No argument that communism is not bunk. Its attractions were the ideals of
equality, but that merely translated to peasant dictatorships based on
adherence to local, cultural, love-affairs with tyranny like the Soviet and
East Asian Communist Societies. Communism seems to produce Auto-Genocides as
in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, North Korea.
National Socialism produces Xeno-Genocide; the subjugation or elimination of
proscribed peoples. Note: you 4-1 ration is skewed, I believe, because Nazism
lasted only 13 years and Soviet Socialism was murdered people 'en masse'
since 1917. The Great Leap Forward caused about 28 millions deaths in China
between 1958-1963, alone. Its still in business, the business of brutal
repressions and a lust to dominate. Some scholars now see the Communist party
running China as not the Middle Kingdom, but acting as a Bismarkian Germay
did, circa 1866 onward.
In a message dated 6/15/00 12:43:48 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
<< Karl Marx claimed that communism was a scientific theory. As such, it must
be testable, right? If communism in practice during the 20th century is
considered as a series of experiments with known results and consequences,
it has been a catastrophic failure. It has not delivered the propserity,
freedom or transformation of man that it predicted. Therefore,
scientifically, Marxism is bunk.
Before looking at its direct results, let's consider the side effects of
implementing communism. According to the French ex-communist scholars who
compiled "The Black Book of Communism" communist governments for political
reasons have killed approximately 100 million civilians (i.e.,
non-combatants in any war or revolutionary conflict). For comparison, please
note that this is 4 times the number of civilians killed by the Nazis. More
difficult to quantify are the lives ruined and human potential wasted by
communist governments. However, based on anecdotal reports of those who have
lived under communist governments, it would be fair to state that writers,
artists, philosophers, and would-be entrepreneurs were not given the chance
to succeed on their own terms. Their less-than-maximum contributions to
their respective societies cannot easily be tabulated, but surely represent
a tremendous loss to those societies and to the human race as a whole.
On the positive side, many scientists and engineers did have the opportunity
to work up to their potential with some exceptions, including Darwinian
biologists who had been suppressed in the Soviet Union during the reign of
Lysenkoism (an offshoot of Lamarkism), and engineers who would have
preferred to work on non-military projects but who had been assigned to
military work without their consent.
In terms of the material abundance, there is plenty of proof that communism
fails to deliver. The joke in the old Soviet Union was that if communism
came to the Sahara Desert there would be a shortage of sand. Recall that
Russian coalmine workers went on strike during the final year of the USSR's
existence. What was there non-negotiable demand? Soap! If you've ever seen
the blacked faces and hands of men emerging from a coalmine, you know that
soap is nearly as important to them as food. If communism promises to give
to all according to their needs, how can it deny soap to coalminers?
Then there is the whole matter of quality. Communism is the reign of
quantity over quality. Factories were required to produce assigned
quantities of good, even though the quality of those goods was so low that
no one with any other options would buy them. Thus we have the situation of
the post-Soviet 1990s when Russian goods (still being made by workers and
managers trained under communism) cannot compete on world markets. In fact,
the situation is even worse than that. Their manufactured goods are so bad
that the world market has priced them below the market value of their raw
material inputs. Can you imagine that? The legacy of communist economics is
an industrial system that *REMOVES* value from raw materials!
But let's give credit to communism where it is due: Under communism, few
people starved unless the government wanted them to. Stalin starved farmers
in the Ukraine during the 1930s by confiscating their crops. Mao did the
same with his cockamamie schemes of the 1950s and 1960s. But for most
citizens, there was bread or rice, and a few other vegetables with some
occasional meat. And that's pretty much all there was for the next 50 or 60
years. So for anyone whose greatest dream is to have a subsistence diet
while foregoing freedom of speech, association, religion and economic
opportunity, communism offers just the morsels they crave.
Given the manifest failures of communism, we must ask why Marxism is still
taken seriously by anyone. Certainly there are enough Marxist professors at
American universities to make this question pertinent. I believe the answer
is memetic: Marxism is a potent meme-complex that fits neatly into the mind
space that would otherwise be occupied by other grand meme-complexes such as
Catholicism or Transhumanism. Assuming that to be the case, we clearly need
to redouble our efforts to introduce Extropian memes to those susceptible
young undergraduate minds that otherwise could be swayed by the poisonous
dreams of Marx.
Michael LaTorra >>
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