There is a lie that many in this country have swallowed and it is keeping us from moving forward and making this a more fair and just society. That lie is the belief that collective action, putting the common good before selfishness, equals totalitarianism.
This lie exists because the Soviet Union was a totalitarian state. But totalitarianism is not required for collective action. There are more examples of democratic collectivism in the history of the world, and our nation, than I could list in a year of blog posts.
This lie reflects simplistic thinking that confuses means with ends and believes there is only one means to any end. However, there are multiple means to any end. The means that is totalitarianism is bad; the end that is the common good is not. In fact, the means that is totalitarianism doesn’t truly lead to the common good since it stifles individual rights.
How does this lie keep us from moving forward to create a more fair and just society? Because it makes any cooperative effort taboo. It says that group action and “being your brothers keeper” require authoritarian control. Well it’s a lie. True group action is called democracy and really being your brother’s keeper is called love. Neither of these things could ever be authoritarian or totalitarian.
The people who believe the lie that collective action equals totalitarianism are often the most authoritarian people around. It’s Orwellian double speak and it’s helping destroy whatever moral fabric our society has left.