What may lead to the ultimate demise of the United States of America? Can the country’s future demise be prevented with fore-knowledge and action? This is the second of a three-part series that will examine the three main existential struggles ongoing in the Age of Trump. Part I defined the phrase “existential struggle” and examined Globalism versus Nationalism. Part II elucidates the ideological conflict between Individualism and Collectivism.
What is collectivism? It can be defined as “a cultural value that is characterized by emphasis on cohesiveness among individuals and prioritization of the group over self.” Ayn Rand, the great Russian philosopher, has my favorite definition: 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”.
The word collectivism has only been in vogue since the 1920s when it was popularized by Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks and was a key ideological component of Marxism-Leninism as implemented in the USSR. It “played a key part in forming the New Soviet man, willingly sacrificing his or her life for the good of the collective and fully replaceable. Terms such as ‘collective’ and ‘the masses’ were frequently used in the official language” of the Soviet state.
Think for a second about what that really means – the notion of “the common good.” Who gets to decide what that “common good” is? On what moral basis is that determined? Remember that Lenin and the Communists were atheists; they rejected God as a reminder of the old regime, as well as to destroy any moral constraints on the Russian population. Everything was relative to the Communists and was to be exploited in establishing the “dictatorship of the proletariat” (one of Lenin’s favorite euphemisms for the Soviet state).
That meant that the goals and dreams of individuals – and even whole classes of people – could and would be sacrificed as necessary to further consolidate the political and socio-economic power of the Marxist state over its people. Five-year plans with arbitrary economic goals; collectivization of the Russian peasant class and the destruction of the kulaks (estimates as high as 6 million murdered/starved to death); forced industrialization in inhospitable areas (the Urals and Siberia); forced labor camps for millions of “enemies of the state.” At what human cost and consideration did Lenin and Stalin wreak their havoc on the country – for their arbitrary goals of “collectivizing Russia”? Millions of unnecessary deaths and forced relocation of whole populations, including a weakened military that nearly lost WW-II to the Nazis.
This is the legacy of collectivism – and not just in Russia! If anything, the Chinese experience was worse at the hands of Mao Zedong, with as many as 65 million Chinese killed during Mao’s reign.
- The most inhumane example of Mao’s contempt for human life came when he ordered the collectivization of China’s agriculture under the ironic slogan, the “Great Leap Forward.” A deadly combination of lies about grain production, disastrous farming methods (profitable tea plantations, for example, were turned into rice fields), and misdistribution of food produced the worse famine in human history. Deaths from hunger reached more than 50 percent in some Chinese villages. The total number of dead from 1959 to 1961 was between 30 million and 40 million – the population of California.
- Refer to: The Legacy of Mao Zedong is Mass Murder
The legacy is so bad that the word “collectivism” fell into disfavor in the West. This is partly because it was interchangeable with “communism” in the American consciousness. Left-wing activists in the early and mid-20th century preferred the term collectivism. Collectivism and communism have gradually been replaced in polite society by “socialism,” which is deemed to be more palatable thanks to its widespread implementation to various degrees in much of Europe. The dictionary defines socialism is, “a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.” Note that last phrase: “regulated by the community as a whole.” That is the essence of collectivism, i.e., the submergence of the individual to the benefit of society – or, in reality, the state which must once again do the “regulating” on behalf of the rest of a given country.
Do we REALLY want the likes of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, or that millennial fool Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez arbitrarily deciding how to “regulate” the American economy?
We’ve already experienced eight miserable years of crypto-socialism under Obama. The question answers itself. The unifying theory across collectivism, socialism and communism is their harsh opposition to capitalism. Capitalism: the worst socio-economic system in human history – except for every other system! Capitalism which has delivered the best for the most for many decades. But I digress.
At the other end of the ideological spectrum from collectivism is “individualism.” What does it mean? Individualism is defined in the dictionary as both “the habit or principle of being independent and self-reliant” and also “a social theory favoring freedom of action for individuals over collective or state control.” But what does it REALLY mean? Individualism emphasizes the “moral worth” of the individual over the collective worth of society. In short, an individual’s life belongs to him, and he has an inalienable right to live it as he sees fit, to act on his own judgment, to keep and use the product of his labor, and to pursue the values of his own choosing – and to not be forced by the state to relinquish these rights.
This seems like modern conservatism, doesn’t it? Or libertarianism with a moral element added (many otherwise conservative people define themselves as libertarians because they don’t believe in God or adhere to strong religious principles). Individualism is a core element of capitalism – and the essence of the entrepreneurial spirit inherent in human nature.
Why do you think most of the Nobel prize winners over the past 50 years have been Americans – over 370 to be precise – while Communist China has produced a paltry five? Or that most of today’s modern technologies were developed and/or mass-produced first by Americans?
Think of the electric light bulb, refrigeration, the automobile, the internet, the iPhone, the personal computer, etc. It didn’t happen by accident! The answer is entrepreneurial capitalism supported by a constitutional republic with low taxes and minimal regulations that maximizes individual and economic freedoms. In short, the United States of America and its culture that value individualism!
And yet the siren song of socialism persists among the political class and especially in Academia. The Democrat Party has virtually transitioned to a socialist political party, as all of its leading figures are de facto socialists. Academia is loaded with Marxists; after all, that’s where Obama drew from to fill many of his political appointments. How did their socialist claptrap work out again? First president not to achieve 3% GDP growth over a single year of his presidency! The highest number of Americans ever on food stamps! Don’t you just cringe when Austan Goolsbee, formerly Obama’s Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, blabbers about economics on the cable TV programs?
What gives them all such confidence that socialism will work “next time”? That’s actually become a cliché, hasn’t it? Socialism will work “the next time it’s tried” – because it surely hasn’t worked so far! Here is precisely why socialism always fails:
- In modern economies, hundreds of thousands of enterprises produce millions of products. Even with the most sophisticated computer technology, managing such large numbers would be far too complex for an administrative body trying to allocate resources.
- Modern economies, therefore, are too complex to plan. Without markets and prices, decision-makers will not know what is scarce and what is abundant.
- Read more here: Why Socialism Fails
Socialism is also contrary to human nature, as it excludes a moral element in its decision-making processes. It fails because it destroys the human spirit necessary for entrepreneurial risk-taking and economic growth. Socialist failures continue unabated: Russia under the Communists, the Soviet bloc countries in Europe, China under Mao, Cuba, DPRK, and now the horror that is Venezuela.
Yet the Democrats and Uniparty Republicans remain hell-bent on moving the US in the direction of the “soft socialism” of Western and Northern Europe. But are those countries examples of “socialist successes”? Their GDP growth rates are lower than the US, entrepreneurialism is depressed by high taxes and regulations, and they have been under the US defense umbrella since WWII, paying only a tiny fraction for their own collective defense. Their long-term obligations are staggering!
The Democrat Party under Obama was hell-bent on foisting a European-style socio-economic system, including high taxes and regulations, on America.
Collectivism (socialism) was being used as a key change agent by the Uniparty globalists. Globalism and collectivism and Democrats go hand in hand in hand. This transformation process would have continued and accelerated under Hillary Clinton, but we were saved for the time being by Donald Trump.
The Make America Great Again agenda is completely contrarian to the Democrats’ globalist/collectivist agenda. Individualism is at the heart of his nationalist agenda: freeing up people and enterprises to be the best they can be, and to help themselves as they help other people. We have seen the effects of lower taxes and decreased regulations on the US economy over the past 25 months, haven’t we? Record low unemployment across the board, especially among minorities and women. Domestic investment going through the roof. America the world’s leading producer of oil and gas in the world. Real increases in those manufacturing jobs that Obama swore were “gone forever.” This has all happened because individualism and capitalism go hand in hand. Trump is a master of using incentives to affect economic behavior of individuals and nations. Incentives are central to a free market system, as well as to fair international trade.
The entire essence of the free market economy is to provide an elegantly interconnected infrastructure of incentives to drive and direct the socio-economic framework of the nation. These incentives are based upon the essential human drive to possess. Under free market capitalism, individuals are enabled and empowered to gain real value from their labor, and be able to build lasting security through growing their personal wealth that is not taxed away by the government. Reduced taxes and regulations are what is powering MAGAnomics.
But the existential struggle between collectivism and individualism is not over yet. The Democrat Party wishes to return us to the socialist path to national perdition while President Trump and his allies seek to deliver the fruits of the MAGA revolution to all Americans.
What’s it going to be, friends? Are we going to go complacently into 2020 and let the socialists/Democrats steal the elections as they did in 2018? Or are we going to do our damnedest to defeat collectivist politicians in favor of conservatives supporting individualism and MAGA?
It is up to us to preserve the Republic!
(Part III Continues Next Week)