Thursday, February 7, 2013

The shame of modern communism

Yesterday I made a woman cry during an interview.

I was covering a naturalization ceremony where about 200 foreign-born residents were made American citizens and I interviewed a woman whose family fled the Ukraine in the late 1990's. Her father had been arrested and tortured for criticizing communism and he managed to flee with them when she was a teenager. She told me other people weren't so fortunate and then started to cry uncontrollably.

I write on here a lot about how much I detest Marxism, communism, socialism* and other anti-capitalist utopian fantasies, but I don't spend enough time hitting home how deadly serious these matters are. This woman's personal horrors that came rushing forward shows us what is at stake.

I think of most modern communists as hobbyists. They make shallow, empty-headed suggestions in favor of a communist state because they have no idea what they're talking about and lack the integrity to perform any real research on the subject. They think it's cute and novel.

They speak with the same tongue as the anti-vaccination crowd who tell us that medicine is worse than disease.

Their ignorance and indifference is a crime against humanity. They join activist groups like Worker's World Party, which supports North Korea, and International ANSWER, which sided with the Chinese military in the Tiananmen Square protests.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who survived a Soviet gulag, said in 1975:

There is a word very commonly used these days: "anti-communism." It's a very stupid word, badly put together. It makes it appear as though communism were something original, something basic, something fundamental. Therefore, it is taken as the point of departure, and anti-communism is defined in relation to communism. Here is why I say that this word was poorly selected, that it was put together by people who do not understand etymology: the primary, the eternal concept is humanity. And communism is anti-humanity. Whoever says "anti-communism" is saying, in effect, anti-anti-humanity. A poor construction. So we should say: that which is against communism is for humanity. Not to accept, to reject this inhuman Communist ideology is simply to be a human being. It isn't being a member of a party.

When I read of historic figures like George Orwell who believed in socialism, I cut them some slack because they did not have the hindsight of history to guide them. The modern socialist drones have no such excuse. In fact, they have to cling to bitter little lies like "true socialism has never been tried" to shrug off the lessons of human experience.

When I rewatched the first season of Spartacus I kept thinking how most of the gladiators saw gaining their freedom as the ultimate accomplishment and once they had it their lives would be nearly perfect. Yet, watching the show I knew I had my freedom and didn't think much of it. That's because I have the luxury of taking it for granted. The former soviet and eastern European new citizens I interviewed had a much different experience and cherished their new lives.

There isn't enough shame directed at the modern proponents of communism. Yesterday when I spoke to that woman these ideas that seem so abstract became, very, very real to me. If everyone had that experience, would anyone dare to pick up and carry those discarded ideas ever again?

*This is my boilerplate clarification that I am referring to actual socialism and not President Barack Obama or Denmark's welfare state.


  1. Actually, there were many people who voluntarily entered into gladiatorial contracts, free people, even the nobility. There was also far less bloodshed than is commonly depicted and much less killing.

    Draftees in a war are the best comparison we have today. Gladiators fought, and some died for the benefit of others, as draftees in WW2 might be said to have done. The difference being one of the benefit conferred, entertainment vs. freedom.

    Not to detract from your point, just saying.

  2. Meanwhile, how many people have volunteered to go over to North Korea? I can recall only 4 US soldiers doing so and very few defectors to Russia and China as well. That should say something.

    I think a society can be fairly judged by how many people try to sneak in.

  3. You can't denounce a system that's only been tried a handful of times. That's like picking out corrupt capitalist countries and saying capitalism doesn't work because of a few examples.

    Marxism is based on equality, which can't possiby be an objectionable notion. Stalin was a brutal dictator and the Soviet Union failed miserably. However, your piece doesn't deal with the differences between Stalinism, Leninism, Trotskyism and original Marxism.

    The original Bolshevik project was hijacked by a brutal dictator in Russia. A similar thing happened in North Korea. However there are a lot of statistics that lead one to believe Cuba was better off communist than under American-backed capitalism.

    1. The danger of Communism isn't that it might go wrong, it's that in its effort to get rid of a "one percent", the economy would be MUCH worse off: the innovation that admittedly leads to inequality also leads to a prospering economy. The stagnation resulting from denying economic incentives to innovate end up costing the poor more than capitalism does.

  4. Really poorly put together article.

    You can't denounce a whole ideology without any in-depth analysis of its characteristics and the way in which communism manifested itself in various countries.

    This is exactly what i'd expect from a typical American viewpoint. It's an uneducated, blindly anti-communist rant.

  5. Words dont have innate value and thats where we should start. Actions do have tangible value and thats where we should start.