Ropke: Why I So Greatly Distrust Collectivism

“As far as I myself am concerned, what I reject in socialism is a philosophy which, any ‘liberal’ phraseology it may use notwithstanding, places too little emphasis on man, his nature, and his personality and which, at least in its enthusiasm for anything that may be described as organization, concentration, management, and administrative machinery, makes light of the danger that all this may lead to the sacrifice of freedom in the plain and tragic sense exemplified by the totalitarian state. My picture of man is fashioned by the spiritual heritage of classical and Christian tradition. I see in man the likeness of God; I am profoundly convinced that it is an appalling sin to reduce man to a means (even in the name of high-sounding phrases) and that each man’s soul is something unique, irreplaceable, priceless, in comparison with which all other things are as naught. I am attached to a humanism which is rooted in these convictions and which regards man as the child and image of God, but not as God himself, to be idolized as he is by the hubris of a false and atheist humanism. These, I believe, are the reasons why I so greatly distrust all forms of collectivism.”

– Wilhem Röpke, A Humane Economy

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