Dr. Martin Hash Podcast

Politics & Philosophy by Dr. Martin D. Hash, Esq.

213 What Is Collectivism?


From Wikipedia: “Collectivism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that emphasizes the group and its interests. Collectivism is the opposite of individualism.” Merriam-Webster dictionary is even more succint: “emphasis on collective rather than individual action or identity.” Collectivism is the fundamental basis of socialism & Marxism, and often it's difficult to tell which ideology people are talking about because all three words are used interchangably. A lot of people are not quite sure what collectivism is; they think they understand socialism; and Marxism/Communism is something scary, somehow involving nuclear missles. If you Google the word “socialism” and “Marxism,” they are often synomous, yet many European political Parties have “socialist” in their name, and they aren't Marxist, not even socialist by most definitions. It makes it very difficult to have a political debate about whether an ideology is collectivist or not, which is why we rely on the simple idiom behind all collectivism: group over individual.

For example, if you use any of the collectivist words to describe a country, policy or person, you will invariable encounter someone who will try to blunt your argument by stating categorically that since the thing you mentioned does not include owership by the State, or it practices Free Market economics, or has an unequal distribution of wealth, it can't be socialist or even collectivist. These Word Police will not argue beyond the technicalities, and neither should you because any further debate will be fruitless. Whatever the backlash from the deniers, the word “socialism” is commonly used to identify all Group-Over-Individual ideologies.

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