While many divisions within our society are arbitrary or engineered, there is one division that represents perhaps the most pervasive and important conflict of our time; the division between collectivists and individualists.
Now, people who do not understand the nature of collectivism will often argue that individualism and collectivism are not mutually exclusive because individuals require groups in order to survive and thrive. However, a “group” is not necessarily a collective.
For some reason the core fundamental of collectivism – the use of psychological coercion or physical force to compel participation – goes right over the heads of many skeptics. A group does not have to be collectivist. Any group can and should be voluntary. Collectivism is NOT voluntary. Therefore, collectivism and individualism are indeed mutually exclusive. Collectivists and individualists cannot exist in the same space at the same time without eventually coming into conflict. There is simply no way around it.
From the position of the liberty minded (or the average Libertarian), collectivism is by far the inferior of the two philosophies. Collectivists often boast of the social and economic “harmonization” collectivism creates, as well as the mobilization of labor to “streamline progress.” The reality is that artificially rigged harmony is no harmony at all. If people are forced to homogenize and get along through fear, then peace has not truly been accomplished.
Human beings must come to their own conclusions on cooperation and tolerance in their own time. They cannot be manipulated and shoehorned into a “utopian” framework. Problems will result, like genocide, which tends to erupt during almost every attempt at collectivist utopianism.
Economic harmonization is even less practical, with government force inevitably used to confiscate resources from one group to give to another group, essentially punishing success or frugality. This creates an environment in which achievement becomes less desirable.
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