Those who can get you to believe in absurdities can get you to commit atrocities, and every atrocity has been committed in the name of the greater good, for the greater good is nothing more than the alibi of tyrants. That sentence combines three great quotes regarding the fallacy of the greater good, and that is where the argument should end. However, you know me, I don’t write short articles, and now that I’ve made my point, I shall explain my reasoning, provide some examples, and hopefully put this fallacious argument to bed once and for all.

The fallacy of the collective good is based around the phrase “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” That premise, in and of itself, is fairly innocuous and damn near impossible to argue against, but while it may hold water in a purely academic setting, it quickly crumbles when you start throwing historical examples at it. One particularly absurd example that I’ve come across is a society that is 90% vegans and 10% cannibals. If the needs of the few are respected, then the cannibals would be allowed to eat the vegans, whereas if the needs of the many take precedent, then no-one gets eaten. That example, of course, is purely hypothetical and ludicrously simplistic. Real-world examples of this mentality overwhelming work against the needs of the many, because “the needs of the proletariat outweigh the needs of the bourgeoisie,” and “the needs of the Aryan outweigh the needs of the Jew.” With these examples in mind, all of a sudden, the vegans and cannibals example suddenly seems far less straightforward. After all, if the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, then the vegans would be telling the cannibals what they can and cannot eat. Again, this seems innocuous, but what about a less extreme example: let’s exchange “cannibals” for “meat-eaters.” If the vegans are allowed to tell everyone in the society what they can and cannot eat, then the meat-eaters will again be oppressed, and you can’t make the excuse that they are being oppressed “for the collective good,” unless you are a vegan yourself (most vegan believe that it should be illegal to eat animals). As you alter the example, using less and less extreme positions than “vegan” and “cannibal,” then the clear distinction of oppressor and oppressed becomes blurred. Vegans, for example, will argue that any consumption of animal products is a violation of the animal’s rights, and their position is so extreme that they can use their ideology to justify controlling the behaviour of people who do not believe as they do. The welfare of the downtrodden is nothing more than a shield that narcissistic busybodies hide behind while they morally brow-beat people that don’t want to go along with their agenda.

With the absurd example out of the way, let’s look at a more nuanced example – once which is partially inspired by everyone’s favourite BreadTuber, Vaush. Suppose there are ten people on a deserted island, but there is only enough food for nine of them. Now then, we already have a problem: the people on the island aren’t going to know that there is only enough food for nine people until they actually start gathering it. For the sake of this argument, let’s assume that all food automatically replenishes every single night, so this little scenario can go on indefinitely. There is another problem regarding food collection, and that has to do with the mentality of the person posing this little hypothetical situation, be they collectivist or individualist, and this will affect the actions of the hypothetical people involved. The collectivist will most likely insist that all ten people make a camp, gather food, bring it back, and distribute it evenly. The individualist will most likely insist that every person eat the food that they are able to gather on their own. Already, there is an irreconcilable difference between individualist and collectivist thinking – the individualist will probably assert that anyone too lazy to gather food shouldn’t get any, whereas the collectivist will assert that if people eat only the food they collect, then one or two people might collect all the food, and everyone else will starve. Both positions are inaccurate, because if people are stranded on a deserted island, realistically speaking, one of them may be injured and thus unable to collect food. Most humans act toward each other with sufficient good will that the injured party probably won’t starve immediately. Nonetheless, if the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, it would actually justify letting one person starve so that the others have enough food. Therefore, the collectivist mindset actually encourages looking for a difference, some trait that only one person has, that the other nine people can point to and justify letting them starve to death.

There is a second part to this deserted island example, and this one is more closely in line with Vaush’s depraved thinking. Suppose, of the ten people, there are nine men and one woman. I think you know where I’m going with this, so you may wish to skip to the next paragraph. Since people have certain “needs,” suppose, for the sake of argument, that all of the men find the woman attractive. If the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, then that would justify all nine men having sex with the woman, with or without her consent, in order to satisfy their needs. It is possible to take this one step further, because perhaps two of the men are gay, and find one of the straight men attractive. If the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, that would justify allowing the two gay men to rape the straight man, in order to satisfy their needs. There are many more variations of this line of thinking, and in every single case, the needs of the many can be used to justify over-riding the consent of any individual.

Most collectivists will probably insist that my examples thus far are all strawmen. Perhaps, but in order to refute my arguments, it is necessary to invoke individual rights. Collectivists will attempt to avoid such an invocation for as long as possible, but unless they resort to dishonesty or intellectual cowardice, the Socratic method can be used to eventually tease it out. If one does not believe in individual rights, than the collective good may be used to justify doing any terrible thing to any person, if that person’s words or actions are not in line with the prevailing groupthink. If one person speaks out against government propaganda, then silencing that person is justified in the name of the public good, usually something banal, such that even the most innocuous rebuke may be associated with malice. Any action taken against an individual may also be taken against a minority, if the minority group can be smeared as a threat to the public good. Public health and safety are the cudgels most frequently used to brow-beat those who speak out against the wall of propaganda. These are purely emotional, subjectively moralistic arguments that can be used to justify objectively immoral treatment of those who refuse to conform with despotic government diktats, and because the masses are so irrational, they fall for it and turn against rational individuals. Thus, for the sake of their own preservation, people who know better eventually stop speaking out, allowing the mass psychosis to spread.

The fallacious reasoning doesn’t end there, incidentally. Every society that prioritises the collective good over individual rights is inherently murderous, if not outright genocidal, and it should come as no surprise, given than the collectivist mindset is the military mindset, and I will explain why in my next editorial.

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