More than we know we do combat with words. Consider the etymology of these ideological words. Consider what happens when the words “collective” and “community” become wrapped into isms.
Collectivism has strong associations with communism.
It seems that some would have us believe that the mere act of organizing people into a group with a common interest is communistic.
The word “community” has multiple associations with isms.
Like communism, communitarianism also emphasizes the community over the individual.
Communitarianism is not the same as communism, but it does emphasize the interests of the community over the individual.
- communism (n.)
- “social system based on collective ownership,” 1843, from French communisme (c. 1840) from commun (Old French comun; see common (adj.)) + -isme (see -ism). Originally a theory of society; as name of a political system, 1850, a translation of German Kommunismus (itself from French), in Marx and Engels’ “Manifesto of the Communist Party.” Compare communist. In some cases in early and mid-20c., a term of abuse implying anti-social criminality without regard to political theory.
Each [i.e. socialism, communism, anarchism] stands for a state of things, or a striving after it, that differs much from that which we know; & for many of us, especially those who are comfortably at home in the world as it is, they have consequently come to be the positive, comparative, & superlative, distinguished not in kind but in degree only, of the terms of abuse applicable to those who would disturb our peace. [Fowler]
We even have something called communalism which is similar to communitarianism. Instead of a strong central government, however, both communitarianism and communalism emphasize creating a federation of communes, just not for the same reasons.
Thanks to all these mushy isms, it is a little difficult to speak of the difference between a collective and a community. Nevertheless, people form collectives deliberately for a specific purpose. Whereas people form communities by living together and forming strong ties with each other.
Therefore, only when we speak of a community does it make sense to apply this verse.
John 13:35 New King James Version (NKJV)
35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
When we form charitable organizations, because there is a personal relationship it makes sense to provide charity at the community level. Unfortunately, our political leaders have created new and improved charities. They have used the state, especially that great collective we call the Federal Government, to give away our tax dollars using expensive health, education, and welfare programs. Hence we have politicians spending other people’s money on people they don’t even know. The result has been phenomenal fraud, waste and abuse.
Ideally, because the personal relationship between those who give and those who receive charity is so important (It is about love, after all.), charity should only be the function of local, private organizations. Only when we have no other alternative should we involve government, and that should be local government. Only when we have no other alternative should we involve either the state or the Federal Government.
What is the big issue of the moment in Washington DC? It is Obamacare. What is Obamacare? It is about whether the average American will be able to make his or her health choices without overriding interference from nameless bureaucrats. It about disconnecting the desires of people who pay the bills from the people who provide health care services. It is about giving politicians power just because they want it. It about turning our whole healthcare system into a wasteful and inefficient government-run charity rife with fraud, waste, and abuse.
Please let your senators and congressman know you want Obamacare repealed. You want them to do the same thing they did when they knew Obama would veto their repeal bill. Then you want them to replace Obamacare with laws that allow us to use our own money to make our own decisions. Do we really need their help to provide charity for our neighbors, the people in our communities. No. Not if we actually care about each other. If we don’t, there is nothing they can do anyway. If we don’t care, they won’t either.