“Is it not a display of compassion to sacrifice our personal interests for the greater good of our society?” This is the question that the video by Academy of Ideas asks in “How The Greater Good is Used as a Tool to Control Society.” I’ve included it below for my continuing look at how cultures can slip into tryanny.
I got to thinking about this after reading Citizen Tom’s great post, “Is Making Other People “Do the Right Thing” the Right Thing to Do?” You need to go over there and read it. He makes lots of good points on this subject.
This mindset actually comes from the idea called “collectivism.” Here’s what the video says about this ideology…
“This collectivist mindset is foundational to communism, fascism, and socialism. The doctrine of collectivism has been put into practice by many dictators, such as Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao. Death, destruction, and suffering on a mass scale was the end result in each case.”
Then the video asks the obvious question…
“How does this happen? Why does placing society above the good of the individual tend toward such unfortunate outcomes?
To answer this we must consider another question…
“Does the individual exist for the sake of society? Or does society exist for the sake of individuals?*
I believe this last question is critical to our thinking about this social phenomenon. The video continues….
Those who believe in collectivism believe the individual exists for the sake of society, therefore, that ‘the individual has to subordinate himself to, and conduct himself for, the benefit of society and to society and to sacrifice his selfish private interests for the common good.’ (Ludwig von Mises)”
Let’s get back to the question we started with…
Is it not a display of compassion to sacrifice our personal interests for the greater good of our society?”
This is why socialism has such a great appeal. I’ve talked about this before here. One reason put forth on the video why it isn’t a good idea is the following:
“At first glance, collectivism looks like a virtuous position to take, but on closer investigation, a philosophical error called the fallacy of misplaced concreteness corrupts the practical application of this ideology.”*
The Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness
“The fallacy of concreteness happens when one treats what is merely an abstraction as an entity that exists in the real world. Collectivism, in claiming the individual must sacrifice his or her private interests for the sake of society takes what is merely a concept—society—and treats such a concept as if it had a concrete existence.”
But as Carl Jung points out…
“Society” is nothing more than a term, a concept for the symbiosis of a group of human beings. The concept is not a carrier of life.”
The video continues…
“In contrast to an individual, who has a real existence in the world, society is an abstraction used to represent an ever-changing collection of individuals living and interacting in proximity.”
This also goes for nations versus individuals. Here’s Carl Jung again….
“…the “nation: (like the “State”) is a personified concept…The nation has no life of its own apart from the individual, and is therefore not an end in itself…All life is individual life, in which alone the ultimate meaning is to be found.”*
So, in order to serve the greater good of the societal construct, individuals must be given the ability to define the so-called societal “greater good,” and then be granted the power to force individuals to act in service of this “good.” Dissenting opinions would have to be suppressed or eliminated, and the dissenters canceled…or eliminated. For the “greater good,” of course.
What I’m describing here is Fascism, by the way.
This fallacy also creates all kinds of insanely hypocritical standards. For example, the same “collective” that claims “anti-vaxxers” don’t care about the greater good of this abstract construct called “society” would also say that it’s an individual woman’s right to abort her own baby, shouting “My body, my right!” Yet, 99% of people who might get infected with Covid from an “anti-vaxxer” will probably survive, but 100% of the babies aborted most assuredly won’t survive.
Make the world better by becoming a better person
In the final analysis, we make “society” better by being better people, not by forcing others to comply with our ideology. On that note, I will end with another quote from Albert Camus:
“The task of men…is not to desert historical struggles nor to serve the cruel and inhuman elements in those struggles. It is rather to remain what they are, to help man against what is oppressing him, to favor freedom against the fatalities that close in upon it….”
“Man’s greatness…lies in his decision to be greater than his condition. And if his condition is unjust, he has only one way of overcoming it, which is to be just himself.”*
There’s a lot more said on the video. We really need to educate ourselves in order to counteract these subtle manipulations that are destroying our country.