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The Collectivist Election: New at Reason

Saturday, November 5, 2016 6:50
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Collectivism has enjoyed an alarming resurgence in the 2016 election.

Matt Welch writes in the December issue of Reason:

When we hear the c word nowadays it’s usually in the context of Stalin’s agricultural five-year plans or the rah-rah slogans on 1930s posters. But there’s another, more personal meaning of the term that has dwindled in usage, even while its application to major-party politics seems to ratchet up each cycle. And that is: treating the disparate individuals within any given bloc as sharing a collective set of characteristics, intentions, and pathologies. It’s what Hillary Clinton meant with “basket of deplorables,” it’s what Donald Trump has done with “Mexican heritage” and its variants, and it’s all too often the nightstick that our friends and loved ones grab for when talking about politics in a presidential year.

What makes the Democratic version of collective antipathy particularly noxious is the fact that it often comes disguised as a treacly appeal to unity. Trump “wants to divide us,” Clinton lamented at the Democratic National Convention. “We have to heal the divides in our country.…And that starts with listening, listening to each other. Trying, as best we can, to walk in each other’s shoes.”

Unless, of course, you have or work with large amounts of money. “Wall Street, corporations, and the super-rich are going to start paying their fair share of taxes,” Clinton thundered later in the same speech. “If companies take tax breaks and then ship jobs overseas, we’ll make them pay us back.”

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