Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Revivalist Movement to End the "Sin" of Capitalism and Free Market Liberalism

In a new essay Richard Ebeling makes some important points about the current state of collectivist thinking in America:
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. 
He also observes:
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. 

And finally:
We seem to be living in just such a time of ideological collectivist revivalism. It is the “new” one true faith, with its priests and disciples appealing to join the just cause to redeem humanity from the sins of individualism, self-interest, private property, freedom of association, and free market relationships. The “We,” once again, is being said to be above the “I.”  
If necessary, the “I” will be denounced, demonized, and psychologically and culturally decapitated. He must be exorcised from the political body. He is the devil manifested as “the one percent,” or the “racist and sexist,” or “the globalist” or the “nationalist” or the . . .
The ideological devil worse than any competing collectivist heretic who is proselytizing for the “wrong” group, tribe, or collectivist cause is the free market liberal, who denies the collectivist god, who insists that the individual must be considered above the group, because separate from individuals, there are no groups. Individuals have existence, meaning and purpose. It is the collectivists who are preaching to believe in and follow things that do not exist outside of the minds of those who wish to play a political paternalist god. 
And who they are:
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. 



  1. How can this revival of collectivism be stopped? Why is it happening? It is happening because the propaganda machine calls the current system capitalism. The current system is bureaucratic cronyism which is a system that has widened the gap between the so called 1% and the rest of the population. The miss education that bureaucratic cronyism is capitalism and the hype over inequality has made the masses believe freedom does not work for them and look for alternatives.

    Using logic, reason and understanding historical data are not what the masses excel at. People want to fit in so even those that do think for themselves are made doubtful by propaganda and apprehensive about going against the crowd.

    The revival is understandable. How to stop it is simple but, as with many things that are uncomplicated on the surface, simple doesn’t equate to easy. People need to learn to think for themselves. People need to stop making decisions based in emotions riled by propaganda. Collectivist propaganda is entrenched in the education systems and media more than ever.

    It’s either going to be a very long road or a major collapse. Probably both. If the collapse happens before reeducation what comes out the other side could be worse. A major collapse in the midst of miss-educated masses seems to be where we are headed. Freedom will be an easy target for the tyrannical class to blame. Consolidation of power is the ready answer and ultimate goal.

  2. I once met Richard Ebeling in the early 1980's at a talk he was giving in Colorado and was struck by his deep knowledge of the ideas of libertarianism as well as his commitment to teaching and communication. Here he has touched on a subject that has long concerned me and labels it a "...general collectivist calling..." It does appear as an ideological revival of the "We" over the "I". But that gives it more intellectual weight than it deserves. It appears to me as a growing acceptance of the thieving mindset. The ideological groups that Professor Ebeling lists are simply marketing groups trying to rationalize the theft as some how justified. These people will not be educated out of their thieving mindset and have found politics and ideological marketing to be a great way to steal and get away with it. Even if by some miracle the state was eliminated or even reduced what would become of these people? They would seek another way to continue their thieving. What possible incentive is there to motivate these people of a thieving mindset to change their ways and embrace voluntary exchange to mutual benefit? Like alcoholics they seem to have to hit the rock bottom of despair and poverty before any chance of recovery and even then not always successfully. It is worrisome.

  3. On the other hand...if Hoppe and others are correct about the origins of the industrial revolution that created more wealth in a few hundred years than the whole of human existence previously, then the future looks very bright indeed. Hoppe believes it was an accumulation of knowledge although he refers to it as intelligence. Others have suggested that 10,000 years after the start of the agricultural revolution humans had gained enough knowledge (I would call it experience through action) and enough people (in the millions by the 1500's) to make a market economy productive and we launched ourselves into the industrial revolution. An incredible amount of human wealth and well being was produced to the point that in spite of the plague, influenza, and aids, world wars and numerous other battles, our wealth and population grew. Imagine the wealth possible starting from a 7 billion population and adding the additional knowledge from the last 400 years. While it won't be a straight line to wealth and well being the possibilities are mind boggling. And you don't have to argue with or persuade people of the rightness of liberty, nor vote for the right people or policy or even participate in politics. Because it wasn't any of these specific things that caused the industrial revolution. It was the natural outcome of virtuous human action. And you can practice this virtuous human action in your own life on your own local level. An action best described as the liberal/libertarian self responsible live and let live approach to human interaction.