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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/6594/the-fallacy-of-collectivism/

The Fallacy of Collectivism

May 4, 2007 by

All varieties of collectivist creeds, wrote Ludwig von Mises, are united in their implacable hostility to the fundamental political institutions of the liberal system: majority rule, tolerance of dissenting views, freedom of thought, speech, and the press, equality of all men under the law. This collaboration of collectivist creeds in their attempts to destroy freedom has brought about the mistaken belief that the issue in present-day political antagonisms is individualism versus collectivism. In fact it is a struggle between individualism on the one hand and a multitude of collectivist sects on the other hand whose mutual hatred and hostility is no less ferocious than their abomination of the liberal system. FULL ARTICLE

{ 10 comments }

Christopher Hettinger May 4, 2007 at 6:31 pm

In spite of Mises, I have to disagree with the belief that majority rule is imperative for a free society. The vast “majority” of persons are more concerned with daily bread and what they believe is security–not what is, but what they believe is! Only a small minority actually have a vested interest in freedom! If the masses loved freedom so, how are the true liberal parties (not American liberal) failing in the elections ever since the adoption of universal suffrage?

You see, the old liberal fascination with democracy lead to the very establishment of totalitarianism. The idea that mass education would solve this problem is a fallacy… A cliched but by no means untrue statement is that the greatest case against democracy is a five minute chat with the man or woman on the street. Do not suggest that a private educational institution could do much better for these ignorant buffoons. A better solution would be to adopt the old Mandarin Chinese system of requiring all positions of power attainable only through rigorous trials of mind, spirit, and perhaps body.

Democracy is not the great path to freedom, the past 300 years show the great lie that it is.

Jason May 4, 2007 at 9:05 pm

An aparatus of coersion is not needed for freedom to prevail. People need only to have the moral fortitude to leave each other alone. Also, collectivist doctrines are not the ultimate problems, but only the desire to see others forced to comply. Any doctrine may be highjacked for this purpose, even the free market.

TLWP Sam May 5, 2007 at 12:51 am

It could be said that freedom is only attainable for those who live to seek it. I’m sure it’s been said somewhere around here (or some place similar) that an idyllic Libertarian society would be made up of self-employed business owners. However some people do not seek individualist empowerment but rather seek safety through others. In other words, a great many people seek employment through a business owner rather than take the responsibility for themselves. Hence a great people willingly give up freedom for security. Therefore in a theoretical Libertarian you’d really still see hierarchies. But is it as this point where such a society would have naturally rearranged itself to the point where those who have the most power ultimately are the ones who deserve it?

R. W. Wright May 5, 2007 at 10:39 am

I’m sure it’s been said somewhere around here that an idyllic Libertarian society would be made up of self-employed business owners.

It would require a great deal of ignorance to say such a thing.

…a great many people seek employment through a business owner rather than take the responsibility for themselves.

Yeah, it’s called “division of labor” and it’s of central importance to prosperity.

Hence a great [many] people willingly give up freedom for security.

You’re using an odd definition of freedom, and your concept of libertarianism is gravely distorted.

TLWP Sam May 5, 2007 at 10:28 pm

Well R. W. Wright:

1. I have found David Friedman has made a reference that ideally everyone would be self-employed sole proprietors.

2. No, because a person could be a self-employed mechanic or a mechanic employed by a business owner. By rights the employee should get less as he does not concern himself with the operations of the business and if he doesn’t then someone else has to. You know less risk = less reward?

3. No I based that usage on the Libertarianism definition where ‘freedom’ is defined as ‘absence of coercion’. And I’m sure many may agree that ‘security-seeking’ is a possible glue holding ‘States’ together, no?

TLWP Sam May 5, 2007 at 10:34 pm

Or at least for point 2, maybe ‘not necessarily’ would be a better term than ‘no’.

R. W. Wright May 6, 2007 at 11:14 am

To be honest, I haven’t seen much in the way of thoughtfulness in the writings of David Friedman, so I’m not terribly surprised.

I’m not seeing the connection of your points 2 and 3 to the conversation at hand; I’m missing something.

R. W. Wright May 6, 2007 at 11:20 am

I guess in #2 you might be saying that the mechanic is actually less prosperous under division of labor, but that’s plainly untrue.

As for #3… Are you saying that to be an employee is to be coerced? As for what holds a state together, in the end it is only the force of the state itself. If membership in a state were voluntary, I don’t think it would be called a “state.” For example, if a group of people willingly get together, financially or otherwise, for mutual security, they’re neither giving up freedom nor forming a state.

TLWP Sam May 6, 2007 at 8:38 pm

That reminds of a Homer Simpson saying: ‘it takes two to lie, one to lie and one to listen’. For someone to be successful through the path of aggression there must be at least one submissive person who gave him his sense of power. If someone tried to be aggressive to someone who was quick to fight back then that someone would learn fast that aggression doesn’t work and learn to be more civil. If someone were to theorise that all aggressive folk be rounded up and thrown into jail for abuse of society then they should also go around and round up all the submissive folk who gave the aggressor the positive feedback required for him to continue down that path.

mam May 9, 2007 at 6:55 pm

One only need to see what “democratization” did to Greece and then Rome to understand why our Founding Fathers feared democracy. That is why we are a republic.

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