Janet Delay has an article in the Telegraph, one that greatly mirrors my thinking on the subject, where she asks “why the lessons of communism and its fall have not been learned“. Seriously, why so many people still believe that there are “other” systems that are better and fairer than capitalism, after communism proved without a doubt how command economies – any economy driven by government for that matter – are abysmal failures, should make everyone do a double take. From her piece;
The fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism which followed it are hugely important to any proper understanding of the present world and of the contemporary political economy. Why is it that they have failed to be addressed with anything like their appropriate awesome significance, let alone found their place in the sixth-form curriculum?
The failure of communism should have been, after all, not just a turning point in geo-political power – the ending of the Cold War and the break-up of the Warsaw Pact – but in modern thinking about the state and its relationship to the economy, about collectivism vs individualism, and about public vs private power. Where was the discussion, the trenchant analysis, or the fundamental debate about how and why the collectivist solutions failed, which should have been so pervasive that it would have percolated down from the educated classes to the bright 18-year-olds? Fascism is so thoroughly (and, of course, rightly) repudiated that even the use of the word as a casual slur is considered slanderous, while communism, which enslaved more people for longer (and also committed mass murder), is regarded with almost sentimental condescension.
Is this because it was originally thought to be idealistic and well-intentioned? If so, then that in itself is a reason for examining its failure very closely. We need to know why a system that began with the desire to free people from their chains ended by imprisoning them behind a wall. Certainly we have had some great works of investigation into the Soviet gulags and the practices of the East German Stasi, but judging by our present political discourse, I think it is safe to say that the basic fallacies of the state socialist system have not really permeated through to public consciousness.
By now it is only the most hardcore of marxists that still has the gall to publically tell the lies and make excuses for the failure of communism. Telling people that real communism has never been put into practice, that communism failed because the wrong people where in charge, or one of my favorites, because evil capitalism undermined it and doomed it to failure, is a sure fire way to end up being made fun of by most sane people. And yet, in circles on the left, as this author points out, Fascism – another disease of the left that the left was quite successful at convincing many was right wing, when nothing could be further from the truth: fascism is rooted in socialism – is a dirty word, the worst kind of slander you can label someone with, but communism, calling someone a communist, does not result in a similar response. Considering communism killed and imprisoned far more people than fascism ever did, it baffles me that the class warfare mantra that is part & parcel of these collectivist ideologies, has not been discredited, once and for all.
Command economies fail because they are driven by people at the top that neither have a clue about the needs of people below them, as individuals, nor the angelic predisposition needed to obviate the unavoidable degeneration into a tyrannical state every single state to embrace communism went through. Communism fails because it basically is an attempt to create heaven on earth. To make these collectivist paradises work free would need to be eradicated. As Winston Churchill put it:
The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
The truth is that there is no in between. If a totalitarian system like communism could not address the inequalities that so bother the class warriors, then what can? Was the ruling class not totalitarian enough? Seriously, is there any way short of the eradication of free will to overcome the human factor and thus redress the injustice these people claim drives them to keep fighting against a capitalist system? Why then do so many still glom onto the crap Marx cursed us with about a classless society? Why have we not discussed communism as it should have been discussed and put in its proper perspective?
The argument that the left leaning segment of our political class was too invested in this nonsense to allow this discussion about the failure of communism to take place, sure makes sense, but after communism produced such abysmal failures, so much suffering with the inequalities becoming even more pronounced, not less, why do people still remain proponents of the system or parts of the system?
Someone motivated by the need to do good and that went along with this Marxist nonsense, then realized half way there that it was doing no good at all, and actually instead was causing great harm – and communism caused great harm – would stop what they were doing. Wouldn’t they? Wouldn’t you? Yet, our disciples of the teachings of Marx seem not at all fazed by the harm communism has caused or causes. There isn’t even an inkling of doubt or shame with the class warriors. There is injustice, and government – one that looks a lot like the communist government – MUST address it. That great harm was the only result when their beliefs have been put into practice is excused with a plethora of insane arguments. Their claim to be demanding a redress to the injustice they dislike, doing good, should remain wholly and totally suspect. Communism was totalitarian and the most likely system to do what they preach. Yet all it did was inflict misery, on a grand scale, while millions where murdered, to produce a system that history shows us only exacerbated the inequalities.
If that’s the left’s way of meaning well, I am sure we can do without that. But if one where to believe, like I do, that these class warriors were driven by something else, like envy and jealousy of what others have, then it would not matter whether communism worked or was a complete failure. People driven by envy and jealousy would remain true to the cause regardless of how horrible communism was. After all, despite what they claim, they are not hoping to do good: what they are hoping to do is strike at those they dislike. And that is why I think we have not had our discussion about how evil communism and the underlying beliefs that spawned this ideology are: the end goal was never a classless society, but to get the people they dislike. As the soft collectivist states now also see their system collapsing expect more totalitarianism akin to that of the old communist states. The state will take what it wants to keep itself going, until it can go no more. And they will keep telling us they are doing to address all these injustices only they can address.