Saturday, April 13, 2013

Are Individuals The Property Of The Collective?

Brandon Smith
Activist Post

Mankind has faced a bewildering multitude of self-made catastrophes and self-made terrors over the past few millennia, most of which stem from a single solitary conflict between two opposing social qualities: individualism vs. collectivism. These two forces of organizational mechanics have gone through evolution after evolution over the years, and I believe the long battle is nearing an apex moment; a moment in which one ideology or the other will become dominant around the world for well beyond the foreseeable future.

The assumption often made amongst academia is that the philosophy that appeals most to our “natural survival imperative” and caters to our desire for innovation will eventually win the day. That there is no “right or wrong” side; only the effective, and the less effective. The advanced and the outmoded. The transcendent, and the archaic.

It should come as no surprise then that most academics and prominent mainstream talking heads often sing the praises of collectivism as the inevitable champion in the war between cultural engines. 

Collectivism always presents itself with the flair and sexiness of the “new”, or the progressive, while individualism tends to wear the unpleasant battle scars of hard-earned principles and heritage. Collectivism is the hot looking but mentally unstable bombshell blonde making promises of excitement and long-term comfort she has no intention of keeping. She is so seductive not because she has any profound inner qualities, but because she has a knack for letting you believe she is exactly what you fantasize her to be. Only when it’s too late do you realize she’s a psychopathic pill popping man-eater….

Collectivism is, in fact, a bastardization of a more useful human condition; namely community. Inherent in all people is the need for meaningful connection with others, and thus, the world around them, without being forced to sacrifice their own identities and their own souls in the process. The best representation of this model is the idea of “voluntary community”, where individuals seek out each other and facilitate their own connections. However, if they can’t find meaningful connection, many people will settle for whatever they can get.

Collectivist structures thrive by shutting down free cultural avenues, manipulating public media, encouraging fear, repression, and bias, and destroying our ability to relate to others in a natural and voluntary way. Collectivism’s first goal is to distract and ISOLATE individuals from one another, so that honest community is difficult to build. Its second goal is to then offer a false community; a cardboard cutout or proxy that entices the public with fabricated and superficial connections that barely satiate our inner hunger for relationship with our fellow man (Facebook, anyone?). It uses our thirst for understanding against us, and lures us into a system of psychological enslavement where no understanding will ever be found.

Karl Marx is famous for stating that “religion is the opium of the people”, a belief that communists like Mao Zedong adopted. But, Mao was not opposed to “opiates for the masses” per say, only citizen organizations that could not be controlled. Mao simply replaced the various deities of the Chinese people with the religion of the collectivist state.

Like any opiate, collectivism instills addiction. The feeling of belonging to something bigger than oneself (even if it ends up being false) creates ecstatic euphoria, a euphoria that weakens as time passes unless the addict commits himself even deeper into the hive mind. Soon, every original aspect of the person’s character is forgotten and replaced entirely by his hyper-obsession with the collective. The whole of his identity becomes a shallow product of the state and he may even defend that state, no matter how corrupt, to the death. He now treats any criticism of the system as a personal attack on himself, because everything he is has been given to him by the collective. If the collective is a sham, then so is he.

Collectivism as a philosophy is a perfect tool for oligarchy. The men who dominate such systems rarely if ever actually believe in the tenets they espouse. They sell the idea of single-minded society as a nurturing light that will create group supremacy, prosperity, and perfect safety. But the truth is, they couldn’t care less about accomplishing any of these things for the masses. They are only interested in exploiting the promise to galvanize the population into a fraudulent community, a dystopia in which the citizens police each other in the name of the state, giving the elites total dominance.

The most vital aspect of the collectivist process is convincing the public that the individual citizen is not sovereign, but is actually the property of the group. Many readers have already witnessed this argument first hand in the statements of MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry, who believes your children are not yours to raise, but are products of the collective to be molded:

But this is only a taste of collectivist zealotry at work. Here are just a few of the most prominent disinformation tactics and methodologies used by centralization cultists to twist the fabric of nations and enslave individuals…

1) The Blank Slate

Blank slate theory stems from the Freudian model of psychology and has been adopted and refined by modern mainstream clinical psychiatry. The theory contends that all psychological processes and character traits of an individual are merely products of repetition and memory derived through environmental experience. Psychiatry extends the theory into biology in the belief that all human behavior is nothing more than a series of reactionary chemical processes in the brain that determine pre-coded genetic responses built up from the conditioning of one’s environment. The foundational assertion of blank slate theory is that human beings are born empty. That we are bio-computers; soft machinery, just waiting to be programmed.

The blank slate argument is essential to the philosophy of collectivism. If every person is born without inherent characteristics or spirit, and all people are manufactured by environmental conditions alone, then, collectivists contend, there is no such thing as true individualism. Programmed people cannot act, they can only react according to their conditioning. Therefore, they have no inherent ability to choose, or to determine their own destinies.

If a society can be convinced that this theory is fact, then the inner self (the source of individualism), no longer bears any meaning. The environment is then seen as the only determinant that people should care about. Environment becomes the sole master of their lives, and whoever controls the environment, controls them.

The problem is, blank slate theory has been proven time and time again to be absolutely false. From the work of MIT professor Steven Pinker, to the psychological studies of Carl Jung, to the linguistic studies of Noam Chomsky, as well as numerous studies in mathematics, quantum physics, and anthropology; every field of science has produced more than ample evidence that human beings are not born as blank slates. Rather, they are born with the very building blocks of thought, language, mathematics, and even predispositions towards certain personality traits.

The most important of all of these discoveries, though, is attributed to Carl Jung, who found that moral conceptions are in fact inborn. The existence of “psychological dualities” at birth (including an unconscious sense of good and evil) means that all people come into the world with the ability to CHOOSE. Environment only determines our lives if we allow it to. This is why the worst of men sometimes come from the most sheltered and safe environments, while the best of men often come from broken and terrible homes.

Collectivists have struggled desperately for ages to deny or destroy the concept of inherent individualism. They want us to believe that everything that we have was “given to us” by them. As long as we know they have given us nothing, they can never truly win….

2) Individualism Is The Same As Selfishness

Collectivists repeat this lie ad nauseum. The suggestion is simple – even the smallest individual actions “affect everyone”, thus, everyone is culpable for the problems of the whole. And, if everyone is responsible for the problems of the whole, then everyone must take responsibility for everyone else. The job of society then, at least in the opinion of collectivists, is to keep every individual member of that society in line. One unruly cog could bring the entire machine to a halt. Anyone who refuses to submit to the directives of the group is bound to hurt the group, and is, therefore, selfish, or even criminal.

The insanity of this way of thinking should be obvious. First of all, it assumes that the directives of the group are always logically and morally sound. It assumes that because the majority of people have come to a particular conclusion, that conclusion must, by default, be correct. The fact is, history has shown that at any given moment the majority is wrong about something, if not most things, and these mass trespasses against reason and conscience always end up being stopped by a minority of individualists. The greatest social achievements of mankind are the result of the ingenuity and courage of individuals who in turn inspired others.

Perhaps the best possible thing is for the machine to be sabotaged at times by “selfish individuals’. Perhaps individuals are actually more necessary to the survival of the group than the group is to the survival of individuals….

3) The Family Unit Cannot Be Trusted To Raise The Next Generation

In the quest for a collectivist system, all competing interests must be debased. The individual must have nowhere to turn for guidance or comfort but the system itself. Children become a highly sought after target, because their inborn personalities are easier to oppress, and because they are always dependent on someone for their survival already. The collective (usually in the form of government) desires to be that “someone” the child depends on, and so, the role of the parents has to be diminished.

Collectivists in the U.S. use the “It Takes A Village” approach in order to marginalize the family unit and paint parents as secondary figures in the development of their own offspring. Under this philosophy, each subsequent generation is seen as a kind of “commodity”, a resource that belongs to the group and that must be “protected” from the damaging ideologies of the parents. One has only to examine the extreme politicization of American public schools today to see this process in action. The goal is to push the idea of family into obscurity, while forcing children into indoctrination factories that instill specific behaviors through fear, shame, and propaganda.

No one, and no entity, however, has the capacity to care for any child more than that child’s own parents. Some parents do fail in their responsibilities, but what kind of role model does government really make in their place? Governments lie, cheat, steal, rape, murder, and mass murder in order to get what they want. Government has nothing worthwhile to teach anyone, including our children.

4) Global Problems Will Be Solved By Collectivism

I find in my examinations that the opposite is true. Most global problems are CAUSED by collectivism, not solved by it. The greater good is always subjective. The group will always be an abstract illusion held together by nothing more than the whims of the individual. And, in the grand scheme of things, only individuals make any difference in the course of human cultural development. The collectivist strategy requires the suppression of individualism, otherwise, they cannot obtain power. That means, the very bedrock of their philosophy is a threat to the security of the future. In their obscene quest to control tomorrow, they ensure that tomorrow dies.

They promise community, and they give you isolation. They promise prosperity, and they give you servitude. They promise safety, and they give you a land of perpetual terror. They promise purpose, and give you insignificance. They promise peace, and they foment war after war after war, reaping turmoil all around us, as well as within us.

Our only hope is to maintain the integrity of our heart, and our will. The proclamation that the individual is subject to the necessities of the collective is a con. There is no such prerogative. In the end, there is no power over us but that which we give away. The state doesn’t matter. The group doesn’t matter. The “greater good” doesn’t matter. All that matters is the life of the individual. Each individual. For when all men rediscover their individualism, only then will we be able to move forward as a whole.

You can contact Brandon Smith at: Alt-Market is an organization designed to help you find like-minded activists and preppers in your local area so that you can network and construct communities for mutual aid and defense. Join today and learn what it means to step away from the system and build something better.


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Anonymous said...

Right on target. There are those who plan to turn the world into one giant kibbutz.

Anonymous said...

Sir, that was just badass! The entirety of my understanding and lack of skilled way to explain, poured from your fingertips as water from the falls.

For what it's worth, you have my admiration.

Anonymous said...

This article is beating a straw man. No espouses total collectivism. What is required to create strong individuals is a strong community.
Communities are collectives; families are collectives.

Collectives are groups with natural affinities who put the welfare of all ahead of the desires of the individual.

By inventing a straw man of total collectivism and working from a simplistic either or collectivism or individualism, this author generates a modicum of outrage but sheds no light whatsoever.

In the end, this is just a rant against collective action and organization, which to be honest would include the American Revolution and Constitution, as well as the labor movements which gave us an end ot child labor and the 12 hr day, as well as the civil rights movement, etc.

All these progressive movements involved collective struggle and sacrifice. That's how rights have been won.

This dualism may appeal to those seeking simple enemies and simple solutions, but in the real world, we are both individuals and members of collectives at all levels, from the family to the human race.

This is Ayn Rand rehash stuff. Don't buy it. It's a retreat from the complex balance required between individual and collective existence.

Anonymous said...

This is total BS, designed to onfuscate and distract from the real enemy of the common people - and that is fascism.

All the so-called 'alt media' is pentagram disinfo.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Bullseye!

Within the human realm, only individuals actually exist. The "collective" exists only as a mental concept, a notion, an abstraction that some people choose to impose on the reality that there are a great number of us individuals living in relation to one another. But this idea denies our humanity and turns us into insects, does it not? The belief that any individuals' highest purpose is to serve the interests of a "hive" is born of unconsciously living in fear and it's attendant desire to escape personal responsibility. Since the collective philosophy denies its' emotional roots in the pain of living in fear, it can only replicate itself even as it takes step after step after step to eradicate this pain. We are afraid of criminals and so to eliminate crime, we, quite unconsciously, allow criminals to take charge of everything believing we have found a solution. We don't mean to screw ourselves over, or to imprison ourselves--of course, we are well-intentioned. But as long as fear rules the heart of a person, that person sees the world through the lens of his own fear. He will see threats everywhere and seek out, endlessly, myriad ways to eliminate them in order to quell his fear. But since the fear is within and not without, the "enemy" is never vanquished. The unconscious collective conclusion, then, is everyone must be imprisoned. Permanently. We are all evil, and for our own good we must all live in chains. This is the cowering, trembling, yet cruel and arrogant human heart that pumps the anemic, cancerous blood of collectivism:

"In my heart, I suffer, and so then, shall you. Since I have refused to find love in my own heart, or, to live in joy and peace, to live in harmony with my own inner guiding beauty, choosing to deny responsibility for myself and living instead in misery, then so shall you. Everyone must feel my pain and know my ugliness. The ugliness I see reflected back at me in the mirror of the world outside is not my own. It is yours. To all unique, freedom-loving individuals seeking their own route to personal happiness and fulfillment, I present to you, at the point of this gun, a choice: Either join me in my misery, live inside my pain, my fear, my alienation, my loneliness, or die."

That's all the system of this modern world really is . The person(s) running things is nothing but a hurt, spoiled child throwing a very nasty tantrum in order to get his way, the nastiness of which snakes its way down to us and bites us in our personal lives via policemen, soldiers, politicians, a bureaucrats, inspectors, etc. etc. Of course this is a very clever, powerful and resourceful child, but it is a child nonetheless. The people following along with it are nothing but more children who feel the same way. The pouting, crying and wailing from "on high" resonates with them.

These kids just need a little "time out". Seriously. Taking up arms against them will not work. No spanking. To the child-mind, meeting fire with fire only justifies the tantrum further and entrenches the child within self-righteous indignation guaranteeing that the next tantrum will be far worse. They need to be gently but firmly set aside until they cool down and are able to calmly think things over. Strange as it sounds, these people are feeling neglected and need our love and attention, not our ire and retribution. Guns can protect us from random, roving thugs but not against the will of an armed, collective-child-minded majority throwing a massive, deadly tantrum.

For that we can only hope that there are enough good adults among us in positions to say "No!" when the screaming child orders us to kill or imprison each other. This is the only path that will permanently break this spell of unconscious treachery and preserve the wild beauty of the free individual into the future.

abinico said...

Pull your head out of the place where the sun don't shine. An article like this that does not mention capitalism is nothing but garbage.

mijj said...

.. or, indeed, are collectives the property of individuals (as in capitalist/fascist society)

Love To Push Those Buttons said...

Tell it to an unprogrammable schizoid, misanthropic isolationist who thinks smallpox is preferable to a social life.

Now get away from me. ;O)

Anonymous said...

This article was succinct and correct on the points presented. Too bad some trolls do not come out from their holes in the ground to realize there is sun and fresh air above ground.

Anonymous said...

Right on Brandon!

Let me try to be nice to the other children, and rephrase what I had previously written, but not in a sarcastic theme this time.

This subject DOES seem to threaten the security of some of our brothers and sisters based on some of the comments above. I hope they find the strength to rely more on themselves someday. I am certain they will never find greater satisfaction and freedom.

Now, just as a collectivist would not be satisfied being ruled by a child, they should easily understand that a child could freely feel the same way about a collectivist.

Furthermore, to have a collectivist, like a welfare recipient for example, tell those whom they take from (for nothing), how they should also live (in detail), is about the stupidest program I could ever imagine. Only childish emotions could justify such an argument.

I am beginning to understand how collectivism is attractive to those who dont have, are not capable of having, or want to have responsibility to take care of themselves. I am not criticizing those who find collectivism the easiest path, as I understand how tempting it is. But it is, in the end, the poorest path.

It is like the difference between wage slavery (poor jobs) and debt slavery (poor incomes=poverty). Pick one for your life, and allow the rest of us the same choice, thank you!

It is not easy to work for a living, and deal with that like a slave for 40-50 years, but I'm pretty sure that it SHOULD eventually earn you some more freedom, and less responsibility to the collective at some point! If you are extremely lucky, your slaving job for the collective might even be fun once in awhile, right?

Prince Awele Odor said...

The individual should be the property of the collective because that means that the individual as a member of that collective is FREE, owns himself, and determines his development along with and NOT opposite or antagonistic to those of the rest members of the collective.

Should it be otherwise: That is, should the collective be the property of the individual? Because we have that now, should the collective continue to be the property of the individual?

It is illogical and unethical that the collective should be the property of the individual because it is illogical and breeds the worst authoritarianism, dictatorship, tyranny, evil, criminality, satanism, and totalitarianism.

Anonymous said...

Honestly its not about individualism versus the collective.Its who owns individualism and who owns the collective.When the driving force of individualism and the collective are the people ,freedom,democracy,and capitalism prospers.When the driving force are corporations and government then freedom is enslavement,democracy is totalitarianism,and capitalism is cartelism which is what we have now.good day sir.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for such an illuminating article.

To all those (above) who disagree I say....... is only the most insecure and scared of people who choose (collectivism) to give away their birthright of freedom, and, thus out of fear, need to cling to the opinions and decisions of a group. They are like children needing parents to decide for them who they are and how they should live.

In groups there are always those few ("parents") that are more power-hungry and/or greedy than other members, and thus the the "weaker" members who have given away their power to the group, are literally asking to be (ab)used, manipulated and controlled.

That, Prince Odor is where dictators are born.....INSIDE groups! A dictator cannot control one or more lone "individuals" who stand up for their freedom.

The individualist is someone who feels secure about who he is and what his responsibilities are in this world and life. He does not want or need to control others.He lives and lets live and expects the same in return. For this reason he is a threat to the dictator of a group as he cannot be manipulated and also he could "wake up" those who are still oblivious of the truth.

Until humanity chooses to "wake up" and "grow up" I cannot see a solution.

Anonymous said...

Insecure frightened individuals who lack confidence when dealing with other people with absolutely LOVE this article.
It will help them to justify their flaws.

Around the world in nations where people are still free, there are all sorts of examples of collectivism working for the people. Fishermen repair nets and boats together, and help each other, while wives and grandmas look after kids during the day. Farmers share tools, take each others products to market and work together. The early days of the USA had communal barn raisings, and neighbors knew each other and trusted each other.

I agree with several comments above. This isolationist crap and the delusion of self sufficiency is just a load of sophisticated misinformation from our spook agencies designed to confuse people. Shameful stuff, but nice to see many who were not fooled. The socks seem to love it though!

Prince Awele Odor said...

Anonymous wrote: "In groups there are always those few ("parents") that are more power-hungry and/or greedy than other members, and thus the the "weaker" members who have given away their power to the group, are literally asking to be (ab)used, manipulated and controlled.

"That Prince Odor is where dictators are born.....INSIDE groups! A dictator cannot control one or more lone "individuals" who stand up for their freedom".

Anonymous, the, in your word, "few" who are, as you wrote, "In groups", is the individual in the collective who perverts, violates, supplants, and destroys the collective ideas, beliefs, practices, standards, ethics, laws, principles, and values of the collective, them imposes his own on the collective as the collective ideas, beliefs, practices, standards, ethics, laws, principles, and values.

In terms of parents and children, can you observe that children wield authority and control over their parents now and are authorities to themselves? This has emerged in Nigeria, my country. Is it not so in your country?

We can consider the the relations between the government of the USA and the rest of the governments of the world by examining the obligation of government to the collective international laws, and the right of the World Court and the ICC to hear cases of war crime by the governments of the world, the culture of the USA versus the cultures of the rest of the world, and Monsanto Company, USA, versus global consumers and not just USA consumers.

I am absolutely sure that what is intended by this comparison is very clear to you, Anonymous, and to the rest of the participants in this discussion and, therefore, that I do not need or have to elaborate on it.

Anonymous said...

Ayn Rand was awesome. She contributed greatly to humanity by being a powerful, passionate and courageous individual. This article does that too.

This perception that objectivist/individualist philosophy is isolationist, neighbor-fearing nonsense promoted by selfish, socially awkward misanthropic people who contribute nothing to humanity is completely off the mark and ignorant of reality

The whole point is that within each individual there are unique gifts and god-given talents. These are the highest good we have to contribute to humanity. Only within the environment of individual freedom can these talents be nurtured and drawn forth. It is then up to each person to explore who they are, what they can do, what they like and don't like, etc. so these gifts can be given and enjoyed by everyone. Freedom to do this on one's own terms is absolutely critical to the health of a person and by extension, to all of mankind.

The collectivist mentality sees itself as noble and magnanimous, compassionate and loving. Putting the needs of others before one's own, putting aside one's own dreams and desires somehow becomes a virtue. Disregarding self-discovery and neglecting the development of one's own uniqueness somehow makes a person saintly. In truth, however, this is pure vanity. It is an old put-on based in religious notions of self-sacrifice. But if you take an honest look at the quality of human life, your own and others, and ask yourself this: "Who has contributed more joy and happiness to my life and benefited the whole of humanity as well? Mick Jagger or Fidel Castro? Joan Rivers or The Pope? Steve Jobs or Dick Cheney? Meryl Streep or Mao Tse Tung?" you will see precisely where the collectivist mentality reaches its final destination. On a personal/social level, one might also ask of these same people: "Who would I rather have dinner with?" If you are honestly choosing the public servants here, then please, see a psychiatrist immediately, because you are apparently unable to see the reality that these folks are universally despicable, murderous, hateful, rigidly controlling psychos who are responsible for untold amounts of human misery.

There is nobody advocating here that people should not choose to band together and help each other. I volunteer my money, my time and energy and contribute to my community/social tribe on a regular basis. I recognize that I absolutely need other people to live the way I find most satisfying. I enjoy contributing what I have discovered within myself through focused, intensive, individualistic self-discovery. I am socially dynamic and not at all fearful of social situations. Far from leading me into isolation and despair, my fiercely individualistic path has led me to become well-regarded and admired, a pillar of sorts among those I know and love.

But if any person chooses to "lone wolf" it, living only for himself, providing only for himself, that's his/her affair and I find nothing objectionable about it.

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