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The Psychology Of Collectivism

We all are capable of having emotions. Emotions give us much valuable information about ourselves and how we perceive the world. Wrong emotions are usually the result of wrong ideas held by a person. Consider a person who admires a “successful bureaucrat”. I seriously doubt whether he would have the same emotions towards that bureaucrat if he has learnt Free Market economics and have understood that bureaucrats are unnecessary for the proper functioning of the society, and that they do great harm. His admiration is likely to turn into hatred once he learns these facts. Or consider a person who thinks that advertising is harmful and leads to a wastage of resources. He would feel negative emotions towards advertisements. It is likely that his emotions would change if he learns about the benevolent effects of advertising. He would start enjoying advertisements.

A lot many people sympathize with collectivism and its several variants. It is also a shocking fact that so many people admire dictators. Why does a large part of the population admire dictators and hate businessmen? There are several reasons. Envy is truly one of the reasons why they hate businessmen. People simply can’t accept the fact that there are some men who earn more than they do. The morality of altruism is another reason. They sense that a businessman is not an altruist and is acting in his long term rational self interest. In their eyes, everything a dictator does is not for him, but for his subjects. It doesn’t occur to them that whatever the dictator does are not for the well being of the people, but for a state of affairs which would lead to his well being. They fail to see that people can help the society only if they act in their own self interest. They stick to their code of altruism like a neurotic even when it is well evident that the consequences of altruism are disastrous.

Most people hate responsibility. They want someone to guide them on the right path. They want their survival guaranteed to them. This is part of the reason why they hate liberty. Too dull to see the fact that economic freedom is essential for economic security, they see a conflict between liberty and security. Liberty in their eyes means a free hand for the rugged individualist- the capitalist who exploits the masses. Morris and Linda Tannehill have explained it clearly: “ It is a deep fear of the responsibility and risk of having to make one’s own decisions and accept the consequences, with no ultimate authority to appeal to for guidance and to blame in case of failure. This is the reason for such cries as “We must have strong leadership in this time of crisis,” “We need new and better leaders,” and “God, give us a leader “. People who fear responsibility find it easier to call for leaders, even when those leaders may become tyrants, than to accept the risk and effort of looking for solutions to the problems that beset them. Upon examination, such people usually prove to be suffering from a deficiency of self-esteem—lacking a sense of personal efficacy and worth, they feel a sneaky, unadmitted doubt about their ability to survive in a world where they will never be provided with the unearned. Those who persist, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, in believing that totalitarianism makes a nation strong are revealing a sneaky admiration for dictatorship. Such an admiration springs from a psychological dependency which cannot conceive of having to be free and thrown on one’s own uncertain resources.”

We are now getting to the other part of the problem-Why people are attracted to men with a dark side. Men have always had a fascination for the dark. They had worshipped fire and thunderstorms. As long as there are rejecting or tyrannical parents, people will have a fascination for such men. They want others to treat them as they were treated as a child. It is a severe mental disorder. It is an addiction, worse than any narcotic addiction or alcoholism. Nothing good can come out of such a relationship. Masochism is all there is behind this perversion. Some turn to the other side of the coin warding off their pain and tender feelings as weaknesses.

Camille Paglia, another female writer, who is known as the Ayn Rand of 90’s in her writings, find fault with abused women as they are weak & that they might be enjoying it covertly. I am not to question the merit of her argument, which could be right or wrong, as the case might be, but it is no coincidence that Paglia & Rand are Nietzschean’s. It is also, not a coincidence that Nietzsche, who believed in eliminating all weaknesses and tenderness, was a German. It was the brutal parenting in Germany, in those days, inspired by many writers including Shrebers, which created a Hitler, and many men who would march to his tune. Hitler, who was afraid of his father, too believed in rooting out all weaknesses and instilling cruelty. So, did his humiliated followers. Pseudo-strength and cruelty, they thought would let off their secret shame. It didn’t!

Many of you would have read of the merits of the superior culture of pre-World War I Germany. “Children were all disciplined and well behaved, as military cadets.” It is the very same culture which they praise, that paved way for a dictatorship. It was then believed that the will of a child is to be broken for him to be easily manipulated later. A child manipulated that way could be manipulated as easily, later, by an adult. She, in fact, would seek men who would be in control and manipulate her that way. She roots out her pain and humiliating imagining all these manipulations and abuse to be expressions of strength. It is such manipulations which makes things easier for Hitlers, Stalins & Saddams. Some learn the art from being once manipulated that way. It is worth noting that Saddam, Hitler, Pol Pot & Stalin all were extremely tortured as children.

It is the early idealization of parental figure, based on a faith-Which means: not based on any rational evidence, which is the very root of this neurosis. It is the belief that children should love their parents. It is the belief that one shouldn’t be true to oneself, but act on a sense of duty. All religions and variants of totalitarianism, including statism are based on such faiths: that some acts or emotions are good in, by and of itself, and that one should act against his own self interest. Such notions help them to repress what was done to them in their childhood. They imagine themselves to possess a love which, in fact, is only a vague apprehension they can neither define nor cure. What else is the path towards virtuosity? When it comes to their mind what was done to them, the only solution it would occur to them would not be to hate their parents, but to idealize their acts. The same happens to men in a dictatorship too. They try to evade their hatred acting it out on others, by torturing their own selves or seeking others who would do that job much effectively. How far they are from their true selves! They haven’t even the wits to know such behavior was motivated by power hunger, humiliation and revenge and not by any benevolent motive. Love, discipline and charity aren’t to be instilled by a sense of duty. The only solution is to have their hatred rightly directed. One would ask: What is to be gained by such hatred? My answer is: No one gains anything by faking reality. No one can oppose injustice giving moral sanction to it. It is much better to have that hatred directed rightly. It is much better to be true to one self. Does that mean one should act on it? Not necessarily!

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