I HAVE LIVED under a Latin American military dictatorship where daily life was freer than in Britain today. Of course, you couldn’t go out into the street and shout “Down with Señor Presidente”, at least not without dire consequences; on the other hand, you were considerably less surveyed, supervised and harried as you went about your business than you are in contemporary Britain.
The average Briton, we are told, is filmed 300 times a day once he steps out of his door. His home is hardly his castle, either. If he doesn’t have a television he receives repeated menaces from the licensing authority, which may send an officer to inspect his house. And the form granting him the inestimable democratic right to vote comes with the threat of a £1,000 fine if he doesn’t fill it (and he’ll go to prison if he doesn’t pay the fine).
Numerous officials have the right of entry, and his most private affairs are increasingly of interest to the tax authorities, who have de facto, though not de jure, dictatorial powers. When, as rarely happens, a Chancellor of the Exchequer reduces a tax, he is said by almost every commentator to be giving money away, which implies that we all accept, like the good slaves that we are, that the economy belongs to the Government, and the fullness thereof.
If the citizen should drive, he soon discovers that his vehicle confers anxiety rather than freedom. Slight infringements of the driving rules are photographed and he is fined. When he parks he soon discovers that wheel-clamping is the one public service that works with clockwork efficiency. Squeezing money from him is likewise the one task that the State takes seriously, for he cannot rely on the police to protect him, or the schools to educate his children, or the hospitals to succour him when he is ill, or public transport to take him anywhere without hitch. A bloated payroll does not translate into efficient services: on the contrary, it is incompatible with them.
The State is increasingly concerning itself with the individual’s private habits, instituting a reign of virtue, chief among which is healthiness (we are approaching the situation of Samuel Butler’s satire, Erewhon, a country where illness is a crime). Though not a single smoker is unaware of the dangers of smoking, and hasn’t been for 30 years or more, he is now to be prevented from smoking in public, even when he is among other smokers only.
This is the collectivism of the left. The kind of "soft" tyranny that supposedly is "good" for you--but which is tryanny nonetheless. You don't hear outcries against it by the champions of the oppressed (I am referring to the left and the Democrats in case you wondered) simply because they are incapable of appreciating how tyrannical and meddling their behavior is; and how it rots the core of liberty.
In principle, the collectivism of the left and the right are united in their unrelenting hostility toward the individual; and their agreement on the need for a strong central government (controlled by them). In the opinion of both, that government has the right to promote or suppress religion; and to use education as a form of socialization and indoctrination. They are both ambivalent about science and technology--both are willing to use science to implement their particular vision; but they simultaneously fantasize about a world that will be returned to some prescientific, preindustrial, pristine and primitive state. Both tend to use violence as their primary method of persuasion; and both have a common enemy--capitalism with its need for limited government; education instead of indoctrination; separation of church and state; and use of peaceful trade.
In reality, the right often has imposed a "reign of terror" through fascism and religious fanaticism; and micromanages the indivdual's choices with God or the State's best interests at heart. The left opts for more subtle "reign of virtue"; and controls the individual by making choices for him or her-- decisions always made with the individual's best interests at heart.
Neither have any real interest in the individual.
Both the collectivist right and left are fully united in their quest to dominate and control the individual--no matter how much lip service they give to individual's "immortal soul", "health", or "well-being". Theirs is a quest for ultimate power and it matters little to the true believers of either ilk that their ideologies destroy human freedom and enslave the human spirit.
I have no love for either the collectivist right or left. But I will say this. The collectivist right is almost always upfront and annoyingly direct about its goals (even if some choose not to believe what they are saying). The religious fanatics and the strongman dictators lay out very clearly their agenda and how they will make you submit to the slavery and the will of your overlords and masters -- whether they are called mullahs; priests; president-for-life; or dear leaders. With them you know that you are nothing and the God/State is Everything. That is why the collectivist right does not usually hesitate to use violence to achieve their goals and install the overlord(s).
But the collectivist left lies and cheats and even deludes itself about what they are peddling. They imagine that they represent something good and holy (in a secular sense) and equal and just. They are also perfectly willing to use violence, but they choose to close their eyes when they make the laws and "rehabilitate" you. They call the overlords of their lovely system by names like "the proletariat", brother, sister, or "comrade". They say they care about the individual, but history records a record of similar destruction and devastation for their brand of tyranny; even disguised as it is in stink of utopian ideals. They wreak just as much misery, despair and death on humnaity as any reign of terror from the right.
The very best (or worse, depending on your perspective) of the collectivist thugs manage to use ideas from both the left and the right to optimize their power and domination over people.
What we have in the world today is an alliance of the collectivist left and right. While the ones on the right seek to directly destroy all societies that value freedom and individuality from the world, preferring to use WMD to wipe out as many of those opposed to them as possible; the tyrants of the left quietly and persistently erode from within with their own pernicious ideological weapons of mass propaganda that eat away at the values and foundations of freedom.
The collectivist right is homicidal toward individualism and freedom; and the collectivist left is suicidal.
But both lead to serfdom.