Monday, July 6, 2009

Deſire and Diſsent

Why do collectivists seem to hate individualists so much? Amidst the ongoing debate, a strange paradox has emerged. Collectivists, whom constantly tout their progressive thought, which has a central philosophy of acceptance and diversity, seem to have an absolute intolerance, prejudice, and even hatred toward individualists. I personally have found this emotion so strong that it prevents an otherwise rational person from engaging in meaningful discussion about their philosophy. It seems that as soon as Lockean philosophy becomes apparent, emotional walls silence meaningful debate, and conversation degrades to ridicule. This tendency has become so pervasive that it appears in popular media, and news outlets, and has become an effective bar against meaningful debate from the halls of Congress to the streets of the Republic. While I assume that many, if not most, collectivists I encounter do want a better humanity, the same cordiality is not returned. In the interest of advancing open discourse I’ve sought to unravel this problem. Many thanks to Robin, whose openness has helped to greatly refine my knowledge of collectivist thought.
As I pulled the necessary philosophical references, I quickly found myself fully embroiled in an argument thousands of years old; Politics arguing with The Republic; Communist Manifesto arguing with Two Treatises of Government arguing with Utopia. Within the philosophers pages I think I have found my answer, and it comes in two parts, desire and dissent.
Within the individualist philosophy lies a hope for the future. It surmises that philosophically man is incomplete but that he can improve. That a better future is possible as not only mankind’s expanse of knowledge widens, but also as we, as individuals, evolve in thought and manner to higher understandings. It harnesses man’s innate individuality as a driving force not only for individual growth, but also as a source of uniqueness for truly new thought and ideas while desire becomes the motivational force for societal growth. The progress of society is dependant on a diverse spectrum of new ideas and points of view and the ambition to see them realized. Diversity of thought and desire are not only wanted but needed.
The collectivist Utopia however takes a radically different approach. It sees human desire in a far dimmer light, and essentially personal desires are either animalistic in nature or a result of pride, arrogance, or greed. This demonization of desire places human uniqueness at odds with society. For once all animal requirements are met by food, water, clothing and adequate shelter, and fear from want eliminated by assurances of future yield, human’s should then have no other desire other than service to the society which provides for them. Other desires, personal interests and the like, are again pride, arrogance, greed. This system of collectivism not only wants but requires homogenization of thought. Dissent from the collective harms it and can destroy it. So in both philosophical model and in practical application we see the totalitarian hallmark as collectivism evolves mechanisms to homogenize thought and silence dissent. Plato proposed censorship, strict control of education, dissolving the family structure, and execution of those with an “evil soul”, to practically deal with uniqueness. More’s Utopia simply ignores the idea of dissenting from his perfection by the rational person, controls advanced education by only offering it to the selected few chosen to govern, demonizes desire, and regulates all who don’t follow his society’s rules as criminals and therefore slaves. Marx too ignores rational dissent, focusing only on forcefully deposing the upper class whose only protest again originates from greed. The philosophers here seem to have a common point; rational dissent to their vision of the perfect society is not conceivable.
Here is displayed the source of the problem, once collectivism is explained, in the mind of the collectivist, the only possible dissent stems from greed or fear due to lack of understanding. Since the system of collectivism cannot tolerate dissent, this sinful self interest is actually standing in the way of a successful society. Dissenters from collective thought, through their own selfishness or ignorance, prevent a better world. In effect collectivism supports diversity in every superficial way while discouraging the one way that really counts, diversity of thought; mankind’s great free will, now his greatest enemy. As if we could un-eat the apple and return to ignorant bliss.
This outlook allows collectivists to dehumanize individualists as persons, justifies their scorn, hatred, intellectual elitism, and every other immoral act they take to silence our arguments. They view us only as base animals, stupid, fearing, greedy, deserving only to be herded for our own good and the betterment of society; A barking dog standing in their way, treated with no less caution, and no more respect.
So with the issue exposed what is the remedy? My best prescription is the last thing in the box. As individualists, we must regain our humanity by clearly showing that we too want a better future for everyone, and that we too have a philosophy and a plan that leads to a better tomorrow. However, unlike our censurers, we don’t believe we need to leave what makes us human on the shores. We believe every individual, their uniqueness, their imagination, their passion, can help us get there, with just some freedom and time. Desire itself is no inherent evil, in fact, it’s the stuff that dreams are made of.
…We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.-WS