The Threat of Collectivism in Our Time
In "The Liberty We Must Have," Tibor Machan describes a common argument used by such collectivists - that negative liberty, the freedom of every individual from compulsion and coercive interference on the part of others, is unimportant or a relic of the past and what truly matters is positive freedom - the access to the material resources needed to accomplish particular aims deemed essential to a person's quality of life.
Of course, how any kind of positive freedom is possible when one's very existence is contingent on the permission of "society" - that is, of the elites who claim to speak for "society" - is not explained. It would seem that before any kind of access to resources can even be an issue, there needs to be a firm understanding that one will not be killed or expropriated for trying to access those resources in such a manner as to improve his condition. In order for any individual to use his mind to acquire positive opportunities, he needs to be free to do so in the first place. When individuals' minds and their freedom are considered as being at the disposal of "society" or the state, can individuals be said to be anything other than pawns of the state - to be manipulated like chess pieces by the ruling elite?
The greatest threat emerging from this revival of collectivism is, of course, the re-imposition of military conscription and other kinds of "public service" schemes into which millions of civilians - especially young people - would be drafted. In "Why Freedom is Free and Rights are Right: The Case Against Conscription, Compulsion, and Confiscation," I explain that conscription is murder, compulsion is slavery, and confiscation is looting - no matter what glorified names or lofty justifications of "public purpose" are used to sanctify such barbaric practices in the eyes of the masses. If any kind of coercive public service schemes are implemented in the First World, they will be tantamount to the revival of slavery - with millions of innocent young people becoming the partial property of the government and their time and labor becoming subject to the disposal of the ruling elites.
G. Stolyarov II is an actuary, science fiction novelist, independent philosophical essayist, poet, amateur mathematician, composer, contributor to Enter Stage Right, Le Quebecois Libre, Rebirth of Reason, and the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Senior Writer for The Liberal Institute, former weekly columnist for GrasstopsUSA.com, and Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator, a magazine championing the principles of reason, rights, and progress. Mr. Stolyarov’s blog, The Progress of Liberty, offers a combination of commentary, multimedia presentations, educational materials, and suggestions for effective activism in favor of individual freedom. Mr. Stolyarov also publishes his articles on Helium.com and Associated Content to assist the spread of rational ideas. He holds the highest Clout Level (10) possible on Associated Content and is one of Associated Content's Page View Millionaires. Mr. Stolyarov has also written a science fiction novel, Eden against the Colossus, a non-fiction treatise, A Rational Cosmology, and a play, Implied Consent. You can watch his YouTube Videos. Mr. Stolyarov can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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