During my high school years, I met a few people who became some of my longest, lifetime friends. What was interesting about these individuals is how much they diverged from my early childhood friends gained during my eight years in elementary and secondary Catholic School. Even though some of my Catholic school friends and classmates continue to practice Catholicism in the present day, many of them also decided to go their own way spiritually or reject the church outright. Who could blame them? The Catholic Church has many demons in its closet. The religious leaders of the Church have often chosen to conceal or conspire to hide the greater crimes committed by some of its priests instead of confronting and resolving the problems created or even acting responsibly by following the teachings of the Son of God (Because when it boils down to it, the need to protect the “collective” community of the church greatly outweighs the incredible damage it has done to individual lives).
Many of my high school and college friends had non-religious upbringings and were more artistically inclined than my early childhood friends. These friends were also skeptical of my religious upbringing or downright hostile to it. These friends (Who knew many aspects of the history of the Church) considered themselves tolerant about so many social issues yet had a negative and close-minded view towards the idea of religion. Can my left-wing family members and friends who show more trust towards the government not understand that some of the moral teachings of the Bible actually tell stories that help build character or provide examples of how to live a satisfactory life? Can my family members and friends that expected government to fix the problems of our society over religion’s traditional role of doing this accept the fact that even if the state provides and helps its citizens in certain ways through taxation and redistribution, the distrust that religious people have towards government’s slow-motion push to destroy individual freedoms and the corruption that can occur when the government takes monopolistic control over a political idea has some factual merit? After the pandemic broke out in 2020, adherents to the mandates, masking, and word of the sainted Dr. Fauci have also created their own religion around the ‘science’ espoused by him. Are these people able to acknowledge and understand the reservations of many anti-vaccine skeptics or anti-masking parents who do not believe the ‘science’ due to their own dedicated research? What is causing this human desire to regard these institutions or individuals as something extraordinary where the ‘apostates’ must be expunged or destroyed? Are the institutions the issue? Or is it a general weakness of the human mind?
This blog will dive into this topic. What happens when these powerful institutions take it upon themselves to replace our unique individual needs and responsibilities with a message of the “greater good?” Does this message help move society into a better place, or does it take us down a dark path where the forcible need of the ‘greater good’ eliminates an individual’s own personal identity?
A couple of well-researched videos opened my mind up to these questions. Human beings are incredibly tolerant creatures as long as one condition is met. Any violation or inability of an individual to pursue his self-interest will lead to social problems. When any ‘collective’ institution like religion or government exists, people will tolerate them as long as two conditions exist. First, if you agree with the motivation and purpose of these institutions, then there is nothing wrong with supporting and participating in them. Second and most importantly, as long as these institutions respect the needs of people outside the system and their self-interested goals, then people will have no problem with these institutions. But as history has shown, when a large entity has no real checks on its power, the violation of the rights and self-interest of people becomes inevitable. Especially if the institution is treated like a religion.
“The State takes the place of God…the socialist dictatorships are religions and State slavery is a form of worship.”
Carl Jung, The Undiscovered Self
“The totalitarian movements that have arisen after the First World War are basically religious movements. Their aim is not only to change political and social institutions, but also to remodel the nature of man and society.”
Waldemar Gurian, The Totalitarian State
This idea is fascinating. In a time where religious participation has declined at a high rate, people have begun putting their ‘faith’ into public institutions. And just like many people who are devout Christians, the State, like God, does not have any real answers. The religious worship of the state leads to fanaticism. Fanaticism will inevitably lead to totalitarianism and authoritarianism. Because people who worship the state always forget one important fact. The state is not interested in your individual needs. It is looking to gain as much control of the ‘collective’ as possible always looking for a way to gain even more power over our lives. The only people who benefit from state power are the individuals who are in control of it. The rise of socialism in the 21st Century can be directly attributed to this misguided faith in the ability of government. Plus, the people who lead the government of the United States are truly uninspiring people, Democrat and Republican alike. As Carl Jung also said about our culture,
“Where are the superior minds, capable of reflection, today? If they exist at all, nobody heeds them: instead there is a general running amok, a universal fatality against whose compelling sway the individual is powerless to defend himself. And yet this collective phenomenon is the fault of the individual as well, for nations are made up of individuals. Therefore the individual must consider by what means he can counter the evil.”
This leads me directly into the insanity of the past two years. For people who have been independent thinkers, it is very likely that the last couple of years cost you a cherished friendship or the respect of a family member. Because the lab-leaked virus known as COVID-19 has put the emphasis on the “greater good.” It is your responsibility as a citizen to do what the government says (Lockdown, Mask Up, and get your Shot) or expect to be ex-communicated from society. But like all the best tyrants, the argument is made that if you just acquiesce and accept what the pharma companies and government want you to do, you can go back to the normal life you lived two years ago that they violently took away. The ‘greater good’ argument always leads to predictable outcomes. Government power grows, the people who reject the mandates and orders become a “lower class” type of citizen that must be insulted, abused, and ignored. But these “lower class” people are also the true leaders and intellectuals. As Albert Camus said,
“The great citizens of a country are not those who bend the knee before authority but rather those who, against authority, if need be, are adamant as to the honor and freedom of that country.”
As mentioned above, collectivism has one significant flaw. Ludwig Von Mises pointed this out generations ago.
“The individual has to subordinate himself to, and conduct himself for, the benefit of society and to sacrifice his selfish private interests to the common good.”
This lack of respect for individualism will always be the fatal flaw of collectivism. Because what is necessarily good for a group is not necessarily satisfactory to one individual. There is a reason why our society is filled with outcasts. Individuals will never be interested in participating in any activity that contradicts their own personal interest. Like religion, the state is just a fabricated construct. It is an entity that exists due to the will of individuals. But it does not move around in nature from one location to the next. Nor is it alive or have conscious thought. It is a human creation of control. Once again, Carl Jung puts it best,
“. . .the “nation” (like the “State”) is a personified concept …The nation has no life of its own apart from the individual and is therefore not an end in itself…. All life is individual life, in which alone the ultimate meaning is to be found.
Carl Jung, The Swiss Line in the European Spectrum
Only individualism can bring about true freedom. Any submittance to a group will always lead to some form of sacrifice. This type of society will never be perfect. But it will at least prevent the creation of a dystopian authoritarian hellscape. Because individuals should always have the freedom to choose the best situations for themselves.
“A man’s natural rights are his own, against the whole world; and any infringement of them is equally a crime…whether committed by one man, calling himself a robber…or by millions, calling themselves a government.”
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