The CollectivistSteven Lieberman
“How can you not be for reasonable, common sense restrictions?”
“Why does anyone need an AR-15?”
“The NRA is a bunch of domestic terrorists!”
“You right-wing Republican/Conservative [email protected]#hole…you are the problem!”
“My child’s right to live, outstrips your desire to play with dangerous toys.”
These are some of the responses to postings that I have seen on social media in recent days. Some of them have been directed to me. (I especially liked the one that suggested that I was a Republican Conservative. For the record… I consider myself a Classical Liberal… which, in modern parlance, would mean I am a Libertarian.)
The cacophony of anti-liberty rhetoric is rising to a level that I have never seen before, and it troubles me deeply.
Last week, throughout the country, thousands of high school children left their classes to march in favor of the State taking away their Constitutional rights.
Imagine the liberal intelligencia 40 years ago clamoring against civil rights!
So… what happened? What caused this visceral emotional response to law-abiding citizens exercising a fundamental right?
There are two intellectual camps that have formed in the United States over the last 30 years. Collectivists and Individualists. Individualism… the hallmark of Classical Liberalism is completely antithetical to the tenants of Collectivism. Collectivism requires a third party, though, to force compliance.
That third party would be the State.
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There are so many intersecting theories as to how Collectivism came to be a part of our national identity. We fought wars against Collectivism. Communism and Fascism are putative enemies of each other, but they both drink from the same well. The idea is that the State has ultimate power, and that subjects of the State exist solely for the benefit of the collective. Socialism… the springboard to Communism, has, as its basic tenant, a belief that is completely antithetical to a people who fundamentally rejected all semblance of slavery.
When we enacted the Thirteenth Amendment, we codified a belief that the individual was the most dignified political construct. Individuals have exclusive power over their own economic decisions. Labor, extracted by force or the threat of force, is the ultimate usurpation of the power of the State… yet it is the single most essential tenant of the Collectivist political systems.
If I am forced to believe dogma, to provide service to others, or to provide labor or property for another, I am a slave. When it is the State that dictates these acts, I am a no longer a citizen, I am a subject.
Political theory,… especially Classical Liberalism, and the foundations in limited government are no longer part of our national lexicon. This is no wonder, since our curriculum in universities and high schools is largely devoid of anything that challenges a collectivist world view.
Even victimology is predicated on collectivist mentality.
“I am a victim,” because of my associative construct. Language must be modified and adapted so as not to offend me. For offense is the only thing that binds me to my group. As such, I demand collective guilt amongst those that I perceive have “wronged” me. Since I have no direct evidence that a specific individual has acted in a manner that has caused me harm, I must, instead, rely on the fabricated construct that the assumed belief system of those who are different from me is manufactured for the singular purpose of collective victimization.
This is the height of arrogance. But it is an arrogance born of absolute necessity.
For without the belief that there is institutionalized antagonism towards the sub-collective… there is very little to rationalize the angst necessary to sustain it.
Individualism is entirely different.
Individualism celebrates diversity of the individual. In fact, that diversity is critical to economic expansion and growth.
It also is necessary to the growth of the polity.
Hegelian growth is based on the idea of an established thesis. We all accept a social order based on this thesis. Individualism breeds individual thought. From these independent thoughts comes a challenge to the thesis. This challenge is called an antithesis. That antithesis either has merit in the whole, or in part, and from this a new thesis emerges. This action is called synthesis. This is how history moves.
When the thesis becomes petrified and refuses to accept the possibility of fallibility, history stalls. Since the thesis has taken over controls of the State, the people naturally become enslaved to statist ideology, for the protection of the social order becomes paramount. Any thought that runs contrary becomes criminal.
Firearms have always been the ultimate symbolic expression of individualism.
That is why they are so contrary to the minds of a collectivist. They must rally the power of the State to ensure that Individualism is marginalized and controlled. It really is a zero-sum game. For each time the State asserts more control over the individual, Collectivism grows and Individualism is mitigated.
The Collectivists have demanded that we capitulate (yet again), and surrender our freedoms under the guise of “common sense” reforms. We are literally spent from the last 30 years of offering up our freedoms in the name of comity.
That stops now.
It is time for the Collectivists to begin to offer up concessions to us.
They must be the ones willing to expand (or rather return) our rights to keep and bear arms first. They must be the ones to articulate which regulations can be abandoned in order to ensure that individuals are secure in their Second Amendment rights.
Let them be the ones to propose abandoning the nonsensical magazine restrictions. The idiotic cosmetic “assault weapons” ban. Let them admit that the California Roster of Handguns serves no rational basis. Let them agree to national reciprocity. Then, and only then, may we consider specifically targeted restrictions that serve a compelling state interest, and have no less restrictive alternatives.