I read a powerful post today from Alex Tabarrok today about Chinese farmers in the village of Xiaogang who started a secret pact in 1978. They saw that collectivist farming was failing them and made a pact to split the communal land up secretly, much like the solution to the tragedy of the commons. They would keep the surplus they grew, which would motivate them to grow more.
It wasn't a blind love of capitalism that motivated them. The risk of being caught was death by firing squad, which shows how dire the situation was that they would risk death to bring private property to a communist nation.
“Back then, even one straw belonged to the group,” says Yen Jingchang, who was a farmer in Xiaogang in 1978. “No one owned anything.”This is not my first post about why socialism, communism and Marxism are wrong, nor will it be my last. It's not because I think President Barack Obama is a socialist - I don't. It's not because I think there's a commie plot to take over America - there isn't.
At one meeting with communist party officials, a farmer asked: “What about the teeth in my head? Do I own those?” Answer: No. Your teeth belong to the collective.
But man oh man, is there a lot of Marxism still squirming about.
All the scientific support for collectivism rotted away in the twentieth century. The intellectuals who believed collectivism would replace capitalism embraced the USSR and China, claiming they achieved great improvements in the standard of living for the poor. The grinning skulls of the Russians, Chinese, Cambodians, Vietnamese, Cubans and other victims have shown how wrong they were.
This revelation has hit home with most people. They know that the hammer and sickle are tools to kill people, not liberation for workers.
But unfortunately, those maggoty ideas thrive with the college crowd, both starry-eyed clueless students and strung-out idiot English professors. They cling to the philosophy of Marx and use special pleading to ignore the lessons of history.
If you hear someone say "real socialism has never been tried," the only appropriate response is to walk away. This is an intellectual cult that's not restricted to the corners of the Internet. It was openly displayed at my college's weekly "Marxist luncheon series," it hung banners and cardboard signs at the 2011 Organized Trespassing protests and it's trendy with the sneering hipster daydreamers in metropolitan areas.
I write about these ideas because they're still shuffling about and the next generation needs to be reminded before it makes the same mistakes.
What's telling is that the specific examples of societies previous generations of Marxists listed as successes have been completely abandoned by the current generation. Check out this hep cat from 1978 talking to Milton Friedman. He thought Chairman Mao's Great Leap Forward in China was a success.
He's talking about the same system the farmers of Xiaogang rebelled against. Since you don't hear any Marxists today hold up China as a positive example, what does that say about what future Marxists will say about Cuba, Venezuela and "Democratic Korea?"