COLLECTIVISM

The Twentieth Century battles between fascism and communism show both the power and worthlessness of collectivist philosophy and in particular collectivist philosophy of law. The end result for both fascist and communist conceptual systems and their legal systems was the same: creation of a powerful state and a ruling class in which the lives of the individual were expendable in the service of continuing the power of the state. Any readers of history five hundred years from now, assuming there will be any around, reading detailed factual descriptions about communist and fascist countries in the 20th Century and continuing into the 21st Century will find little difference between the end results of these different conceptual systems including their law. Given such a reality, do the conceptual differences and all the libraries of philosophical verbiage on collectivism have any value other than being a game to give academics meaning to their sheltered lives? What value does conceptual collectivism in fascist or communist form have in Technological Society?

 
Supposedly, communism and fascist conceptual systems of metaphysics and history have their birth in the idealism and teleology of Hegelian philosophy. The foundation metaphysics of communism rejected Hegelian idealism but accepted its teleological theory that history is a dialectical struggle toward the end of history except that for communism the struggle is not one between ideas but a material struggle; in particular, communism sees the metaphysics of history to be a material class struggle involving economic classes and quantitative forces. The specific concepts of their foundational class struggle changes as the quantitative economics of the culture involved in the struggle changes. For example, initially, the proletariat created by the Industrial Revolution was to take over the teleology of history according to communist theorists in Europe and Russia; however, in China and the East lacking a proletariat because it lacked an industrial revolution, Maoism maintained it would be the peasant class who will take over historical teleology through the guidance of communism. Communists made changes to their concepts as necessary to rationalize their situation and acts. Fascism on the other hand accepted Hegelian idealism but saw the dialectic struggle of ideas to consist of a qualitative struggle between specific qualities of life. For Hitler’s Nazism, Mein Kampf preached about a World Spirit whose strengths were embodied in the strongest races teleologically destined to conquer and rule inferior races. For Italian fascism, the nation state was the embodiment of the human spirit’s greatest qualities as represented by the Roman Empire and the need for its teleological re-birth in a new Roman Empire nation state. Forgot what Franco’s fascist Falangism was all about — according to some historians, it was not even really fascist but simply a personal dictatorship desiring to re-create the long gone Spanish Empire. Whatever, all this stuff can be placed in a set of concepts commonly called collectivism in which conceptual emphasis is placed on social holism as the foundational metaphysics for teleological historical progress and social progress. As Hitler was fond of saying, the individual dies, it is the collective that lives on and continues in the World Spirit; a thought with little substantive difference to communism’s concept of a social whole greater than the sum of its parts that is the endpoint of history.

 
Collectivism is rampant in philosophy of law though almost all philosophers of law would deny it. They talk about individual rights and equal protection of individuals through natural law and even divine law; others talk about individual rights and equal protection of individuals through ethics; others while admitting there is no necessary relationship between morality and law immediately go into denial of their own arguments on this issue almost in the next breath to start preaching about the divinity of the rule of law. Just as with communism and fascism, the end result is the same: a ruling class with a monopoly on violence called law used and useful to create a world in their image. Why do they even bother?

 
There is the power of philosophy: they bother because having an aesthetically pleasing philosophy clouds the conscience of those in the ruling class who still have a conscience and the rationality of the non-ruling classes so as to allow the ruling class to rule without opposition. The power of aesthetics in relation to social class creation in the post-modern era is more a subject of sociological study than it is of philosophical study. This makes sense because in many ways post-modern philosophy has itself become simply an aesthetic wordgame used and useful to segregate post-modern philosophers from the herd or rabble they are supposedly trying to save by creating a world in their aesthetically pleasing image. Sociology has the advantage that it is pretending to be a science, thus it is allowed some ugliness in its studies, an weakness not allowed philosophy even if this allowance is only nominal and usually ephemeral. Beauty and the aesthetics for creating beauty is an almost universal presence in Technological Society because Technological Society has given up on the concept of objective truth that is often ugly. Appearance and perception are what matter to gain power in Technological Society, and the appearance and perception of beauty even in a delusion is much more powerful than the actual ugliness of any truth. Beauty can create its own factual reality to maintain its beauty, this is not allowed ugliness which is stuck with the truth of its factual reality. For more detail, see AN EXISTENTIAL META-ETHICS: ARGUMENT FOR A RETURN TO ITS ROOTS IN NIHILISM AS A MORALITY and Race and Class: A View from the Bottom Up .

 
This power of aesthetics is also the weakness of collectivist philosophy: in the end, it is just creating appearance and perception with little if any relationship by its conceptual foundations to the ugly facts of reality. The ugly reality is that no one knows the metaphysical nature of reality and most definitely no one knows what if any teleological endpoint there is to history. No one knows but everyone wants to know except for the ruling classes; those who rule have the benefit of creating despite their ignorance a teleological goal for the metaphysics they create to achieve it. In the end, for those who do not rule, we must accept that all collectivist philosophies — left or right, communist or fascist, ethical or unethical — are our enemy and opposition including their rule of law. We must constantly be in struggle with those philosophies and with those who create them regardless of whether the struggle is materialistic or idealist; metaphysical or physical; teleological, pragmatic, instrumental, or realistic. Class struggle is history regardless of whether or not the struggle has any endpoint or even meaning. See EXISTENTIAL PHILOSOPHY OF LAW; NIHILISM’S EPISTEMOLOGY, ONTOLOGY, AND ITS GOD; and On Suicide: A Nihilist Memoir and Other Essays.

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