Guest Post: America Needs Community, Not Collectivism

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Giordano Bruno of Neithercorp Press

America Needs Community, Not Collectivism

Tyranny thrives by feeding on human necessity. It examines what
sustains us, what we hope for, what we desire, what we love, and uses
those needs as leverage against us. If you want safety, they will take
it away and barter it back to you at a steep price. If you want success
or respect, then you must bow to the existing arbitrary pecking order
and play the game nicely. If you want to raise a family, then you must
accept the state as a part-time parent. If you want kinship, then you
must settle for a thin veneer of empty pleasantries and insincere
associations. If you want independence, then you are simply labeled as a
threat and done away with altogether. Autocratic rulers are first and
foremost salesmen; they convince us that life itself has a “cost”, that
we are born indebted, and all bills must be made payable to the
establishment. First and foremost, we are sold on the idea that in all
of this, we are ultimately alone…

It is within these manipulated concepts of cost and isolation that we
discover the foundation of all totalitarian cultures: Collectivism.

Collectivism is not a space age invention or a product of the
abstract musings of Marxists, though many seem to think that their
version of a hive society is “new” and certainly better than anything
ever attempted in the past. No, collectivism is a psychological prison
derived from a beneficial instinct as old as humanity itself; the
instinct to connect with others, to share experiences and knowledge, to
build and create together. It is an instinct as essential to our
survival as breathing. Collectivism uses this instinct as a weapon. It
is a corrupted and poisoned harnessing of our intuitive nature. It is
an inadequate and cancerous substitute for something which normally
invigorates and supports healthy culture: true community.

In this age, our ideas of what constitutes “community” have been
tainted and confused with the propaganda of collectivists. Our
instincts tell us that the world we have been presented is hollow, while
our controlled environment tells us that the world is just as it should
be (or the best we’re going to get, anyway). How then, are we to tell
the difference between natural community, and destabilizing and
destructive collectivism? Let’s examine some of the root conflicts
between these two social systems, as well as the philosophical
shortcomings of collectivism itself…

Common Aspects Of Collectivism

Looking back at the single minded and highly dominating collectivist
experiments of the past, it is easy to see the common threads between
them. Certain methods are always present. Certain actions are always
taken. Certain beliefs are always adopted. Here are just a few…

The Blank Slate: In order for the state to
elevate itself in importance above the individual, it must first
promote the idea that the individual does not exist, that your
uniqueness or inherent character are only a byproduct of your
environment. There are many methods to propagating this mindset. Junk
science and establishment psychological theorists often treat the human
mind as a mere bundle of chemicals and synapses. Emotions are
pigeonholed as “hormonal reactions”. Conscience and even attachment a
result of “conditioning” (i.e. H.F. Harlow’s ridiculous rhesus monkey
experiments).

Existentialism attacks individualism from the philosophical end;
suggesting that all actions and reactions are random results of a purely
chaotic universe, while at the same time peddling moral relativism and
apathy. If all is based on environment and chance, and there is no
purpose or meaning to life, then why care about anything?

Religious organizations that choose to abuse their positions of trust
also feed collectivism by standing in the way of personal awareness, or
even making it taboo to value the individual over the collective
(though people tend to wrongly blame the concept of religion itself,
rather than the corrupt men who sometimes misuse it).

Each one of these tactics is a tool in the arsenal of collectivists
meant to degrade our social admiration for individual thought. Of
course, if one actually studies beyond mainstream sources for
information (as we have in numerous articles) on the many biological
mysteries of the human mind, the numerous inconsistencies of clinical
psychiatry, the irrational assumptions of existentialism, that person
would find that the blank slate assertion is filled with so many holes
it is laughable. However, as long as groups of men strive for power
over others, the attacks on individualism will continue. As desperate
as elitists have been through the years to build an environment devoid
of independent thought, they have met only with failure. Perhaps you
just can’t remove from all people those values which are inborn and
intuitive, no matter how monstrous the world is around us.

Centralization Instead Of Cooperation:
Cooperation in society is often spontaneous and dependent on a number of
underlying factors working together at the right place, and at the
right time. It takes a noble endeavor and even more noble leadership
indeed to inspire the masses to step onto the same path towards the same
direction. This is why legitimate large scale cooperation is so
venerated in the annals of history; such events are truly rare and
miraculous. Tyrants and elitists have no endeavors that rank as
“noble”. They serve only their own interests. So, instead of trying to
encourage cooperation they won’t receive, they centralize various
systems by coercion. If you can’t convince the public to abandon their
own paths for yours, then forcefully remove all paths until the people
have only one choice left.

Economic centralization is very indicative of this maneuver. While
we in the Liberty Movement see a whole spectrum of possible options for
markets and trade, many other people see only what is right in front of
them; the same crooked fiat money system controlled by the same gaggle
of fraudulent central bankers. A large portion of our populace has been
convinced that there is only one way to participate in the economy, and
thus they act collectively, and blindly.

Another obvious example is the false left/right political system.
While there are as many political views as there are people, most tend
to affiliate themselves with one of two; Republican or Democrat. Even
if you were to believe that the two major parties are honestly opposed,
you have still allowed the establishment to narrow your choices down to
two. Add the fact that both major parties actually support nearly the
same exact policies and goals, and now your choices have been narrowed
to one. Millions of people jump on this one bandwagon every four years,
thinking that they are cooperating voluntarily, when they have instead
been centralized, and collectivized.

Constant Fear, Constant Threats: Fear and
survival are powerful motivators. Without ample self awareness and
strength of character, these base instincts can overwhelm rationality
and conscience. Every collectivist feudalist system ever devised has
used a “common enemy” or an iron hand, to quell dissent in the citizenry
and to forcefully unify them not under the auspices of an honest cause,
but a terror so profound as to drive them to malleable despair.

When life and death hang in the balance everyday, and people have no
time to relax, they can in fact go literally mad. All logic flies out
the window, panic ensues, and the masses turn to whoever is ready to
offer them a way to sanity; “sanity” meaning “comfort”. After a period
of constant danger and distress, even fascism can feel comfortable for a
while. Collectivist systems are always clashing with the bubbling
tides of individual freedom. Because of this, they must continuously
qualify their usefulness. There must always be an imminent threat over
the horizon, otherwise, the strangling regulations of the state serve no
purpose.

Individualism Equated With “Selfishness”:
One of the inevitable conditions of collectivism is the demonization of
free thought. In a collective, every person becomes a cog in a great
machine. The majority begins to see itself not as a group of
individuals acting together, but as a single unit with a single purpose.
Any person who chooses to step outside of the box and point out a
different view becomes a danger to the whole. A machine cannot function
if all the parts are not working in harmony. Disagreement in a
collectivist system is not considered a civic duty; it is considered a
crime that places everyone else at risk. As a dissenter, you are not a
person, but a malfunction that must be dealt with.

It is easy to tell when your nation is turning towards collectivism;
you only have to gauge how often you are accused of “selfishness” every
time you question the needs of the state over the needs of the
individual. This argument arises incessantly in countries on the verge
of a despotic shift. Interestingly, it is selfishness that tends to
drive collectivists, not individualists. As we discussed earlier,
collectivists act out of base fear, and a personal desire to survive
regardless of the expense. They may disguise it as duty, or “universal
love”, but at bottom, they are driven by pure self-interested. They are
willing to sacrifice anything, including their own souls, to hang onto
what little they have. They are especially willing to sacrifice what
YOU have, to maintain THEIR standard of living, or to see their personal
world view enacted. Is there anything more self-centered than a man
prepared to destroy the livelihood and freedoms of others just to feel
temporarily secure?

Promises Of A Fantastic Future:
“Innovation” and “progress” are alluring dreams, dreams which can easily
be realized in a free society made up of intelligent individuals
thinking in ways which go against the norm. The more unique insights
present in a culture, the more likely it is to surpass itself and
succeed. Strangely though, it always seems to be collectivists who
throw around visions of high tech trains, floating cities, and
sustainability as benefits to relinquishing certain freedoms. The
insinuation is that if people set aside their individualism, their
society becomes stronger, and more productive, like worker bees who only
strive for one thing; the perfect hive.

Now, this has never been proven to be an advantage of collectivism.
One could say given the evidence that a society flourishes less and
contributes less the more centralized it becomes. Constructing
immaculate castles, pyramids, magnetic highways, or space stations on
the moon, does not necessarily make a culture great. It doesn’t even
make a culture interesting. What is far more interesting is a society
that seeks to enrich the lives of common men, rather than fabricating
edifices and launching technologies while using people up as fuel for
the collectivist fire. At any rate, I cannot think of a single extreme
centralized system that actually delivered on the grand promises it made
when in its initial stages of power. Whether this is because their
pledges were impossible to fulfill, or because they never intended to
fulfill them in the first place, is hard to say…

Common Aspects Of Community

Now that we have explored the intricacies of collectivism, let’s take
a look at what it is designed to destroy. What makes real community?
What are its benefits and its weaknesses? How does it begin? How does
it end? Why is it such a threat to collectivists? Here are a few
answers…

Real Purpose: Communities develop in light
of meaningful exchange. Their purpose is natural and common. Their
goals are not fixed, but evolve as the community progresses. The
beneficiaries are the citizenry, sometimes even those who do not
directly participate, rather than a select minority of elites. Because
the actions of communities are decentralized, and based on a sense of
honor and integrity instead of egomania, they tend to appear
direction-less, while at the same time making vast and concrete
achievements. Communities work best when purpose and destiny are self
determined.

Voluntary Participation: There is no need
to force people to participate in a system that operates on honesty,
conscience, and individual will. In fact, many people today long for a
system like this. When men and women apply their energies to something
they believe in, instead of something they are manipulated into
following, the results can be spectacular. Progress becomes second
nature, an afterthought, instead of an unhealthy obsession.

Legitimate Respect: The purpose of a true
community is not to keep tabs on the personal lives of its participants,
nor to mold their notions. The rights of the individual are respected
above all else. Again, the more varied the insights of a population,
the stronger it becomes. For a community to attempt to stifle the
viewpoints of its citizens would be to commit suicide. There is
strength in numbers, but even greater strength in variety.
Individualism takes effort, time, and dedication. A society made up of
people who have made this journey cannot help but esteem each other.

Flexibility Leads To Stability: A wise man
adopts that which works, and throws out that which fails. He does not
dismiss methods out of hand, nor does he hang onto methods that
disappoint simply because he cannot let go. He educates himself through
experience. Adaptability, flexibility, agility in thought and in
policy creates solid ground for a society to build. Communities survive
by being able to admit when a mistake has been made, and by being open
to new options. Rigid systems, like collectivist systems, cannot
function unless the people conform to the establishment, and its
deficiencies. Communities function best when the establishment conforms
to the people, and the truth.

Mutual Aid: Collectivist systems are
notorious for promoting the idea that “we are all one”, however, they
usually end up becoming the most anti-social and uncaring cultures to
grace the planet. You cannot centralize or enforce charity because then
it is no longer charity, but slavery. Citizens of communities, on the
other hand, actually seek to help each other, not because they expect
immediate returns, or because it’s “good for the state”, but because
they value an atmosphere of benevolence. The generosity of community
helps individuals detach from dependence on government, or bureaucracy.
The less dependence on centralized authority, the stronger and safer
everyone becomes.

Mutual Defense: While collectivism
sacrifices its participants for some undefined “greater good”,
communities defend one another, knowing that if the fate of one’s
neighbor is ignored, the fate of oneself may also be ignored by others.
No one is “expendable” in a community. EVERYONE is expendable in a
collective.

Building Community In A Modern World

The task of constructing meaningful community today is daunting, but
crucial. In an increasingly centralized and desensitized world, the
only recourse of the honorable is to decentralize, and to reintroduce
the model of independence once again. This starts with self sufficient
communities and solid principles. It starts with unabashed and
unwavering pride in the values of sovereignty and liberty. It starts
with a relentless pursuit of balance, and truth. It starts with an
incredible amount of hard work.

The trappings of collectivism sometimes seem insurmountable. The
mindless devotion of our friends and family to a system that harms them
can cause us to lose hope, and to lose focus. We must remember how
collectivism operates; by removing the power of choice from the
equation. If we return that power, then many people who we may have
once deemed “lost causes” might awaken as well. By exposing the masses
to another option, a better option, we undo years of lies, and lengths
of chain. If there was ever a perfect moment to begin this battle, now
is the time; while Americans are still searching for solutions, and not
too fearful to pursue them once they are found.