Two basic propositions to choose
Liberty or Collectivism.
There is no compromise to be had
between the two, else collectivism will expand at the expense of liberty.
So what's wrong with collectivism?
Let's begin by defining the term.
Collectivism is the theory that
production and disposal of wealth should be controlled by the people
collectively. At the extreme you have communism. On the path to that extreme it
is called socialism. Because explicit socialism has lost its appeal in recent
decades, other terms are frequently used as a cover: communitarianism, economic
democracy, Democratic Socialism, etc., but whatever you call it, it's
What most people don't realize is
how much the U.S. economy has been socialized. Considering that government is
the agency of collective action, the U.S. economy is nearly 50% socialized (or
collectivized), that is, controlled by government.
Back to the question: what's wrong with collectivism?
To put it very briefly, political management of the
economy disrupts the feedback mechanisms that coordinate the productive
activities of all the actors, and undermines the incentives for productive
effort. These disruptions increase the demand
for further interventions. Coordinating the economic activities of
millions of actors with any substantial degree of satisfaction is
dependent upon the unimpeded functioning of the pricing system and the
active judgment of all the participants. It is impossible to
delegate the functions of the pricing system or to replace the incentive
of the profit motive.
Conflict. To begin with, there are
many flavors of collectivists. They disagree with each other on many
particulars. The left-collectivists have produced many splinter
groups. Right-collectivists are somewhat less factional than
leftists, but have major differences with the leftist orientation. This is amply illustrated by the major
collectivist parties in the U.S., the Democrats and the Republicans. If you
don't think the Republicans are collectivist, note their support for major
social programs such as Social Security and Medicare. There are some
distinctions between the two, with Republicans tending more toward cultural
collectivism while Democrats tend more to economic collectivism, but both parties are collectivist.
The problem of political power. Lord Acton said
that "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
Proponents (or carriers) of the leftist point of view believe the source of
corruption is corporate greed, a view which is a product of their Marxist
heritage, and while it may be true that corporations often participate in less
than honorable activities, history shows that corruption is a problem in any
political system, from the ancients through today. The lesson of the Soviet
Union proves that corporate profit making is not a criteria for political
corruption. In fact, the USSR (Union of Soviet SOCIALIST Republics) offers many
lessons on the shortcomings of collectivism.
Political power is a corrupting
force, the implementation of which is essential to enforcing the strictures of
collectivism. You can't have one without the other. I challenge anyone to cite
an example of any political structure that has no collectivist aspect or any
collectivist system that does not have a political structure coexistent. This
brings us to another definition and a final conclusion. Fascism is a political philosophy
that advocates obedience to authority, it is authoritarian. Fascism was the
explicit goal of Italy's Mussolini around the time of WWII, and is commonly
viewed as the mainstay of the NAZIs (Nationalist-Socialist).
Fascism is advocacy and implementation of
political power. Political power compels obedience by threat of physical force.
Collectivism works by compelling its subjects to operate within collectivist
strictures. Collectivism is, in all of its forms, fascistic.
Advocates of socialism and its ilk may deny fascist, but how
else do they expect to collectivize everyone except through political
compulsion? Collectivism opposes freedom.
Performance. The foundation of human
societies is the production of the wealth that people consume. Any
economic system must be judged by its ability to produce the
goods. Economic collectivism has a very poor record regarding
this fundamental task. Prior to the communist revolution in Russia,
that country was an exporter of wheat, after the revolution, Russia became
an importer of wheat for the duration of the Soviet regime.