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Collectivist Stooges Against Collectivism

May 1, 2009

A friend of mine hypothesizes our national weirdness is a throwback to our nation’s Puritan roots. At the time we were sunning ourselves out by the above ground, talking about the bizarre (to me) prohibition on the handful of words kids and people being broadcasted can’t say, but our national weirdness also accounts for a lot of other things, doesn’t it?

The word Socialism has all but become one of these prohibited words. It is spoken as invective and defended against as a deep personal affront. (Agi’s post and an ensuing comment from Snave grazed the topic yesterday.)

We hold personal responsibility as one of our greatest ideals. We run around this place crashing into one another like millions of individual sovereign isolationists. The sense we seem to have of another of our high ideals, equality, oddly manifests itself in anger directed at union workers for their ability to collectively extract more than their fair share(?!) out of the system.

Another article I read yesterday [H/T: Kung Fu Monkey] offers an explanation for this enmity toward collectivism. A reliance on “on knee-jerk blind faith” and anti-state sentiment born out of theological tradition:

[Italics in original.] The traditional idea of ancient churches (Orthodox and Roman Catholic) before the Reformation was a community of faith built around liturgical practices that could not be celebrated alone. It “took a village” to get saved, so to speak. Salvation was found in one’s relationship with one’s community and religious institutions closely tied to the well being of the state. Protestants said that all one needs is a “personal relationship with Jesus” and one’s personal interpretation of the Bible. This idea cut out the priest, tradition, bishop and hierarchy. It also gradually cut out the sense of obligation to—and connectedness with—one’s community.

[Killing the Buddha: It’s the Theology, Stupid <== Read the whole thing. It’s short!

But WE DON’T REJECT COLLECTIVISM. Us wage serfs live and breathe it every day. What is a company, after all, if not a group (tens, 100s, 1000s) of people working collectively toward a common goal?

So That the Boss Man Can Profit is kind of a fucked up goal, but there you have it.

Worker, you are not a rugged individual. You’re hardly a person. You, (and I,) are tools.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 1, 2009 6:41 AM

    Tools, yeah, yeah, tools, heh heh.

  2. May 1, 2009 6:51 AM

    Happy May Day, all you tools!
    Here’s a song for the occasion.

  3. May 1, 2009 7:04 AM

    fuck me. what a bleak post for May Day. i even set it up for a may day tie-in with that line about union workers, but it honestly didn’t even occur to me. “damn, montag, why do you have to be such a dick all the time?”

  4. May 1, 2009 7:19 AM

    What is a corporation, after all, if not a group (tens, 100s, 1000s) of people working collectively toward a common goal?
    I make that point routinely in response to people who mouth anti-union claptrap: Why is it perfectly in keeping with truth, justice and the American way for capitalists to organize, yet worker organization is a symptom of dangerous alien collectivist ideology? And why does the boss get to insist that workers stage a “secret ballot” before they organize, yet workers have no right to any voice at all in corporate mergers and acquisitions?

  5. May 4, 2009 12:03 PM

    sorry i didn’t reply earlier, eric, but i think it’s a function of money being more important than everything else. the boss man’s money beat’s the toil of your back every time.
    think of a big game of rock, paper, scissors where paper both covers rock and purchases scissors. and if rock ever decided to smash the scissors, paper would switch to Chinese or Indian rocks. or something like that. i haven’t worked all the kinks out of my metaphor yet.

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