Collectivist Revivalism and the New Attack on Liberty

America and some other parts of the world are facing a “revivalist” movement, but rather than being a religious revival, it is an ideological revivalism calling for a turn away from freedom and the open society, and back to an earlier societal tribalism and tyranny.

It cuts across the usual political spectrum because what one finds is a common faith in political and economic collectivism, but a common faith that is divided up into several “denominations,” each of them asserting that it is the one true and good collectivism. But all are united in a condemnation of and opposition to free market liberalism, with its dedication to and respect for the individual to peacefully live his own life in voluntary association with his fellows for mutual benefit and betterment.

The ideological denominations under the general collectivist calling include old-fashioned Marxists, reborn democratic socialists, paternalist progressives, traditional and neo-nationalists, “Make America Great Again” mercantilists, race-conscious tribalists, and Earth-worshiping environmentalists who seem to value all living things except man.

Combined, these collectivist charges add up to a worrisome and potentially dangerous threat to what has been generally understood as the free society, over especially the last three hundred years or so. All these collectivists view themselves in their own different ways as “progressives,” with government plans to make the world a better place for all.

But what they really represent, I would suggest, is a call for a return to variations on the older system of social order before the rise of (classical) liberal thought and policy that ran through the 18th and 19th centuries, and even into the 20 century. These collectivists are all, in fact, counter-revolutionaries – since certainly the idea that individuals should be free to control and direct their own lives in peaceful cooperation with others through free market transactions and the voluntary arrangements of the institutions of civil society was profoundly revolutionary.

Our “progressive” collectivists, therefore, should be considered, instead, as “regressivists,” wishing to return to atavistic conceptions of group control and command over all that the individual does, in his personal, social and economic affairs.

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