The Collectivist Mind


WhiteIndian's picture

Agriculture itself is collectivist. In fact, agriculture is the first-line reason why we have governmental functions in agricultural city-Statism (civilization.)

Richard Manning sums up the evidence from archeology and anthropology well in his book Against the Grain, "Agriculture creates government," because big drainage and/or irrigation projects cover vast areas of land, roads, etc.

Libertarians have a sophomoric, literalistic view of property rights. Their naivety was demonstrated this year when a few libertarian-type city-slickers, who moved to the rural area in which I live, made the news.

See, a farmer had a drainage problem -- a large tile draining his farm was broken down. The farmer called up the county engineer, who is in charge of drainage. The farmer asserted his agricultural fields' property rights, which includes well drained soil. The farmer's property rights extend about 12 miles, all the way to the big river. All land owners pay yearly drainage assessments (digging ditches, clearing trees, installing drainage tile, etc.) All this work to maintain "individual" property values is done "collectively" via the county engineer and state crews.

The tile that needed dug up and replaced ran through the yards of the newly built McMansions.

Oh, how they belly-ached, and spouted various libertarian themes to the papers and eventually in court. But, of course, the state laws governing the abstract concept of property rights (including 12 miles worth of collectively maintained tile and ditches to preserve property "value" for agriculture) prevailed. The farmer's property rights were preserved in spite of Libertarian legalistic contrariness.

Last time I talked to one of the libertarians, he still maintained the conceptual fiction that his property was basically an extension of his body, and he ("his" land) had been "raped," and blah, blah, blah....

I just asked him how a human body can extend 12 miles. I got a blank expression.

KenK's picture

Not to start an argument here WI but without agriculture how are we going to feed ourselves? in my neighborhood in a semi-rural area if all of us had to hunt or forage for what we have to consume all the trees would be gone in a years time. Most of the wild the animals, fish, and birds too. Then what?

WhiteIndian's picture

Without agriculture, which was initiated 10,000 years ago by Bernie Madeoff-ish "Big Men" or "Emergent Elite" (those are scholarly anthropological terms you too can research yourself*,) then there wouldn't be a huge population to serve the elite Hierarchy as a "large pools of labor to provide for the nobility, and large populations that can be levied into large armies with which hierarchy can expand."**

How to feed 7 billion. Wait, half of those are already starving or near starving, so how do we feed 3.5 billion human cattle -- or what Conucopian economist Julian Simon refers to as "The Ultimate Resource" -- bred to serve the hierarchy?

Maybe there's a way out. I've got a few ideas, others do too. But first, we have to understand how we got to this. Mises, Rand, Rothbard, etal have it wrong. Completely wrong.

As wrong as Biblical creationist got the origins of the species.

* (This is a short summary by an anthropologist)
Thesis #10: Emergent elites led the Agricultural Revolution.
by Jason Godesky | 11 October 2005

** quoted from:
Thesis #11: Hierarchy is an unnecessary evil.
by Jason Godesky | 21 October 2005