This is a huge subject, and one of the most deadly threats to Natural Rights, Natural Law and the Social Contract. In fact, it could be argued that the notion of the collective is the negation of the individual. Eventually, there will be many sub-posts written in addition to this one, and you will be able to find them by scrolling down the “Enemies of Liberty” tab at the top of this page until you come to this post, then hovering over it with your curser until the sub posts appear to the right of this post’s listing in that tab. But, for now, this post will focus on the central threat in every form of collectivization.
First, we need to understand that the collective is an artificial creation. It exists nowhere in nature; it only exists in the human mind. In short, the collective is a figment of our imagination. Unfortunately, because of the way humans think, the notion of the collective is a powerful deception that carries great weight in our reasoning and, even when we are aware of the threat it poses, can deceive us into believing things that are not true. Some examples:
Someone might say that a beehive is a collective, but it isn’t. It is a form of tyranny. There is a queen directing everything in the hive, and those things done by the individual bees that are not directed by the queen are done as a matter of instinct. This is why the worker bees are called drones: they might as well be machines for all the liberty they have. Yet, the hive is not the queen’s body, nor does every bee within it think and act as one organism. It is still a collection of individual organisms working toward a common goal where the only choice rests with the dictator (i.e. queen). This applies to ant nests and termite colonies, as well.
Similarly, a school of fish or a flock of birds is nothing more than a collection of individual organisms acting in concert. What’s more, modern biologists have discovered that there are leaders within the school and the flock. It’s just that the leadership role passes from individual fish or bird to the next so quickly that it gives the impression that the school or flock is moving as though it were of one mind. As yet, biologists have not determined how the leadership role is passed from animal to animal, but this doesn’t matter: the fact that there is a leader places the school or flock in the same category as the bee hive – with one exception. Unlike the hive, the individuals within a school of fish or a flock are free to leave the group and function independently from the rest. Nor do they even have to return to survive. This demonstration of individual will becomes more and more apparent as the individual organism climbs the evolutionary ladder until, when we reach humans, we find that any attempt to function by a collective will must be forced on the individuals within the given group.
Once we understand that the collective does not exist, we need to understand how and why the idea of the collective is a violation of Natural Law. We start by looking at the actual definition of the word collective:
1: denoting a number of persons or things considered as one group or whole <flock is a collective word>
b of a fruit : multiple
3a : of, relating to, or being a group of individuals
b : involving all members of a group as distinct from its individuals <a collective action>
4: marked by similarity among or with the members of a group
6: shared or assumed by all members of the group <collective responsibility>
From here, if you have been following my series on Natural Rights and Natural Law, you should be able to see that the notion of the collective violates the Natural Right of individual will. By treating a group of individuals as one being or one entity, the collective destroys the individual. It is a form of slavery, and slavery is among the most egregious of all possible violations of Natural Law. It falls just short of murder. This is also why the collective must always be enforced by a central authority — because there are always individuals within every collective who refuse to submit their Natural Right to free will to the central authority trying to enslave them. If the individuals resisting are strong enough to threaten the control of the central authority, eventually, the central authority either has to accept the disruption they cause to the collective or it has to kill those who resist. Force is the only way the collective can be maintained in a human society. All we need to do to confirm this conclusion is to look to history. When we look to the historic examples of the collective, we find that this pattern inevitably repeats itself.
This is why, whenever we hear anyone talking in terms of “It’s for the good the common good,” it should sound alarm bells in our mind. Anyone who speaks in terms of the collective is advocating the group over the individual. Now, there are a few circumstances where cooperative effort is preferable to individual efforts, but we must understand the difference between the cooperative and the collective. They are not the same, but, if we do not know the difference, we can and will be seduced by the notion of the collective and it will lead to the destruction of our individual rights and liberty.
SEE ALSO: The Collective vs. the Cooperative