Tag: collectivist

Collectivism Targets the Weak

Nickolas Roberson | United States

The world as we know it has countless different ideologies and belief systems, each with its own stance on religion, politics, economics, social systems, and numerous other categories and theories. All of these systems provide instructions as to how to live your life, how to treat others, how to think and develop your own ideas and rhetoric. Ideologies provide a sense of order to your existence. However, these creeds and outlooks on human life are not always positive. A great number of these systems are nihilistic, bleak, pessimistic, deceptive, ignorant, spineless, or are downright evil. Some of these villainous philosophies include, but are most certainly not limited to, nihilism, institutionalism, authoritarianism, and possibly the most heinous of them all, collectivism. How is this economic, political, and life-guiding philosophy and its corresponding philosophies so malignant? There are a multitude of reasons, such as the devaluation of the individual and the destruction of natural rights and liberties, but one of the most important notions of collectivism is this: it targets the weak.

What exactly is collectivism? As defined by Merriam-Webster, it is “a political or economic theory advocating collective control especially over production and distribution; emphasis on collective rather than individual action or identity.” It is broken down into a plethora of sub-categories, such as socialism, communism, Marxism, Maoism, Leninism, and a myriad of other such collectivist and totalitarian systems. All of these ideologies and dogmas despise the individual, deeming it as the core determinant of nearly all problems in human society and history, such as poverty, war, inequality, etc. The existence of the collectivist theories is accredited to the poor and weak in society becoming envious towards those who were of higher power and standing than them. They lead to major human catastrophes, such as genocide, great purges, mass man-made famines, and disease. Examples of these catastrophes include the Great Purge in the Soviet Union, the Holodomor, the Great Leap Forward in Maoist China, and many more. In total, collectivism, specifically totalitarian collectivism, has killed at least 50 million people in the past 150 years.

Who are these weak individuals who are targeted by collectivism? They are the feeble-minded, the lying and duplicitous, the bottom-feeders, and those who lack the determination, willpower, and strength to live their lives as true individuals. The only way they can live their lives is to depend on the production and work of others. That is what collectivism offers: instead of being an individual and working to better your own life, you will be a member of the group which will do the work for you instead; you become another cog in the machine.

How does collectivism accomplish this? First, of course, by destroying individualism and the wills of the people in whatever land or nation it wishes to conquer. Once that objective is fulfilled, the collectivist government implements programs and policies that make the people dependent on government, such as social welfare programs and general equality of outcome. These people lose what drives them in life, as they are brainwashed into believing that government, a gluttonous, parasitic mother, will fulfill their every need. The collectivist government takes away all that these people produce, utilizing it for what government needs and wants and then distributing the leftovers to the hungry masses. Unfortunately, these weak people buy into this brainwashing. Instead of defeating the dragon of collectivism, the weak attempt to appease and feed the dragon, believing it will ignore or even protect them. In reality, they’re on the path to their own demise, when the voracious dragon will grow in strength and eventually consume and burn the village, the people, and society as a whole. 


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Collectivism Has Destroyed Venezuela

By Trey Johnson | Venezuela

Millions of Venezuelans escape a country destroyed by bad government and coercive collectivism.

The border of Colombia and Ecuador is full of Venezuelans who are doing their earnest to escape the clutches of a coercive regime in search of free markets and better opportunities. Common tourists, amongst the droves of Venezuelans, must wait hours and hours in a line that wraps around the immigration office here in Ipiales, Colombia. During peak days, it can take over 24 hours to cross the border between Colombia and Ecuador.

The border crossing’s elevation is 2898 m (9500 ft), which makes the experience a rather cold one as nighttime approaches. Individuals in line are able to stay warm with the help of vendors selling coffee, hot dogs, and empanadas.

Most South American countries have no choice but to allow free movement of these refugees due to treaties signed by UN member states. The strain of this situation hampers economic stability and the free flow of goods and services due to long lines at the border.

While in the line, one can also learn of the tragedies affecting the people of Venezuela and understand why they are leaving their beloved homeland. Men and women full of fond memories and past success, now crushed by coercive collectivism. Doctors, welders, and professionals of all sorts are throwing away their experience to land a job in a neighboring country, hoping to make the minimum wage of $300 per month in favorable countries such as Chile and Peru. Ecuador and Colombia are not desirable, and Brazil’s language barrier makes the destination unattainable.

To date, an estimated 4 million Venezuelans have left the country. Hyperinflation is the sole reason these people have left. “There is a lot of work, but there is no money.” The minimum wage is currently 2,000,000 Bolivars per month which equates to $3 USD per month. That is $36 per year. The price of a kilogram of beef in Venezuela is $3 dollars and the price of shampoo is also $3.

To make matters worse, the Venezuelan government instituted new currency controls on money entering the country through financial institutions. In order to send money to your family members stuck in Venezuela, you must have a bank account in both Venezuela and an outside country. One refugee believes this policy is “choking the people.”

The current administration’s new constitution would completely eliminate the ability to own private property. This market uncertainty makes investments impossible.

The people who are working to stay in the country are almost at the end of what seems to be the brink of collapse. Schools are functioning, but they have no food to feed their students. Most of the faculty members leave the schools in search of new opportunities. Revolutionaries like the violin playing patriot and Oscar Pérez have become heroes to Venezuelans trying to take back their country.

The Venezuelan regime is continuing to provide a box of food to each family in accordance with its collectivist agreement. This box is called CLAP and contains two packages of flour and rice along with powdered milk “if you are lucky.” The frequency of these food distributions is about once every 5 to 6 months according to a refugee waiting in the 24-hour line.

One wealthy Venezuelan had a stable career for over 15 years. He had a house, a car, and “a whole complete life.” He went on trips with his family inside and outside the country. Right now he is busy moving groups of Venezuelans to more favorable environments scattered throughout South America. He understands the attraction of collectivism and believes “the Venezuelans have to learn the lesson.”

A Colombian bus driver passes and asks, “are you going to Cúcuta?”, a town on the border of Venezuela and Colombia, 32 hours in the opposite direction from this particular crossing.

It is truly a sad state of affairs for the people of Venezuela who slowly lost their grip on freedom and their country. Experts believe it will take 30 years to bring this country back to its former self. Many Venezuelans will most likely never return to their homeland, which is but another civilization lost to socialism and coercive collectivism.

Thousands of Venezuelans at the Border of Colombia and Ecuador

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Faith and Love: Rand’s Critical Error

By Kaihua Zhou | United States

Ayn Rand, the founder of Objectivism, extolled the virtues of the free market and individual liberty. Conservatives such as Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Ted Cruz are on record as admirers of her literature. To liberals, Rand personifies their anxieties: unbridled selfishness oppressing the weak. In reality, Rand’s vision, while extraordinary in its scope, possesses its limitations.  Perhaps the greatest limitation is its conception of faith and love.

In a 1959 interview with Mike Wallace, Rand posits the following:

I am primarily the creator of a new code of morality which has so far been believed impossible. Namely, a morality not based on faith, not on arbitrary whim, not on emotion, not on arbitrary edict, mystical or social, but on reason…

I’m challenging the moral code of altruism. The precept that man’s moral duty is to live for others. That man must sacrifice himself to others.

Such sentiments fell dramatically outside mainstream thought in 1959, and they remain so today. It is for this precise cause that Rand remains so controversial.

Rand’s view has a degree of merit. If taken to an extreme, selflessness can father oppression. One need only recall their terrors of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and Pol Pot’s Cambodia to see the consequences of collectivism. When states determine that their citizens live only for the sake of advancing their cause, tragedies occur.

However, Rand’s counter-proposal can lead to its own pitfalls. To quote again from the 1959 interview,

You don’t love everybody indiscriminately. You love only those who deserve it.

Instead of altruism, Objectivists hold that one must love conditionally.  This begs the question: who deserves love? Does a captured enemy combatant “deserve” it? Do individuals struggling with substance abuse “deserve” love? What about unrepentant criminals? Within society, there is a spectrum of moral qualities.  Consequently, individuals vary in their ability to contribute to society.  It is fair to say not all are equally worthy of love, but even so, all possess human dignity and are entitled to certain liberties. With that dignity comes moral obligation, and a degree of unconditional love. Such is the faith-based morality that Rand deplores.

In a strictly Judeo-Christian context, the Holy Bible records multiple examples of this. In both the Old and New Testaments, moral failures are repeatedly condemned. David referred to Goliath as an “uncircumcised Philistine”  (1 Samuel 17:26) and Christ had no qualms challenging the corrupt, referring to Harold as a “fox” ( Luke 13:32).  These are powerful examples of recognizing evil. Even so, the testaments also proclaim imago dei, an equality among God’s children. Thus, they all deserve a degree of love. Malachi 2:10 states that ” Have we not all one father? have not one God created us?”.  Similarly, Christ commanded his disciples to forgive their trespassers and to love one another ( Matthew 6:14-15, John 15:19). Thus a faith-based morality can recognize faults in character, while maintaining that there are universal moral obligations.

To be absolutely clear, this is not equivalent to blind naiveté. A prosecutor, for example, can recognize the villainy of a crime lord, while respecting a defendant’s rights. Nor does the idea require collectivism. Citizens can fulfill their moral duty without being forced by the state to do so. Rand was right to praise the freedoms of individuals. Where she erred was failing to see the subtleties of love and faith.


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