After reading the comments in my last post, I find myself wondering how many of the people who embrace the notion of the collective have actually stopped to think about what the concept of the collective actually means for them. How many of them have even read Marx, or understand Marx’s notion of “Communism?” How many understand that the very idea of a collective is self-contradicting? How many understand that the collective is a fiction: it cannot and will never exist. How many realize that the collective is an idea devised to create a moral justification to steal the fruits of another person’s labor and, at the same time, shield one from the guilt associated with knowing one is taking something they did not create or earn? How many recognize that the idea of the collective to play to their greed and envy; to seduce them into surrendering their political power, which is then employed by the tyrant to wrest control of society from the existing ruling class and, at the same time, enslaving the whole of society – themselves included? And how many can even look past that envy of others long enough to care – even for a moment? Well, I have read Marx, and I have given quite a bit of careful thought to these issues. That’s why I know that everything I just asserted is true, and now I’d like to explain why I came to these conclusions.
First, we have to start with another definition:
Definition of COLLECTIVE
1: denoting a number of persons or things considered as one group or whole <flock is a collective word>
b of a fruit : multiple
3a : of, relating to, or being a group of individuals
b : involving all members of a group as distinct from its individuals <a collective action>
4: marked by similarity among or with the members of a group
6: shared or assumed by all members of the group <collective responsibility>
OK, everything we need to understand is right there in that definition. First, the collective is a group. By definition, this means the individual is not even considered except as a component of that group. So, if the collectivist is to be intellectually honest, he must think of himself as akin to a single cell within the body of an organism. And the fate of any single cell is insignificant to the survival or well being of that organism, so the fate of the collectivist is immaterial to society. Therefore, if the collectivist believes in the notion of the collective, they should never argue for anything in relation to the individual as, in a collective, the individual is insignificant; of no consequence or concern. Incidentally, this also defines the collectivist’s conceptualization of morality, or rather, lack thereof. As, if the collectivist is consistent with his ideology, the moral action will always be the one that favors the collective. And both of these points together bring us to the internal contradiction within the notion of the collective.
In order for a group to exist and function as a single entity, it must have a point of direction: a central controlling authority. But humans do not think collectively. We may be social beings, operating within small collections of other individuals, but we think and act as autonomous individuals. If this were not the case, the collectivist would never have to make their case: we would all automatically know it already from having shared in his collective thought. So the assertion that humanity is a collective or can ever function as a collective is absurd because the characteristics of a collective share nothing with the characteristics of human nature. In fact, they are mutually exclusive. In order to function in a manner even resembling a true collective, there must be a central controlling authority, or ruler. And it is at this point that the argument for why we should embrace the notion of the collective breaks down, as well.
Supposedly, the collective is morally superior to individualism because it is “socially just.” One RNL reader actually summarized Marx and the assumed moral superiority of the collective quite nicely:
“Inidividuals still contribute and operate in society, but they will never ever hold power over the collective labor of man. Albert Einstein is free to study and debate science, but if he wanted to hire workers and sell the fruits of the labor of the workers at a profit and not give the workers the income made from their labor, he would be prohibited from doing so. Since the workers create everything, are they not entitled to own everything. If the worker’s would organize and manage production the need for capital/investment would vanish. You don’t need money to build a factory, you need the labor of workers and food, housing and tools to make a factory. All of that can be provided if all the workers, agricutural, industrial, construction, transportation would be organized to provide their labor to the factory constructors in exchange for a new factory. The only reason capital has a purpose is because it is a way to exchange labor. we need to move beyond a system of unplanned labor exchanges to one of planned labor use. in essence there is no need for bourgeoisie or money, just workers.”
Notice how this RNL reader starts by inadvertently providing the negation to his own argument. He starts by asserting that the individual cannot control the labor of others, then provides an example he believes illustrates his point. In this case, he uses Einstein controlling the labor of others by employing them to perform whatever work he needs done to make his profit. By admitting that Einstein is controlling the labor of others – even though he is using prejudicial wording – he negates his assertion that this cannot happen. Then he goes on to say that it cannot happen because it will not be allowed. But he doesn’t stop there, he continues: he says that workers just need to be organized and their labor directed as needed. And there is his admission that there is no such thing as a collective, only the transfer of power from the capitalist — who only controls the labor of those who freely contract to sell it to him — to the central authority, which enforces whatever dictates that authority deems necessary for society unto every member of society – at all times. In short, the collective is nothing more than a ruse that uses the greedy and envy of the worker to allow the tyrant to seize power over and enslave everyone.
But there’s something else in this readers argument. The collectivist assumes his personal greed is justified, and therefore, he is entitled to all the fruits of his labor. This implies that the capitalist (Einstein) is not justified in his profits. Instead, the collectivist asserts that the capitalist’s profits are unearned because he doesn’t work for them. Well, if this is the case, why does the central authority have to decide that a factory is needed; what it will make; where, when and how it is to be built; and then organize the other forms of labor to provide the barter necessary to build it? Isn’t that all part of the capitalist’s labor? And doesn’t the capitalist then train, manage and administrate the factory on top of all that – while, at the same time, assuming all the risk should the factory fail? If the capitalist hasn’t earned his profit for doing all of this, then why didn’t the workers just do all of this on their own, without direction?
But let’s take this further. If society is a collective, then that means the body – the sum of all individuals — would just willingly do whatever is necessary to build the factory. So why does the collectivist reader admit that all these efforts must be “organized?” Here again, this is an admission that A – there is no such thing as a collective and B – the collectivist is just trying to justify replacing the capitalist with a tyrant whom he believes will give him more of another person’s stuff. Remember, this reader said the worker is entitled to all the profits because they do all the work. He never gave any allowance for the work or risk taken by Einstein in his example; thereby, he exposes his true motivation: greed and envy.
Finally, the reader assumes the workers in his example are under-paid for their labor. First of all, this is a strawman. The example asserts the workers are underpaid, but there is no proof that this is the case in the example, or actual society. It is just this collectivist’s opinion, which – as I just demonstrated – is motivated by greed and envy. The reality is, in a free market where the worker functions as an autonomous individual, if he feels as though his labor is undervalued, the worker is free to attempt to renegotiate the price of his labor. Failing that, he could ask for more hours, seek a second job, find a new job all together or, if he is so inclined, he can even start his own factory. In the free market, the worker is not forced to do anything. However, in the collective, by definition, the worker must be forced to do everything he does. And the proof of this is me. All I need is one example of a worker who would have to be forced to participate in the collective to negate the collectivist’s assertion that I would do so willingly, and I am providing it by asserting that I will not submit.
And thus, the entire premise of the collective is negated. It is a fiction that cannot possibly exist in reality. It is contradictory to human nature. And it rests on demonstrably false assumptions. In short, the notion of the collective is as I claim it is: hog wash designed to con the greedy and the envious into willingly surrendering to slavery in the hopes that their new master will give them something that was earned through the labor of and belongs to another person.
But, hey, if the collectivist still wants to be a part of a collective, they should join the Borg. While it is just part of a science fiction series, Star Trek, the Borg is the perfect illustration of the collective as it exists in reality – right down to the central control of the collective by the queen. The reason the collectivist has no problem with the Borg is simple: the collectivist always envisions himself as being part of the central authority that directs the rest of the collective. You know: “Some animals are more equal than others?”