Saturday, February 21, 2009

the vice of collectivism

i heard a guy (typical of one entering the freedom movement) refer to the u.s as "my country". he had correctly realized that the state was at the root cause of all the latest economic issues and that the state was crushing the freedoms (what little remains) of all individuals. this is good. he realizes that there is a problem and also identified the culprit, but the fact that he made the statement he did lets me know that he doesn't fully understand the underlying idea that separates the libertarian from the brutish statist.

there are a few problems with the very short statement, "i love my country". first, there is no such thing as "a country". the "united states" only exists as an idea. there are no real borders, only lines drawn on a map. the lines don't mark off anyone's property or topographically different regions. they only denote the areas controlled by a coercive state. they are "turf" boundaries, in gang parlance. so, the united states is only an area subject to the rule of the violent gang known as the "united states government". the term "country" is just a nicer sounding way to say "turf".

secondly, the "country" isn't yours. you don't own it. you can't "love your country" because you don't own any countries. besides that, the territory called the "united states" would be difficult to cover in a lifetime and the chances are, once you had seen all of that territory, that you wouldn't love all of it.

the idea, propagated by the state, is that we are all part of a collective; we are all together, or part of a team - all focused on the interests of the group as a whole. the fact is totally the opposite. there are no specific "interests". we are all part of society because we need each other in order to make survival easier. mankind is inherently individualistic. he engages in activities with members of society for his own benefit. society is merely a generalization used to simplify reference to individuals interacting with one another. the only thing that connects us as a country is that we are all preyed upon by the same group of parasites in washington d.c. (the mistake on the potomac).

it is this collectivist idea that breeds racism, ethnocentrism, nationalism and other dangerous concepts. it is the true individualist, one who judges each according to his characteristics, who does not assume membership in disparate groups, who knows no such vices of collective thought. the individualist knows that all people are different and is able to tolerate those differences in order to be tolerated. he knows that the centralized state, with its blanket "solutions" to the problems created by collectivism in the first place, can never be anything but a stumbling block to a functioning society. with every person requiring varied conditions to supply his varied desires, no single entity can ever help to alleviate the constraints of society relative to scarcity and only individuals, acting on their own desires can provide for themselves in an acceptable fashion.

i mean really, does someone in san diego have a closer tie to those in maine than to those in tijuana just because the map says they're in the same country? it's a silly idea even on its face.

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