Over 3000 mostly American civilians die when Al Qaeda terrorists hijack four civilian airliners and crash two of them into office buildings in New York. A 22 year old Catholic postman is gunned down in the street by the ‘Loyalist’ Red Hand Defenders in Northern Ireland. Six Israeli Jews are gunned down during the bat mitzvah of a 12 year old girl by a Palestinian terrorist with the Al Asqa Martyrs Brigade, an offshoot of Fatah.
In none of these cases was there any pretence that the people being murdered were military targets or in any meaningful way part of the apparatus of state. They were just members of the wrong collective group.
Collectivism is the real world manifestation of the subjective, emotion based feral animal origins of humanity, like some recurring echo emanating from the primitive reptile brain that physically exists in all of us. It is the antithesis of rational objectivity, something that no amount of fancy verbiage from Marx or Chomsky or Himmler or Plato or Rousseau can disguise in their respective paeans to force and unity over intellect and evolution. Collectivism is a fancy word for tribalism. It is a hold over, an atavistic throw back to times before the modern civilisation of the extended order.
And then I see a huge protest against violence in Northern Ireland like the one today. A great and wonderful angry howl against sectarian violence by both catholics and protestants together, all revolted by the madness in the hearts of paramilitary murderers. And there, amongst the grim faced ranks of ordinary people standing under their umbrellas in the rain, I catch sight of members of the Orange Order, of Sinn Fein, of the SDLP, of various well meaning ‘left’ and ‘right’ wing groups, all calling for unity.
Tragically, terribly and utterly wrong.
The world already has enough ‘unity’ to kill every man woman and child one hundred times over. The lasting repulse of tribal violence will not come from ‘unity’, which is just an appeal for the creation of a different, larger tribe to combat the ‘other’ tribes, but rather individualism: the explicit rejection of every tie that comes not through choice but from force. Do not mistake collective action for collectivism, for it is the latter, not the former, that both ‘left’ and ‘right’ has on offer.
The answer is not ‘Unity’, which is just short hand for ‘join us, not them’… the answer is ‘Don’t tread on me’