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Joe McCarthy
Tuesday, August 10th, 2010, 02:21 AM
Define individualism, define collectivism, and discuss the merits and weaknesses of each. It's my view that any society is essentially collectivist, otherwise no society can exist, but the question becomes one of where the line is drawn between the good of the group and individual. In my view the 'rights' of the individual only extend so far that they do not threaten the good of the whole. Even American 'individualists' will, in the end, acknowledge this, as they see the desirability of patriotism, which is necessarily collectivist. We do have laws against treason, after all, which reflect a need to punish offenses against a collectivist entity, the American nation.

The question then, at least in my opinion, is not so much whether societies are collectivist, but just how much autonomy individuals should have.

I'll be interested to see other views.

Agrippa
Wednesday, August 11th, 2010, 10:50 AM
My view - now somewhat aged but still largely mine - can be read here:
http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=76327

Horagalles
Wednesday, August 11th, 2010, 07:16 PM
I could also add this to Agrippa's thread, but the following adds a term to the debate and looks to it from a different angle:

Brad Stone recently delivered a lecture at the Mises Institute concerning the relevance of the work of Robert Nisbet to the libertarian movement (audio (http://media.mises.org/mp3/bb05/Stone-06-29-2005.mp3) | video (http://media.mises.org/video/BB2005/Stone-06-29-2005.wmv)). He argued that it is important for libertarians to also be "communitarians," defending traditional social institutions from the state. He cautioned against the valorization of the individual and any position that acknowledges only individual rights as ideas that lend themselves to a growth in state power. Overall, the presentation was insightful. The importance of families and other such small communities ("subsidiary institutions" in the language of Catholic social teaching) should be a topic of concern to libertarians, and precisely for some of the reasons that Dr. Stone identified, such as the provision of services often connected to the modern welfare state. The introduction to Nisbet was also welcome as a point of intellectual history in light of the connection between the Old Right and the modern Austro-libertarian movement.1 (http://mises.org/daily/1870#tthFtNtAAB)

http://mises.org/daily/1870


I'd say that most writing in this forum are more or less communitarian in their point of view. I mean this in the value/cultural sense, which doesn't necessary proscribe a certain political setting.

Joe McCarthy
Wednesday, August 11th, 2010, 09:59 PM
Our first task is to determine what we value collectively. Then we must be able to rationally demonstrate why what we value is so important that it merits putting limits on the acts of individuals that harm what we value.

Second, we should recognize that individualism is a phantom, an illusion. It doesn't really exist. All so-called individualists must act within a collectivist entity, society. Society is an aggregation of individuals, not an individual, and thus is collectivist by definition. Society must be valued collectively, as man, being a social being, must be able to function socially while knowing his life, property, etc., is protected. Some will object that the protection of life and property are individual rights, and though I don't believe natural rights exist, we'll assume for the sake of argument that they do. (Individual rights plays well into our subject too as they are very closely associated with individualism.) To function, individual rights must be defended by a collectivist entity, society, or government, if you like. Property, for example, cannot be defended unless it is protected by an arbiter higher than the individual, namely society-government. So we see that even 'individual rights' can only exist under collectivism.

Now that we have disposed of the fiction that is individualism, and have established that all must work within the prism of collectivism, we return to the question of what it is we should value, and what limits should be put on the actions of individuals to protect what we value. Of course, I believe the white race should be valued, and that appropriate limits should be put on the actions of individuals to protect it. I deal with this here:

http://forums.skadi.net/showpost.php?p=1017832&postcount=77


All of the endless (and oftentimes dubious) chatter about genetics, defects, etc., aside, this is ultimately a legal and political question and should be treated as such by the relevant judicial, legislative, and executive authorities. Miscegenation should be added to the existing criminal code pertaining to treason with the appropriate punishment applied.

When a white person engages in miscegenation it tends to help in lessening our numbers and strengthening the numbers of what are in most cases and to varying degrees of intensity, races and groups that are hostile to us, thus tending to threaten us collectively. Certainly an individual person engaging in such behavior is not, in and of itself, particularly dangerous (though it is still bad), but then much the same can be said for many treason cases tried now. Adam Gadahn, the American Jew that joined al Qaeda is not, by himself, particularly dangerous, for example, but he has nonetheless been indicted for treason on the principle that if such behavior is allowed to go unpunished, it will send a dangerous signal to the wider society that such activity is basically permissible and thus will inevitably lead to more of it.

In some of our countries we are now approaching the point where legal miscegenation is reaching such high levels that it could, if left unchecked, begin to help threaten our numerical status in our own lands, even to the point of making us minorities - with all of the perils that implies.

Here, then, is what should be done:

In basically white nations with significant non-white populations, such as the US, miscegenation should be made a criminal offense with the possibility, depending on the circumstances of individual cases, of the death penalty being applied (we already employ the death penalty for treason in the US). Such harsh punishment is necessary for the simple reason that the large number of non-whites makes the possibility of mass miscegenation especially threatening, and thus severe measures must be taken in order to deter the commission of such behavior. Certainly the drive to have sex is fundamental, and such a strong desire will not likely be blunted by a relatively weak punishment.

In nations that are more homogeneous the death penalty is probably not necessary, but miscegenation should still be made a criminal offense with the proviso that any white person who goes overseas and obtains a non-white spouse will be stripped of his-her citizenship and denied re-entry into the country.

velvet
Wednesday, August 11th, 2010, 11:04 PM
When the "society-government" construct (which in the end is a result of individuals who put effort into it) is the "higher arbiter" and can overwrite individual rights, then this construct also carries a higher burden of responsibility and the duty to act accordingly.

Now, you can go to great length and limit the rights and liberties of the individual under the premise that this would protect the society and prohibite miscegenation and with that, to protect the "white"/Germanic, whatever race.

The problem is that when a large, or just significant part of the population of any given country is of racial aliens, then the function of the state, the society-government as the higher institution / entity with execution rights and the responsibility to act in the interest of the people, already has failed, and tries to push responsibility back to the individual, when in truth it would have been the society-government, as the extension of the collectivist individuals who comprise it, that must prevent miscegenation, simply through not giving the opportunity to and that has to protect the nation (its people) from racial aliens.

So any action that is taken in the course of this is unjust, because you cannot punish someone else (the individual) for your (the collective's / government's) own failure.

And when you say that one of the highest values is the race of the nation (on which I agree), then one of the highest imperatives of a society-government / state must be to protect its people and the territory of the nation, because racial aliens damage the fabric of society, the community and threaten the individual through more crime and through enforced cultural relativism. When you let racial aliens in, the state has failed to protect its people and should be punished accordingly, as this constitutes high treason.


The basic question is, when did governments become antagonisms to the individuals and the communities they form (=collective)? And why is there obviously not enough fantasy left in people to change this fact? Instead of coming up with an idea how to correct the wrongs of the world (including governments), one after another comes up with ideas how to castrate the individual as the eternal enemy of the state.

Agrippa
Thursday, August 12th, 2010, 12:58 PM
Humans from a certain level of development tend towards degeneration in various respects, the state is just the organisation on which higher order relies in greater communities, having rules rather than chaos.

There is no better alternative to the state, but there are just different alternatives for the rules which should be applied in the state.

Sigurd
Thursday, August 12th, 2010, 01:10 PM
The problem per se is not the individual, the problem is the individual being above the most basic needs of society. Naturally, if certain actions/positions by an individual (be they entrepreneuers, think-tanks, younameit) are beneficial to the folk, the state should support such enterprise. If they neither benefit nor harm the folk, they can be gladly ignored. If they harm the folk, they should be seen to and should not be tolerated.

For instance, I will not let the state infringe on harmless personal matters such as: what haircut I choose to have, what music I shall listen to, what sexual practices I employ with my partner. These are none of the state's business as they don't affect the folk in the slightest; these are things on a personal level which do not harm the collective. If they did, then perhaps they could be subject to regulation as well.

However, there are of course certain things in which some regulation might be quite necessary, usually when it comes to being aware of what happens around you: As the collective, the folk, must still stand before the individual; and that quite in our own interest: We can only thrive if that around us is healthy. As such, collectivism is to be preferred over individualism once it comes to the "-isms".

As has been said, the rights of the individual only extend as far as they don't threaten or harm the collective. ;)

Joe McCarthy
Thursday, August 12th, 2010, 10:19 PM
Originally Posted by Sigurd
For instance, I will not let the state infringe on harmless personal matters such as: what haircut I choose to have, what music I shall listen to,

As you are apparently a Platonist you should see the possibility that some kinds of music could be harmful. Socrates discusses this in The Republic.

It's interesting that even European Communist states banned or strongly discouraged rock, realizing it promoted rebellion against authority. Even Hitler said songs are a weapon. I don't think we can simply dismiss music as non-threatening to the collective.

Žoreišar
Friday, August 13th, 2010, 12:34 AM
[...] we should recognize that individualism is a phantom, an illusion. It doesn't really exist.I disagree. Collectivism is the illusion. Just because it is in the nature of every individual to cooperate with other individuals, doesn't make the individual any less real.

Joe McCarthy
Friday, August 13th, 2010, 12:38 AM
I disagree. Collectivism is the illusion. Just because it is in the nature of every individual to cooperate with other individuals, doesn't make the individual any less real.

The individual is real. The ism isn't. The point is that individualism puts primacy on the individual rather than the collective. Such a situation does not exist, and cannot exist. Indeed, even the most radical objectivist will ultimately have to concede that there are limits to what can be allowed an individual as his-her interests collide with that of the collective. Ayn Rand herself believed in patriotism, understanding it was necessary to punish treason.

Žoreišar
Friday, August 13th, 2010, 12:44 AM
Good point, although my understanding of individualism is rather that it supports the right of the individual to govern itself rather than serving the self before the group. I do not rule out the possibility of that understanding being faulty, however.

Joe McCarthy
Friday, August 13th, 2010, 12:50 AM
Good point, although my understanding of individualism is rather that it supports the right of the individual to govern itself rather than serving the self before the group. I do not rule out the possibility of that understanding being faulty, however.

An individualist is one who believes he should act in his own interests without having to take the good of society into account. But again, no such animal really exists, and if he did, he'd have to be put down as a menace to society.

That is what individualism entails.

Horagalles
Friday, August 13th, 2010, 01:03 PM
I think one needs to clarify some of the terminology.

The individual is real. The ism isn't. The point is that individualism puts primacy on the individual rather than the collective. Such a situation does not exist, and cannot exist. Indeed, even the most radical objectivist will ultimately have to concede that there are limits to what can be allowed an individual as his-her interests collide with that of the collective. Ayn Rand herself believed in patriotism, understanding it was necessary to punish treason.People from the libertarian realm and that includes many of the "objectivists" will insist that individuals are real, while nations, families, tribes and other institutions are not. That's what they mean by being an individualist.

I'd distinguish three concepts called individualism:
* methodological individualism / Approaching economics, politics from the angle that individual humans do act. It's basically the method of the Austrian School of Economics.
* political individualism / the preference for political institutions built around the concept of "individual rights".
* cultural individualism. The attitude of individuals only to look after their own personal interests.


You will find that many libertarians came from the third position and then promoted the second, while trying to justify everything with the first one. I hold against that that, if one would consequently implement political individualism those libertarians that are cultural individualists right now would definitely loose out against practicing collectivists that sustain each other.

Erbe
Friday, August 13th, 2010, 02:42 PM
Individualism is necessary for personality and own finding. Collectivism is done when people loose their connections especially in these days.

Agrippa
Friday, August 13th, 2010, 04:17 PM
There is also a positive and higher Individualism so to say, which in the end, has a connection to a higher level Collectivism, simply because evolved individuals have a sense for higher goals, moral, sacrifices and group orientation.

What we have today is just a "construction-kit Pseudo-Individualism" presented by our "rulers", the Plutocratic Oligarchy, which distracts people from more important things and gives them "a more special Individuality" which is mostly filled up with useless things or simply crap.

I don't want a collectivist culture in the sense of having no ideas about individual needs and rights at all, the group is just more important, but inside of the frame which is necessary for the good and development for the majority of the people and the group, individual needs and differences should be recognised and where they are even advantageous for the indivduals AND group fostered.

Positive-neutral-negative behaviour, that's what matters.

Old, traditional cultures with a more collectivist approach often neglected individual needs, freedom and personal development - if your father was a smith, you became one too quite often, regardless of the fact that you would have been a better writer or the like, if you know what I mean.

Your fate was fixed and individual freedom neglected, even to a degree being rather detrimental for the group again, especially if individuals with a greater potential being limited to something on a lower level - now my approach for the collective-Gemeinschaft is exactly to search for and foster individual qualities and advantages - both for the individual and the group.

With Eugenic and Euphenic programs cultivating a individual freedom and responsibility on a higher level - the problem is just, not every person is ready for too much of it, for various and often very different reasons, some probably never will, and the kind of Pseudo-Individualism we experience in the Western World today is a joke.

It is just the destruction of group and group oriented structures, which being substituted by control mechanisms in Capitalism, working for the Plutocratic Oligarchy. Many of our ancestors were "more individual" even in a strict traditional society than many of the lemmings of our "modern time" are, even though they think of themselves being "so special and individual".

They just eat what they get from the Plutocratic Oligarchy, nothing of a real higher individual development, nothing - if something evolves individually on a higher level, he must come back to the collective and higher orders and ideals, otherwise being a defect and dangerous human being, because brutal egoism on a higher level is even worse than on a lower...

Collectivism should be the dominant element - but Individualism in a positive sense is necessary and beneficial too, in its limits of course and not talking about brainwashed dependent subjects which defend their Pseudo-Individualism just the way the rulers want it, while not seeing their longer term, vital and larger own interests - especially as a group and in the world - if you don't defend your group and build up a good community, a real Gemeinschaft, you might be sooner or later one of the lonely victims of exploitation through the corrupted system, nothing else.

On a certain level really developed individuals should come back to the group orientation out of reason rather than tradition, but that's really something one can't expect from everybody...

wittwer
Friday, August 13th, 2010, 05:54 PM
Basing the organisation of the State around such concepts is tricky at best. Under the concept of the "Social Contract" theory, the individual must subject his/her individual will and rights to the State and Society in order to secure and guarantee those very same individual rights (Hobbesian School). If such is not done, and Individualism is allowed te reign supreme, Anarchy is the result and the Society or State degenerates into a form of open "warfare" between the all against all.

On the other hand, if the State is given absolute control, the individual loses all and becomes nothing less than a slave to the State.

The tough nut to crack, is developing and maintaining the proper balance between "individualism" and "collectivism". Which can only come about by the "Rule of Law" as opposed to the "Rule of Man". Hence the rise of the modern concept, "A Nation of Laws and not of Men".

Roemertreu
Friday, August 13th, 2010, 07:01 PM
Individualism as it exists today is an abomination. Today it seems to mean that an individual is free to engage his every whim no matter what kind of disorder it happens to cause. Drugs become perfectly OK even if it means that you become useless and untrustworthy to your tribe. It's OK to dress like a slut, even though it may cause men to want to rape you. It's OK to look at porn, no matter what kind of distruction it causes to society.

Now collectivism isn't much better. Collectivism in simple terms means the robin hood idea. You have, other want, someone comes with a weapon and steals from you to give to others. It doesn't mean working for all the people of your tribe.

Agrippa
Friday, August 13th, 2010, 11:43 PM
Basing the organisation of the State around such concepts is tricky at best. Under the concept of the "Social Contract" theory, the individual must subject his/her individual will and rights to the State and Society in order to secure and guarantee those very same individual rights (Hobbesian School). If such is not done, and Individualism is allowed te reign supreme, Anarchy is the result and the Society or State degenerates into a form of open "warfare" between the all against all.

On the other hand, if the State is given absolute control, the individual loses all and becomes nothing less than a slave to the State.

The tough nut to crack, is developing and maintaining the proper balance between "individualism" and "collectivism". Which can only come about by the "Rule of Law" as opposed to the "Rule of Man". Hence the rise of the modern concept, "A Nation of Laws and not of Men".

I agree on the problem, but not necessarily the solution.

After all, laws are still made and used by men, so in the end, it all depends on the quality of the leaders and structures to fulfil their role.

Laws and rules shouldn't be used - like in the Jewish religion - to be followed word by word, but for the sense of it, if they are good at all. What the Jews do is making up rools and than searching for loopholes other's don't find and thats something they bring close to predestination, similarly to, but on a higher level, than some Calvinist sects.

Finally it's everything about quality, especially of the leadership. If the leadership and judges are corrupt or misled, nothing can save you but a revolution, which is essentially the same in every thinkable system going mad, be it based primarily on collectivist or individualist standards...


Now collectivism isn't much better. Collectivism in simple terms means the robin hood idea. You have, other want, someone comes with a weapon and steals from you to give to others. It doesn't mean working for all the people of your tribe.

Rather not, rather not, that is a Liberal-Individualist interpretation of Collectivist approaches or a description of a Pseudo-Collectivist system which being abused by corrupted individuals at best/worst.

Joe McCarthy
Saturday, August 14th, 2010, 12:27 AM
Originally Posted by Horagalles
People from the libertarian realm and that includes many of the "objectivists" will insist that individuals are real, while nations, families, tribes and other institutions are not. That's what they mean by being an individualist.

For the record, Rand did believe in abstractions like nations, families, etc., but regarded racism as the most primitive form of collectivism. To her, the rights of the individual were to be indulged without regard for concerns for society, though as I've mentioned, her view was contradictory.

The sort of extreme nominalism among libertarians that you're describing, to the extent it exists, is nonsensical, as while it denies an abstraction like the nation, inconsistently affirms the reality of another abstraction, the corporation, even going so far as to favor conferring 'personhood' upon it in the pursuit of limited liability.

Joe McCarthy
Saturday, August 14th, 2010, 12:37 AM
Originally Posted by velvet
So any action that is taken in the course of this is unjust, because you cannot punish someone else (the individual) for your (the collective's / government's) own failure.


Instead of coming up with an idea how to correct the wrongs of the world (including governments), one after another comes up with ideas how to castrate the individual as the eternal enemy of the state.

Then what you do suggest be done? If your alternative is to remove racial aliens from the nation, that, by your logic, would also be 'unjust', as it, like banning miscegenation, violates the 'rights' of the individual for the good of our collective.

The only way to consistently apply your individualist fetishism, then, is to do nothing and allow racial aliens to stay and continue race-mixing with our people.

To say it is desirable to remove a treasonous government that allows in racial aliens is all well and good, but even if that is done, the basic problem remains: we still have racial aliens among us, and until they can be removed it is imperative that measures be taken to prevent them from miscegenating with our people. And I say again: if you object that this is 'unjust', then I answer that by your own logic it is, if anything, an even greater trespass on the individual, and more 'unjust', to remove racial aliens from the country altogether.

velvet
Saturday, August 14th, 2010, 03:22 PM
Then what you suggest be done? If your alternative is to remove racial aliens from the nation, that, by your logic, would also be 'unjust', as it, like banning miscegenation, violates the 'rights' of the individual for the good of our collective.

The only way to consistently apply your individualist fetishism, then, is to do nothing and allow racial aliens to stay and continue race-mixing with our people.

Well, as mentioned several times already, I'm folkish, which indeed includes a collective (though not necessarily collectism), and when in turn this abstraction - the state, government, whatever - claims to have higher rights than the individuals who form it, then this institution carries also the responsibility to take care for that construct which includes the people, the nation they are and the state they make up. In the Western world, all states failed to protect their nations. The idea of a nation-state though is to protect its people, insofar justice must be served for the people of the nation, I dont believe in universal rights, and even less I believe that racial aliens would have a "right" to be here. To remove racial aliens would serve the nation/people, that they whine about being thrown out isnt really my problem, because the interests of my people must come first. It cannot be unjust to remove them, because they are not my people, and therefore do not have a right to be here in the first place.

What I meant is that a state who failed on this very basic job he has, to protect its people and its territory from racial others, does quite the opposite and takes them in en masse, cannot possibly claim to have a right to limit its own people, because such laws apply to the indigenous population, but not necessarily to racial others.

I agree that miscegenation should be prevented though. Still, better methods to prevent that than laws would be to properly teach the people about the negative effects of race mixing, which can be supported by regulations and laws, but laws on their own do not correct behavior.

And what I never get about such arguments is, that although you proclaim a new law under the premise that you would have taken over the government, why dont you outlaw the racial aliens and deprive them of their rights first? Why do you start with taking away rights from your own people? Make laws that it is not allowed for racial aliens to possess land or property (would result in that many would leave), make laws that they cant get welfare (would result in that the most of them leave), make laws that racial aliens arent allowed to marry, whatever. But all you people who dream about another utopia always start with limiting your own people instead of others, those same others who dont have a right to be here anyway.

Horagalles
Saturday, August 14th, 2010, 04:33 PM
For the record, Rand did believe in abstractions like nations, families, etc., but regarded racism as the most primitive form of collectivism. To her, the rights of the individual were to be indulged without regard for concerns for society, though as I've mentioned, her view was contradictory.
I wouldn't know what Rand exactly believed, but as for some of here followers, they indeed do deny the existence of institutions like nations, tribes, families. And yes, they do regard "racism" as "collectivism". Actually they call everything collectivism that isn't such an extreme form of individualism as they seem to support. Same applies, if someone supports their form of anarchism, perhaps favoring some minimal state (courts) or other forms of authority. Then he is a "statist";).



The sort of extreme nominalism among libertarians that you're describing, to the extent it exists, is nonsensical, as while it denies an abstraction like the nation, inconsistently affirms the reality of another abstraction, the corporation, even going so far as to favor conferring 'personhood' upon it in the pursuit of limited liability.... There are some that also would go against corporations, while most will actually support the idea of voluntary associations.

Most of the more intellectual libertarians or classical liberals will be in favor of communal benevolence and voluntary social behavior. To the contrary it seems that their following on foot is more in favor of indulging in egotistic selfishness. This is in my opinion also a reason for the failure of the libertarian movement. Which lead them to now mostly leeching on the Austrian School of economics. Predominantly libertarians today, while most of them were classical liberals in the past with the exception of Friedrich von Wieser who insisted on the need of a "higher system of order".


Humans from a certain level of development tend towards degeneration in various respects, the state is just the organisation on which higher order relies in greater communities, having rules rather than chaos.

There is no better alternative to the state, but there are just different alternatives for the rules which should be applied in the state.One would have to look into defining "the State" and what it actually is. The modern state is marked by claiming a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence (Gewaltmonopol). That wasn't always the case. A good question would be whether tribal societies or feudal orders (where there is no monopoly on violence) are actually states or how they differ from the concept of the modern state.

Joe McCarthy
Saturday, August 14th, 2010, 10:11 PM
Originally Posted by Horagalles
... There are some that also would go against corporations, while most will actually support the idea of voluntary associations.


This I'm unaware of. Which right-libertarians deny the reality of corporations?

Rev. Jupiter
Sunday, August 15th, 2010, 09:46 AM
Answering the original question, I would argue that collectivism is only possible when a collective actually exists, and as such the issue is a situational one.

All evidence seems to indicate, to me anyway, that we're living in an age where any sort of functional collective of Germanic, or even generally Indo-European, people does not exist and likely can't exist due to externally motivating forces of various kinds.
Accordingly, I put much more emphasis on individualism.

However, in past or future eras where collectivism is much more conducive to survival, promoting individualism of any kind would be folly.

Horagalles
Sunday, August 15th, 2010, 02:39 PM
This I'm unaware of. Which right-libertarians deny the reality of corporations?I recall a debate with someone calling himself a "market anarchist" (Which is arguably a contradiction in terms). That (natural) person was also quoting Rand quite frequently.

The issue came up in connection with limited liability or corporation and he denied that something like that would exist in a libertarian society. His argument basically being that corporations do exist, due to the modern state.

My reply was that a corporation can come into existence by one or more person founding it (and the declaring limitations in terms of liability). He was also rebuked by some of his fellow libertarians.

Joe McCarthy
Sunday, August 15th, 2010, 11:49 PM
I recall a debate with someone calling himself a "market anarchist" (Which is arguably a contradiction in terms). That (natural) person was also quoting Rand quite frequently.

The issue came up in connection with limited liability or corporation and he denied that something like that would exist in a libertarian society. His argument basically being that corporations do exist, due to the modern state.

My reply was that a corporation can come into existence by one or more person founding it (and the declaring limitations in terms of liability). He was also rebuked by some of his fellow libertarians.

Interesting. Though even anarcho-capitalists like David Friedman believe in the reality of corporations. This guy you're describing sounds like a marginal crank.

Horagalles
Monday, August 16th, 2010, 02:14 PM
Interesting. Though even anarcho-capitalists like David Friedman believe in the reality of corporations. This guy you're describing sounds like a marginal crank.As said he was also rebuked by others for his point of view. Here is an example where libertarians debate corporations and the state (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fmises.or g%2FCommunity%2Fforums%2Ft%2F15004.aspx% 3FPageIndex%3D3) or as blog entry "Anarcho-Statists (http://mises.org/Community/blogs/brainpolice/archive/2008/04/17/the-anarcho-statists.aspx)".

And here is another article about this: http://www.stephankinsella.com/2009/08/23/brainpolices-critique-of-what-libertarianism-is/ (http://forums.skadi.net/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.step hankinsella.com%2F2009%2F08%2F23%2Fbrain polices-critique-of-what-libertarianism-is%2F)
Frankly, some of the libertarians really sound like cranks, while you'll get many reasonable ones as well.

Vindefense
Monday, August 16th, 2010, 03:05 PM
Co-operation vs. Compulsion.

The merits of collectivism and individualism are going to change based on what type of personality that you possess, and the angle or viewpoint it is assessed from. I can think of just as many arguments for individualism as I can for collectivism, so to me it seems logical that neither one or the other is better or worse. In fact it seems impossible that one could ever outweigh the other or exist in its own entirety. Given the spirit of man, as his social circles become too individualistic the solution would be to move toward a collective measures or vice versa. The problem with either exists when they become encompassed in ideologies like socialism or libertarianism. It is then that the many hide behind their ism in order to conceal an inner deficiency. The crowd mentality appeals to the basic primitive nature of man and so represents a reversion in development.

Being an individual is a given, there is no other way that man can perceive himself. Acting in a spirit of cooperation is also a given, man begins life in a collective, the family. That family extends with growth and age. The ideal that it extends indefinitely is just as arguable as the ideal that it only encompasses the family sphere.

What I find is most individualists reject compulsion but this does not mean that they will not join in a spirit of cooperation. One could be completely against collective ideologies and at the same time be a practicing collectivist. Just as many leaders of collective ideologies are individualists. To believe that individualists do not act collectively is just as ridiculous as collectivists that seek to stamp out individualism. It is best that each outlook should be accessible to everyone to practice voluntarily. Once they are forced upon a people may the very good defiant nature of man always find itself opposed to such coercion.

Agrippa
Monday, August 16th, 2010, 06:36 PM
The problem with a certain higher Individualism, which is perfectly compatible with a reasonable Collectivism, which should be given the priority in any case, is that many individuals don't have the niveau to live like that or have tendencies which might turn out to be harmful for others and the group.

So in fact, the higher evolved a people are, biologically and culturally, the more reasonable they are and the more they accepted the principle of a collective orientation and rule, the more Individual freedoms they can have.

That's the tragedy or paradoxon me thinks, low level people - you can't let them decide things the same way like people with good traits and principles, it's just as simple as that in reality.

The collective is in the end just a bunch of individuals too, but it is also more than its parts, because it survives biologically and culturally (genes and memes) the individuals and is therefore the past-present-future of many, many people and generations. That's a responsibility and every major change should be a favourable one - not just for single individuals, but also for the greater whole. I mean it can be just advantageous for individuals too, as long as the change is at least neutral, but not if the product will be negative for many other individuals and/or the group.

So the collective approach should have the priority, but should only intervene if there is a necessity and whether there is a necessity or not, has to be decided by someone, at best by those which have the best genetic-memetic tradition for leadership - and if they don't exist, they will be bred, fact is, someone has to organise the group as a whole and balance things out and this should be not just someone or the majority, but the best of the best FOR THAT TASK.

Joe McCarthy
Monday, August 16th, 2010, 09:10 PM
Originally Posted by Vindefense
Once they are forced upon a people may the very good defiant nature of man always find itself opposed to such coercion.

This is resolved by a basic application of consent theory. We had collectivism 'forced' upon us long ago, and by remaining in society we give tacit consent to this reality. We don't defy it, nor should we, and to do so would make us lawless brigands.

The question is not a matter of if we will live under collectivism, but under what circumstances we will live under it.

Midgård
Monday, August 16th, 2010, 09:53 PM
For the record, Rand did believe in abstractions like nations, families, etc., but regarded racism as the most primitive form of collectivism. To her, the rights of the individual were to be indulged without regard for concerns for society, though as I've mentioned, her view was contradictory.

The sort of extreme nominalism among libertarians that you're describing, to the extent it exists, is nonsensical, as while it denies an abstraction like the nation, inconsistently affirms the reality of another abstraction, the corporation, even going so far as to favor conferring 'personhood' upon it in the pursuit of limited liability.

Yeah... but Yan Rand was a capitalist jew. Not a person any sane germanic listens to, in other words.

Joe McCarthy
Monday, August 16th, 2010, 10:40 PM
Yeah... but Yan Rand was a capitalist jew. Not a person any sane germanic listens to, in other words.

I was merely discussing what she believed. It didn't imply endorsement of her view. Indeed, for the most part, I find her views abhorrent.

Vindefense
Tuesday, August 17th, 2010, 10:54 PM
where do you draw the line. For instance is at the family level, the friends, neighbors, townsfolk, county, district, state, nation, continent, race, or all of humanity? It may be very beneficial at the family level or town level and even county, since these folk are part of a more realistic collective but it is only a small stretch to encompass the state level and then why not the national level and on and on. Collectivism plain and simple must create generalities which negate individuality and force the individual to direct more energy and resources into the group than themselves which weakens the group because the group is only a projection of the the baseline. So here lies a great paradox which is no where better said than by Rudyard Kipling:

..."For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack."

The point here is that the group weakens as the individual weakens and when the individual weakens so too does the group. This does not represent a one or the other scenario but a harmonious understanding that the collective must allow the individual the necessary freedom to not only succeed but to also fail as failing is in itself expands and develops the individuals faculties. Being able to fail is one of the most important aspects of the groups development, only then does one learn to overcome.

Therefore young wolves learn early on in life that he who does not get back up stays down. This is a necessary lesson for pack life as during times of famine the pack may join with other packs in a spirit of cooperation but this extended pack is only as big as is reasonable and is only enjoined to achieve an objective. If it were too large, there would be too many individuals to feed and as a result many would starve. When the famine is over the pack breaks apart once again and becomes a manageable family unit because this is the most beneficial collective.

Collectivism fails when socialists use it as a means to mold, shape and compel the behavior of man, the natural response to this is individualism, just as the natural response to too much individualism is collectivism. But to be ruled under one for all time is a great disharmony and an abomination to the natural order and so if men do not break the stasis we can rest assured Nature will.

Joe McCarthy
Tuesday, August 17th, 2010, 11:00 PM
Excerpts from Ayn Rand's insipid essay on racism:

http://freedomkeys.com/ar-racism.htm


"A genius is a genius, regardless of the number of morons who belong to the same race -- and a moron is a moron, regardless of the number of geniuses who share his racial origin."
excerpts from
"Racism"
by Ayn Rand

(An article published in the September, 1963 issue of The Objectivist Newsletter
and included as a chapter in the book, The Virtue of Selfishness )

_____

Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man's genetic lineage -- the notion that a man's intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.

Racism claims that the content of a man's mind (not his cognitive apparatus, but its content) is inherited; that a man's convictions, values and character are determined before he is born, by physical forces beyond his control. This is the caveman's version of the doctrine of innate ideas -- or of inherited knowledge -- which has been thoroughly refuted by philosophy and science. Racism is a doctrine of, by and for brutes. It is a barnyard or stock-farm version of collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various breeds of anmials, but not between animals and men.

Like every form of determinism, racism invalidates the specific attribute which distinguishes man from all other living species: his rational faculty. Racism negates two aspects of man's life: reason and choice, or mind and morality, replacing them with chemical predestination.

The respectable family that supports worthless relatives or covers up their crimes in order to "protect the family name" (as if the moral stature of one man could be damaged by the actions of another) -- the bum who boasts that his great-grandfather was an empire-builder, or the small-town spinster who boasts that her maternal great-uncle was a state senator and her third-cousin gave a concert at Carnegie Hall (as if the achievements of one man could rub off on the mediocrity of another) -- the parents who search genealogical trees in order to evaluate their prospective sons-in-law -- the celebrity who starts his autobiography with a detailed account of his family history -- all these are samples of racism, the atavvistic manifestations of a doctrine whose full expression is the tribal warfare of prehistorical savages, the wholesale slaughter of Nazi Germany, the atrocities of today's so-called "newly-emerging nations."

The theory that holds "good blood" and "bad blood" as a moral-intellectual criterion, can lead to nothing but torrents of blood in practice. Brute force is the only avenue of action open to men who regard themselves as mindless aggregates of chemicals.

Modern racists attempt to prove the superiority or inferiority of a given race by the historical achievements of some of its members. The frequent historical spectacle of a great innovator who, in his lifetime, is jeered, denounced, obstructed, persecuted by his countrymen, and then, a few years after his death, is enshrined in a national monument and hailed as a proof of greatness of the German (or French or Italian or Cambodian) race -- is as revolting a spectacle of collectivist expropriation, perpetrated by racists, as any expropriation of material wealth perpetrated by communists.

Just as there is no such thing as a collective or racial mind, so there is no such thing as a collective or racial achievement. There are only individual minds and individual achievements -- and a culture is not the anonymous product of undifferentiated masses, but the sum of the intellectual achievements of individual men.

Even if it were proved -- which it is not -- that the incidence of men of potentially superior brain power is greater among the members of certain races than among the members of others, it would still tell us nothing about any given individual and it would be irrelevant to one's judgment of him. A genius is a genius, regardless of the number of morons who belong to the same race -- and a moron is a moron, regardless of the number of geniuses who share his racial origin. It is hard to say which is the more outrageous injustice: the claim of Southern racists that a Negro genius should be treated as inferior because his race has "produced" some brutes -- or the claim of a German brute to the status of a superior because his race has "produced" Goethe, Schiller and Brahms.

These are not two different claims, of course, but two applications of the same basic premise. The question of whether one alleges the superiority or the inferiority of any given race is irrelevant; racism has only one psychological root: the racist's sense of his own inferiority.

Like every other form of collectivism, racism is a quest for the unearned. It is a quest for automatic knowlege -- for an automatic evaluation of men's characters that bypasses the responsibility of exercising rational or moral judgment -- and, above all, a quest for an automatic self-esteem (or pseudo-self-esteem).

To ascribe one's virtues to one's racial origin, is to confess that one has no knowledge of the process by which virtues are acquired and, most often, that one has failed to acquire them. The overwhelming majority of racists are men who have earned no sense of personal identity, who can claim no individual achievement or distinction, and who seek the illusion of a "tribal self-esteem" by alleging the inferiority of some other tribe. Observe the hysterical intensity of the Southern racists; observe also that racism is much more prevalent among the poor white trash than among their intellectual betters.

Historically, racism has always risen or fallen with the rise or fall of collectivism. Collectivism holds that the individual has no rights, that his life and work belong to the group (to "society," to the tribe, the state, the nation) and that the group may sacrifice him at its own whim to its own interests. The only way to implement a doctrine of that kind is by means of brute force -- and statism has always been the poltical corollary of collectivism.

The absolute state is merely an institutionalized form of gang rule, regardless of which particular gang seizes power. And -- since there is no rational justification for such rule, since none has ever been or can ever be offered -- the mystique of racism is a crucial elemeent in every variant of the absolute state. The relationship is reciprocal: statism rises out of prehistorical tribal warfare, out of the notion that the men of one tribe are the natural prey for the men of another -- and establishes its own internal sub-categories of racism, a system of castes determined by a man's birth, such as inherited titles of nobility or inherited serfdom.

The racism of Nazi Germany -- where men had to fill questionnaires about their ancestry for generations back, in order to prove their "Aryan" descent -- has its counterpart in Soviet Russia, where men had to fill similar questionnaires to show that their ancestors had owned no property and thus to prove their "proletarian" descent. The Soviet ideology rest on the notion that men can be conditioned to communism genetically -- that is, that a few generations conditionned by dictatorship will transmit communist ideology to their descendants, who will be communists at birth. The persecution of racial minorities in Soviet Russia, according to the racial descent and whim of any given commissar, is a matter of record; anti-semitism is particularly prevalent -- only the official pogroms are now called "political purges."

There is only one antidote to racism: the philosophy of individualism and its politico-economic corollary, laissez-faire capitalism.

Individualism regards man -- every man -- as an independent, sovereign entity who possesses an inalienable right to his own life, a right derived from his nature as a rational being. Individualism holds that a civilized society, or any form of association, cooperation or peaceful co-existence among men, can be achieved only on the basis of the recognition of individual rights -- and that a group, as such, has no rights other than the individual rights of its members. (See my articles "Man's Rights" and "Collectivized 'Rights'" in the April and June, 1963, issues of this NEWSLETTER [or Chapters 12 and 13 of the book].)

It is not a man's ancestors or relatives or genes or body chemistry that count in a free market, but only one human attribute: productive ability. It is by his own individual ability and ambition that capitalism judges a man and rewards him accordingly.

No political system can establish universal rationality by law (or by force). But capitalism is the only system that functions in a way which rewards rationality and penalizes all forms of irrationality, including racism.

A fully free, capitalist system has not yet existed anywhere. But what is enormously significant is the correlation of racism and political controls in the semi-free economies of the 19th century. Racial and/or religious persecutions of minorities stood in inverse ratio to the degree of a country's freedom. Racism was strongest in the more controlled economies, such as Russia and Germany -- and weakest in England, the then freest country of Europe.

It is capitalism that gave mankind its first steps toward freedom and a rational way of life. It is capitalism that broke through national and racial barriers, by means of free trade. It is capitalism that abolished serfdom and slavery in all the civilized countries of the world. It is the capitalist North that destroyed the slavery of the agrarian-feudal South in the United States.

Such was the trend of mankind for the brief span of some hundred and fifty years. The spectacular results and achievements of that trend need no restatement here.

The rise of collectivism reversed that trend.

When men began to be indoctrinated once more with the notion that the individual possesses no rights, that supremacy, moral authority and unlimited power belong to the group, and that a man has no significance outside his group -- the inevitable consequence was that men bbegan to gravitate toward some group or another, in self-protection, in bewilderment and in subconscious terror. The simplest collective to join, the easiest one to identify -- particularly for people of limited intellligence -- the least demanding form of "belonging" and of "togetherness" is: race.

It is thus that the theoreticians of collectivism, the "humanitarian" advocates of a "benevolent" absolute state, have led to the rebirth and the new, virulent growth of racism in the 20th century.

In its great era of capitalism, the United States was the freest country on earth -- and the best refutation of racist theories. Men of all races came here, some from obscure, culturally undistinguished countries, and accomplished feats of productive ability which would have remained stillborn in their control-ridden native lands. Men of racial groups that had been slaughtering one another for centuries, learned to live together in harmony and peaceful cooperation. America had been called "the melting pot," with good reason. But few people realized that America did not melt men into the gray conformity of a collective: she united them by means of protecting their right to individuality.

The major victims of such race prejudice as did exist in America were the Negroes. It was a problem originated and perpetuated by the non-capitalist South, though not confined to its boundaries. The persecution of Negroes in the South was and is truly disgraceful. But in the rest of the country, so long as men were free, even that problem was slowly giving way under the pressure of enlightenment and of the white men's own economic interests.

Today, that problem is growing worse -- and so is every form of racism. America has become race-conscious in a manner reminiscent of the worst days in the most backward countries of 19th century Europe. The cause is the same: the growth of collectivism and statism.

[ ... ]

The existence of such pressure groups and of their political lobbies is openly and cynically acknowledged today. The pretense at any political philosophy, any principles, ideals or long-range goals is fast disappearing from our scene -- and it is all but admitted that this country is now floating without direction, at the mercy of a blind, short-range power-game played by various statist gangs, each intent on getting hold of a legislative gun for any special advantage of the immediate moment.

In the absence of any coherent political philosophy, every economic group has been acting as its own destroyer, selling out its future for some momentary privilege. The policy of the businessmen has, for some time, been the most suicidal one in this respect. But it has been surpassed by the current policy of the Negro leaders.

So long as the Negro leaders were fighting against government-enforced discrimination -- right, justice and morality were on their side. But that is not what they are fighting any longer. The confusions and contradictions surrounding the issue of racism have now reached an incredible climax.

It is time to clarify the principles involved.

The policy of the Southern states toward Negroes was and is a shameful contradiction of this country's basic principles. Racial discrimination, imposed and enforced by law, is so blatantly inexcusable an infringement of individual rights that the racist statutes of the South should have been declared unconstitutional long ago.

The Southern racists' claim of "states' rights" is a contradiction in terms: there can be no such thing as the "right" of some men to violate the rights of others. The constitutional concept of "states' rights" pertains to the division of power between local and national authorities, and serves to protect the states from the Federal government; it does not grant to a state government an unlimited, arbitrary power over its citizens or the privilege of abrogating the citizens' individual rights.

It is true that the Federal government has used the racial issue to enlarge its own power and to set a precedent of encroachment upon the legitimate rights of the states, in an unnecessary and unconstitutional manner. But this merely means that both governments are wrong; it does not excuse the policy of the Southern racists.

One of the worst contradictions, in this context, is the stand of many so-called "conservatives" (not confined exclusively to the South) who claim to be defenders of freedom, of capitalism, of property rights, of the Constitution, yet who advocate racism at the same time. They do not seem to possess enough concern with principles to realize tht they are cutting the ground from under their own feet. Men who deny individual rights cannot claim, defend or uphold any rights whatsoever. It is such alleged champions of capitalism who are helping to discredit and destroy it.

The "liberals" are guilty of the same contradiction, but in a different form. They advocate the sacrifice of all individual rights to unlimited majority rule -- yet posture as defenders of the rights of minorities. But the smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.

This accumulation of contradictions, of short-sighted pragmatism, of cynical contempt for principles, of outrageous irrationality, has now reached its climax in the new demands of the Negro leaders.

Instead of fighting against racial discrimination, they are demanding that racial discrimination be legalized and enforced. Instead of fighting against racism, they are demanding the establishment of racial quotas. Instead of fighting for "color-blindness" in social and economic issues, they are proclaiming that "color-blindness" is evil and that "color" should be made a primary consideration. Instead of fighting for equal rights, they are demanding special race privileges.

[ ... ]

Racial quotas have been one of the worst evils of racist regimes. There were racial quotas in the universities of Czarist Russia, in the population of Russia's major cities, etc. One of the accusations against the racists in this country is that some schools practice a secret system of racial quotas. It was regarded as a victory for justice when employment questionnaires ceased to inquire about an applicant's race or religion.

Today, it is not an oppressor, but an oppressed minority that is demanding the establishment of racial quotas. (!)

[ ... ]

It does not merely demand special privileges on racial grounds -- it demands that white men be penalized for the sins of their ancestors. It demands that a white laborer be refused a job because his grandfather may have practiced racial discrimination. But perhaps his grandfather had not practiced it. Or perhaps his grandfather had not even lived in this country. Since these questions are not to be considered, it means that that white laborer is to be charged with collective racial guilt, the guilt consisting merely of the color of his skin.

But that is the principle of the worst Southern racist who charges all Negroes with collective racial guilt for any crime committed by an individual Negro, and who treats them all as inferiors on the ground that their ancestors were savages.

The only comment one can make about demands of that kind is, "By what right? -- By what code? -- By what standard?"

That absurdly evil policy is destroying the moral base of the Negroes' fight. Their case rested on the principle of individual rights. If they demand the violation of the rights of others, they negate and forfeit their own. Then the same answer applies to them as to the Southern racists: there can be no such thing as a "right" of some men to violate the rights of others.

[ ... ]

No man, neither Negro nor white, has any claim to the property of another man. A man's rights are not violated by a private individual's refusal to deal with him. Racism is an evil, irrational and morally contemptible doctrine -- but doctrines cannot be forbidden or prescribed by law. Just as we have to protect a communist's freedom of speech, even though his doctrines are evil, so we have to protect a racist's right to the use and disposal of his own property. Private racism is not a legal, but a moral issue -- and can be fought only by private means, such as economic boycott or social ostracism.

[ ... ]

It is an ironic demonstration of the philosophical insanity and the consequently suicidal trend of our age, that the men who need the protection of individual rights most urgently -- the Negroes -- are now in the vanguard of the destruction of these rights.

[ ... ]

In conclusion, I shall quote from an astonishing editorial in The N. Y. Times of August 4 [1963] -- astonishing because ideas of this nature are not typical of our age:
"But the question must be not whether a group recognizable in color, features or culture has its rights as a group. No, the question is whether any American individual, regardless of color, features or culture, is deprived of his rights as an American. If the individual has all the rights and privileges due him under the laws and the Constitution, we need not worry about groups and masses -- those do not, in fact, exist, except as figures of speech."

Joe McCarthy
Tuesday, August 17th, 2010, 11:03 PM
Vin,

Bear in mind that I'm discussing anti-miscegenation laws exclusively for the time being. America used to have such laws at the state level and they were only struck down by Supreme Court diktat in 1967. We had our best years before 1967, so such laws were no burden.

I may open a thread on American anti-miscegenation laws.