Friday, August 15, 2008
Harmony and the Dream: The collectivist nightmare perpetuated from the left on us all
In the New York Times this week, David Brooks discusses divisions in our society. Divisions that run deeper than economics, divisions that run all the way to perceptions. Mr Brooks simplistic, naïve and incorrect view can be deconstructed from the start. For some reason he juxtaposes democracy with authoritarianism, as opposites. That would be an incorrect assumption. The opposite of authoritarianism is libertarianism. Further on, Mr Books discusses the merits of a collectivist society. He believes that collectivists, using Asians as an example, see the world in terms of relationships as opposed to western individualists who see the world in terms of categories. He places the US and Britain on one end, China and Japan on the other. One of the benefits he lists is lower suicide rate. Really? I don’t believe the suicide rate in Japan is any lower than the US or Britain. Lets get to the crux of it. Brooks’ exuberance with collectivism stems from the coronation of Barack Obama as the democrat nominee and the possible future that represents. Obama talks literally in collectivist terms. It's a future where the government controls every part of your life, from cradle to grave. To the socialists and communists, this is music to their ears. But while I am on this talk of David Brooks, collectivism, and China, lets look at some facts. I would ask David Brooks how collectivism worked out for Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and the millions of other Russians that died or were imprisoned in the gulag archipelago. I wonder how collectivism was such a great thing for the thousands of people that were killed in Tiananmen Square, their bones crushed into the pavement by the tanks, their blood paving the way for Brooks’ collectivist utopian China. Lets talk about Stalin, and the millions of people he had killed; so many that the number may never be known, but it is in the tens of millions for sure. Brooks’ opposition to an individualistic society is based on the assumption that it is an illusion. The inescapable fact that even Brooks cannot escape is that individualist societies do better economically. The reason for this is that anyone can make it if they work hard. Expectations can be set high. May be the underlying reason he sees harmony in collectivism is that it destroys the individual and causes people to have low expectations. People living under such conditions do so without a lot of hope. Couple this with the nihilistic materialism that exists in such cultures, the totalitarian regimes, one can understand the low expectations and “harmony” that exist. I would also posit that if such collectivist harmony is such a great thing, then why do people flock here? I see no one flocking to China. It’s simple: the Chinese are not free. No matter the economic success China makes, it will be on backs of those in veritable peonage. Mr. Brooks, let me tell you a little secret. People want to be free. Free to believe what they want, free to say what they want, free to do as they want, free from the government killing them if they disagree, or possibly worse, being re-educated and shipped off to the far ends of the country. I would bet my life savings that if all Chinese people saw how people lived in the US, I bet they’d rather live here too. What isn’t an illusion Mr. Brooks, is that you would have us emulate their collectivism, which is conformity at any cost. The price we would pay is incalculable.