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Friday, 2 June 2017

Jeremy Corbyn on Collectivism

As a result of all this, Jeremy Corbyn certainly doesn't deny that he's an old-style collectivist. He says, for example, that the “narrative that only the individual matters” is wrong. It's also wrong to believe that “the collective is irrelevant”. Talk of “the collective” isn't a bad thing because it's all about “the common good”; which, as we've seen, is an “aspiration of all of us”.

Not many people in politics have ever claimed that “only the individual matters” - not even Tories or capitalists. There's a huge difference between believing that individuals (as individuals) matter; and also believing that only the individual matters. You can believe that the individual (as an individual) matters and also believe that individuals (taken in groups) matter. Of course there are indeed people who believe that only the individual matters. (Some people are egoists or even solipsists.) However, stressing the importance of the individual (as opposed to the often inhuman and abstract Collective) is a political position based on personal freedom, dignity and individuality. It's not part of “neoliberalism's self-serving creed” or an example of unholy (i.e., non-socialist) “selfishness”.

When Margaret Thatcher said (in an 1987 interview in Women's Own that “society doesn't exist”; she added that “personal responsibility and hard work” also exist. (As you'll know, other statements in that “infamous interview” are rarely – if ever - quoted.) More relevantly, she also said that “there are individual men and women and there are families”. In other words, socialists talk of society as if it's an abstract (platonic) object – namely, Society.

Many critics of society (whatever they take it to be) more or less imply - though don't out-rightly say - the following:

Society isn't me. It's something out there and it should solve all my problems!

If Thatcher's take on society is still deemed to be “selfish” or “neoliberal”, then that's fair enough. Nonetheless, it must be acknowledged that her position isn't the one that's advanced by socialists. That's because the socialist position on Thatcher's words is absurd and rhetorical. After all, if taken literally, the idea that society doesn't exist doesn't even makes sense! And a position that's effectively meaningless, can't be deemed to be either immoral or moral. Thatcher, after all, did believe in society. She believed in churches, families, local and national institutions, voluntary groups, charities, etc. (Yes, these are many of the things that socialists hate simply because they're not under their political control.) It's just that she didn't believe in the socialist state and the socialist control of society. It was socialism she was arguing against – not society. Consequently, it's well to realise that socialists fuse society with (state) socialism; as well as with socialist control.

To socialists, society means the socialist state, socialist councils, socialist parties, socialist MPs, socialist activists, socialist ideology, socialist values, socialist history and socialist institutions. In other words:

i) Jeremy Corbyn's “the collective” glides smoothly and quickly into political collectivism.

ii) Political collectivism (as embodied in the socialist state) glides smoothly and quickly into totalitarianism, censorship, a national/total “no platform” policy against all political dissidents, a police state, the Gulag, psychiatric treatment for political heretics. (That is, for all “bigots”, “racists”, “fascists”, “Nazis”, “neoliberals”, “far Right”, “Tory scum”, “Blairite vermin”, the “populist Right”, the “alt-Right”, “knuckle-draggers”, “Nazis in suits”, “xenophobes”, “Islamophobes”, “haters”, and so on.)

The possible end of this is that the Leader, State and the Party are seen to personify the Collective. And considering the sycophancy of Corbyn's fans, one can see him achieving sainthood (like Stalin, Chairmen Mao, Lenin, Trotsky, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and so on before him) were he too to become leader.

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