JamesMadison1

Collectivism Decivilizes When Government Grows

The recent NDAA Bill has been decried as an act of governmental tyranny.  This is true, but the implications are much more than just a mere overstep.  It is, in reality, a further step in the direction of decilivization.

The word “collectivist” is sadly absent from the popular language of politics. Collectivism, in short, composes the political viewpoints that are focused on the collective, or the whole.  This is starkly opposed to individualism, which is focused on the individual.  Some of the political philosophies that are considered collectivist are Communism (and its various varieties), socialism, modern liberalism, and anarcho-syndicalism.

The reason for the deranged nature of collectivism is due to one important element of it.  This is a violation of the non-aggression principle.  This principle is of great importance to classical liberalism—“true” Conservatism, Libertarianism, and other schools of thought.  The non-aggression can be stated as that any act of aggression initiated on another, when not in the case of self-defense, is wrong. This unjustified use of force on others is characteristic of collectivism—as it is concerned with the “good” of the group. The NDAA Bill is an unjustified use of force.

Humans’ natural state is anarchy.  No matter how much order is established—whether through iron fist or constitution—it is natural that societies will tend towards anarchy, if untouched by the works of those who love liberty.  Civilization is something that takes this natural state (anarchy) and improves upon it, slightly.  In this case, it is very limited government—of the noted classical liberal tradition.  The downsides of anarchy all stem from the mass violation of the non-aggression principle.  James Madison summed these downsides well:

“If all men were angels, no government would be necessary.”

Yes, there are some benefits to anarchy, but these are outweighed both by limited government and the point made by Madison.

If taken to the extreme opposite of anarchy, overreaching government authority and control, still violates the non-aggression principle. If we are to take Frederic Bastiat’s definition of the law as “collective force,” then actions of a government may also violate the non-aggression principle in this way.

From this, we have determined several things. First, that the definition of “decivilized” is unjustified aggression—as all evils can be traced back to this.  Second, anarchy is the natural state of mankind.  Third, “civilized” is something that takes on this anarchy and improves it.  Limited government (such as the republican ideas of the Founders) is the only system that is the epitome of “civilization.”

I realize that, to the reader, all of this may seem to be restricted the realm of the academic and the thinker, but this is not the case.  It is now time to show some examples of policies that are collectivist, with the idea of arming the reader with the knowledge to oppose collectivism in all areas—but not writing a long, complete list of grievances.

Take for example the event cited at the beginning of this essay—the NDAA Bill.  In short, this bill allows the government to take private citizens and hold them indefinitely in military detention—without a charge or warrant.  As the government uses force in any law established (i.e. the government does not nicely suggest that income taxes are paid), this bill empowers the government to use vast amounts of unjustified force.

There has very recently been a great push of anti-free market sentiments, and these are of the greatest concern, considering the extreme importance of economics.  I mentioned that anything the government does is through the use of force.  Thus, any action taken against the free market, no matter how “fair” it may sound, is a use of force against parties that did not use force—and is a violation of the non-aggression principle.

Along with anti-free market ideas, the philosophy of wealth redistribution has also gained much force in recent times. Wealth redistribution cannot be called anything besides robbery, except that it is perpetrated by the government. Since robbery involves some use of force or threats, this is also a violation of the non-aggression principle.

Property rights have been under siege for quite some time now, and the destruction of such can be called nothing except collectivist.  When examined, any violation of property rights must be collectivist—and thus also a violation of the non-aggression principle.

Man dreams of utopias, but they are either attempted—with bloodbaths being the common outcome—and failed, or they are realized in works of fiction. By taking the philosophies that represent the truest form of the words “just” and “moral” other men created a severely limited government—the greatest personification of “civilized.”  In the two hundred and thirty years since our founding, this nation has strayed from the original path of liberty, into Progressivism and collectivism, with the rest of the world doing the same at a faster pace. Each step in this direction is an eroding away of the great pillar of civilization—one that has been nearly a thousand years in the making.

Christian Lopac :: University of St. Thomas :: Cokato, Minnesota :: @CLopac

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14 Responses

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  1. Donald Gray
    Feb 29, 2012 - 10:07 AM

    OMG, do you see whats going on in Syria? Regardless of a brutal government crackdown, the demonstrations continue

    Reply
  2. Michael
    Jan 28, 2012 - 05:21 PM

    #Conversation #Derailed
    Now, maybe for something enlightening…
    Media Ethics:
    Everyone has a bias. The same goes for every reporter and news organization. The best journalists will not allow the agenda of their corporate bosses to sway their news coverage in any way. This, I promise you.

    However, no matter how fair, balanced and truthful their reporting purports to be, biased reporting is unavoidable. We are all human. I encourage this forum to review these outstanding resources for ethics in journalism and media studies:
    http://www.poynter.org/
    http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

    Take from them what you will. I assure you that you will not be disappointed.

    Reply
    • Jim
      Jan 29, 2012 - 08:17 AM

      Is this how a future journalist gains credibility, denying factual evidence that the major media has a huge liberal bias, and then suggesting that, somehow, a course in journalistic ethics can surmount our human tendency – nay, human necessity – to view life through our biased lenses?

      Here are some quotes from a couple of hero journalists (see if you detect any journalistic bias):
      -Walter Cronkite, speaking at the UN in 1999: “It seems too many of us that if we are to avoid the eventual catastrophic world conflict we must strengthen the UN as a first step toward a world government.”
      -Dan Rather, speaking on CBS Evening News, 6/17/87: “Despite what many Americans think, most Soviets do not yearn for capitalism or Western-style democracy.”

      And what of the Queen of “journalistic ethics,” the BBC?
      -10/21/06 Daily Mail: BBC CEO M. Grade is caught (unknowingly) on tape saying: BBC favors multiculturalism and Muslims. He also said: Christians are to be trashed; America has no moral weight; Leftists run BBC; BBC Diversity Tsar wants a veiled female reporter; demeans rural people.
      -6/17/07 Daily Telegraph: The BBC has failed to promote proper debate on major political issues because of the inherent liberal culture of its staff a report commissioned by BBC itself has concluded. Says BBC director general Mark Thompson: “In the BBC I joined 30 years ago, there was, in much of current affairs, in terms of people’s personal politics, which were quite vocal, a massive bias to the left.”
      -9/8/08 Daily Telegraph: Sikh and Hindu leaders have complained that a disproportionate number of programmes have been made about Islam, at the expense of programmes on their own faiths. An analysis of programmes from the BBC’s Religion and Ethics department claims that since 2001, the BBC has made 41 programmes on Islam, five on Hinduism and one on Sikhism.
      -4/26/11 Daily Telegraph UK, WikiLeaks: In leaked files BBC is accused of being part of a “possible propaganda media network” for Al Qaeda, according to the leaked US files on the Guantanamo detainees.

      But these facts, too, will be cast aside – it’s what liberals do.

      Reply
      • Michael
        Jan 29, 2012 - 12:38 PM

        Jim,
        You must realize I will not take time to respond to these out of context “facts” you have accumulated and provided no links to. Additionally, notice that the Cronkite quote was one of his own opinion, not recorde while he was reporting the news. The Rather quote is presumably from a news report. I fail to see how it has a liberal or biased slant in any direction. The BBC CEO is not a journalist, and every paraphrased remark you have assembled is taken out of context completely. Also, editorial boards and their published opinions are different than the reporting of news. However, I won’t deny that the BBC most likely does have more “liberals” working for it than “conservatives.”

        Lastly, the Telegraph and the Mail are two “conservative” papers bashing the BBC whenever they get the slightest chance. Do the same work you’ve done against the BBC in regard to the Telegraph and the Mail, and I guarantee that you find an entirely different argument, and one that is far more damning with far more evidence. Redefine your notion of “liberal.”

        I’m putting all these ideologies in quotation marks because they’re really just labels we’ve defined to give ourselves further divisions. Assemble your news from a variety of sources and form your own opinions. For far too long, the western world has pinned “liberals” and “conservatives” against each other as if they do not both want the same peace, harmony and prosperity in the world for all. Sure, we have different visions of how to get there, but compromise will always prevail over quarreling.

        One more thing: If you have such disdain for some Muslim beliefs and some Muslim cultures, you might want to consider what you would do if you were born Muslim and lived in those countries all your life. I disagree with some of the brutality and prejudice you’ve cited as well, but put yourself in their shoes. Consider that all you might you know of the U.S. is that they invade our lands, bomb us and sometimes worse. Really, consider it. And then, consider what the best response is. More bombings? More occupation? More prejudice against Muslims in our own country? I think you’ll conclude tolerance and open discussions of how we can live together in the world might be more fruitful for everyone.

      • Jim
        Jan 29, 2012 - 05:54 PM

        Thanks for confirming point, Michael: liberals and Muslims cannot absorb facts. They simple-mindedly condemn the sources as…well you know, unreliable because they are, you know…conservative (?): thus, the Telegraph and Mail are, you know…conservative (?), just like the LA Times, the Sunday Times (UK), the UK’s Department for Children, Schools and Families, Amnesty International, the United Nations Human Development Index, the United Nations Gender Empowerment, the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations 2003 Human Rights Watch report, the Finnish Ministry of Defense, the United Nations sponsored 2002 Arab Human Development Report, AndKronos International news agency, Syrian Arab News agency, AsiaNews (Kashmir), and polls conducted by Gallup, Zogby, the MacDonald-Laurier Institute poll of Canadian Muslims, The Freedom House (founded by Eleanor Roosevelt and promoted by her husband), Reuters and the Pew Institute – all…well, you know, horribly biased conservative entities(?). The afore-mentioned news articles and polls, Michael, are those which I cited, Michael, all of which you reject.

        And yet Michael insists that I am not – and no conservatives are — capable of what he so unctuously (a character trait of all liberals and Muslims) counsels us to do: “Assemble your news from a variety of sources and form your own opinions”!

        I bid you adieu, Michael, with this salutation which will, no doubt, pull at your heart strings: Allahu Akbar!

      • Jim
        Jan 29, 2012 - 06:38 PM

        Let’s watch how Michael responds to this::

        1/29/12 KINGSTON, Ontario (AP) — A jury on Sunday found an Afghan father, his wife and their son guilty of killing three teenage sisters and a co-wife in what the judge described as “cold-blooded, shameful murders“ resulting from a ”twisted concept of honor.”

      • Michael
        Jan 29, 2012 - 09:23 PM

        Jim,
        A) I’m not a liberal, as you construe such members of society to be.
        B) The Telegraph and Mail decidedly have do have a conservative slant. Fact.
        C) I’m not calling the BBC perfect. I’m not sure why you think “liberals” believe it to be.
        D) Having a bias does not make a news source entirely unreliable. As I stated previously, they all have a bias, as do all of us. Ethical journalists, however, disallow their bias from influencing the reporting of the news to the greatest extent possible. It is the reader’s job to read between the lines and assemble FACTS from a variety of sources so as as not to only have one perspective on an event. Form your own opinion. Obviously, we have differing life experiences that influence our opinions and perspectives to be quite polar. Fine.
        E) I didn’t reject your polls. I rejected the quotes you obtained pertaining to the BBC to a degree. They need to be taken in context. Similarly, the polls you cited also need to be taken in context, just like any poll. Raw data is not a reflection of the human condition. I don’t think you actually read or maybe just didn’t reflect upon what I wrote in my last post.
        F) You’re taking fractions of Muslim society and presenting them as representative of the whole. Anyone could do the exact same thing with any other religion on this planet and vilify just the same. The news story from Canada is unfortunate, but it is certainly not exclusive to the Muslim religion.
        G) This is not the time or place for devisiveness, and I will not be spending any more time with it. We are off topic, and I’ve made my points. Enjoy the rest of your day.

  3. Ron
    Jan 28, 2012 - 10:58 AM

    Good article…Write more… You count… Docnick – http://theoxfordteaparty.blogspot.com

    Reply
  4. Jim
    Jan 28, 2012 - 08:32 AM

    Liberals are like “moderate” Muslims: no amount of evidence makes even the slightest impression on their “brains.” Tell a Muslim that Islam is probably incompatible with a free culture and provide evidence of that, to wit:
    -1/29/07 Daily Telegraph UK: 40% of Muslims, ages 16 to 24, want Sharia law; 13% admire al-Qaeda; 36% believe apostates should be executed; 75% believe that women should wear veils.
    -5/22/07 Reuters: 25% of young American Muslims believe in suicide bombings to fight the West.
    -7/10/07 worldpress.org: Poll of Muslims in Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan and Indonesia indicates that 75% believe in strict application of Sharia law.
    -7/27/08 Sunday Times UK: 33% of Muslim students support killing for islam; 33% want world Islamic law.
    -7/09 UK’s Department for Children, Schools, and Families estimates that 5 to 8 thousand Muslim girls were forced to marry last year.
    -3/8/10 Daily Telegraph: Islamic law does not, of course, accept that men and women have equal rights. Sharia courts in Britain have already judged that a man may have up to four wives at any one time; that a wife has no property rights in the event of divorce; that a woman may not leave her home without her husband’s consent; and that a woman cannot marry without the presence and permission of a male guardian.
    -12/5/10 LA Times: A new Pew Research Center poll shows that majorities in Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan and Nigeria would favor changing the current laws to allow stoning as a punishment for adultery, hand amputation for theft and death for those who convert from Islam to another religion.
    -Freedom House (freedomhouse.org) rates the degree of freedom in all regions of the world. The 2011 report rates the Middle East and North Africa as the least free of all regions: 78% rated “not free.”

    Then they will whine that all your evidence is absurd — and change the subject. Facts mean nothing to them.

    The main reason liberals have no successful talk radio titans like Rush, Sean, etc. (20 million-plus listeners) is because they’re boring name-callers and cannot resist their boring response to facts they don’t like, which is, “That’s absurd!”

    Reply
  5. Keith Totherow
    Jan 28, 2012 - 12:47 AM

    Michael, you may be right about one thing. I just googled liberal news sources, and got over 7 million hits. Googling conservative news sources gets over 20 million hits.

    Reply
  6. Keith Totherow
    Jan 27, 2012 - 10:27 PM

    “In short, this bill allows the government to take private citizens and hold them indefinitely in military detention—without a charge or warrant.”
    Tsk tsk. Christian, you obviously didn’t read the bill’s provisions regarding detainees. You really should have. As my Representative told me, they don’t apply to American citizens. Read it for yourself: (Pp. 426-430) (I have excerpted the relevant parts.)
    Subtitle D—Detainee Matters
    SEC. 1031. AFFIRMATION OF AUTHORITY OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES TO DETAIN COVERED PERSONS PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF MILITARY FORCE.
    (e) AUTHORITIES.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities, relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.
    Sec 1032 REQUIREMENT FOR MILITARY CUSTODY.
    (b) APPLICABILITY TO UNITED STATES CITIZENS AND LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS.—
    (1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS.—The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.
    (2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS.—The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the
    extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.

    Reply
  7. Michael
    Jan 27, 2012 - 04:26 PM

    If modern “conservatism” wasn’t so far right wing, some of you may realize how centrist Obama actually is. This administration inherited at clusterf**k. Not entirely different from other administrations in degrees. Their predecessors tend to give them little to work with, and the entire first term of each president is spent on rebuilding.

    Comparing democrats to socialists and calling the media “liberal” is absurd. Get over that messaging. It’s played out.

    As to the article, maybe all 7 billion in the world could try to live like they do in Afghanistan, as one example, where government has extremely limited power or control, as long as we’re making extreme leaps to cite examples. Let’s see how much liberty they have. You’re right, limiting governmental order is the answer.

    Who gave us the Patriot Act again?

    As to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012, clearly the Obama Administration objects to the portion of the NDAA discussed in the article, as do numerous members of Congress.

    Here’s the link to the Senate vote to amend that portion: https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=112&session=1&vote=00210#position
    Two republicans and one independent along with 35 democrats voted to amend it and strike the subsection.

    “The Senate later adopted, by a 99-1 vote, a compromise amendment clarifying that nothing in the NDAA is intended to alter the government’s current legal authority to detain prisoners captured in the war on terror.” (http://www.politico.com/blogs/joshgerstein/1211/Senate_votes_to_allow_indefinite_detention_of_Americans.html)

    Reply
    • Keith Totherow
      Jan 28, 2012 - 12:31 AM

      Why are you posting a story from 12-1-11? The bill has passed and been signed since then, with the provisions all can read from the link in the article. I posted the relevent parts to prove American citizens can’t be held indefinitely. Can’t you read?
      And BTW, the MSM is decidedly biased toward liberal. Other media and some main stream is biased toward the right. None are fair and balanced, as Fox claims to be. Each has an agenda to promote. Each is backed by money and power. Do your homework, do the research, and stop posting outdated irrelevant news stories.

      Reply
  8. Jim
    Jan 27, 2012 - 08:03 AM

    Excellent article. We will always be plagued by utopians, but our “educators” have become very clever in protecting socialists — they just don’t teach us about them: such was the case in my education.

    There were some very significant truths about Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt which my leftist, unionized government teachers delibrately hid from me during my school years: Both were socialists, to wit, as to TR:

    In a speech (http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/images/research/speeches/trnationalismspeech.pdf) on August 31, 1910 in Osawatomie, Kansas TR laid out his socialist plan for America. He called it the “New Nationalism,” which included:
    -A National Health Service to include all existing government medical agencies
    -Social insurance, to provide for the elderly, the unemployed, and the disabled
    -Limited injunctions in strikes (unions have always been privileged in socialist/communist economies)
    -An inheritance tax
    -Federal income tax
    He elaborates:
    -“We grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used. It is not even enough that it should have gained without doing damage to the community. We should permit it to be gained only so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community. This, I know, implies a policy of a far more active governmental interference with social and economic conditions in this country than we have yet had, but I think we have got to face the fact that such an increase in governmental control is now necessary.”

    And who would decide what fortune is “honorably obtained and well used”? Government bureaucrats like him, or Stalin or Obama, that’s who.

    TR knew he was promoting socialism – the one time when republicans and democrats joined hands — which is why he becomes defensive after quoting Marxist dogma uttered by Lincoln regarding labor and capital, saying: “If that remark was original with me, I should be even more strongly denounced as a Communist agitator than I shall be anyhow.”

    As to FDR:

    -1/11/44, FDR’s address to Congress:
    “We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.
    Among these are”:
    -The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
    -The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
    -The right of every family to a decent home;
    -The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
    -The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

    Make no mistake about it: The Democrat Party, government teachers, the liberal media and Hollywood aim to destroy our Constitution:
    -2/4/10 Gallup poll: 61% of liberals have a positive view of socialism versus 17% among Republicans
    -6/2/11 Gallup poll: 71% of democrats favor re-distributing wealth
    -Teachers give 95% of their political contributions to democrats (through their union, the NEA)
    -5/05 University of Connecticut’s Department of Public Policy survey of journalists, nationwide, during the 2008 election: 52% supported Kerry, versus 19% for Bush

    As to how Americans judged who was favored by the NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, CNN, Washington Post, NYT – in other words, “the liberal media” during the election of 2008?
    -Rasmussen poll: 69% thought it was pro-Obama, 6% pro-McCain
    -Pew Research poll: 67% thought it was pro-Obama, 11% pro-McCain
    -Sacred Heart University poll: 68% pro Obama, 9% pro McCain
    -Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll: 67% pro-Obama, 11% pro-McCain
    -Hollywood’s pro-democrat bias is manifest and needs no documentation.

    Your alarm is well justified. How the story ends will definitely be played out in your lifetime.

    Reply

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