Videos and articles highlighting seemingly brain-dead people committing brain-dead actions are posted all over Al Gore’s greatest invention, the Internet.
If you are like me, you just have to look at them and shake your head – and maybe mutter the word “dumbass” under your breath (if you are as tactless as I am) as you view the video record of the lowest common denominators in society. While we all know that there have always been dumbasses and will always be dumbasses, it seems that we have perfected the assembly line for them and are producing them in record numbers today, especially in government.
Police apparently using excessive force to choke a dude to death in New York for selling black market cigarettes, schools expelling kids for chewing a Pop Tart in the shape of a gun, expelling a kid for accidentally bringing a knife to school and taking it to the office to turn it in the minute he discovered it, banning recess and the games of dodge ball and tag for “safety reasons”, charging a parent with child neglect for letting kids play outside, HOAs threatening veterans with eviction for displaying an American flag, one governmental unit fining people for not watering their yard when they are subject to a fine for watering their yard by another governmental unit – these are all things I could think about as I wrote this – no googling required – just off the top of my head as I was typing this paragraph.
This is what the move to collectivism brings.
The supporting premise of collectivism is that life is better and efficiencies are increased through the act of central planning – but for any plan to be successful, it must be followed completely and without question. Any deviation from the plan must be prevented and to prevent these variances, any deviation must be punished as provided in the plan, the individual must not be allowed to choose any action other than that dictated by the plan.
Through punishment, the individual can be kept in constant fear that if they deviate, the entire plan will collapse – and the most enthusiastic proponents of the plan are also the most fearful of deviation. The common dodge is that they were “just following the rules” or “I have no power to change or do anything different, I wish I could.”
Collectivism means slavish allegiance to the authority making the plan. It means that no decision other than those described in the plan can be made. It means the death of logic and individual choice. It means the loss of independent thought.
It means is the death of common sense.
The fact is that in a collective society, someone or some committee makes the plans according to that they think is necessary. As I have proposed, the total democracy anticipated by Marx – the “dictatorship of the proletariat” – is a physical and logistical impossibility, therefore if one is slave to a plan, one is also a slave to whatever arbitrary authority that created the plan. This is why collectivism always trends toward totalitarianism.
James Madison (Pubilus) wrote in Federalist #51:
“But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”
The great con that socialists, Marxists, communists and progressives always fall for is the proposition that collectivism won’t end in tyranny and totalitarianism. History shows that it always has. It always will.
It happens in everything from the local Rotary Club to a neighborhood Homeowner’s Association to the federal government.
That is the nature of man. Plato knew it. John Locke knew it. Jefferson and Madison knew it. Rand and Milton Friedman knew it. Why the general public forgets it every other generation or so is the great riddle.
Constitutional republicanism may be imperfect, inefficient and messy but is the only hedge people have against drifting toward either anarchy or totalitarianism.