The Fallacy of Egalitarian Collectivism in the Information Age
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