Collectivism: A Statist Love Story

Throughout modern history, few political ideologies have been so effective at disarming and asphyxiating its host as collectivism. Regardless of how the assault begins – be it bloody revolution, domestic coup d’etat, foreign aggression or by self-inflicted, democratic process – once collectivism has found its foothold, the prognosis for the host is universally bleak.

BY JOEL BOWMAN FOR INTERNATIONAL MAN

Where merely parasitic institutions, such as monarchies, may take generations, even centuries, to either descend into madness or fade into irrelevance (and sometimes both); the collectivist parasitoid proves itself an exceptionally expedient killer.

The key to the latter’s success, it seems, lies largely in its insidious mode of attack.

Killer instinct

While the monarchical parasite is, by definition (from the Greek monárchēs – sole ruler), held apart from the subjects over which it lords, the collectivist parasitoid is thought to be a part of “the people” (as collective noun), indistinguishable from any old limb of the body politic.

This distinction bears specific strategic advantages when it comes to political and ideological inculcation.

A tax-mad king or a guillotine-happy queen is conspicuous an enemy enough for an overburdened population to rally and fight against. So too is an invading army, occupying imperialist force, etc. (Barbarians at the gate seldom present themselves with a polite knock.) Individuals, either working alone or in voluntary concert to preserve and protect their respective self-interests, are thus able to identify the enemy… and attempt to defend/revolt against it.

The historically attuned reader is already summoning to mind a roll call of “lost heads of state”; from Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette to Maximilien Robespierre in France, to no fewer than 17 British monarchs that were murdered, assassinated or executed away from the battlefield.

To the regicidal mob, the enemy is clear enough. It is an enemy a part from as opposed to a part of the host.

The same cannot be said of collectivism, which more closely resembles an autoimmune disease in that it turns the body’s own defense system against itself.

Vicious cycle

Collectivism begins by insinuating itself into the population at society’s basic, cellular level: by attacking the individual. In doing so, it aims to subvert the precious “minority of one” in favor of the nebulous “majority of many.”

Once the concept of “I” is surrendered to the hive mind, resistance is all but futile. What comes next is textbook societal breakdown…

  • Individual autonomy is forced to yield to the will of the masses – Modern democracy is arguably the best portal through which to smuggle what Thomas Jefferson himself called “mob rule.”
  • Private property is disposed of in favor of the newly established “common good” – Or, as Karl Marx had it, “From each according to his ability to each according to his needs.”
  • The “ends” are used to justify whatever “means” are necessary to enforce these goals – Witness the extent to which collectivist regimes go to “eat the rich”… until everyone is equally, tragically impoverished.
  • Personal accountability is replaced with collective guilt – Which gives rise to fatuous, slogan-think such as “If you don’t vote, you have nothing to complain about.”

And so the cycle repeats…

Note that the progression here is maniacally logical. By first depriving the world’s smallest minority of any individual rights it is made far easier to confiscate his property, up to and often including his life, by whatever means are deemed necessary. Collective culpability – infused at the outset and enforced at the finale – ensures no single individual dares question the “statist quo,” for fear of violent mob attack.

The result – taken to its practical and invariable end – is nothing short of total civil, cultural and societal annihilation in affected areas: the ultimate success of the parasitoid state.

100 million warnings

In case the reader is tempted to consider that last passage hyperbolic, consider the collectivist experiments of the past century alone.

Although exact figures are necessarily hard to come by, most scholars reckon the death toll attributable to the various and virulent strains of 20th century collectivism as something in the order of 85-100 million men, women and children. That is to say nothing of their unborn progeny who are not, at this very moment, composing symphonies, discovering cures and raising families of their own.

From the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, to the Khmer Rouge (Communist Party of Kampuchea) and Mao Zedong’s Communist Party of China, each of these democidal regimes began by sacrificing the sovereignty of the individual on the altar of the “greater good.” Once the individual was usurped, it became possible to conscript man’s natural defenses against tyranny – the voluntary bonds forged between neighbors, local communities, and even family members – as the means of his collective enslavement.

During Mao’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, which sought to purge “bourgeois capitalist elements” that were said to have infiltrated the state and society at large, individual thought was heavily discouraged in favor of Maoism (known in China as Mao Zedong Thought). Individuals were bound by group identity and those considered to be “running dogs,” “revisionists” or as having come from a wealthy or land owning class were subject to systematic beatings, torture, rape, public abuse and humiliation, seizure of property and erasure of identity.

Local communities were turned into torture panels. Neighbors became spies. Children were encouraged to denounce their teachers, parents and siblings in public hearings known as “struggle sessions.”

No true collectivist

Given collectivism’s unparalleled – and ongoing – record of death and destruction, one could be forgiven for assuming modern day politicians would be eager to distance themselves from its noxious ideology. And yet, many in the progressive West seem only to clamor toward it, each proclaiming adherence to the overarching ideology in an attempt to appeal to an increasingly infected populace.

Meanwhile, barely 3½ hours flight time from Miami, the all-too familiar narrative plays out once more as the Venezuelan capital of Caracas burns to the ground. The stores there are empty. Garbage lines the streets. Millions of starving refugees flee the nation, pouring into bordering Guyana, Brazil and Colombia.

Employing textbook no true Scotsman rhetoric, collectivist apologists in the US insist that Venezuela is not truly socialist, and that to assume so would be to confuse the issue. President Nicolas Maduro, leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, begs to differ.

In his Annual Address last month, Maduro praised 2018 as a “year of resistance” and hailed the introduction of yet more “social programs,” from quadrupling the national minimum wage, to raising tax rates for “fortune” owners, to expansion of the heavily subsidized national food program (CLAP), to massive public infrastructure “investments” and the construction of 5 million new social housing units spread across 8,000 “communes.”

“The backbone of this plan was elaborated by Commander Chavez in the period 2013-2019,” Maduro told his National Constituent Assembly, adding later, “The commune is the defining unit of the Venezuelan path towards socialism.”

Even as Maduro spoke, hyperinflation soared past the 2.6 million percent rate, grinding an already desperate population further into unimaginable poverty.

A part of the problem

Unlike the clear and present danger posed by authoritarian tyrants, whom are at least easy enough to detect, the collectivist parasitoid burrows itself in deep, infecting one individual mind at a time, until it becomes a part of the social tissue.

To resist its surge is to court collective denouncement from neighbors, friends and family. It is to be grouped, classed and categorized as an enemy of “the majority.” It is to risk being ridiculed, isolated and, ultimately, attacked.

Today, as socialist Venezuela implodes, a 9 million-strong Twitter army marches in back of a self-described democratic socialist from Vermont. The septuagenarian millionaire will contend for the Presidency of the United States in 2020, running on a platform largely defined by wage controls, tax hikes and massive state subsidization of the education and healthcare industries.

The host is already under attack. And the parasitoid is thirsty.

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