The Human System, by Manfred F. Schieder
Summary: Collectivism dates from pre-human days while Capitalism is the fully pro-human development.
“Collectivism means the subjugation of the individual to a group – whether to a race, class or state does not matter. Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called ‘the common good’,” (Ayn Rand, from “The Only Path to Tomorrow,” Reader’s Digest, Jan. 1944)
Those who adhere and promote the enslavement of mankind in various ways and with well-sounding names, and, of course, the ploy of increasing each one’s well-being, hold as obvious that what they endorse is the social system of the future.
Quite on the contrary, it is not; it is the system of the far away past, as can be easily shown, for a short look at evolution clears the question. Mankind took collectivism over, as an automatic inheritance, from the termites, some 150 Million years ago, termites being the way past ancestor of the ancestors that were to become, as from some 6 Million years ago, Chimpanzees, Bonobos and us. Termites live and die in a social complex ruled by the earliest form of a communistic organization comprised by a queen, her coterie and a large group of slaves, whose main duty is to feed the elite. Reducing here a very long line of development of the evolutionary process to one paragraph suffices as introduction to the original relationship with the still existing main type of human societies.
Collectivism is the only complex social organization that can be produced by a blind system of development such as evolution, for such cannot by itself make any conscientious decision. Matter, which is subject to the general natural laws and rules that make up its physical and chemical characteristics, develops the phenomena called “Life” wherever and whenever conditions for such a development are favorable and available. As such, evolution mainly produces irrational beings, i.e. beings incapable of thinking. However, the automatic composite development of the senses, a result of genetic mutations and further physical selection, provides the necessary requirement of life to sustain it as such within a multifaceted composition of situations and needs. This leads it, blindly but necessarily, to a continuous broadening and progress, until a brain comes into being that has the complexity adequate to carry out the capacity of thinking. To operate properly, such a brain must be free from any incapacitating diseases and its neurons must be able to communicate appropriately, all this joined to the requirement of an absolute weight of about 3.3 pounds and a relative relation of 1 gram of brain to 50 grams of body weight. There are further, additionally needed conditions, such as the folding of the brain matter, but the foregoing suffices to point out the main requirements to allow the function of a thinking brain.
Now discovering, solving problems and devising solutions also takes time. Mankind’s history amply supports this assertion. If developments had taken less time we could have had Smartphones already over 10,000 years ago.
The capacity to think had a remarkable consequence. Its advent meant the end of any further significant blind evolution. Further development of evolution passed automatically to mankind. This gave way, in due course, to genetics and robotics, up to artificial intelligence, which are some of the most spectacular results of the course opened.
There’s an additional obligation pertaining exclusively to a thinking brain, a condition implicit and imperative to a rational being: the fact that, to insure its survival, it must, in opposition to all irrational species, who cannot but adapt to the environment, adapt the environment to its own specific needs. Among these needs is the obligation of constructing a type of society adequate to our capacity of thinking and, thus, decision taking kind of being. The communistic type of society, which is the natural way of coexistence of all other species, is absolutely inadequate for us, as humans must adapt the environment to their own requirements. In accordance, we, as thinking beings, do not exist for the world – specifically, the planet called Earth – as the enemies of mankind would want, but, on the contrary, the world exists for us, which, automatically, produces a very interesting outcome: Wouldn’t we exist, the whole world would lack every sense of existence.
The requirement to adapt the environment to our needs, and to establish a type of society adequate to our own requirements, involves a process of discovery, which, as mentioned, takes time. Thus, as the process of civilization began, such needs were still totally unknown. Mankind, evolving from a surrounding of irrational beings, automatically inherited the most advanced type of society that evolution could blindly and automatically create. Thus, collectivism was unavoidably accepted as the natural way of life. Plato didn’t describe any new forecasted type of society but merely presented a structurally elaborate exposition of the communistic social system in his “Republic” and further writings, for this was the kind of sociality inherited from Nature itself. There are other, similar descriptions, as can be found in the Bible’s “Book of Acts”: “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had” and the New Testament’s “Sermon of the Mountain” also details such a system, so much that Marx, later on, secularized it in his “Communist Manifesto”.
A religion-based socialist system was practiced and instituted by Mazdak in Sasanian Persia during the 6th Century of our era, and, later on, this collectivist type of society was further repeated in the writings of Campanella and Thomas More. Actually existing communist/socialist systems always meet their unavoidable destruction in a turmoil of blood and devastation, though nobody seemed to ascertain the reason for this to happen, and, thus, the same drama was reestablished again and again. It took a long time to recognize that the ruin this natural system produced resulted from its not corresponding to our human characteristics.
Change arrived, pressed by circumstances, in the New World, in the Colony of Plymouth, which had been established by the English Puritans in 1620 following the religious precepts that conformed the basis of their beliefs and which corresponded, in general, to above-mentioned passage of the Bible’s “Book of Acts”. These thoroughly socialist principles, where each person contributed the fruit of his labor according to his ability to a common storehouse, from which each received according to his need, had been generally established already at the founding of America in 1607. The results were predictable, for it meant that practically year after year 2/3 of the population died due to hunger, disease, etc. as produced by the existing living conditions. While new people arrived continuously after having left the British Isles, the life erasing conditions in their new surroundings neither stopped nor diminished. Thus, an urgent solution was required.
Now, why does the collectivist type of sociality function in the area of irrational beings, but refuses to do so among those having a thinking brain? Because it is performed by beings who operate like robots, blind and with no long range aim. This suffices for evolution, itself a blind process, to go on producing new species, but, of course, it is itself unaware that these new species develop along the same old low levels. Through occasional, favorable mutations, a new, higher level of complexity is reached, but their living conditions don’t change. Still, it suffices to produce, in due course, a thinking organism.
This fact, however, produced a new, unexpected situation, for a thinking being, however low-level it may be at first, has personal aims, particularly if it comes to exist in a suitable surrounding and if it has the further physical attributes required: arms, hands, legs, feet and, in due course, that unique capacity: language. A thinking being can, thus, reach deductions from existing circumstances and take decisions that are completely new and not existing before in the environment. As an example, It may decide to live from handouts, without producing anything by itself, though this immediately implies that those who produce in excess of their own needs can also decide to switch sides and decide to live from what others produce. As soon as this decision is taken by a majority – which doesn’t take long, as the reader will deduce – the so-called “Second Effect” sets in: general starvation.
By 1623, at the Puritan congregation of Plymouth, in the Colony of Virginia, Governor Bradford, in his search to solve this situation, set up the revolutionary premises that established a new type of society. He did so on a trial basis, for the length of 1 year, to test if it could, perhaps, solve the problem of losing such a huge amount of population. He did not establish the new stipulations out of conviction but because conditions obliged him to do so. Thus, the full significance of his decision wasn’t immediately recognized by himself. Yet the result, once the first test year had elapsed, presented a general betterment of the living conditions as well as a noticeable increase of population. He himself declared that “This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious…”
The new type of society was exactly the opposite of the communistic conditions which the deeply penitent Christian community had originally established and expected. The new premises and the resulting conditions weren’t at all religiously minded, however much those who established them were convinced of their Christian beliefs, but they were adequate for a rational species, because a rational mind operates under conditions that are different to so-called “natural conditions”.
Bradford’s proposed and applied change to the up to then communitarian system included several of the main features of what was later to be called “Capitalism”. These included rules that allowed the Plymouth community to cultivate a small private plot of land for their individual use. Thus private production was applied, and, automatically, ownership and exchange on the market of the goods produced operated with the use of the price mechanism. Since, to operate at all, it had to recognize the property rights of the means of production and what was produced with them, it consequentially implied the recognition of individual rights in general. This system and, later on, the type of society established by the Founding Fathers through the revolution set in operation, corresponded to our condition as human beings. Since other communities established in the northern part of the New World had faced havoc similar to the one in Plymouth, Bradford’s new premises soon made the rounds.
New ideas don’t remain lonely for a long time, particularly when they meet success. In England John Locke was aware of the development of the English colonies in America and his own ideas coincided with what the colonists were doing. Thus, when as from 1689 his “Two Treatises of Government” began their slow road to public recognition, they significantly influenced the Founding Fathers of the United States, so much that the Declaration of Independence reproduced verbatim his reference to “a long line of abuses” (of the English government toward the American colonies). Jefferson, Adams and the further Founding Fathers, in their effort to build a standard on which all or, at least, most adherents could convene, used premises similar to those applied by Bradford and recommended by Locke’s writings. The outcome was somewhat different from what they themselves had targeted, but corresponded precisely to what the premises applied implied. And there can be little if any doubt that Franklin’s visit to France and France’s involvement in the American fight for independence, spread the ideas of personal liberty which, later on, had a mixed effect on triggering the French Revolution, for this revolt also held the recommendations of Rousseau, which stood in direct contradiction to what the Americans had established. From it resulted, necessarily, an explosive mix that triggered the Terror at the time of the French Revolution and, later on, produced bloody dictatorships, two devastating world wars and further unavoidable human catastrophes, for dying dinosaurs are reluctant to yield their age old domains. As from the French Revolution it became an open race to keep the old system alive, a bloody but totally useless endeavor.
Thus it should not come as a surprise that the spreading of the new kind of society produced distrust, apprehension, fear and, unfortunately, hate among those who adhered to the old kind of society, which moved to oppose it by using the kind of reaction taken over from our earlier origins as grumbling monkeys, namely sheer violence, persecution, enslavement, killing and all the additional arsenal of attack at monkey’s disposal.
Since the communist way of behavior dates from old, from very early a feeling of premonition had emerged long before that something different was in the making, which produced a strong movement of opposition to the new system of coexistence. Rousseau and Saint Simon, on the guard to preserve the established way of co-existence, were among the early defenders of what, later on, Marx turned into a full political and violent activity
The basic principles of socialism run counter to human nature, rendering it unfit as a social system for the new species. Adam Smith already summed it up in his book “The Wealth of Nations” (Chapter X, Part II): “For if all persons in the same kind of work were to receive equal wages, there would be no emulation, and no room left for industry or ingenuity.'“
It was Marx who had clearly recognized collectivism as the old original state of mankind and, thus, most notably noticed the situation developing. His writings headed the main part of the reaction. As he himself lived most of his life from handouts, his automatic reaction was to oppose the new kind of society, which was based on personal property, the right to produce for one’s own well-being and the liberty of peacefully following and attaining one’s own aim through innovating ideas and production. He wanted to return to the original establishment of communism, which had practically been, throughout history, the general ruling of mankind’s life.
However, as overwhelming, all encompassing and bloody this purpose would become, it couldn’t stop the steady advance of the new system which ensured mankind’s general move toward well-being and its outcome of a notable lengthening of life within an environment of personal success.
Capitalism, as the new system was named, conspicuously by Marx’ own writings, fulfilled the three main liberties:
1) The right to each one’s own life,
2) The freedom to act in one’s own benefit, limited only by the prohibition of initiating an act of violence against another person or persons, and
3) The right to privately own property of any kind, which includes the right to initiate businesses, contract working forces, to own tools of production of any kind and size as well as materials to produce any kind of goods, etc.
Further on Capitalism has its own ways. Its groundbreaking fundamental philosophy, ascertained from the reality of mankind’s characteristic as a thinking being and his requirement to expand his own aims, was deducted by the Jewish-Russian emigrant that called herself Ayn Rand. In addition, its political and economic basis and mechanism had been already developed and structuralized by many further ground-breaking thinkers. With it, Capitalism spread its wings and displayed its full-fledged determination and relentless urgency to encompass the world with the purpose of unfolding its mechanism of productivity and highest well-being to the farthest regions.
Capitalism is, thus, the truly human system, As such, its international triumph is both necessary and unavoidable to insure the survival and expansion of the human species.