This sounds very fishy. I think Mr xxx is pulling our collective and collectivist leg.


Well, the operative expression here is "pulling our leg", which means to play a joke on someone by getting them to believe something that is not true. "Collective" refers to everyone the writer is referencing by use of the 1st person plural (i.e. "our") in that sentence.

"Collectivist" refers to

The principles or system of ownership and control of the means of production and distribution by the people collectively, usually under the supervision of a government.

That's an odd word to use here, as it implies that the writer considers "us" to be in some sense socialistic or even communistic. More context would probably make it clear what the point of that word is here. Is this by any chance from an article about the recent legislative debacle in Wisconsin, wherein the governor has been trying to get rid of government employees' collective bargaining rights? If so, that may clear things up. It's possible the writer doesn't know that collective bargaining and "collectivist" practices are not really the same thing.

  • Usually, "collectivist" is meant pejoratively. People whose enemies call them collectivist call themselves "socialist" or "communitarian" or even just "leftist". I tend to agree that the writer was unclear on the meaning of the word and just used it because it went well with "collective". Mar 1 '11 at 3:08

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