Collectivist Thinking and Bigotry are a Dangerous Combination

The the collectivist viewpoint, where individuals are seen as nothing more than a cog in the great collective machinery, and bigotry, and unwarranted hatred of a group of individuals, often go hand in hand. When one fails to see individuals and instead focuses on collectives it becomes much easier to despise entire groups with little or not reasoning. This leads people who think collectively to get very upset about individual action that doesn’t affect anybody else.

A recent story of a transgender teen not being allowed to attend school as a woman generated some outrage. Many neoliberals, social activists, and libertarians were outraged by the fact that her actions affect nobody else and therefore no ground exists for the prohibition. On the other side of the isle are the neocons and social conservatives who, well, basically echo this dude I came across on Facebook:


The opening of his final paragraph really takes the cake. According to his collectivist viewpoint the entire female population of the school will suffer if this transgender teen is accommodated. Earlier he stated “…think about a man dressed as a girl who wants to use the same bathroom your daughter is using…”, which demonstrates that he fears transgender individuals since he doesn’t want one of them in the same bathroom as another person’s daughter (it also demonstrates that he enjoys appealing to emotion when attempting to drum up support for his bigotry). It also demonstrates another common problem with collectivist thinking: failing to understand the target of one’s bigotry. A transgender individual isn’t somebody who simply wears the clothing of the opposite gender. The term for that is cross dresser. Transgender individuals have software running on the wrong hardware.

Not understanding the target of one’s bigotry is almost as common as collectivist bigotry itself. Think of the neocons who hate Muslims. Most of them have a very warped understanding of Islam that is almost entirely shaped by cherry picking facts that fit their bias. Sexists and racists have the same issue. These misunderstanding usually lead to fear and hatred.

In the case of the dude whose comment I screen captured appears to view transgender individuals as sexual predators (after all, the transgender teen obviously only wants to use the women’s restroom so she can peep on other women even though she offered to isolate herself by using the restroom in the nurse’s office). This view leads him to believe that every girl in the school will suffer if this transgender teen is allowed to live her life in accordance to her gender. And that is ridiculous but inevitable when somebody develops a hatred of an entire group of people. When all you see are groups then any individual in a “bad” group necessary harms every individual in a “good” group.

I don’t subscribe to collectivism. While it is useful to refer to groups when discussing philosophy, religion, political beliefs, and other ideas commonly held by multiple individuals, we cannot make judgements about every individual in a group based solely on their membership in that group. Each and every one of us is a unique entity and can only be validly judged as such. Just because somebody is a communist, for example, doesn’t mean that they favor executing anybody who owns means of production. I believe the world would be a far better place if people started backing away from collectivist bigotry.

ALS Association Moves to Block Other Charities from Enjoying Similar Success

The ice bucket challenge has been very lucrative for the ALS Association. So far the marketing ploy has raised $94 million for the charity. I’ve often noticed that the more successful a charity becomes the more corrupt it also becomes. Now that the ALS Association has its money it’s working to prove my theory:

No one could’ve predicted what a sensation the Ice Bucket Challenge would become. It’s everywhere. It’s unavoidable. And now that it’s earned the ALS Association over $94 million in charity, the organization has filed for a trademark seeking ownership of the phrase “ice bucket challenge.” The August 22nd filings also request a trademark covering “ALS ice bucket challenge,” a slightly-more-specific description that’s proven equally popular across Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and other social media. The ALS Association wants complete control over “ice bucket challenge” whenever the three words are being used for charitable fundraising purposes.

So far I haven’t been nominated for the ice bucket challenge and with this latest move I will refuse to take part in the challenge if nominated. In fact I will never give the ALS Association so much as a dime. If the trademark is granted it would prevent any other charity from using an ice bucket challenge to raise money. That leads me to believe that the ALS Association views other charities as competitors, which goes against the whole idea of charity. And in its desire to destroy its perceived competitors it has chosen to use the state’s fiction of intellectual property.

If You Don’t Like It, You Can Leave! But You Have to Pay.

The go to retort for many self-proclaimed patriots who find themselves unable to argue against a criticism against their beloved mother land is “If you don’t like, you can leave!” This seems like the ultimate way to shutdown an argument because anybody who doesn’t like the United States is free to leave whenever they want. OK, that’s not entirely true. Anybody who can afford to pay the government off is free to leave and its price just went way the fuck up:

To leave America, you generally must prove 5 years of U.S. tax compliance. If you have a net worth greater than $2 million or average annual net income tax for the 5 previous years of $157,000 or more for 2014 (that’s tax, not income), you pay an exit tax. It is a capital gain tax as if you sold your property when you left. At least there’s an exemption of $680,000 for 2014. Long-term residents giving up a Green Card can be required to pay the tax too.

Now, the State Department interim rule just raised the fee for renunciation of U.S. citizenship to $2,350 from $450. Critics note that it’s more than twenty times the average level in other high-income countries. The State Department says it’s about demand on their services and all the extra workload they have to process people who are on their way out.

Leaving the land of the free isn’t free, which really refutes the claim that the United States is the land of the free. In the government’s eyes every citizen is property. If you pay it enough money is may be so kind as to grace you with the privilege of leaving but your taxes had damn well better be in order first.

This is why I usually refute “If you don’t like it, you can leave!” with “I can’t afford to leave so you’re stuck with me.”