This is an edited repost of an article originally posted on Nancy’s personal blog in April of 2014.
I have a new identity! I’m a collectivist! I have not changed, but there is a revitalized use of a label I have not previously embraced, but that I will now gladly blazon with every opportunity. I am one of the collectivists against which Charles Koch ranted and railed in a recent WSJ letter.
The Evolution of Civilization
As an anthropologist I know that humans collectively create the culture in which we live on an ongoing process. The arbitrary assignment of words to ideas which are then translated into actions is a marvel of process that is difficult to grasp. I am always amazed that communication ever takes place. Communication, the exchange of information, cannot occur by oneself. This is one of the reasons I find democracy to be a marvelous concept. It is something that only humans or other species with extremely advanced and complex linguistic ability to convey abstract concepts could even attempt. Acting as an individual, for the maximized benefit of self, is a strategy of animals.
To me, Libertarianism is a less evolved concept than Democratic and even Republican orientations. It is testosterone-driven territorial behavior where money is the weapon with which boundaries are maintained and expanded. In the back-and-forth, round and round, of culture change over time, we are in the cultural death throes of singular white male rule. Viciousness and brutality characterizes any to-the-death battle. Collectivism is in its most basic sense, acting together.
Charles Koch inherited his extreme wealth. He did not set out as a rugged individualist and accumulate piles of money. Inheritance is problematic for it allows the concentration and compounding of potentially ill-gotten riches. We all know that fairness serves little to no role in monetary compensation and success. For example, the Hubster is a brilliant and creative scientist who found a ground-breaking method for transporting endogenous peptides across the blood brain barrier. The university screwed up the patent for the process and what should have been generously or at least adequately rewarded as more and more companies used this methodology in their drug discovery programs to create peptide drugs has seen no such compensation. Instead, he gets little recognition and no monetary reward. Success as it pertains to worldly goods is not the reward of effort. Basing power in governance and influence found in wealth accumulation is not part of any freedom or justice upon which our country was founded. It is antithetical to those principles.
I believe in redistribution of resources so that the common good is supported by efforts and fortunes. I am a collectivist. In fact, I think it is time for a Potlatch or some other sort of redistributive effort. It is how you prevent revolutions by cake eaters.