What is socialism? 2

What is socialism?

Never mind dictionary definitions. Rather ask, what does a socialist state do?

It controls the resources of a nation and allocates them as it chooses.

More fully: In a socialist state, resources are controlled by an all-powerful central agency, the government, and distributed according to the arbitrary decision of the most powerful person or persons in that government.

Widely, “socialism” is thought of as a creed of equality, as is “communism”.  It is to achieve their high ideal of equality that socialists and communists favor the forced collection and allocation of resources.  If they achieve a kind of equality, it is only and always an equality of misery. For this they have many explanations and excuses, but no remedy.

The difference between socialism and communism is often said to be a difference of degree, or manner of enforcement. In common parlance, at least in the West, “socialism” refers to a similar but milder, less oppressive, system of collectivization.  West European states were happy to call themselves “socialist’, and saw the self-described “communist” states, chiefly the Soviet Union, as their enemies.

In the Soviet Union, however, “socialism” and “communism” were commonly used interchangeably, as synonyms. In Marxist theory, “communism” is an ideal that will be realized when the state – ie government – has “withered away”.  But withering away is not on the agenda of any existing socialist government, nor is likely to be.

In fact, most forms of collectivism can  justifiably be called “socialist”.  (An exception is Islam.) The collectivist idea is that the society, not the individual, is important, so the citizenry must be organized. The organization must be enforced, whether harshly or temperately.  Most self-described “socialist” states consider their rule not only temperate but positively beneficent, while they see “communist” states as cruel and oppressive.

But the word “socialism” cannot bear a connotation of beneficence. Nor does it always imply equality.

Remember that the Nazis were self-described socialists: national socialists. Nazi is the short name for the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.  And of course the Nazis saw themselves as beneficent – to those they counted as worthy of existence, the “Aryan” Germans. They had a tender care for their citizens. In the Third Reich official collections were taken up for the poor to keep them warm in winter (the annual “Winterhilfe” charity drive).  But nobody thinks of the Third Reich as a kindly state, or one that did humankind any good. And its rulers scorned the notion of equality, either between persons or between nations.

So one clear distinction that does exist among socialist states is that some are ideologically egalitarian – eg Soviet Russia, Maoist China, Castroite Cuba – and some are non-egalitarian – eg Nazi Germany.

The Soviet communists considered themselves international socialists – even when Stalin declared his policy to be for a time  “socialism in one country” (the one country being the USSR). The Marxist ideological vision was and remains a world government controlling the world’s resources – a vision now justified in the name of environmentalism.

The biggest political divide comes between collectivism and freedom. Or rather, since a totally free country does not exist, between those who hold collectivism as an ideal, and those who want every individual to be free.

While it is true that a totally free country is nowhere to be found, such a thing could exist. It would not be an anarchy, because freedom is a product of civil order, and  is only possible under the rule of law. Everyone’s freedom should be limited only by everyone else’s, but the protection of every individual, his person, property, and freedom, requires the rule of law.

The USA was as free as any country has ever been, more so than any other large nation. (Small areas have been freer, such as Hong Kong, which was legally under British rule and could rely on the protection of law, but was free of taxes and all the harm that ensues from taxation – such as regulation of trade, and welfare.)

Now Americans are losing their freedom rapidly, since they voted Democratic socialists into power in Congress, and a Marxist-trained “community organizer” to the presidency. He has packed fellow socialists into his administration. Some declare themselves to be “Maoists” or “communists”.  All of them are collectivists.

It will take a hard fight to recover the liberty that has been lost, but for those who want to be free, it’s a battle that must be won.

Jillian Becker    August 13, 2010

The odd couple 0

Obama and his National Security appointees, Janet Napolitano and John Brennan, deny that Islam is waging jihad on America and the whole of the non-Muslim world. But – block their ears and sing out “la-la-la” as they might – they cannot alter the truth that the jihad is being waged, or fail to hear authoritative voices saying that it is. Obama may want to deny it because he has deep sympathy with Islam, and because he‘s a Left radical by upbringing, training, and conviction. Islam and the Left are allies against the Western ideal of individual freedom. They resemble each other in that they’re both collectivist ideologies. This means they can strive together to destroy freedom, but the one is egalitarian, the other non-egalitarian; the one fosters diversity, the other demands uniformity; the one preaches tolerance, the other is harshly intolerant. Eventually, if they were to win their war against freedom, they would surely turn on each other with intense hatred and fury. If Obama experienced such a conflict within himself, it’s hard to imagine how he’d resolve it.

The alliance between Islam and the Left is the theme of a new book, The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America, by Andrew McCarthy, the former Assistant United States Attorney who successfully prosecuted Omar Abdel Rahman for the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. He writes about it at PowerLine. Here’s part of what he says:

What is surprising, and dismaying, is that the book’s message should come as news to anyone, as if there were [any] real question about whether such a grand jihad exists. Though our opinion elites and their media allies remain desperate to suppress the story, the proof of an Islamist conspiracy to destroy the West is stark and undeniable, and the instances of Islamists being aided and abetted by Leftists are too numerous for serious people to deny the alliance – not merger but alliance – between the two.

As demonstrated at the Holy Land Foundation terrorist financing trials in Texas, internal Muslim Brotherhood memoranda are unabashed in describing Islamists as engaged in a “civilizational” war against the West. In America, the Brothers attest that theirs is a “grand jihad” to destroy the United States – mainly from within, mainly by “sabotage.”

We don’t like the terms “civilizational war” and “Islamists”. The first because we think the war is not between two civilizations but between their barbarism and our civilization; and the second for reasons that McCarthy himself is well aware of:

I use the term Islamist advisedly. In the book’s second chapter, I’ve tried to take on the excruciating question of whether the existential challenge we face is Islam itself. …

The problem is that those who say Islam is the problem have the better case. I was first struck by this sad fact during our terrorism trial in 1995, when I had to get ready to cross-examine the “Blind Sheikh,” Omar Abdel Rahman. … I thought that if what we were saying as a government were true – if these terrorists were lying about Islam and perverting its doctrine in order to justify mass-murder attacks – then surely I should be able to locate three or four places where the Blind Sheikh had misstated the Koran and the other species of Muslim scripture. I searched high and low, but there were none.

The point is that where the Blind Sheikh cited scripture, he did it quite accurately. … He is a renowned doctor of Islamic jurisprudence graduated from al-Azhar University in Egypt – the seat of Sunni learning and one of the oldest and most respected academic institutions in the world. His construction of Islam, however frightening, was literal and cogent.

Islam is not a religion of peace and Islamic doctrine is not moderate. …

It is supremacist, totalitarian, and violentdrawn faithfully and logically from scripture – which is why it is endorsed by so many influential clerics and shariah authorities who have spent their lives in Islamic study. …

The thrust of my book is that we need to come to terms with this in order to defend ourselves. There is a vibrant debate in the Muslim world about terrorism. We need to understand, though, that it is a debate about methodology. Islamist terrorists and other Islamists are in harmony about the endgame: they would like to see shariah installed and the West Islamicized. That a person is not willing to mass-murder non-Muslims in order to accelerate that process does not make him a moderate.

Since the book was published last week, I’ve been asked questions like: “So, are you saying that President Obama wants to implement sharia?” and ” Isn’t it true that if Islamists came to power, the Left would have a lot to fear?” Again, the alliance between Islamists and Leftists … is an alliance, not a merger. Leftists and Islamists have worked together numerous times in history … That they work together is not a hypothesis on my part; this partnership exists, period. And why it exists is simply explained, if we are willing to look at the facts.

While they differ on a number of significant issues, Islamists and Leftists are in harmony on many parts of the big picture. Islamism and today’s Leftism (which, as I note in the book, David Horowitz aptly calls “neocommunism”) are both authoritarian ideologies: they favor a muscular central government, virulently reject capitalism, and are totalitarian in the sense that they want to dictate all aspects human life. They both see the individual as existing to serve the greater community (the state or the umma). Saliently, they have a common enemy: Western culture, American constitutional republicanism, and their foundation, individual liberty.

When I argue that Islamists and Leftists are working together to sabotage America, this is what I am talking about. Historically, when Islamists and Leftists collaborate against a common enemy (e.g., the Shah in Iran, the monarchy in Egypt), these marriages of convenience break apart when the common enemy has been eliminated. We are a long way from that point in America – and, hopefully, we never reach it. We must expect, though, that Islamists and Leftists will continue their alliance as long as the Western way of life remains an obstacle to their respective utopias.

Freedom, ha, what freedom 2

The West has allowed terrorism to succeed.

It seems we are reluctant to fight back.

We citizens of the free world, heirs to the victorious struggles of courageous and principled forerunners, have for too long taken the freedom they won us for granted.

Freedom is never won forever. It has to be fought for over and over again.

Are we, the living generations, too  feeble, too cowardly, too comfortable, too distracted by trivia, to fight the battle when it becomes necessary to choose between freedom and submission to tyranny?

Are enough of us even aware that once again freedom is under severe and immediate threat?

The present threat, Islam, is at least as atrocious as those of the last century, Nazism and Communism. It is the same in being collectivist and tyrannical. It is different and more frightening to the imagination in that it comes out of the double darkness of a past age and a primitive mentality.

America has elected a leader who is highly sympathetic to it, and is doing everything he can to strengthen it.

Daniel Greenfield expresses an opinion which we heartily share in this article from which we take a large extract:

What is a free country? Is it a country that is free of being ruled by any other country, or is it a country of free people who are not afraid. The truth is that no country can be free, unless its people are free. Not freedom as embodied in legal documents or stirring anthems, which nearly every country has, but free in their minds. Unafraid to believe, to speak and to live.

Tyranny isn’t a man holding a gun to your head and telling you what to do. Tyranny is when you do what you’re told because you’re holding the gun to your own head. And then you have become a collaborator in your own oppression. It is possible to be enslaved without ever becoming a slave… for people to act like slaves without any chains being anywhere in sight.

No regime, no ideology and no power can maintain absolute physical control of all the people all of the time. To rule, they need to control not their bodies, but their minds and their souls. Tyranny wants loyalty but it will settle for fear. And fear, once internalized, destroys moral courage and replaces it with moral cowardice, eroding the strength of beliefs and ideas with the poisonous liquid of dread. The individual becomes an agent for the forces of tyranny, warning himself against any action that could get him into trouble. And then he is finally a slave.

In Stockholm Syndrome, hostages try to take control of their powerlessness by identifying with their captors. Under tyranny, entire populations can suffer from Stockholm Syndrome, paying devoted obeisance to the tyrants …

Recently, we rediscovered the simple fact that even on cable television, on a network where anything goes, one thing does not go: Depicting Mohammed, even in a bear suit. That same iron law has been unofficially passed in country after country, where operas, newspapers, books, television programs have been censored in order to avoid offending the people who might kill them, if they were not censored. …

And that is exactly the point. They don’t have to silence us, if we silence ourselves first. They don’t have to oppress us if we oppress ourselves first. They don’t have to demand our surrender and submission, if we surrender and submit first. Islam, we love it. Sharia law, we’ll gladly adopt it. Free speech, it has to have its limits. Women’s rights, we’ll have to walk a fine line. Freedom. Ha, what freedom. We’ve already traded that away for a nice set of multicultural bongos, a few curry shops, a glass of arrack and a leatherbound copy of the Koran.

A free country … is a country whose people uncompromisingly refuse to surrender their freedoms, in the face of tyranny, torture and death, in the face of armies, tanks, secret police and all the forces of the world arrayed against them. A country that compromises on its freedom is no longer free. It will know fear. It will know terror. It will be oppressed, and there will be no relief from that oppression, until they choose freedom over tyranny once again.

Fear is a reflex. Tyranny thrives on it, imbues it and feeds it. It kills randomly in order to spread that terror further to create populations who never know when their day will come; when the suicide bomber, the black van, the sword and the secret police will come for them. Men will fight and die for freedom on the battlefield, but the struggle to remain defiant in a society where everyone is afraid all the time is a much harder fight. Yet overcoming that reflex to find safety by surrendering and collaborating, by learning to love Big Brother and embracing his ideals, is what it takes to be a free citizen of a free nation.

Freedom comes from standing up to evil, from confronting it and defying it – not from submitting to it and collaborating with it …

And what is the source of Islam’s power? Comedy Central [by censoring South Park – see our post Not bearing the unbearable, March 25, 2010] reminds us of that again. … No military victory. No superior technology. Not even sheer numbers, as there is still no First World country in which Muslims have officially become a majority. Their power comes from fear. From being prepared to murder anyone who disagrees with them until the mere threat alone, from a worthless source, is enough to badly panic a multibillion dollar corporation – the same corporation that would never take protests from Jews or Christians seriously caves when a single Muslim on a previously obscure website threatens a beheading. What is the difference? The difference is murder. Muslims murder people who offend them. And having gained a reputation for that, they are quickly parlaying it into practical political power.

A nation’s police, legal and military divisions are entirely useless if they cannot protect the exercise of such basic freedoms. Without it, they become nothing more than glorified social service centers that enforce the law only when it isn’t too dangerous for them, when it won’t offend the wrong people – the wrong people being those who kill on casual provocation. And such a country, though it may have documents to its name attesting its freedoms, and endless ranks of judiciary appointees and professors debating those freedoms– they mean nothing if the people cannot actually exercise those freedoms. …

Only by defying Islam, can we begin the process of taking back our freedoms. Only by speaking out, do our voices matter. Because they don’t have to silence us, if we silence ourselves first.

Stop the food police 0

A reader sent us this. We agree.

A community organized for slavery, want, and death 1

We strongly recommend a book on life in North Korea: Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick .

Her highly credible account shows that most of the population goes hungry most of the time.

Here is a quotation, describing, as a common event, the death of a prisoner who has been worked and slowly starved to death. Prisoners are needed to work as slaves in the mines and other industries, so people are arrested on flimsy excuses:

[The prisoners were] mostly “economic criminals” who’d gotten in trouble at the border or the market. The actual thieves among them had stolen nothing more than food. One of them was a forty-year old rancher who had worked on a collective farm raising cattle. His crime was that he had failed to report the birth of a dead calf, instead taking the stillborn home to feed his wife and two young children. By the time Hyuck [who relates this story to the author] met him, he had served five years of a ten-year term. … The rancher was gentle and soft-spoken, but one of the senior guards took a strong dislike to him. His wife and children came twice to visit, but were not allowed in to see him or to send gifts of food, privileges allowed some of the more favored prisoners.

The rancher died of starvation. It happened quietly; he went to sleep and didn’t wake up. It was a common occurrence that somebody would die in the night. Often it was obvious in the close sleeping-quarters, because the dying man would evacuate his bladder and tiny bubbles would appear on his lips as fluid seeped out of the body.

As in all collectivist systems, the community of North Korea is organized for slavery, want, and death.

The defining debate of our lifetime 0

The great political divide is between those on one side who want a system of government that preserves individual freedom – broadly speaking they may be called political libertarians and philosophical individualists – and those on the other side, the collectivists, who may variously define themselves as socialists, or communists, or progressives (if they are egalitarians), or Nazis, or fascists, or Muslims (if they are non-egalitarians).

Libertarians believe that the government should be our servant. Collectivists believe it should be our master.

Andrew McCarthy, the lead prosecutor of the bombers convicted of bombing the World Trade Center on 1993, says this about Islam, Islamism, the lawyers who defend jihadists free of charge, and the great political divide:

I don’t think there is much difference, if any, between Islam and Islamism. In that assessment, I’m not much different from Turkey’s Islamist prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who claims it is “very ugly” for Westerners to draw these distinctions between Muslims as “moderate” or “Islamist” — “It is offensive and an insult to our religion,” he says, because “there is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam, and that’s it.”

That doesn’t make any lawyer unfit to serve. It does, however, show us the fault line in the defining debate of our lifetime, the debate about what type of society we shall have. And that political context makes everyone’s record fair game. If lawyers choose to volunteer their services to the enemy in wartime, they are on the wrong side of that fault line, and no one should feel reluctant to say so.

Islamists are Muslims who would like to see sharia (Islamic law) installed. That is the necessary precondition to Islamicizing a society. It is the purpose of jihad. The terrorists are willing to force sharia’s installation by violent jihad; other Islamists have varying views about the usefulness of violence, but they also want sharia, and their jihadist methods include tactics other than violence. I reluctantly use the term “Islamist” rather than “Islam” because I believe there are hundreds of millions of Muslims (somewhere between a third to a half of the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims) who do not want to live under sharia, and who want religion to be a private matter, separated from public life. It is baffling to me why these people are Muslims since, as I understand Islam, (a) sharia is a basic element, and (b) Islam rejects the separation of mosque and state. But I’m not a Muslim, so that is not for me to say. I think we have to encourage the non-sharia Muslims and give them space to try to reform their religion, so I believe it’s worth labeling the sharia seekers “Islamists” in order to sort them out. But I admit being very conflicted about it because I also concede that the Islamists have the more coherent (and scary) construction of Islam. We wouldn’t be encouraging reform if we really thought Islam was fine as is.

In any event, Islamist ideology is multi-faceted. You can be pro-Islamist, and even pro-Qaeda, without signing on to the savage Qaeda methods. And the relevant question with respect to progressive lawyers [in particular the ones who provide free defense of terrorists] is not so much whether they are pro-Qaeda as it is whether, as between Islamists and the U.S. as it exists, they have more sympathy for the Islamists. That’s a fair question, but a very uncomfortable one to ask…

Much of the commentary on this point, including from some people who usually know better, has been specious. …

Jihadists believe it is proper to massacre innocent people in order to compel the installation of sharia as a pathway to Islamicizing society. No one for a moment believes, or has suggested, that al-Qaeda’s American lawyers share that view. But jihadist terrorists, and Islamist ideology in general, also hold that the United States is the root of all evil in the world, that it is the beating heart of capitalist exploitation of society’s have-nots, and that it needs fundamental, transformative change.

This … is why Islam and the Left collaborate so seamlessly. They don’t agree on all the ends and means. In fact, Islamists don’t agree among themselves about means. But before they can impose their utopias, Islamists and the Left have a common enemy they need to take down: the American constitutional tradition of a society based on individual liberty, in which government is our servant, not our master. It is perfectly obvious that many progressive lawyers are drawn to the jihadist cause because of common views about the need to condemn American policies and radically alter the United States.

Less free, therefore less prosperous 0

We agree wholly with the opinion we quote here, though the author does not seem to believe as we do that Obama does not want America to be free. He is a collectivist, a redistributionist, a socialist. To reduce individual freedom, to replace the free market with centralized control of the economy, to expand government is what he is about.

From the Washington Times:

Consider our recent economic policy. In late 2008, the specter of a financial meltdown triggered dangerous decisions under President Bush. He approved an unprecedented intervention in the financial sector – the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program – which actually fed the crisis. Instead of changing course, President Obama not only doubled down on those decisions, but went even further, in the belief that only bigger government can “lift us from a recession this deep and severe.” …

In December, the U.S. economy lost an additional 85,000 jobs. Despite all the bailouts and stimulus spending, the economy shed 3.4 million net jobs in 2009. But while employment has shrunk, the federal deficit has ballooned. One year after Mr. Obama took office, the deficit has grown to $1.4 trillion. His 10-year budget will add $13 trillion to the national debt by 2019. …

The bad news is that the United States is falling behind. The 2010 Index of Economic Freedom, released Wednesday, finds that the U.S. experienced the most precipitous drop in economic freedom among the world’s top 20 economies (as measured by the gross domestic product). The decline was steep enough to tumble the U.S. from the ranks of truly “free” economies. We are now numbered among the ranks of the “mostly free” – the same as Botswana, Belgium and Sweden. Canada now stands as the sole beacon of economic freedom in North America, getting a higher score on the economic-freedom Index than the United States.

On the index’s 100-point scale of economic freedom, the U.S. fell 2.7 points. Canada’s score dropped, too, but only one-tenth of a point. Meanwhile, countries such as Germany, France, Poland, Japan, South Korea, Mexico and Indonesia managed to maintain or even improve their scores, despite the economic crisis.

Why? In large measure, it’s because of the way Washington has exacerbated the financial and economic crisis since 2008. By June of last year, when we cut off data collection in order to begin our analysis, Washington’s interventionist policies had already caused a decline in seven of the 10 categories of economic freedom we measure. Particularly significant were declines in financial freedom, monetary freedom and property rights.

Conditions attached to large government bailouts of financial and automotive firms significantly undermined investors’ property rights. Additionally, politically influenced regulatory changes – such as the imposition of executive salary caps – have had perverse effects, discouraging entrepreneurship and job creation and slowing recovery. On top of this, we had massive stimulus spending that is leading to unprecedented deficits….

We are heading the wrong way. The index, co-published annually by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal, has become a “leading indicator” of economic vitality, but other surveys also show that when economic freedom drops, falling opportunity and declining prosperity follow. Unless Washington takes steps to reverse the poor decisions it has made, Americans can expect a long and difficult time ahead.

The good news is that we’ve been here before, and we’ve turned things around before. There’s no reason we can’t do that again. Poll after poll demonstrates that the American people understand this, even if their politicians don’t. They clearly want Washington to gather up the political will to do things such as lowering taxes and reducing regulation and massive spending that feeds the federal debt. We need to unleash the power of the market to create jobs and to reclaim our competitive edge in the global economy. …

The less government intervenes in our lives and our economy, the freer and more prosperous we can become. The choices Mr. Obama takes in the future will determine whether America remains a land of opportunity and can reclaim its international reputation as “the land of the free.”

View the Index of Economic Freedom list here.

The gigantic heresy of an apostate generation 1

Very well worth reading is Scott Johnson of Power Line quoting Paul Rahe quoting Walter Lippmann arguing against collectivism and the augmentation of the power of government:

“Throughout the world, in the name of progress, men who call themselves communists, socialists, fascists, nationalists, progressives, and even liberals, are unanimous in holding that government with its instruments of coercion must by commanding the people how they shall live, direct the course of civilization and fix the shape of things to come. . . . The premises of authoritarian collectivism have become the working beliefs, the self-evident assumptions, the unquestioned axioms, not only of all the revolutionary regimes, but of nearly every effort which lays claim to being enlightened, humane, and progressive.

So universal is the dominion of this dogma over the minds of contemporary men that no one is taken seriously as a statesman or a theorist who does not come forward with proposals to magnify the power of public officials and to extend and multiply their intervention in human affairs. Unless he is authoritarian and collectivist, he is a mossback, a reactionary, at best an amiable eccentric swimming hopelessly against the tide. It is a strong tide. Though despotism is no novelty in human affairs, it is probably true that at no time in twenty-five hundred years has any western government claimed for itself a jurisdiction over men’s lives comparable with that which is officially attempted in totalitarian states. . . .

But it is even more significant that in other lands where men shrink from the ruthless policy of these regimes, it is commonly assumed that the movement of events must be in the same direction. Nearly everywhere the mark of a progressive is that he relies at last upon the increased power of officials to improve the condition of men.”

What worried Lippmann the most was the failure of those who considered themselves progressives to “remember how much of what they cherish as progressive has come by emancipation from political dominion, by the limitation of power, by the release of personal energy from authority and collective coercion.” He cited “the whole long struggle to extricate conscience, intellect, labor, and personality from the bondage of prerogative, privilege, monopoly, authority.”

It was, he said, “the gigantic heresy of an apostate generation” to suppose that “there has come into the world during this generation some new element which makes it necessary for us to undo the work of emancipation, to retrace the steps men have taken to limit the power of rulers, which compels us to believe that the way of enlightenment in affairs is now to be found by intensifying authority and enlarging its scope.” It is with Lippmann’s warning in mind that we – and Barack Obama’s economic advisors — should contemplate the present discontents.

Posted under Commentary, communism, government, nazism, Socialism, Totalitarianism by Jillian Becker on Thursday, October 1, 2009

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Do not believe them 6

We may all know it, but it needs to be repeated from time to time: The great political divide is between those who favor collectivism and those who favor individual freedom.

Collectivism on a national scale is necessarily statism. Human nature being what it is – instinctively self-preserving and self-advancing – such collectivism requires compulsion, or, to use a softer word, organization: the organization of an entire nation. (At least the nation: the ultimate collectivist dream is the global collective, the organization of the whole world.) And only a government, which is to say the state, has the power to do it.

A collectivized nation is not simply one that is under the rule of a common law. To the contrary, a society in which the citizens consent to be subject equally to the abstract authority of law (a constitution, or a body of laws made by representatives answerable to their electors), is a free society.

A collectivized nation is under the rule of human organizers who exert control of the people according to their own will. It is the opposite of a free society. Such a state is, in the true meaning of the word, a tyranny.

It may be a benign tyranny; its rulers, serially or in concert, could be (in laughable theory) persons of admirable uprightness, possessed of the utmost goodwill and kindly intentions, moved by the highest ideals, inspired by the loftiest visions of human happiness, but it is nevertheless a tyranny.

And besides, what sort of person can believe he knows what’s best for everyone else? How can he be a good sort? Wouldn’t such a man (or woman – there have been tyrannous queens) have to be an insufferably arrogant know-it-all? Or the sort who doesn’t really give a damn about the effects of his orders on others just so long as he has his own way? And is there likely to be a person who really can know enough to be the best arbiter of everyone else’s fate? Or can be trusted to set the best possible direction for millions of lives? And is it conceivable that one direction can be best for everyone?

Collectivists include Socialists, Communists, Nazis, Fascists, global government idealists, the Greens, and in sum the ideologists of any form of totalitarianism, including Islam.

There are two types of collectivist states and movements:

Non-egalitarian: such as Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, Salazar’s Portugal, Islam.

This type, except for Islam, has too few devotees at present to constitute an ideological threat. (Islam is an active enemy of freedom, but not only because it is collectivist, so we won’t discuss it any further here.)

Egalitarian: such as Soviet Russia, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Mao’s China, Castro’s Cuba, Greens.

A collectivist state of the egalitarian type controls the distribution of material goods, of course. If goods are to be equally distributed, there has to be an agency doing the distributing, and that agency can only be the state. Having the monopoly of force, the state alone has the power to redistribute all property; to seize what is yours and bestow it on someone else. Maybe you worked long and hard for it, but nevertheless the state ordains that someone else who didn’t work for it has at least as much right to it as you have, in fact more. That’s the immorality of redistribution. It is called ‘social justice’. Equality of this sort is incompatible with liberty.

Millions pursue these egalitarian ideals, as ‘socialists’, ‘liberals’, ‘progressives’, or ‘greens’, despite their colossal failure wherever they’ve been tried in practice.

The attraction of an egalitarian collectivist system lies in its apparent guarantee of security. It offers you an alternative to a lonely struggle for survival. It will, theoretically, provide you with food, shelter, schooling, healing. And on top of all that, it will give you a sense of (communal) purpose, and a lifting of responsibility to make life-directing decisions for yourself. If you just do what you’re told, work where you are directed to work, live where you are allowed to live, eat what is made available to you, repeat the lessons you are taught, you will survive. And furthermore you‘ll have nothing to reproach yourself with; you can bear a lightness of moral being, certain that you are no higher or lower than anybody else, having neither to envy others nor to be annoyingly envied by them.

Paradise? For those who think it may be, there is bad news. The whole utopian structure is built on a fallacy. The idea that you will be more secure in the arms of the state than you are if left to your own devices is an illusion. What the state provides the state can withhold. If the state gives you a job, it can deny you a job. The same with housing, education, medicine. You are dependent on it, and if it fails you or punishes you by withdrawing its patronage, you will have no recourse. Your choice is to live as a slave obedient to the state, or perish.

The only real security lies always in your own ability to act for yourself (and your immediate dependents). It may not be easy, yet most who try succeed. The more freely you can act for yourself, the safer you are. The state’s only legitimate role is to safeguard you while you pursue your self-chosen aims, by protecting your country from external enemies with military strength, and you personally by enforcing the law.

The state is forever an incipient threat to freedom. It tends to accumulate power and encroach gradually on the freedom of the citizens. It needs to be kept from becoming too powerful. How to limit the power of government is the chief problem for representative democracies.

The state will take more power to itself in times of national crisis, such as war or severe economic recession. It can – and governments often do – invent crises as an excuse to take more power. They are doing so now. One of the most potent excuses that representative governments are seizing on to expand way beyond acceptable limits is ‘climate change’ with its ‘threats to the environment’.

It is in the name of an apparently overriding necessity – nothing less than the preservation of our planet – that governments are busy trying to organize populations into collective compliance with their will. All populations. The salvation of Earth is only possible, the environmentalists say, if their remedies are applied uniformly to the entire planet. Never has there been such a gift of an excuse for collectivists in power to organize the rest of us. We must all, they insist, henceforth live, work, play, travel, dress, eat, and house ourselves as they tell us to if we are to survive.

DO NOT BELIEVE THEM.

Post Script: Green is the new Red (as in Communist Red). The Communist Van Jones, briefly appointed as Green Jobs Adviser to President Obama, made no secret of why he liked the job. He said that the green economy would start off as ‘a small subset’ of a complete revolution, away from ‘grey capitalism’ toward redistribution of all the wealth. ‘We are going to push it and push it and push it and push it until it becomes the engine for transforming the whole society.’

Jillian Becker   September 2009