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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Collectively Anti-Collectivist

One thing I find humorous  yet disheartening, is the set of numerous screeds by Libertarians trying to rally to act collectively against collectivism.  As an example, here's an excerpt from a recent post by self-described libertarian Sarah Hoyt (one of Instapundit's occasional guest bloggers and someone he links to fairly frequently):
"We might not be able to stop the collapse.  It might (MIGHT) even be in our best interests to speed it up.  BUT we must stand ready to take the reigns when it all crashes, and we MUST not let [collectivists] pick the man on the white horse, and shove his “enlightened” rule down our throats.  You know what always results from it ... and we can’t allow it to happen." [emphasis added]
That's a lot of "we" and "our" for one small paragraph written by a libertarian.  But how do libertarians, who eschew power and refuse to "collect", obtain and use power in a sufficiently ruthless fashion, possibly compete against those whose primary purpose and goal in life is to obtain, maintain, and yield as much power as possible, usually in the name of a collective?

I've asked that and similar questions over at Hoyt's blog and it hasn't made me any friends (to say the least).  It seems like a rather important and fundamental question, yet not only do she and her regulars refuse to answer, they paint me as horribly evil for even asking the question.


Susan's Husband said...

It's a hard question. One might even think it's the reason collectivists tend to make gradual progress until the Gods of the Copybook Headings show up to perform a system reset.

Basically you need a social structure to mitigate against it and the only one I've seen that has had any success is Judeo-Christianity. It may be that, as J-C did, we'll have to go through multiple crashes until the lesson finally sinks in among the general populace.

The other way is polity multiplicity - the more independent polities, the more likely it is that the demonstrable failure of collectivism is, in fact, being demonstrated.

erp said...

Like all busy-bodies nanny-staters, Hoyt is convinced she's smarter than the rest of us, so despotism is good ... if she's in charge.

Bret said...


But that's the funny thing. She claim's to be libertarian. I see an awful lot of libertarians use the word "we" a lot. Heck, even I do it! And that's why I think the libertarian concept has a fundamental problem - it's hard for the "us" to work together to make sure political power isn't abused.

erp said...

It's the imperial "we." As when Queen Victoria famously said, "We are not pleased." Meaning, of course, she wasn't pleased.

Jeff Shattuck said...

I think whenever you align yourself with a group you are collectivist by nature. Like minded is not the same as like members. Further, I've never read Hoyt but the way she writes paints her as a True Believer in the Eric Hoffer sense, and that's more dangerous than any liberal (who, honestly, should not be labeled the way they are, they are not believers in freedom!). Harumph.

Harry Eagar said...

The biologists I find persuasive like to say that the concept of an individual human is as meaningless as the concept of an individual honeybee. We are social animals and that is why we do so well.

The libertarian fallacy shows up most clearly in the bunker stocked with food for him and guns to keep from having to share.

People often leave off the first word in Hobbes' description of a failed society: solitary, mean, brutish, nasty and short. I find that significant.