It is, as Orwell pointed out, much easier to defend the liquidation of antisocial elements than to argue in favor of murdering people who disagree with you. If the reason people disagree with you is that they are evil, there is no need to think about whether they might be right and you might be wrong.
Or, if you cannot be bothered, outcomes are important, not motives.
That’s what I don’t get about modern progressive lefties. They’re always so concerned about issues, but then they get lost in a thicket of “the means justify the ends”. I liked what that article said about “vampire capitalism”, too.
Not confined to lefties, either Matthew.
It’s what I find frustrating about certain sorts of self described libertarians.
There are aspects of individualism work. There are aspects of collectivism work. What’s wrong with taking the working parts of both & combining them into something that works better than both. But, apparently, collectivism is just evil. So we mustn’t.
@BIS- indeed, that’s a big part of why I now prefer to call myself a voluntaryist instead of a libertarian
bloke in spain: Couldn’t agree more. Charlie Stross is fond of pointing out that families operate under strict communism (well, except the Philpotts). What you say about taking the working parts of both is true, and the ideal mix is probably different at every level of society.
Of course, a lot of the people who claim that they support evidence based policymaking on, for example, climate change or gun ownership are oddly averse to the same thing on economic policy.
“Whats wrong with taking the working parts of both & combining them into something that works better than both. But, apparently, collectivism is just evil. So we mustnt.”
Mainly because every attempt to extend the “communism of the family” in a limited way to the rest of society never ends up being limited, because there is no natural barrier to its extension. The family naturally works on a “to each according to his needs” basis, but refuses to do the same (to any significant extent) beyond the extended family (tribe might be a better term). Blood is thicker than water.
Once you extend the communism to those to whom you have no links, there is no limit to its extension, as the the 20th century has shown.
“Mainly because every attempt to extend the _communism of the family_ in a limited way to the rest of society never ends up being limited, because there is no natural barrier to its extension.”
Then don’t try to. If it doesn’t scale, it doesn’t scale.
But I can’t see the slightest reason why like minded people cannot express their collective individualism within a larger society. Yes there’s a small element of compulsion but if it’s not balanced by the advantages of belonging to that particular collective, go find another collective closer to one’s aspirations.
It’s irritating that there’s so much energy expended at the polarities whereas it’s the interface between the two concepts needs exploring.
@ Matthew L
“the ideal mix is probably different at every level of society.”
I’m wondering if a good model wouldn’t look some thing like this.
COLLECTIVISM – The State
INDIVIDUALISM – The components of the State.
INDIVIDUALISM The Group asserting itself with other groups.
COLLECTIVISM – The Group
INDIVIDUALISM – The Individual
With the layers alternating.
bloke in spain – “Not confined to lefties, either Matthew.”
Except it is largely confined to Lefties. The Right thinks of their opponents as naive and stupid. Mainly because they are old and they were Leftists when they were younger. The Left tends to think of their opponents as evil. Because mainly they are young and want to kill all those who own property and have young daughters so they can take both.
“There are aspects of individualism work. There are aspects of collectivism work. What-s wrong with taking the working parts of both & combining them into something that works better than both. But, apparently, collectivism is just evil. So we mustn-t.”
Define work. Collectivism is inherently wrong or at least dangerous. It does work in some specific circumstances, but you have to look very carefully to make sure that the ends do justify the means. Conscription might have been necessary in World War Two, but in general, the government should not be in the business of taking people and forcing them to work down the pits.
Because collectivism does mean that some individual is going to lose the freedom to do whatever they like. Someone is going to be forced to toe the line or go to jail. Someone-s dreams are going to be crushed. Someone is going to be shot dead by a SWAT team. So you had better make damn sure it is worth doing.
This is especially a problem because losses of freedom are almost impossible to undo. Once we lose a freedom we have no chance to get it back. The twentieth century saw a slow but sure loss of freedoms. Orwell was wrong in that our future is not some Soviet-style totalitarian nightmare. It is some NHS-style totalitarian nightmare where only the inefficiency of the State protects us from total supervision. And all right thinking people will go along with it every step of the way.
bloke in spain – “Then don-t try to. If it doesn-t scale, it doesn-t scale.”
Explain that to the Pollys of the world. They think it does scale – or at least if it does not, it is the fault of the Wreckers and Kulaks of the world who must be dealt with firmly so that it will work for the rest of society.
Once you get rid of the protections of the individual, you have nothing left but pious hopes well meaning people will be well meaning. They are not. People love hurting other people. That is the point. Give them the power to do so and they will.
“But I can-t see the slightest reason why like minded people cannot express their collective individualism within a larger society.”
I have no problems with the Hutterites huttering within the US and the protections of the US Constitution. So if you do not mean this what do you mean by what looks like an oxymoron. What is a collective individualism?
“Yes there-s a small element of compulsion but if it-s not balanced by the advantages of belonging to that particular collective, go find another collective closer to one-s aspirations.”
America: love it or leave it? The problem is that once the collective becomes paramount, it will use that small element of compulsion to stop the peasants from moving to a new landlord every Saint Michael-s Day and then we have rediscovered serfdom. How do you “balance” the right of the collective to your taxes versus your right to move? How do you think the collective will balance it? How do you think Ritchie and Arnald will balance it?
Yes, I’m fully aware of the dangers of collectivism but it does have advantages. particularly for the individualist. One person, on their own, is one small voice. A group of people, with similar views, can shout a lot louder & get heard. Similar groups, with common interests, combining together, can make a great deal of noise indeed.
What interests is how one can structure this so it doesn’t end up as a top-down organisation.
I’ve a suspicion it may have something to do with numbers. Northcote-Parkinson talks about an ideal size of a committee. Above a certain size it fissions into interest groups & ceases to function as a whole.
Individualists are great in theory. If all you’re interested in doing is talking about things. They’re bloody hopeless when it comes to actually achieving anything.