Sunday, June 1, 2014

How Selflessness and Collectivism Led to the Isla Vista, California Murders

Two Objective Standard blog posts by Ari Armstrong on Elliot Rodgers' May 23 Isla Vista, California killing spree brilliantly demonstrate the difference between individualism and collectivism, and between selfishness and selflessness—and why and how individualism/selfishness is pro life, while collectivism/selflessness is life-destroying.

The Isla Vista tragedy provides a real-life lesson in why we must all learn the true nature of these opposing ideologies, and embrace the right one.

Rather than summarize Armstrong's post, I suggest you simply read them:

Armstrong writes:

[O]ne popular leftist blogger claimed on Facebook that the crime was among the “consequences” of “a society that values every man for himself over the greater good.”

My question to that blogger is: Who would be more likely to harm another; the person who truly valued "every man for himself," or the kind of person who believes that there is a good "greater" than the individual? Which one values the individual human life more? The first kind—individualist, who, by definition, values the individual above all else? Or the second kind of person; who, by definition, doesn't value, but de-values, the individual, in favor of a collectivist fantasy?

As Armstrong points out, "in the last hundred years, various governments slaughtered scores of millions of individuals in the name of the 'greater good.'" Does anyone doubt that, had Elliot Rodgers been in charge of a country, the number of his victims would have been—not 6—but 6000 . . . or 600,000 . . . or 6 million? Exaggeration? Rodgers' fantasy, in his own words, was to "quarantine all [women] in concentration camps. At these camps, the vast majority of the female population will be deliberately starved to death."

The only difference between a Rodgers and a Hitler (or a Stalin or Mao) is precisely that Rodgers lives in a society that actually does, by and large, "value every man for himself," and won't allow a man like Rodgers to rise to control the councils of state.

Related Reading:

Individualism vs. Collectivism: Our Future, Our Choice—Craig Biddle

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