At the heart of the debate over whether collectivism should be the standard or the individual is our own hearts. That might sound like a cyclical argument, but it is not. It comes down to this core principle. Do we as citizens of a given society think that it is better to have a harder, less straightforward path to achieving prosperity and success or do we want to raise our hand and ask for help? A practical way of putting it is: if we are stuck on a math problem. Do we want to try and put the work in to ask around or ask our fellow students what the answer is, or do we just want to raise our hand and be told what to do any time we do not understand or are unsure of what to do? The idea of always having these established people as the crutch that can prop us up if needed is comforting.
We are designed by God to depend on others, especially to depend on our parents in our adolescent years. The problem is that the season of life is meant to prepare us to be a part of society, helping to build it up. For many, though, they become conditioned by the hand raising, easy cheat sheet approach to life. This causes us to give more and more ground to big brother. It might seem nice now, but later on, when the government has taken over everything, aka they have crutched us so much that we are unable to even walk, we become helpless codependents on them. We are mere weakened, helpless people who must be wheelchaired around for the rest of our lives. This leads to frustration and turning to the government even more. Instead of relying on God, we rely on our own made-up system of unhealthy codependency.
Pastor and staff member at FEE (Foundations of Economic Education) Edmund Opitz says it like this,
“Collectivism, under all its names- socialism, fascism, Nazism, communism, and increasingly under the name of Democracy - derives its support from what Albert Jay Nock termed ‘Epstean’s Law’. That is: ‘Man tends always to satisfy his needs and desires with the least possible exertion.’ And, what could be easier than using the government to have someone else pay your bills? Or for business to use the government to limit competition and liability? Or banking to gain a monopoly? It is very tempting to use the power of the State to gain privileges. The one and only thing that held this temptation in check during the early years of our nation was the religious convictions of the majority of the people, as reflected in the Constitution. Theirs was a highly individualist, ‘libertarian’ religious concept that looked upon collectivist dogma with disdain.”
The desire to innovate and make things easier leads us to keep taking help from big brother. We demonize dependence on one another and add value to one another by serving our fellow man. The service I am referring to comes out in a number of ways: examples of this help are innovations to make other people’s lives easier (Henry Ford’s desire to make the car as a better alternative than just putting more horses on a buggy), building websites help dispel information, or like Facebook, to help like-minded people with a common connection through physical proximity, blood relation, skills/hobbies, or ideological overlap.
You might be thinking to yourself, what is the guy going on about? He is making me feel bad about wanting to have an easier life. What is the problem with wanting to have a little help sometimes? Well, that is my point exactly. Both options acknowledge that as one person, there is so little we can do for ourselves (unless we spend most of our time working towards being self-resilient, but even that will only allow for basic needs to be met, not to thrive). The options are not to do every bit of your life yourself without any help or depend on the government. The options are to depend on our fellow man to put the long-term effort of building out companies with infrastructures that can support innovation.
An example of this in our day and age is Tesla. Elon Musk had to make many sacrifices and take many risks to build Tesla. He had to make hundreds, if not thousands, of decisions that might have caused him to lose money or even go bankrupt if he happened to make the wrong decision or series of decisions along the way. In the end, though, he allowed for a whole different kind of car; he allowed for people to buy cars that are run by electricity, and he is able to harness the solar energy already in the air to make energy to power our homes. The government might have been able to do what Elon Musk did, but it would have been limited by the red tape and bureaucracy. It would have wasted much of the taxpayers’ money along the way and would have been subjected to people’s ability to understand it, aka their ability to vote for it. Tesla, on the other hand, is propped up by a few private investors and the upper class who can afford the vehicle. So, while yes, the government has the capacity to build a rocket and get us to the moon, it is subject to whatever the general public thinks is necessary.
An example is Henry Ford’s invention of the first car. When he surveyed the public on what they wanted for the future of transportation for their families, they said they wanted more horses. He thought, well, why not utilize metal and an engine on wheels to match the amount of horses they envision? Thus, the term horsepower was born to explain the capacity of a car to the normal form of transportation of that day, a horse-drawn cart. We have trust that men like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and the like will be born from the fire of the pressure that is the free market. The most cutthroat thing in the world is to have an idea and try and bring it to the world. Early adopters put a little money into it to try it out, but if they think it is trash, it gets defunded and dies on the vine before it is really able to be plucked. The government doesn't have that level of responsiveness to the dollar. It cannot be defunded.
In summary, going back to the quote by Edmund, in the short-term, it is easy to take the hand out from the government to cut corners, but in the long-term, it does not bring about the result that was wanted. If Americans had bought into the model that collectivism possesses, many of the major innovations of the past couple of centuries would have never happened. We might still not have indoor plumbing or light bulbs in our homes. We must be principled and say that I would rather do the hard work today of building, even if my idea may be the majority of ideas that never really get to the point of success because, in the end, our world is better for it. Our life is easy and prosperous, not because of depending on the government, but because of the free market elevating the best ideas fleshed out in the best of ways. If you have any doubts about this, just look at the collectivistic countries, and look at ours. We do not want to go live in their lands. Instead, they want to come to our land and ship our innovations and ways of doing business into their land. They know that the government has left them helpless and meager, not prosperous and developed.
Tim Bankes II
Tim is a Christian author. His worldview that informs his writing is Calvinist, Baptist, and Libertarian. His main series is his Christian picture book series, "About God for Kids", where he discusses the attributes of God in a way kids can digest. He also wrote a Christian Romance novel, libertarian book for beginners, and Christian coloring books. He graduated with a Bachelor's in Biblical Studies from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He has written a book on freedom called “Are You Free” (If you are into listening to books I have it in audio also, Are You Free Audiobook )and he has written multiple children’s books about God. Be Sure to check out the podcast version of the blog, Labor for Truth Podcast. And check out “The Truth About” Youtube Channel. You can find his works at his amazon author page, https://amazon.com/author/timbankes. He even has a free digital ebook on how God is the creator. Get your free copy today at, Greater Creator .Also If you are into Christian Fiction, he has made his first book in his Futuristic Christian Fiction series free, Her Dying Wish