falling prey to "collectivism" itself, so knowing exactly what the term means is vital. Many thanks.


For my two cents, the essential difference between voluntary concerted group action and "collectivism" is coercion -- gunpoint (implicit or explicit) imposition of one's will upon another without justification.

Note also that one can volunteer to enter an implicitly-coercive association. In other words, I can properly - of my own free will - decide to become a member of an organization that has a coercive mechanism (e.g., the UCMJ) at its core.

I cannot, however, properly force another person to do so.

Pile on, folks, in comments below.

Keep it civil, please, and focused on the ideas, not the speaker.

16 Comments:

Blogger GunRights4US said...

"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'." -- Ayn Rand,

"COLLECTIVISM: Collectivism is defined as the theory and practice that makes some sort of group rather than the individual the fundamental unit of political, social, and economic concern. In theory, collectivists insist that the claims of groups, associations, or the state must normally supersede the claims of individuals." -- Stephen Grabill and Gregory M. A. Gronbacher

September 17, 2010 at 3:48 PM  
Blogger Dedicated_Dad said...

"...Collectivism means the subjugation of the individual to a group..."

Rand's usually better than this...

"...Collectivism means the **NON-VOLUNTARY** subjugation of the individual to a group..."

That's better. As a Free Man I - of my own free will and accord - have chosen to subjugate myself to several groups. Most obviously - given our current context - our little Brotherhood of Patriots!

Then there's my wife and kids, which for men is (and always has been) a voluntary subjugation of self.

I could go on and on, but The Enemy's major Prophet (Marx - Piss Be Upon Him) gave us the best and most concise definition -- "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his need."

It's the antithesis of The Hildebeast's "it takes a village" -- no, you vapid c**t, it takes TWO DECENT PARENTS.

In sum, it's the tyrannical assertion that I'm obligated to give of my property or labor to another without my consent - regardless of alleged "compensation."

I don't CARE who OR what the need.

I am not obligated to educate your child, nor provide for any of his other needs - no matter how apparently obvious his need may be.

I would-and WILL, because I choose to believe that G*d requires Good Men to do so - the difference is (or at least SHOULD be) obvious -- FREE WILL vs. Tyranny!

DD

September 17, 2010 at 6:01 PM  
Anonymous frosty2 said...

Common goals can, of course, exist in a free and individualistic society. One example is fighting an outside force intent on destroying your individualist society. The common goal is the result of the common threat. Individuals can voluntarily work in concert to achieve common goals and there is no conflict as long as these projects are that outcome of free and un-prescribed participation. Even in the military the political sphere of a members life is their own.

Yes, we have done some serious back sliding on the ideal and it is time to make up some ground.

September 17, 2010 at 6:09 PM  
Blogger Johnny said...

My take is that a collectivist is someone who doesn't believe in natural rights. Collectivism, to my way of thinking, is characterised by defining ethical behaviour with reference to some (invariably entirely arbitrarily defined) appeal to the pretext of achieving the greatest good for the greatest number.

September 17, 2010 at 6:12 PM  
Anonymous Abstemio said...

"Collectivism, to my way of thinking, is characterised by defining ethical behaviour with reference to some (invariably entirely arbitrarily defined) appeal to the pretext of achieving the greatest good for the greatest number."


Johnny, such as a "Democracy" a "Constitutional Republic," for example?

September 17, 2010 at 8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Note also that one can volunteer to enter an implicitly-coercive association. In other words, I can properly - of my own free will - decide to become a member of an organization that has a coercive mechanism (e.g., the UCMJ) at its core."

Big guy, please include the right to voluntarily leave the group which you voluntarily joined. With out fear of retribution.

Remember Mr Lincoln's little war.

September 17, 2010 at 9:20 PM  
Blogger parabarbarian said...

The most succinct definition I can give is:

Collectivism is the doctrine that the social collective has powers, needs, and a moral authority separate from and above the individuals that comprise it.

September 17, 2010 at 9:58 PM  
Blogger Sean said...

If you want to read more about collectivist doctrine, just follow Abstemio for a few days here.

September 17, 2010 at 10:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, are you guys overthinking it. These are all the results of collectivism, not what collectivism is.

Simply put, collectivism is the belief that in the realm of human action, there can be an entity which acts, besides an individual.

Naturally this is a false belief, which is why it produces such rotten results!

September 18, 2010 at 2:43 AM  
Anonymous Defender said...

Ben Stein's movie "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" tells of collectivism in academia. People who teach about alternatives to Darwinism are labeled kooks and fanatics and fired, tenured or not. Some of the academic Powers That Be talk of essentially breeding religion out of society, reducing it to a mere social event on weekends. They hope to see talk of free will and ethical absolutes go with it. Intelligent design theory isn't even to be mentioned. Stein compares it to the Berlin Wall.
He says Hitler was an avid Darwinist. Darwin said anyone who has raised animals would never allow the less than perfect ones to breed. Killing individuals -- everyone except "essential workers" -- to perfect an abstract concept called Mankind -- Stein visits a museum that was a mental asylum for the retarded and handicapped that gassed 70 patients every day -- "useless eaters" was Hitler's term -- is collectivism. Stifling the free exchange of ideas that was the American ideal is too. They know they can't win a fair debate, so they don't allow one.

September 18, 2010 at 6:29 AM  
Anonymous Justin said...

Here is a presentation on freedom and collectivism:

http://www.isil.org/resources/introduction.swf

It is the best I've ever seen. Trust me.

It can all be boiled down to this:
You don't own other people.

I do like what I'm seeing on here, though. Especially the main post, as well as:

"please include the right to voluntarily leave the group which you voluntarily joined. With out fear of retribution...
Remember Mr Lincoln's little war."

and:

"Simply put, collectivism is the belief that in the realm of human action, there can be an entity which acts, besides an individual.
Naturally this is a false belief, which is why it produces such rotten results!"

...among others.

Watch and spread the presentation I posted. It's only a few minutes long. All six of my children have watched it and understand the message.

September 18, 2010 at 7:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...Collectivism means the **NON-VOLUNTARY** subjugation of the individual to a group..."

I pride myself on being an independent thinker, but I see no way to improve on what "Dedicated Dad" has offered. Kudos.

MALTHUS

September 18, 2010 at 4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Topic - great comments !! My .02:

Collectivism submerges the identity & rights of the individual, into the group, where they are mixed and merged until no distinction can be made of the individual part.

We do need a balance of individual & collective influences - the real problem is when either extreme is affirmed to the total exclusion of the counterbalancing Truth.

For example, you & I assert our Individual God given Rights, Unalienable from rights, but affirm that every other human has the same God given Rights, Unalienable from Him.

Doesn't that affirm we are all connected in a fundamental way - in a dare I say it, a collective way.

But it's an observed objective collective, not a selectively defined one.

Think of the Family: You & I are individuals, but we developed in the context of a family, which is the most fundamental form of collective, yet formed of Individuals.

In our family, all of our children - 5 ,in our case, share the same 50 / 50 genes influences, yet are totally unique individuals.

A Collective that affirms, not squashes Individuality.

Many have observed the Family to be the first 'government', the most formative under which we grow up.

And if my wife & I do our job, God helping us, our children will have a healthy self government, a respect & love for their neighbor, and a love for God that made that neighbor, themselves & our family to have Rights & duties.

I think it was St. Augustine who wrote of the Biblical construct of the Trinity as being the ultimate example of the balance of Individual & Collective - and RJ Rushdoony wrote a book on this topic "The One and the Many".

He claims that this answered the ancient Greek debate about what is greater: Unity or Diversity, over which the Greeks never could agree.

I applaud your raising this topic - I've long thought that the labels of 'conservative & liberal' are not as revealing as identifying Collectivism.

There exists both a 'right-collectivism' manifestation as well as 'left-collecvism', both are characterized by 'group think' - and the suppression of the individual Conscience.

This suppression of the conscience has the effect of turning it into moldable clay upon which the conditioning power attempts to make it's imprint.

Group identities centered around secondary characteristics, are used as 'wedge' issues to divide people, unnecessarily.

This only distracts them from the attack on the more substantial Principles of Truth they should unite around.

And this is our struggle today - the forces of media & our fallen nature that conspire to re-callibrate our Conscience (def: "With knowledge") away from 'True North', with false signals coming from Big Brother.

Only the power of God, can set us free from this foolishness.

A serious Reformation of heart, soul, mind & strength is needed to defeat this wily enemy....

Samuel Adams, Jr.

September 19, 2010 at 12:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My 2 cents:
Many people within this post have given their answer, and all are good. To me, the Master of the answer of Collectivism vs Individualists is Ayn Rand.
Start out small, with "Anthem".
Then build on top of that with "The Fountainhead". Then culminate with "Atlas Shrugged".

Take your time. Read slowly, don't rush, pause as often as necessary to understand and absorb what will probably be a whole new set of ideas and concepts. It took me 4 months to go through "Atlas Shrugged", and I plan on reading it again within the next several years.

B Woodman
III-per

September 19, 2010 at 4:25 PM  
Blogger Dedicated_Dad said...

BW nailed it.

SADLY, most today have been conditioned by TV to only be able to concentrate for 6-9 minutes at a time. Further - IIRC - they found any more than 15 seconds without a camera-angle-change caused most to drift off as well.

Both my (Conservative/Constitutionalist/budding Minarchist like their very proud Dad!) daughters -- both of whom have IQs and 100% of standardized test-scores in the top 1%-- had the same response when i showed them the paperback: "Oh-My-G*D! No way I can read all that - didn't they make a MOVIE?

There's simply NO WAY most people will invest the time and intellect necessary to do the (for most) difficult work of not just skimming but actually absorbing her Magnum-opus trilogy...

On the bright side, there IS a movie - in production now - that's supposed to be out next year... (insert rolling-eyed, exasperated expression here...)

I've come to believe this is the biggest reason for such a long string of "progressive" victories: Most are too lazy/stupid/uneducated to think it through and even *TRY* to read and absorb our 14-(modern)-page Constitution - much less a few thousand of Rand...

Maybe we could make it into a comic book? At least then SOME of the alleged 'adults' that surround us might get SOME of it...

Sorry -- more than a bit pessimistic this evening.....

DD

September 20, 2010 at 6:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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.

The Ominous Parallels Leonard Peikoff, The Ominous Parallels, 17

September 22, 2010 at 7:10 PM  

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