Like a wily serpent lurking in the dark corners of unsuspecting places waiting to strike, so is the personality of the collectivist mind that is rotting America both socially and economically. Those of a conservative or libertarian mind are aware and on guard for the frontal attack of this beast when it tries to strike using direct government schemes and programs. And we are aware of how the entitlement programs and welfare state are a direct assault on the American philosophy of individual liberty and free market capitalism. But what if this snake is attacking us from dark corners that go unnoticed?
Let’s take two big issues, health care and long term financial security or retirement funding. These are two of the biggest issues we face as people, because they are critical and significant areas of life that concern everyone. For a long time we’ve had social security, Medicare and Medicaid crammed down our throats and washed down by some liberal progressive dogma, and are now told that two of the biggest concerns we face in our lives are no longer a concern because big brother has our back. Well the bill is coming due on this scheme, and it’s coming due on state and local government pension promises. It came due in the private sector with companies like GM, which was being crushed under an unsustainable health care and union pension system until we bailed them out. And it’s going to come due at your company soon, at least as it relates to your healthcare, because prices cannot continue to exponentially go up and companies be expected to pay.
The issue lost in the rhetoric of the traditional left/right argument is not about circumstances and poor people, but rather one of philosophy. Collective systems operate on a kind of “parent-child” philosophy. Citizens are told they are children who cannot take full responsibility for themselves and instead are taught to rely on their parents. Bureaucratic systems take care of them, decide the right choices for them, and always tell them that the system has their best interests at heart. The parent tells the child that they can’t be trusted. That the enemy out there will not protect their future but destroy their future. To the collective the enemy is the individual. And the individual is you! What has happened to the responsibility and empowerment of “doing it yourself”? We are not children and the parental control system is not taking care of us!
The supposed benefits of collective parenting are based on massive superstructures that make most of the choices we as individuals should be making. The collective program then buries our potential individual participation under stifling layers of further bureaucracy. For example, why should the job I choose to have and the place I choose to live dictate my healthcare plan or my retirement plan? Our individual choice is eradicated by a system that stamps these very important personal decisions into a collective mold.
In the New Deal and Great Society progressive view point of the world, this idea of socializing benefits has grabbed hold in a tremendous way. Their dream of course is that grandiose one of universal single payer centralized benefits. The central government would be the sole provider of medical care, retirement, education and all the other highly used basics of all individuals. That is one massive den of snake creeping darkness.
Consider the qualitative incentives placed upon collective work place benefits. You cannot set up a pension or 401k for yourself with remotely the same level of tax benefits you get by doing it through your company. It is the same case with your health care. These qualitative incentives charge your employer with being responsible for your long term financial security and your health care. Think about that for a second. Apple is great at making electronics, but why would you want your tech company managing your present and future health and retirement security? It makes no sense that those things are tied together. Look no further as to how wrong this system can go than GM or Chrysler.
The work place benefits system not only undermines the basic market concept of the end user being the purchaser of a product, but also advances something much more nefarious: the softening of our free minds and individual spirits to the collectivist ideology.
Think about the inherent basic philosophical difference between someone who sees that the best is achieved through maximum individual liberty versus someone who sees the group as the subject to be celebrated. Maintaining individualism doesn’t mean you can never be a part of a group, but it means that your groups should be voluntary and should be focused on a singular mission.
Over the last 100 years of progressivism the individualistic spirit has been systematically destroyed not just directly by government but indirectly through soft kill methods that are purposefully kept hidden by the collective system. Perhaps the most egregious example of this is seen in our current banking system. Once bifurcated and individually responsible, the bank collective has been tied together into a corporate super structure centralized by the Federal Reserve System. Where do you think systemic risk came from? I mean what idiot ties the entire financial system together so that if you go down, I go down; and if you and I go down then all our neighbors go down too? And now individuals who once had common sense and a spirit of liberty look at this mess of destruction and argue all day that this is the way America needs to be. Really? Collective thinking Americans need to wake up!
Free market individualism has brought more wealth and prosperity to more people than anything ever created. “Free market” just means that each actor in the market place is conducting commerce for their self interest. The only role the government even has in this is protecting property rights and punishing fraud. The idea that we are one mass economy that the government can manipulate into becoming prosperous again is just more collectivist spew. They can do nothing to help, but get out of the way. We are not one giant economy but rather millions of small economies, individual economies if you like, that find spontaneous order in the chaos to increase wealth and prosperity for the many.
If we want Life, Liberty and the pursuit of our happiness in health and financial security, then we need to get back to doing things ourselves. I want my job to pay me for the work I am hired to do. I do not need them to do anything else like help me choose a dentist. I want my government to do the job they are hired to do, which is laid out in our Constitution. They shouldn’t run our banks or provide our healthcare. They don’t need to centrally plan the economy or set up a collective retirement program. What they need to do, all they need to do, is to make sure our property and our liberties are protected. What do you think is the actual purpose of our national defense? It’s to make sure no one outside our borders comes to take our property and our liberty.
More than ever, and now not later, America needs to take a wholesale look at the philosophy behind the systems we have in this nation today and ask ourselves, “Are we paying attention to the dark places?” In all the loud mouth rhetoric and political stumping, have we forgotten that behind the lights and personal pork, there is a wicked snake slithering about the darkness? We need to shine a light on this snake and become a people of a different collective, a people who collectively take responsibility for our individual liberty by doing things again for ourselves. Don’t be afraid of responsibility. Embrace it. It’s what made this country great, and what will save this country for the future.