Today, I discuss how to avoid becoming a collectivist.
Table of Contents
- What Is Collectivism?
- Why Should Collectivism Be Fought?
- How To Avoid Becoming A Collectivist
- Become an Individualist and Reject Collectivism
What Is Collectivism?
“Human beings are born with different capacities. If they are free, they are not equal. And if they are equal, they are not free.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Collectivism is “the practice or principle of giving a group priority over each individual in it.”
Politically, collectivism is expressed through nationalism, socialism, communism, and fascism. These political, philosophical, and economic ideologies place the wants of the many over the needs of the few. The results are always deadly.
Collectivism, as a personal philosophy, is deterministic and life-rejecting. By focusing on race, national creed, gender, culture class, and other arbitrary traits, collectivism encourages believers to obsess over what is uncontrollable. This obsession leads to resentment and entitlement as collectivists demand from others what collectivists refuse to earn themselves.
In short, collectivism answers the question: “How does one live a good life?” with the answer: “Through the actions and resources of others.”
Why Should Collectivism Be Fought?
On the macro scale, collectivism justifies the violence and greed of the mob. When the mob believes it is owed something, it will imprison innocents, burn down businesses, wreck economies, and destroy everything in its path.
On the micro-level, collectivism allows weak individuals to justify their vices because of arbitrary reasons. A collectivist can hurt others because he is a part of an “oppressed group.” Or, he can feign superiority because of the location of his birth or the color of his skin.
These macro and micro justifications culminate in what we now have: a hedonistic culture of individuals hating others for pointless reasons. When individuals justify their selfishness, greed, and short-sightedness, you get more vice. Individuals held to the standard of arbitrary terms have no incentive to improve themselves. They are already great, and their actions are excused because of country, skin tone, gender, sexuality, and so on.
In such a culture, where no one is held to a universal standard, and we are all judged for reasons we cannot maintain or control, what else can we achieve but mayhem, abuse, and mediocrity?
Why Should You Avoid Becoming A Collectivist?
Firstly, collectivism is evil. If you blindly support the screeching of your arbitrary tribe, then you will join the mob in hurting the vulnerable, innocent, and productive. You’ll be another brute, and once you’ve served your purpose, the ruling classes will dispose of you.
Secondly, collectivism will not improve you. The collectivist believes his membership within a particular tribe excuses him from self-improvement and growth. When you, your philosophy, and your community are not challenging, you become stagnant. Stagnant individuals are useless to virtuous causes and communities, but useful for abusers, tyrants, and rioters.
Lastly, your arbitrary tribe will not care about you. You build loyalty on the back of what is virtuous, not what is incidental. This is why so many collectivists will gladly hurt each other internally. They only show loyalty when challenged externally. If you want a community to support you during the worst times, find virtuous individuals. Do not base your commitment on what is arbitrary, like race or gender, because such loyalty is always fleeting.
How To Avoid Becoming A Collectivist
“Socialism is an alternative to capitalism as potassium cyanide is an alternative to water.” – Ludwig von Mises
At the core of collectivism is hatred – hatred of self, hatred of others, hatred of greatness. Therefore, the best way to repel collectivist thinking is to focus on self-improvement and virtue.
1) Let’s Start By Handling The Essentials
Collectivists do not like responsibility. They prefer to avoid their duties by embracing the tribe to excuse their shortcomings. Collectivists wish to get lost in the crowd instead of being judged by their actions.
Therefore, handle your responsibilities: take care of your family and friends; do well at your job, even if you despise it; take care of your health. When you handle your responsibilities, you will feel empowered and capable. Empowered and skilled people who value what they have are less likely to hand everything over to the state, elites, and masses.
2) Stop comparing yourself to others
Collectivists always compare themselves to those around them. The reason for this is to feed their envy. Feeding their envy justifies their anger and resentment. Additionally, their obsession with others ensures they are always externally focused instead of internally motivated.
Therefore, compete with yourself. Set a goal, then track your progress. Compare your results today to who you were yesterday. From there, build a community of people who are invested in your growth and virtue. Avoid envy by working hard.
If you do not envy others, you won’t join the mob in attacking the virtuous.
3) Embrace What Is Earned
“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” – Frédéric Bastiat
Collectivists do not care about abstract things that promote virtue: family, hard work, faith, accomplishment, and so on. They have no love for virtue, which is earned and cultivated. Collectivists despise hard work and embrace what gives them value with little cost to themselves.
If you orient your life towards what is earned, sustainable, and virtuous, you can prevent yourself from valuing group identity or becoming another consumerist. Earning what you have and embracing what is chosen prevents your internal decay. Focus on the virtuous relationships you have built, the skills you have acquired, and the good decisions you have made instead of your race, social class, or other arbitrary indicators of your “identity.”
Become an Individualist and Reject Collectivism
Collectivism is a disease. Once it infects you, you will seek the destruction of those around you as you slowly die from inertia, arrogance, and uselessness.
Avoid this fate. Embrace virtue by culling the worst aspects of your character and aligning your actions toward what is good and sustainable. Focus on earning the loyalty of virtuous individuals. See ethics and morals as universal instead of subjective.
Become an individual and avoid being another cog in the machine crushing the virtuous, innocent, and vulnerable.
“The fact that so many successful politicians are such shameless liars is not only a reflection on them, it is also a reflection on us. When the people want the impossible, only liars can satisfy.” – Thomas Sowell
- What collectives are you a part of? Which gender, race, ethnicity, nation, and so on are you a part of that you didn’t choose? What are your opinions of your involuntary “community.”
- Which parts of your identity do you value? What do you have to earn or do to maintain this aspect of your identity?
- Which virtue is most challenging for your to exercise? Why? What can you do to improve your practicing of this virtue?
- What’s a group of people you don’t like? Why don’t you like them?
- What’s one thing today that you’ve improved upon since a few days ago? What progress have you made in this aspect of your life?
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.