Collectivism and Objectivism

I am a fan and admirer of Ayn Rand, as much an admirer as one can be who thinks the object of his admiration is wrong and evil. I feel the same way about Thomas Hobbes, proponent of absolute government. He is wrong and evil, but he uses admirably precise logic to reach his wrong and evil conclusions.

Ayn Rand was an atheist, and rejected God with disgust. She was, however, a passionate adversary of all offshoots of Marxism and irrationalism. Hence, she was able to diagnose the disease of secular collectivism perfectly, but not see the related disease secular individualism infecting her.

I propose that the secularism is the problem, not the collectivism nor the individualism. The Body of Christ is a collective; pride is a sin, and the selfish self is quenched in the sea of Christ. But the Body of Christ is also individualistic, moreso that Objectivism could ever hope to be, since, grace perfects nature, ergo in Christ each individual is made more perfect, more distinct, more individual once the homogenizing stain of sin is washed away.

Communism is evil not because it is collective. It is evil because it is evil: it is the sin of envy.

Collectivism without envy is not evil. Monks in a monastery live as a collective, without money, without private property. But they put God before property, so they thrive. Communists want to be monks without being monks, worshipping and abstract concept of the proletariat, or the Aryans, one’s sexual misbehavior, as a tribal totem.

Objectivism is not evil because it is individualistic. It is evil because it is evil: it is the sin of pride.

Individualism without pride is not evil. Hermits live more individualistically than any human person, utterly alone, imposing on none, begging help from none, offering help to none. The the Hermit puts God before individual, and offers his social life as an act of sacrifice or penance, surrendering the joys and duties of social intercourse for the glory of God and a life of prayer. Objectivists want to be hermits without being hermits, to get the benefits of voluntary social obligations, while avoiding all involuntary ones.

The secularist cannot conceive of the two dimensions of a spiritual unity combined with an incarnate individualism. Secular thinking is able to imagine one-dimension only, i.e., the secular.

Hence the secular is presented with a paradox. Either he sees man combined by communal brotherhood into a unity, and avows collectivism, or he sees each man as collection of atomized strangers and competitors, and avows individualism. He cannot do both at once.

The secular collectivist thinks and moves and has his being in an entirely spiritual, that is, abstract milieu. This is why Marxists speak entirely in terms of classes, communities, stages of evolution, or other things have no material being nor solid reality.  They have no incarnated reality. Hence, nothing they say has anything to do with the real world.

The secular individualist, the Objectivist, thinks and moves and has his being in an entirely material milieu, concerned with abstractions only insofar as they lead to practical effects. Even concepts like honor or natural rights are not expressed in terms of being endowed by a Creator. Natural rights are merely an instrument for longevity, an abstraction adopted by convention because mutual cooperation has pragmatic survival value. If longevity prompted the dismissal rather than adoption of the convention of natural rights, by Objectivist logic, they must be dismissed. Such is the trap of not recognizing the incarnation of a spirit as being spiritual.

Objectivists have an admirable fealty to reason and pragmatism, and to related concepts like honor and heroism.

But they have no spiritual goals nor motives.

Even sacrifice for loved ones, mothers devoted to children, lover to beloved, soldiers to flags, Christians to Christ,  are scorned unless expressed in egotistic terms. To use a fictional example, it is allowable for John Galt to endure torture and death to save his lover Dagny Taggart from harm, but only if he characterizes this desire as self-serving.

It is preposterously one-sided and colorblind, the philosophy of one who has no experience with the human side of human existence. Ironically, Objectivism describes itself as highly moralistic, rational, and human. It is a flat, two-dimensional shadow of these things: imagine looking at bride and bridegroom and seeing a contract for exchange of mutual self-interest, nothing more.

Both systems, socialist and objectivist, contain the axioms contradicting their conclusions. Both systems bear the seeds of their own destruction.

The human species cannot form family bonds and civic obligations on the basis of mutual self-interest, as an Objectivist would have it, any more than one could have a civilization that replaced all wives with paid nursemaids to rear children born of paid whores and paid surrogate mothers. Nor could a community survive the shock of war when protected entirely by mercenaries with no militia.

In short, Objectivism proposes morality to be based on whatever has self-interest rightly understood, i.e. survival value. But selflessness in family life and collective action in time of war and emergency has survival value.

The innate selflessness of childrearing and of soldering has so much survival value, in fact, that all of human law and custom from prehistory to present is based on the two crucial needs to create, promote and safeguard these two virtues of selflessness. The first is to safeguard family life. The second is to organize fighting-men to deter and punish invasion and crime; this need for organization is why cities have walls and civilization has existence.

Likewise, the human species cannot survive collectivizing private property without abrogating two core concepts of morality. The first, truth, rejects falsifying reality. The second, justice, rejects punishing the innocent.

In communism, reality is ignored in favor of preposterous falsehoods and fairytales. The mind-virus dies in a truthful environment.

Likewise in communisms, the prosperous class are punished for their prosperity, and the working class are rewarded for not working. The innocent individual suffers collective punishment for being a member of a guilty class. This is impossible when justice reigns.

In short, collectivism abolishes prosperity in the name of distributing prosperity to one and all. The one is inevitably enslaved, and the all is inevitably the nomenklatura. And these things are inevitably called by the Orwellian opposite of their true names, since socialism is based on fierce devotion to untruth for its own sake, and perishes without it.

In secularism, you are either promised individual liberty, and get antinomian anarchy, or you are promised collective brotherhood, and get totalitarian genocide. The Individualist sacrifices collectivism to individualism loses both; the Communist sacrifices individualism to collectivism and loses both.

In Christianity, both individualism and collectivism are harmonized, balanced each in its proper place, and flourish.

In Christianity, you get individual rights, for you are made in the image and likeness of man, and the brotherhood of man, for all men are so made.

Secularism cheats you of both individual liberty and collective good, and Christianity delivers both, and in abundance.