Collectivism: Any moral, political, or social outlook that emphasizes the interdependence of every human into a collective and the priority of group over the individual.
Forget National Health Care and bailouts or Cap & Trade laws sending us into a tyrannical existence. We’re already there, suckers. We’ve been under one onerous regime after the other most of my lifetime, but never in my 47 years as an American has the concept of individual open-minded thought been as overwhelmingly nullified by a rabidly myopic adherence to the collective mind-screw as it is now. As a boy, when I first learned of the almost cartoonist idiocy of McCarthyism, it was hard to fathom anyone allowing it to fester, much less become a national outcry, but after this week’s two glaring examples of collectivist madness, it starts to make sense.
Let’s begin with what can only be described as the most hyped panic by the populace over nothing, which is saying something when considering the parade of nothing that is passed off, consumed and debated as newsworthy on a daily basis. This absolute nonsensical outrage over something called a Government Task Force announcing its recommendation of bi-annual mammograms for 40 year-old women, refuting the standard recommendation of annual tests from the American Cancer Society. The GTF now suggests waiting until 50 or older for yearly check-ups.
Ready your muskets!
The key words here are “recommendation” and “suggestion.” Yet the brouhaha from every circle of this country from the medical community to women’s rights groups, radio commentators to the ever-ready op ed scream-a-rama made this out to be some kind of misogynistic pogrom. It led all three networks’ mid-week news programs, and as far as I could tell none of them simply said; Who the fuck gives a flying fart what anyone recommends or suggests, if you want a mammogram, go! Holy shit.
The second example of this collectivist whining is the endless bickering over the minutest detail of our Health Care debate, and not necessarily from those in opposition. It has now become commonplace for those on the same side to have conniptions over something like the lack of abortion funding available from the federal government in the latest draft of the over two-thousand page proposed senate bill. The same people who clamor for government handouts now want to dictate what the government will provide, not unlike the banks and lending institutions, which were all-too pleased to take taxpayer money but bitch when regulation kicks in.
When you move into the realm of the collective, there are some individual wants and needs that are going to be trampled on. Have we all forgotten our school bus experiences?
This is what has become of us. If a group or institution makes a statement about religion, civil rights, social concerns, or really any ambiguous generality there is an incredible uprising of paranoiac apoplexy. Somehow, without so much as a moment of reasoned reflection a majority of submentals believe “fill in the blank” is what is to be followed to the letter without exception. It is no longer science fiction to imagine living in one of the few free societies left to civilization where there is a complete outbreak of irrational yammering every time a broad disquisition emerges.
You’re already here.
As much as I hate to admit it, Orwell may have been right. However, this is one Big Brother that has come self-served, like a mass hallucination of Oedipal mayhem.
Mind you, this is different from the normal over-reaction people have to a Jesus movie, rap record or a tell-all book by a vacuous celebrity like the chick from One Day At A Time or a failed Alaskan governor cum vice presidential runner up. Fabricated news drummed up by high-priced publicity firms is as American as public drunkenness and mispronunciation. It also has no equivalent in the crazed preconditioned aftershock large groups have when something appears threatening, like a Beatle saying he’s more popular than God or when African Americans wanted to be educated in the same school systems. That behavior is as involuntarily prevalent in society as breathing. It’s simple stupidity. There’s no dissecting this or ridding ourselves of it. It’s called freedom. Stupid is not illegal. Thank goodness. However, mass hysteria over a singular way of thinking is a whole other heaping bowl of goofy.
This began in earnest, I believe, after the horrors of 9/11, when a generation of people led to believe that they were not really part of the planet, that the rest of the countries around the globe were our plaything, were rudely awakened. It also scared us because the public at large believed they were safe to go to work every day without having airliners crash into their buildings. This put a new onus on a totalitarian rule; wherein we accepted blindly this idea that in order to be “safe” we can trade in a few civil rights, wage pointless wars, and be subjected to mass hallucinations, like vague Orange Alerts that put the Pavlovian fear of Allah into our national psyche.
This is why we were so apoplectic after the Katrina disaster; we now believed as a tax-paying public that somehow the government could have prevented a natural disaster. Then the economy tanked, and these same fears exploded into what would become one of the most incredible turn of political events in our history; the election of an African American liberal who had been a senator for fifteen minutes. Why? Because the public substituted the word Change for Save. And when our new daddy didn’t come through in the first 300 days we whined and spat and began to abandon ship and search for random leaders who claim they want revolution, but all they want is ratings and to sell books.
Let’s face it, we have a Messiah complex in this country, wherein anything any proposed authority figure, or if they are on television, which gives them instant credibility, blabs we run, panic, and pump our fists for restitution.
The two-party system, which perpetuates this myth that there are only two sides to every argument has always anesthetized the public into a reactionary gaggle of talking-point parroting that is trained to wait for someone to provide a point of view, but even with that low a standard for original reasoning, what is happening now on the grandest scale is ridiculous.
James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of Deep Tank Jersey, Fear No Art, Trailing Jesus and Midnight For Cinderella. His work is archived at jamescampion.com.