The Relentlessly Creeping Evil Of Collectivism

|
Posted: Jan 13, 2020 9:59 AM
The Relentlessly Creeping Evil Of Collectivism

Source: AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

Our Founding Fathers understood that government is always pervasive, always driving to consume and grab more power. One of the major methods government uses to accomplish this is wealth redistribution – which is also a fundamental tenet of collectivism. W. Cleon Skousen, in his book, The 500 Year Leap, points out that “one of the worst sins of government, according to the Founders, was the exercise of its coercive taxing powers to take property from one group and give it to another”[1] Skousen goes on to quote James Madison and his view of collectivism verses the Great Experiment of the United States:

Government is instituted to protect property of every sort. [...] This being the end of government, that alone is not a just government, [...] nor is property secure under it, where the property which a man has in his personal safety and personal liberty is violated by arbitrary seizures of one class of citizens for the service of the rest.[2]

Madison is quite clear about the specific and limited purpose of government in America, and his disdain for redistribution of wealth. Madison was certainly not alone in this view. Thomas Jefferson writes, “What has destroyed liberty and the rights of man in every government which has ever existed under the sun? The generalizing and concentrating all cares and powers into one body.”[3] And John Adams follows saying, “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist.”[4]

In Federalist 41 Madison also reiterates the limitation of the Federal government and in the context of the General Welfare clause. William Watkins, Jr. notes that Madison and the Founding Fathers “would have been foolish to enumerate powers if ‘general welfare’ was the measure of congressional powers.”[5] Also noting Madison’s discussion in Federalist 41. “For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted,” declares Madison, “if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power?”   Madison also denounces those who “stooping to such a misconstruction” in believing “that the power ‘to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,’ amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense and general welfare.”[6]  Madison make quite clear the powers of the Federal government exercised through the Constitution are definitively enumerated and limited.

The governance of the United States is clearly defined in the Constitution and articulated in the writings of the Founders. Government must be of an utterly limited nature; the core opposite of the collectivist and their central planning scheme. The reason why, Skousen explains, is that “[t]he centralization of political power always destroys liberty by removing the decision-making function from the people on the local level and transferring it to the officers of the central government. This process gradually benumbs the spirit of “voluntarism” among the people, and they lose the will to solve their own problems.”[7] The Founders absolutely understood this.

The Enlightenment philosopher David Hume also famously wrote about the loss of freedom, stating that “It is seldom, that liberty of any kind is lost all at once. Slavery has so frightful an aspect to men accustomed to freedom, that it must steal upon them by degrees, and must disguise itself in a thousand shapes, in order to be received.”[8]  Hume very well could be prophesizing about American in the 20th and 21st centuries and its steady degrade of freedom over the past 100 years.

[1] W. Cleon Skousen, 2006 (originally published in 1981), The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle that Changed the World, (United States of America: National Center for Constitutional Studies), pp. 174-175.

[2] W. Cleon Skousen, 2006 (originally published in 1981), The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle that Changed the World, (United States of America: National Center for Constitutional Studies), p. 175.  Referenced from Saul K. Padover, ed., 1953, The Complete Madison, (New York, NY: Harper & Bros.), p. 267.

[3] Thomas Jefferson and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association of the United States, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 14, (Charleston, SC: Nabu Press), p. 421.  Referenced in W. Cleon Skousen, 2006 (originally published in 1981), The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle that Changed the World, (United States of America: National Center for Constitutional Studies), p. 238.

[4] W. Cleon Skousen, 2006 (originally published in 1981), The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle that Changed the World, (United States of America: National Center for Constitutional Studies), p. 174.  Referenced from Charles Frances Adams, 1850-56, The Works of John Adams, Vol. 6, (Boston, MA: Little Brown and Company), p. 280.

[5] William J. Watkins, Jr., 2008 (originally published in 2004), Reclaiming the American Revolution:  The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and their Legacy, (The Independent Institute, Palgrave Macmillan:  Oakland, CA, New York, NY), p. 64.

[6] James Madison, January 19, 1788, Federalist Paper No. 41.  Taken from James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, The Federalist Papers: The Classic Original Edition, (SoHo Books), p. 120 and 119.

[7] W. Cleon Skousen, 2006 (originally published in 1981), The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle that Changed the World, (United States of America: National Center for Constitutional Studies), p. 235.

[8] David Hume, 2012 (originally published in 1742), “Of the Liberty of the Press,” in Essays: Moral, Political, and Literary, Vol. I, (Digireads.com Publishing), p. 21.