The central belief of collectivists is that a nation’s affairs are best addressed by the central State, rather than the choices of individual citizens. They believe this to varying degrees – from high taxes leveled against an otherwise free market, to the outright nationalization of industries, and the passage of regulations that control many aspects of everyday life. Their purposes range from the benevolent to the terrible, but they are united in their belief that the State should be in control, not the humble executor of duties assigned by sovereign citizens.
The collectivist does not believe he is a supporter of tyranny, because tyranny is whimsical, while social engineers have a plan. They are out to Win The Future. They are the harbingers of social justice, clean energy, income equality, and other noble goals that society must be compelled to embrace, for free men and women are not wise enough to choose these things on their own.
The great obstacle facing social engineers is resistance. The re-distribution of wealth is an act of aggression against those who provide the wealth. The forced transition to a planned economy produces high unemployment, for the central State will never be as good at assigning jobs as a great body of free people, seeking each other out for mutual advantage. Movement to a virtuous regime of “alternative” energy results in a lower level of energy for society, because the old fossil fuels are vastly more powerful and convenient. Many people will naturally be unhappy with these effects of social engineering. Their unhappiness grows as more force is deployed against them.
Collectivism finds its worst enemy among a large body of people whose fortunes are tied to the general health of the economy, and have enough votes to translate resistance into electoral defeat for social engineers.
In other words, the middle class.
The rich are not a serious problem, because they can be bought off by an aggressive government with vast amounts of power to sell. Their riches insulate them from most of the pain caused by social engineering. No one riding around in a limousine is losing any sleep over four-dollar gasoline. Even if rich people do find a collectivist government unacceptable, they lack the numbers to vote it out of office. They can try using their money to influence others… but campaign finance laws can take care of that, once the precedent of political control over political speech has been firmly established.
The poor are already dependent on the State, and rarely have either the information or desire to rally in large numbers against it. The poor can be convinced to ignore all voices except those of the benevolent State, because all other voices are easily portrayed as the hunting cry of class-enemy predators. The middle class is the only real enemy of collectivism.
Social engineers love to wax poetic about their eternal devotion to the middle class, but their highest goal is to subdue it. This can be done with dependency, which can be created by combining high unemployment with long-term public benefits that slowly mutate into an immense welfare program. The golden dream of socialists is the control of health care, which forever changes the relationship between citizens and their government, creating a permanent bureaucracy with roots that tap into blood and bone.
The middle class can also be weakened by destroying its mobility. People driving around in cars are much more difficult to control than people riding in trains. The ability to work and shop over great distances raises the information state of a populace that finds itself caring about economic conditions beyond the visible horizon. The ability to move between cities and states allows irate citizens to withdraw their consent from local governments.
Destroying the value of property compromises the independence of the middle class. Owning property makes them much more conscious of municipal affairs, as they find themselves owning literal pieces of America. A monetary policy that wipes out purchasing power through inflation is also helpful for quenching that fiery spirit of free choice, especially as it pushes the lower levels of the middle class into poverty. Making the middle class smaller is a useful tool of social architecture.
Above all, the accumulation of vast government debt is a weight poised above the heads of the reluctant middle class. Eventually that debt will become unbearable… and if enough of the populace is so dependent on government spending that it cannot be reduced, debt becomes the irresistible leverage for tax increases on the middle class. It is mathematically impossible to obtain the money needed to pay off a $14 trillion national debt and $1.3 trillion deficit from the Evil Rich. The taxation of the middle class can be presented to them as regrettable, but inevitable. With those new tax dollars, old freedoms are lost. Taxation is a method of control – that’s why tax law runs into thousands of pages, and is riddled with countless exemptions and credits.
Have you found the economic policies of President Barack Obama to be confusing and incomprehensible? They’re not. He used to openly state that he would ruin certain industries, and raise the price of gasoline. He spends a lot of time declaring his eternal hatred for the people who produce what the middle class wants, and can give them the jobs they need. Everything he has done is part of an effort to solve the middle class problem.
Sign up to the Human Events newsletter