The Santa Ana Sentinel

The Fallacy of Egalitarian Collectivism in the Information Age

Posted in The Santa Ana Sentinel by J. González Solorio on January 27, 2012

Isolation from the ‘rest of the world’, or from those not in your immediate region is not necessarily one which is a direct cause of ignorance. More fittingly, a sincerely vast legion of ignorance can be said to have developed over the past century, as a direct consequence of the Second Industrial Revolution, which resulted in the emergence of mass production. This shifted our focus, as human beings, from a need-based and more unselfish existence—that was guided by virtue and valued timeless ideals, to a materialistic and egotistical existence—that is guided by unbridled whims and whose conscience is fickle and superficial. Man began his descent to machine, the human being became a commodity, en route to ‘the bottom line’.

Tribes and peoples living in relative peace and harmony in collectivist communities around the world have been slowly, but surely pulled out of their more natural environments and driven to migrate to noisy, polluted, and increasingly crime-ridden cities, simply to survive, and we’ve lost the connection to the earth we once possessed, seeing the earth instead as the corporation sees each of us—just another commodity.

The values collectivist communities existed under before the birth of mass production—cooperation, sharing, and common ownership of most, if not all, property—worked remarkably well in those tight-knit communities, but these very ideals have proven unfit to work on the larger world scale. The global perspective we’re able to incorporate into our overall relationship with humanity and with the planet itself has come about by way of the nearly instantaneous communication capabilities now available to us. The technology available to us allows us to gain a truer and richer awareness of our planet, and enables those of us wanting to lend help to our fellow human beings to do so, whether they are on the other side of the world, or on the other side of town.  It is people, as free individuals, which do the most to help those in need of help.  It is the intrinsic freedom within us that drives us to think of others, and that inspires us to volunteer, to donate, and to offer our time, energy, and attention to those causes which we, as individuals, see as important and which we seek to do something about.

Government’s perpetual plea for more funding and more bureaucracy and its desire to nearly forcibly enter new avenues of our lives each day is persistent and seemingly always on-going.  Big government always seems to have noble and altruistic motives for wanting to expand, for wanting to regulate, and for wanting nearly or entirely monopolistic exclusivity to matters it deems important.  The matters big government believes are important become more questionable as time passes and the encroachment of more of our liberty is an almost mandatory side effect we’re left to deal with.  It is why one must approach the prospect of government desiring and attaining an increasingly parental role in our lives with a sufficient level of skepticism, that will allow us to objectively seek what motive/s drive government to seek growth as an institution.

The noble values inherent in the collectivism of small, tight-knit communities and villages worked in a time when man was equally subject to the perils of nature, and which relied on selfless cooperation amongst all in a village or community. There were no advantages available to some that weren’t available to others. It is much different in our day, these very ideals unfailingly become corrupted, by those with advantage, by those with power, by those with a mind that thinks defending the downtrodden is perhaps the most brilliant marketing angle yet, one  simply awaiting exploitation. It is extremely easy for a government agency or official to acquire the public’s consent on most issues.  All that’s been needed for decades is for some slick and clever rhetoric to be spouted at ‘A’ and ‘B’ speeches, which is, without fail, conveniently converted into often misleading soundbites, that ignore some facts, spin others, and that misrepresent the rest. It’s no mere coincidence that leaders who most fervently tout collectivist and egalitarian policies are many times amongst the wealthiest in society.

As William Jennings Bryan said very long ago, ‘No one can earn a million dollars honestly.’  A million dollars is much easier to accumulate honestly these days, but I am a firm believer in the general message inherent in that thought.  The great majority of those who become the wealthiest individuals among us—the millionaires, and, in our day, the droves of billionaires in existence—have likely had at very least some advantages to start with, which eased their ascension.  More often, their rise has been the direct result of sometimes or always utilizing others as tools or stepping stones, simply as the means to their ends. It is no secret that politicians are often part of this group, usually coming from backgrounds in law or business, or entering the government bureaucracy from an early age. Their business, as public officials, is one of public display, of always, without fail, painting a favorable and altruistic picture for his or her constituents to associate with their views, their platform, and themselves, which is no different than what it is they do as attorneys, as business executives, or as lifetime bureaucrats.  Diverting, ignoring, embellishing, downplaying, overplaying, and opting not to comment is what most politicians do.  This fact should ring with realization for anyone that cares to take it to mind.  Accordingly, any public official in office should be given that outmost trust that is granted to your run-of-the-mill CEO who heads a large transnational conglomerate corporation, or the trust you offer the attorney giving chase to that ambulance, as it speeds by.

The task of looking out for the less fortunate and of standing up for the misrepresented is a tough and noble one, but it is does not belong to the government.  The defense of the downtrodden becomes just one more guise for big government to utilize, and its citizens become commodities to exploit for its own gain.

Government forcibly insisting on taking on the task of supposedly helping to combat the ills and misfortunes of society becomes counterproductive in its very nature, since those very ills and misfortunes we suffer as a society are many times due to excessive government, by too much intervention in our affairs. Give me a government that claims to be out to cure the inequality in society and out to cure each and every ill in that society, and I’ll give you a government that seeks to grow, that seeks a population that is dependent on its help, and that seeks its own indefinite longevity. This type of government is not nobly guided by altruistic convictions, as it would like its citizens to believe, but rather by its thirst for power. Citizens of a nation are seduced into surrendering their autonomy, and often their liberty, in exchange for whatever token commodity or alleged service their government decides to seduce them with—safer drinking water, cleaner air, cheaper health care, etc. What’s often excluded from the conversation is that big government is able to provide those programs and services aimed to specifically combat some societal ill only by further indebting its citizens, which basically fastens the harness around the necks of those citizens, who then have no viable choice but to remain reliant on that government. It is not until big government has peered its head into just about every aspect of its citizens’ lives that those citizens come to the realization that big government will not be leaving, and that they themselves were the ones who invited and allowed government to enter their quarters.

It is by these means that government expands and becomes a force to be reckoned with. Big government becomes no different than a large conglomerate corporation, and we become its subservient employees, rather than the other way around. Both big government and the large conglomerate have a tendency to amass increasingly commanding levels of power and influence, and both become increasingly inaccessible to its citizens/employees.

The recurring answer given to each and every new ill that pops up in a country under the rule of big government is: more laws, and more government. It is indeed a pre-meditated, self-perpetuating pretext, that may well solve some issues afflicting a society, momentarily, but at what cost? A society that invites and allows big government to overregulate and dictate what is best for them and that grants big government the authority to protect individuals from themselves is a society that has lent entirely too much trust to its government, which is, in reality, just another corporation—shrouded with the same secrecy, replete with the same self-perpetuating goals, and identically and unequivocally out to make a buck—just like the largest conglomerate corporations.

J. González Solorio

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4 Responses

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  1. Omar Ávalos Gallegos said, on January 28, 2012 at 2:03 am

    “Isolation from the ‘rest of the world’, or from those not in your immediate region is not necessarily one which is a direct cause of ignorance.”

    No, maybe not innocent ignorance, but a willful type, which is worse.

    “The global perspective we’re able to incorporate into our overall relationship with humanity and with the planet itself has come about by way of the nearly instantaneous communication capabilities now available to us. The technology available to us allows us to gain a truer and richer awareness of our planet, and enables those of us wanting to lend help to our fellow human beings to do so, whether they are on the other side of the world, or on the other side of town.”

    Yeah, I’ve heard this one before. Some guy asks, “What do you think about what’s going on in Chiapas and in Africa?” And I counter with, “What’s going on in your own community???” Drop outs, crime, apathy when it comes to taking the reigns of your own community through business, etc.” How can this be corrected?

    “It is why one must approach the prospect of government desiring and attaining an increasingly parental role in our lives with a sufficient level of skepticism, that will allow us to objectively seek what motive/s drive government to seek growth as an institution.”

    There’s ‘sufficient’ and there’s overkill, and regulation IS needed. We can start with setting non-fluctuating interest rates on mortgages and taxing the rich instead of allowing them to squeal away through the ending of capital gains taxes.

    “The great majority of those who become the wealthiest individuals among us—the millionaires, and, in our day, the droves of billionaires in existence—have likely had at very least some advantages to start with, which eased their ascension. More often, their rise has been the direct result of sometimes or always utilizing others as tools or stepping stones, simply as the means to their ends. It is no secret that politicians are often part of this group, usually coming from backgrounds in law or business, or entering the government bureaucracy from an early age.”

    This fittingly describes the Republican party and the young George W. and Rand Paul.

    “The task of looking out for the less fortunate and of standing up for the misrepresented is a tough and noble one, but it is does not belong to the government. The defense of the downtrodden becomes just one more guise for big government to utilize, and its citizens become commodities to exploit for its own gain.”

    It may not be exclusively government’s responsibility but it doesn’t hurt to have assistance either. The rest of the world gets it, but, in this country some politicians are ‘in bed’ with the health sector lobby, and no one does non-regulation of the free market better than republicans.

    “Government forcibly insisting on taking on the task of supposedly helping to combat the ills and misfortunes of society becomes counterproductive in its very nature, since those very ills and misfortunes we suffer as a society are many times due to excessive government, by too much intervention in our affairs.”

    —WTF? I’m reminded of a chat with another person who holds a similar view. And, we must remember that it is always and undoubtedly government that puts ills like cancer, AIDS, or you name it, amongst the masses for population control. LOL. Government put polio there, fluoride or what have you.

    “Citizens of a nation are seduced into surrendering their autonomy, and often their liberty, in exchange for whatever token commodity or alleged service their government decides to seduce them with—safer drinking water, cleaner air, cheaper health care, etc. What’s often excluded from the conversation is that big government is able to provide those programs and services aimed to specifically combat some societal ill only by further indebting its citizens, which basically fastens the harness around the necks of those citizens, who then have no viable choice but to remain reliant on that government.”

    Again, people will always need assistance. People currently do. This defense only serves those with enough money to not worry about whether or not they have healthcare.

    “A society that invites and allows “big government” to over regulate and dictate what is best for them and that grants big government the authority to protect individuals from themselves is a society that has lent entirely too much trust to its government, which is, in reality, just another corporation—shrouded with the same secrecy, replete with the same self-perpetuating goals, and identically and unequivocally out to make a buck—just like the largest conglomerate corporations.”

    What else is new? Where in the world does this not happen? Governments tax and regulate, hopefully, for the better. They always have and they always will. Why is today any different?

  2. J. González Solorio said, on January 28, 2012 at 7:59 am

    I feel the very nature of liberty is the right for anyone to associate or not associate with any other individual or group they don’t want to associate with, and that should include businesses who want to exercise that right. Legislation seeking to force a private business or citizen to interact with, do business with, or which requires a private business to grant membership to citizens or groups they do not wish to grant membership to is faulty and will do nothing more than add fuel to the fire. This right to refuse service to anyone should obviously not apply at any government building or in hiring, though I’ve always felt it’s difficult to prove such discrimination has occurred. I feel more effective and longer-lasting effect can be obtained by means of public outcry in the form of protests and boycotts by groups of citizens who wish to influence these businesses into changing their policy. There is true power in the hands of the consumer, and were we in a free market system, that power would even more pronounced.

    In reference to my comment on millionaires/billionaires, I wasn’t necessarily critiquing individuals born into wealthier families, they have no choice on the matter. It was a lead-in into my real point, which is that public officials, much like attorneys, and business executives, are not exactly known for their honesty or straightforwardness at all times, and for that reason, it is crucial we are always questioning, and that we always maintain a level of skepticism it is our best ally in assuring government is serving us, rather than the other way around. Sometimes it may be in the sake of national security, but excluding those instances, and excluding light matters, I feel public officials are largely immune from true scrutiny, both from the media, and from the legal system, much like the legal system appears to cut breaks for celebrities in situations when regular everyday citizens would most likely be doing hard time. I’m simply shocked by the blind trust and loyalty many people grant a public official, even in the face of highly questionable behavior on their part, or, as politicians are prone to do, when they renege on promises made during their election campaigns. There always seems to be some pre-written excuse ready for use, that is available to them, and that is supposed to appease the public, who either forgives or forgets (often both) much too quickly.

    We’re simply going to disagree on the income tax, we don’t see eye-to-eye on that issue. Though I favor the end of the income tax, the reality is we have income tax and must therefore talk tax rates. One major benefit of the repeal of the income tax is that every citizen would have somewhere between 5 and 10 weeks of extra money in their pockets each year, and cuts in taxes for foreign companies transferring their operations to the United States would surely provide an onslaught of new factories domestically, and the availability of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of new jobs. The capital gains tax I’m more open about, I can see more logic in all aspects of that tax, so that point is negotiable.

    In regards to the global and community perspectives at our fingertips, it is one of the reasons I support states, counties, and cities being returned much of the power that was originally theirs. States calling attention to, requesting the return of, and choosing to exercise their state rights does not necessarily indicate a state is wanting to secede. It is one right a state is guaranteed, in the event that the federal government has chosen to stray from the parameters layed out by the Constitution, but states’ rights are one more measure that was set in place to counterbalance the power of the federal government, much like the federal government’s power was broken into the executive, legislative, and judicial. States have the obligation to take on federal government when it chooses to violate the Constitution, when it begins to strip rights which were delegated to the states, and when that federal government’s allegiance is no longer serving and representing the will of its citizens.

    The point about government entering more and more aspects of our life is based on the idea that a large portion of government is wasteful, especially during these hard times. Matters which are not of utter priority in this recession, or which simply have no business being under the jurisdiction of the federal government in the first place, need to go, we simply cannot afford the bells and whistles of our enormous bureaucracy right now, or at any time, really, if we wish to ever prosper. Again, I do not, and have not ever said I want the dissolution of all government agencies, but real cuts are needed, waste is rampant in the federal government. What I closed off the article with is the idea that government should not be growing each year. Yes, it should assist those it made a commitment to each time it withheld money from their paychecks or imposed a yearly tax of one sort or another on them. But many tasks the federal government is involved in can be streamlined or simply surrendered back to the public sector, the business community, or a combination of both.

    One crucial action that is needed for this is for us to regain control of our currency, which will herald the return of a truly free market, where consumers will again have the power to decide what companies and products are relevant and remain in business and which h ones are obsolete and will go out of business. I understand it cannot be done overnight, but the first step is a logical one—auditing The Fed, so we may have a true perspective on where we’re at right now, we can’t afford to continue living not knowing what our books look like, it is essential, just as it is essential that any business know where they stand regularly. From there, we can decide on a reasonable exit plan, so we may slowly begin to rid ourselves of that deceptive system which charges us interest from the second a note is printed, especially when you consider that money has no true value, it’s only The Fed’s word, which says it has value, which allows them to lend us non-existent funds and charge us very existent interest on that money. I feel this act alone would create waves of confidence in the dollar all over the world, and it would help unite this country again. We’d again share a common goal, and hope, the hope we’ve been lacking for the last decade.

    We, the consumers, will again get to determine value, in real money. This will give us immense power over the marketplace. We’ll be empowered to unite in groups and associations that can genuinely influence the private sector, both to inspire innovation, inspire better products, better service, and lower prices. The drop in prices would begin once the federal government decreases the amount of money being pumped into the endless bureaucracy. Prices for college and university, as well as the cost for health care, have a lot to do with the endless amounts of money pumped into those industries. This has the unavoidable effect of driving prices up in both industries, it’s inevitable. The more fiat money present in the flow, the less everyone’s money is worth, and colleges, universities, doctors, and hospitals have no choice but to drive up the prices, to stay in line with the inflation imposed by government’s intervention in those industries.

    I do not propose, nor have I ever proposed the complete dissolution of the federal government, but I do feel it is in dire need of a considerable reduction in size and of a detailed evaluation, to make it more cost-effective and to make re-organization possible, much like the evaluation of a company undertaken by independent consultants, who study the logistics and operations of that company to devise more efficient procedures, to design an effective and feasible re-organization strategy, and to make those difficult cuts that are absolutely necessary to assure the company’s survival, but this ‘company’, in our case, is our nation.

    (Notice, no personal attacks on any specific leader, I took a broad perspective, so we could try to debate the issues this time, free of names.) :)

  3. Omar Ávalos Gallegos said, on January 28, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    “Legislation seeking to force a private business or citizen to interact with, do business with, or which requires a private business to grant membership to citizens or groups they do not wish to grant membership to is faulty and will do nothing more than add fuel to the fire.”

    Taking your likening government with a for profit corporation, let’s look at the example of Arizona. No one is forcing another group of people (let’s say, whites), to take Mexican, Mexican-American / Chicano Studies in school. This is about allowing a group of people to exercise their right to institutionalize their history and culture into school curriculum. A study done at UCLA proposed that part of the solution to the high dropout rate in the Mexican-American community can come by including Mexican / Chicano topics in their educational process, to interest them and keep them engaged in their learning.

    Now, answer this: what incentive, what motivation will a kid have in his or her education if an insane law denying citizenship to a child born here of an undocumented parent is enacted? (A law proposed by Ron Paul, and very likely, will be taken up by his son, Rand). Envision this: No citizenship, nor the options to study his or her heritage in school. The Mexican culture is a dominant and influential one throughout the southwestern U.S. and beyond. Quacks in Arizona (Brewer and Tucson Unified) will not block out the sun with their finger. You cannot enforce a monocultural approach to the education of these kids on them. Thus far it has failed fantastically.

    An idea like denying citizenship to a child born here of undocumented parents is archaic. It is the dying wish of an old man hoping to recapture a time period gone for good.

    Using your argument, you might as well reverse Méndez vs Westminster and Brown vs the Board of Education, and reinstitute segregation. That would please Ron Paul & Co, giving him and his their much sought after “restoration” of this country.

  4. J. González Solorio said, on January 29, 2012 at 2:01 am

    I think the situation in Arizona is a separate issue. No one is being forced into anything, you’re right. I also pointed out that no such measures, like segregation, have any place in the public sector, in any government institution or building, so you’re right, no argument on that.

    I defend the right of anyone in the private sector, whether it’s a business or foundation of some sort, to specify who they do business with, or to focus on the needs and concerns of a specific social group, which can be focused on race, sex, sexual orientation, age, whatever, the private sector has that vested freedom, but of course, all laws, whether hate crimes, libel, etc. are still in effect.

    I feel there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, providing those business owners or organizations do not violate any laws in the process, that’s all. I do feel there does exist a certain type of bias in general, from a public scrutiny standpoint, when you look at the existence of an all African-American channel on cable television, whose entire platform is that—boldly expressed and promoted—and ponder what scrutiny and certain backlash would be sure to come if such a thing as an ‘all-white’ channel were to make its way on the air. It is the right of any business owner, like a TV station owner, to develop such programming that is exclusive of groups, that caters specifically to a very specific section of the population. There is also a channel on cable whose entire platform is built upon the life and interests of the LGBT community. I feel we, as a community, in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, as is likely the case in many metropolitan areas around the country that are made of diverse populations, would quite likely condemn and be outraged were the creation of a cable network that built its platform on ‘all-white’ interests surface. I defend the right of those who may feel outraged to boycott or try to lead waves of resistance that aim to influence the creation of such a network, but in that case, as in any other, within the confines of the law. Hate crimes carried out by anyone outraged over the creation of an all-white network should also be held to all existing laws, and prosecuted, just as anyone else.

    I don’t disagree at all with the points you’ve made, but there is a difference between the public sector—public schools, police departments, fire departments, government buildings, etc. and the private sector, which has the right, should continue to have the right to select their customer base, and their focus. That’s all I’ve said. If that is thrown out the window, then networks like BET, Univision, and Logo have no way of surviving.


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