For over a decade (and for reasons I’ll explain in another post later this week), I’ve understood that “democracy” is a collectivist form of government fundamentally identical to communism and socialism. I am therefore more than a little intrigued by the terms “collective” and “collectivist”.
So, imagine my surprise when (last week) I stumbled on an A.D. 1988 Supreme Court case that dealt with the “collective entity doctrine”. I’d never before heard of the term “collective entity” in American law and I had no idea that there was a “collective entity doctrine”. That surprised me. I don’t know about a lot of things–in fact, most things are unknown to me. Nevertheless, given my interest in collectivist forms of government, and given that the term “collective entity” has been used by the Supreme Court in at least 9 cases since A.D. 1974, I’m almost amazed that I hadn’t previously heard of this doctrine.
In fact, according to the Braswell v. US case (below), there are at least three other cases (including the earliest instance, Hale v Henkel in A.D. 1906) which did not actually use the term “collective entity” but helped lay the foundation for what came to be called the “collective entity doctrine”.
Thus, the “collective entity” concept has been recognized in American law for over a century, but I just heard about it last week. Apparently, I didn’t get the memo. Nevertheless, I’m amazed by my own ignorance. How could I not have heard of that concept before now?