Collectivism at Borders4 min read

Collectivism is a group of people having interests that bring them together. To be a collective, you have to have a group that opposes those interests. To be a collective, you have to have something that defines the group.

Individualism is the idea that the individual is the most important thing to consider. Individualists would say that people should not be forced to be a part of a collective. Not having freedom of association violates liberal and individualist preferences.


In a perfect world, people would not require mediation. There would be no need for government. People would regulate themselves. Everyone would be happy.

The world we live in is different. Without the government, nothing is stopping me from taking a crap on your front porch and then killing your dog outside of your own resources. If you are weaker than me, Fido is dead and your front door opens to my toilet.

There are ways to have government that is less centralized. I won’t be covering those. I am going to assume we have a government similar to the one in the United States today.


What creates a government? A society that allows themselves to be governed makes a government. The continued deference allows for it to continue.

We are not to the point that we can have a world government that everyone agrees on. Our shared culture isn’t there. Many would argue our shared culture should never get to that point.

Borders are a practical consideration. They allow for people to have a collective that isn’t defined by anything but proximity. Borders aren’t a thing that anyone desires as an end goal. People accept borders. They accept borders because they want people like them to be in their community. They also desire to keep people who are not like them out of the community.

Some people are more willing than others to allow people not like them into the community. That only extends so far, though. If I insist on killing all dogs I see and only pooping in my neighbors yards, the line would be drawn by most people. Where that line of rejection is drawn is different for different people.

That’s why government being defined by borders makes sense. It’s also why it is the only legitimate collective that the government should recognize.

Collectives in Competition

Collectives will always compete. If your collective isn’t in competition, it is less likely you define yourself by it. I am not aware of many groups that brag about their hearts being on the inside of their body and making that defining characteristic to membership.

A collective within borders competing is fine. It will always happen. The problem occurs when the government chooses a winner. Picking a winner like that is the same as a referee only calling penalties on one team. The other team can foul with impunity, causing serious injury, with no course for reprisal.

The reason you can have areas defined by borders compete without harm is clear once you understand economics. Cooperation between people and the collectives they make up is always better for the broader society. If you define collectives by borders, those areas have an incentive to compete and cooperate at the same time.

Collectives within the same borders will often only compete. There is less direct incentive to cooperate. This means groups with no overlap in motivation or membership will just oppose each other.

Freedom of Association

There is one challenge to borders as the only collective that is quite valid. There are many cases where you cannot choose where to live. This violates your ability to have freedom of association.

While this complaint is valid, I feel that the negative impacts by a society with an impartial government is the best case scenario.

If you remove the current centralization of power in the United States, freedom of movement becomes easier. You can move to a community that fits your ideals. If you want a community that defines itself as black only and enforces that through contracts on who can sell a house to whom, you can do that. If you want a community that is only women, you can move there.

The problem with our current system is that the federal government defines what everyone can do. Even the states making those definitions is not something I am happy about. I believe that people will know what is best for them. I believe people should have the freedom to choose how they want to live. That means a strong central government making decisions for all 330,000,000 people in the United States will always hurt too many individuals.

I reject collectives outside of those defined by borders for the same reason. I just want to sit in my house, spend time with my family, and write contradictory blog posts about shitting on people’s porches.

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