Why must all major forms of collectivism inevitably be relativistic? The answer is in memetics. Collectivist belief systems propagate because they are able to adapt to different cultural circumstances. Being rigid doctrinal systems from the onset, their adaptability depends on loosening the connection between doctrine and application. Religion operates under the pretense of holy writ, but in practice relies on creative interpretation. Statism operates under the pretense of “protecting freedom and rights,” but in practice relies on popular opinion (which is itself the product of State propaganda and indoctrination) in order to adapt. Professed absolutism, but total relativism in practice.
This disconnection process is selected for by the bare necessities of memetic success. Those collectivist belief systems that cannot adapt, enjoy a success limited to those places that can welcome them, and eventually go extinct or draw a cult following (the end result of Judaism v Christianity is a great example of this).
This is why, to a religionist or a statist, doctrines don’t take great importance as anything but symbols. The Ten Commandments, or the Constitution, are symbols with very limited applicable content. For a religionist to be held to the Ten Commandments, or a statist to be held to the Constitution, as they are written, would mean applying a detrimental, inflexible standard to one’s beliefs. Anyone who upholds such a position must therefore be portrayed as a whackjob (note that I am not advocating that the Ten Commandments or the Constitution are good doctrines, as they definitely are not: merely that they are ultimately irrelevant to the believer).
The question then arises, aren’t individualists just as relativist as the collectivists? Isn’t materialism relativist? Isn’t Market Anarchy relativist?
The materialist believes that human beings are able to understand reality because reality is moved by natural laws. These natural laws apply to matter as well as the more specific case of human societies. If this is correct, then relativism is trivially false, as natural laws apply to all existents regardless of race, culture, era or religion. Unlike human texts, which can be tampered with or twisted in human ways, nature itself cannot be tampered or twisted. The force of gravity between two objects is always proportional to the product of their mass and always inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. Regardless of how much you wish to twist that fact, the evidence is always there and readily available.
Market Anarchy, as a subset of materialism, upholds universality as one of its basic principles. The principle of universality says that any supposed moral rule, in order to be considered anything more than mere personal opinion or self-serving assertion, must apply to all people at all places and time. If you claim that murder is wrong, then you must apply it to everyone, including soldiers, policemen and bureaucrats, otherwise what you have is not a moral rule but rather a naked attempt to justify State power at the expense of logic.
Market Anarchists do acknowledge that everyone has a different value system, and should be free to live it. But they also acknowledge that any valid form of social organization must establish rules which permit this expression. As such, we have to draw a sharp line between the Market Anarchist framework (universality, self-ownership, self-determinism, voluntaryism, etc) and personal preferences (opinions on the Drug War, abortion, “gun control,” “public education,” etc).
To the statist, what we call personal preferences are not preferences but rather doctrinal matters. The statist really believes that his specific position on the Drug War, abortion, “gun control,” “public education,” and so on, must be codified into the social context. This delusion shows us that statism falls to the relativist problem, while Market Anarchy does not.