I have written several articles on postings related to politics. A list of links have been provided at bottom of this article for your convenience. This article will, however address different aspects on these political events.
The attempt to establish a comprehensive socialist system in many parts of the world over the last one hundred years has been one of the cruelest and most brutal episodes in human history.
Some historians have estimated that as many as 200 million people may have died as part of the dream of creating a collectivist “Paradise on Earth.” Making a better “new world” was taken to mean the extermination, the liquidation, the mass murder of all those that the socialist revolutionary leaders declared to be “class enemies,” including the families, the children of “enemies of the people.”
The Bloody Road to Making a New Socialist Man
We will soon be marking the hundredth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia (November 1917) under the Marxist revolutionary leader, Vladimir Lenin. In Soviet Russia, alone, it has been calculated by Russian and Western historians who had limited access to the secret archives of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the KGB (the Soviet secret police) in the 1990s, that around 68 million innocent, unarmed men, women and children were killed over the nearly 75 years of communist rule in the Soviet Union.
The communist revolutionaries in Russia proudly declared their goal to be destruction and death to everything that existed before the revolution, so as to have a clean slate upon which to mold the new socialist man.
The evil of the Soviet system is that it was not cruelty for cruelty’s sake. Rather it was cruelty for a purpose – to make a new Soviet man and a new Soviet society. This required the destruction of everything that had gone before; and it also entailed the forced creation of a new civilization, as conjured up in the minds of those who had appointed themselves the creators of this brave new world.
In the minds of those like Felix Dzerzhinsky, Lenin’s close associate and founder of the Soviet secret police, violence was an act of love. So much did they love the vision of a blissful communist future to come that they were willing to sacrifice all of the traditional conceptions of humanity and morality to bring the utopia to fruition.
Thus, in a publication issued in 1919 by the newly formed Soviet secret police, the Cheka (later the NKVD and then the KGB), it was proclaimed:
We reject the old systems of morality and ‘humanity’ invented by the bourgeoisie to oppress and exploit the ‘lower classes.’ Our morality has no precedent, and our humanity is absolute because it rests on a new ideal. Our aim is to destroy all forms of oppression and violence. To so, everything is permitted, for we are the first to raise the sword not to oppress races and reduce them to slavery, but to liberate humanity from its shackles …
“Blood? Let blood flow like water! Let bloodstain forever the black pirate’s flag flown by the bourgeoisie, and let our flag be blood-red forever! For only through the death of the old world can we liberate ourselves from the return of those jackals.
Death and Torture as Tools of Winning Socialism
The famous sociologist, Pitirim A. Sorokin was a young professor in Petrograd (later Leningrad, and now St Petersburg) in 1920 as the Russian Civil War that firmly established communist rule in Russia was coming to its end. He kept an account of daily life during those years, which he published many years later under the title, Leaves from a Russian Diary – and Thirty Years After (1950).
Here is one of his entries from 1920:
The machine of the Red Terror works incessantly. Every day and every night, in Petrograd, Moscow, and all over the country the mountain of the dead grows higher . . . Everywhere people are shot, mutilated, wiped out of existence …
Every night we hear the rattle of trucks bearing new victims. Every night we hear the rifle fire of executions, and often some of us hear from the ditches, where the bodies are flung, faint groans and cries of those who did not die at once under the guns. People living near these places begin to move away. They cannot sleep …
Getting up in the morning, no man or woman knows whether he will be free that night. Leaving one’s home, one never knows whether he will return. Sometime a neighborhood is surrounded and everyone caught out of his house without a certificate is arrested . . . Life these days depends entirely on luck.
This murderous madness never ended. In the 1930s, during the time of the Great Purges instituted by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin to wipe out all “enemies of the revolution” through mass executions, there were also sent millions to the GULAG prisons that stretched across all of the Soviet Union to be worked to death as slave labor to “build socialism.”
Before being sent to their death or to the forced labor camps, tens of thousands would be interrogated and cruelly tortured to get confessions out of people about non-existent crimes, imaginary anti-Soviet conspiracies, and false accusations against others.
Stalin personally sent instructions to the Soviet secret police that stated that in obtaining confessions from the accused, “the NKVD was given permission by the Central Committee [of the Communist Party] to use physical influence … as a completely correct and expedient method” of interrogation.
When Stalin was told that this method was bringing forth the desired results, he told the NKVD interrogators, “Give them the works until they come crawling to you on their bellies with confessions in their teeth.” Then, in another purge, this one after World War II, Stalin simplified the instructions even more: “Beat, beat and, once again, beat.”
Thousands of the victims wrote letters to Stalin from their exile and hardships in the labor camps, all of them persuaded that it had all been a terrible mistake. If only Comrade Stalin knew, he would set it all right and they would be freed and restored as good, loyal Soviet citizens ready to once again work to “build socialism.”
Stalin’s Personal Hand in Building Socialism Through Blood
But Stalin knew. He personally signed off on tens of thousands of death warrants and orders for tens of thousands more to be sent to their horrifying fate in the GULAG camps.
Domitri Volkogonov, a Soviet general-turned-historian, gained access to many of the closed Soviet archives in the 1980s, and wrote a biography of Stalin, entitled, Triumph and Tragedy (1991), meaning Stalin’s “triumph” to power and the resulting “tragedy” for the Soviet people. Volkogonov told a Western correspondent at the time:
I would come home from working in Stalin’s archives, and I would be deeply shaken. I remember coming home after reading through the day of December 12, 1938. He signed thirty lists of death sentences that day, altogether about five thousand people, including many he personally knew, his friends …
This is not what shook me. It turned out that, having signed these documents, he went to his personal theater very late that night and watched two movies, including “Happy Guys,” a popular comedy of the time. I simply could not understand how, after deciding the fate of several thousand lives, he could watch such a movie.
But I was beginning to realize that morality plays no role for dictators. That’s when I understood why my father was shot, why my mother died in exile, why millions of people died.
Soviet central planning even had quotas for the number of such enemies of the people to be killed in each region of the Soviet Union as well as the required numbers to be rounded up to be sent to work in the labor camps in the frigid waste lands of the Siberia and the Arctic Circle or the scorching deserts of Soviet Central Asia.
A Russian lawyer who had access to some of the formerly closed Soviet archives of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in the 1990s told at the time:
“Recently I read a Central Committee document from 1937 that said the Voronezh secret police, according to the ‘regional plan,’ repressed in the ‘first category,’ nine thousand people – which means these people were executed. And for no reason, of course.
“Twenty-nine thousand were repressed in the ‘second category – meaning they were sent to labor camps. The local first secretary [of the Communist Party], however, writes that there are still more Trotskyites and kulaks who remain ‘unrepressed.’
He is saying that the plan was fulfilled but the plan was not enough! And so he asked that it be increased by eight thousand. Stalin writes back, ‘No increase to nine thousand!’ The sickness of it. Its’ as if they were playing poking [and upping the ante in tragic human lives].
The Victims of Socialism Literally Reduced to Burnt Ash
In the last years of the Soviet Union, a Russian historian took The New York Times correspondent, David Remnick, to the Donskoi Monastery in Moscow, which in the 1930s was used as a burial ground for the thousands regularly killed on Stalin’s orders in the capital of the Red Empire. In his book, Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire (1993), Remnick told what the Russian historian explained:
See this gate? . . . Well, every night trucks stacked with bodies came back here and dumped them in a heap. They’d already been shot in the back of the head – you bleed less that way . . . They stacked the bodies in old wooden ammunition crates.
The workers stoked up the underground ovens – right in through the doors – to about twelve thousand degrees centigrade. To make things nice and official they even had professional witnesses who counter-signed the various documents.
When the bodies were burned they were reduced to ash and some chips of bone, maybe some teeth. They then buried the ashes in a pit . . . When the purges [of the 1930s] were at their peak . . . the furnaces worked all night and the domes of the churches were covered with ash. There was a fine dust of ash on the snow.
The Kalitnikovsky Cemetery in Moscow also served as dumping ground for thousands of tortured and executed bodies in the 1930s. That same Russian historian told David Remnick:
In the purges, every dog in town came to this place. That smell you smell now was three times as bad; blood was in the air. People would lean out of their windows and puke all night and the dogs howled until dawn. Sometimes they’d find a dog with an arm or a leg walking through the graveyard.
Enemies of Socialism Sent to Torture in the Mental Ward
The nightmare of the socialist experiment, however, did not end with Stalin’s death in 1953. Its form merely changed in later decades. As head of the KGB in the 1970s, Yuri Andropov (who later was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union after Leonid Brezhnev’s death in 1982), accepted a new theory in Soviet psychiatry that said that opposition to the socialist regime was a sign of mental illness.
Why? Because only the mentally disturbed would resist the logic and the truth of Marxian dialectical determinism and its “proof” that socialism and communism were the highest and most humane stage of social development. Those who criticized the system, or who wanted to reform or overthrow the Soviet socialist regime were mentally sick and required psychiatric treatment.
In his book, Russia and the Russians (1984), former Moscow correspondent for the Washington Post, Kevin Klose, told the story of Alexei Nikitin, a coal mine worker who complained to the Soviet government about the safety and health environment in the mines of the Soviet Union. He was arrested, tried, and found guilty of subversion and committed to a Soviet mental institution.
Various drugs were proscribed as treatment to bring him to his proper socialist senses. Explained Kevin Klose:
Of all the drugs administered [at the mental institution] to impose discipline, sulfazine stood at the pinnacle of pain . . . ‘People injected with sulfazine were groaning, sighing with pain, cursing the psychiatrists and Soviet power, cursing with everything in their hearts,’ Alexei told us. ‘The people go into horrible convulsions and get completely disoriented. The body temperature rises to 40 degrees centigrade [104 degrees Fahrenheit] almost instantly, and the pain is so intense they cannot move from their beds for three days. Sulfazine is simply a way to destroy a man completely. If they torture you and break your arms, there is a certain specific pain and you somehow can stand it. But sulfazine is like a drill boring into your body that gets worse and worse until it’s more than you can stand. It’s impossible to endure. It is worse than torture, because, sometimes, torture may end. But this kind of torture man continue for years.’
Sulfazine normally was ‘prescribed’ in a ‘course’ of injections of increasing strength over a period that might last up to two months . . . The doctors had many other drugs with which to control and punish. Most of them eventually were used on Alexei . . . At the end of two months, Nikitin was taken off sulfazine but regular doses of . . . other disorienting drugs continued the entire time he was imprisoned.
The significance of these accounts is not their uniqueness but, rather, their monotonous repetition in every country in which socialism was imposed upon a society. In country after country, death, destruction, and privation followed in the wake of socialism’s triumph. Socialism’s history is an unending story of crushing tyranny and oceans of blood.
Socialism as the Ideology of Death and Destruction
As the Soviet mathematician and dissident, Igor Shafarevich, who spent many years in the GULAG slave labor camps for his opposition to the communist regime, said in his book, The Socialist Phenomenon (1980):
Most socialist doctrines and movements are literally saturated with the mood of death, catastrophe, and destruction . . . One could regard the death of mankind as the final result to which the development of socialism leads.
That twentieth century socialism would lead to nothing but this outcome was understood at the time of the Bolshevik victory in Russia. It was clearly expressed by the greatest intellectual opponent of socialism during the last one hundred years, the Austrian economist, Ludwig von Mises.
Near the end of his famous 1922 treatise, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, Mises warned that:
Socialism is not in the least what is pretends to be. It is not the pioneer of a better and finer world, but the spoiler of what thousands of years of civilization have created. It does not build, it destroys. For destruction is the essence of it. It produces nothing, it only consumes what the social order based on private ownership in the means of production has created . . . Each step leading towards Socialism must exhaust itself in the destruction of what already exists.
When voices are raised today calling for socialism in America, including by those attempting to win a major party candidacy to run for the presidency of the United States, it is important – no, it is crucial – that the history and reality of socialism-in-practice in those parts of the world in which it was most thoroughly imposed and implemented be remembered and fully understood. If we do not, well, history has its own ways of repeating itself.
History’s Bloody Mess: Why Marxism Always Fails
The last few years have been distressing for Christians who grasp economics. The year 2017 was the 100th anniversary of Russia’s communist revolution. To mark the grim occasion, the New York Times treated readers to a series that tried to put a positive spin on an event that launched the greatest killing spree in human history.
Then in 2018, there were celebrations around the world for the 200th birthday of Karl Marx — the thinker who most inspired twentieth-century communism. Teen Vogue has a glowing story introducing Marx. The author told its readers that they could “use Karl Marx’s ideas to use history and class struggles to better understand how the current sociopolitical climate in America came to be.”
Controversial filmmaker Michael Moore, whose net worth is an estimated $50 million, tweeted, “Happy 200th Birthday Karl Marx! You believed that everyone should have a seat at the table & that the greed of the rich would eventually bring us all down. You believed that everyone deserves a slice of the pie. You knew that the super wealthy were out to grab whatever they could.” About the same time, Jason Barker, an associate professor of philosophy at Kyung Hee University in South Korea and author of the novel Marx Returns, published a commentary in the New York Times declaring, “Happy Birthday, Karl Marx. You Were Right!”2
MARX’S KEY ARGUMENT
To see how bad this is, it helps to know something about Marx’s philosophy of history and its real-world consequences. Karl Marx was born to a middle-class family in Germany in 1818, and went on to study law and philosophy, with a keen interest in the German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach’s (1804–1872) critique of the systematic thought of the greatest of all German philosophers, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831). Because of his radical writings, Marx ended up as an exile in London — a man without a country. What little income he had came mostly from his fellow German revolutionary Friedrich Engels (1820–1895), who enjoyed the largesse of a well-off father. Marx never completed his massive magnum opus, Das Kapital. But his basic theory is clear in the 1848 political pamphlet he coauthored with Engels, The Communist Manifesto.
Unlike Hegel, who saw reality as the dialectical working-out of mind and ideas, Marx was a staunch materialist. His own philosophy was a hybrid called dialectical materialism: only matter, in conflict and then resolution across time, really mattered. Everything else is determined by this process.
Working out this logic in their Manifesto, Marx and Engels describe history as a series of struggles between oppressors and oppressed, each struggle punctuated by an upheaval in which one system gives rise to another. The original state of man, they claimed, was a primitive communism without private property. The mass slavery of Egypt and other ancient cultures represented the fall from this primeval state of innocence. The slave system eventually gave way to feudalism, with poor serfs caring for large tracts of land owned by nobles. Then feudalism gave way to capitalism, with its productive industrial centers.
In modern “capitalist” societies (that’s their word), the capitalist class who own most of society’s wealth and means of production (what they call the bourgeoisie) seek above all else to increase their profits. To accomplish this, they pay workers as little as they can while taking the “surplus value” produced by the workers as profit. With those profits, they then invest in tools and factories to extract more from the labor of fewer laborers, which again creates more surplus value. The capitalists compete to produce more and more with less and less. Workers become more and more alienated from the fruits of their labor, as capitalists skim more and more of the surplus value of their work without giving them just compensation.
The bigger and better capitalists beat out the smaller ones. These big businesses can then produce far more with still fewer workers. In this way, the few remaining business owners inevitably grow fatter and richer, while a growing pool of laborers grow poorer. Capitalism thus sows the seeds of its own destruction by creating a large oppressed population that will at some point have to revolt against its oppressors to escape the vicious cycle of disparity.
The workers, Marx and Engels predicted, would usher in the “dictatorship of the proletariat,” where the people — that is, the state — would own all industry. But for those afraid of big government, don’t worry. This would be merely a temporary socialist phase on the road to full communism, where the state would wither away into a brotherhood of man, and milk and honey would flow down streets of gleaming gold, or something like that.
Marx’s theory has the same malady as every materialist theory: it contradicts the existence of the theorist. If everyone’s thinking is determined by his material class consciousness, which distorts the way one sees the world, how exactly did Marx and Engels manage to transcend their class consciousness?
Both were members of the bourgeoisie — though one a pauper and the other independently wealthy — and yet they held the same basic philosophy. And they thought that philosophy represented the proper viewpoint of the proletariat. If they could transcend their class consciousness, how could they claim that no one else could?
AN ARGUMENT FROM A FALSE PREMISE
Besides the self-refuting foundations of Marx’s theory is its abysmal economics. The prediction Marx and Engels made rests on a false central premise. The mistake wasn’t unique to them. For centuries, economists and philosophers were confused about economic value. They thought that how much it costs to produce something determines how much it is worth.
But this is clearly wrong; even Marx’s loyal followers quickly dispensed with this theory — though to this day they haven’t shaken it off.
Think of a real-estate developer who buys a plot of land and plans to build ten new houses on it, each a different color. He then hires construction workers and pays them all twenty dollars an hour. One of the houses, a pink house, takes ten slow laborers twelve months to build, while another house, a yellow house, gets put together by three men in a month. So, the pink house cost much more to build than the yellow house. For the developer to meet his costs, then, he’ll have to charge far more for the pink house than for the yellow house.
Let’s say it cost him $500,000 to produce the pink house, but only $200,000 to build the yellow house. So, the pink house will be worth more than the yellow house, right?
Wrong. The fact that it took more labor to build the pink house doesn’t mean that anyone will prefer the pink house over the yellow house. In truth, the developer failed to gauge the market properly. He made a mistake by building a house that no one wants, at least not for $500,000. His cost exceeded the economic value of the house. How does he find out what the house is worth? Well, following the trusty link between supply and demand, he can keep lowering the price until he finds a buyer. If at some point he finds someone who will pay $200,000 for the house, he’s discovered roughly what it’s worth. That’s because the economic value of something is determined by how much someone is willing to give up to get it.
Of course, labor often adds value to a product. But equipment, investment money, creative input, choice of location, and other factors all add value — but only if they produce something people want at a price someone will pay. Someone can dig a ditch in a field until his hands are raw, and then fill it in again, without making anything that anyone wants. In that case, there’s a lot of labor, but no economic value. The refilled hole is still worthless.
This may have been Marx’s biggest blunder, since his prophecy that “capitalism” would destroy itself hinged on this labor theory of value. Without his definition of value, however, his argument collapses. If there’s competition for labor, then the workers have received roughly what their labor is worth, and what they agreed to in a contract. The factory owner wisely has combined their labor with his resources. He then markets and sells the goods for more than they cost to produce but not more than others will freely pay. He’s rewarded with profit for his entrepreneurial effort. There’s no injustice here, no exploitation, and no contradiction that must lead to class warfare and revolution.
Even in Marx’s lifetime, his prophecies clashed with reality. He spent his later years in England writing but never completing his masterwork, Das Kapital (German: Capital). And while he scribbled away in his study, laborers’ wages in England were rising, not falling. This happened because the labor of a construction worker with access to a tractor is worth far more than the same worker with a shovel — no matter who owns the tractor or the shovel. Marx’s theory blinded him to this obvious fact.
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED
When a communist revolution inspired by Marx finally succeeded in Russia in 1917, it didn’t happen according to Marx’s prediction. The bloody coup was led by revolutionary and politician Vladimir Lenin (1870–1924), and other intellectuals in an agrarian culture that had little history with either democracy or industrial capitalism. “Communism,” as Harvard historian Richard Pipes has put it, “did not come to Russia as the result of a popular uprising: it was imposed on her from above by a small minority hiding behind democratic slogans.” This was the pattern of communist revolutions throughout the twentieth century.
Lenin’s despotism was followed by Joseph Stalin’s (1878–1953), whose Communist Party led the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s until 1953 and whose policies destroyed the livelihoods of industrial workers and created a forced famine in 1932 and 1933 that killed millions of peasants. Combined with various purges of Communist Party officials, Stalin orchestrated the largest-scale massacre of a domestic population in history. At its height in 1937 and 1938, there were on average 1,000 political executions per day, not including the countless millions sent to labor camps.
Such tragedy was not the exception but the rule for other communist experiments in the twentieth century. Whatever Marx expected, revolutions never sprang up in advanced industrial societies where there was a strong rule of law, but in poor agrarian cultures with career tracks for despots.
In the 1990s, a group of scholars documented the total communist death toll across all countries. In their Black Book of Communism (1997), they estimate conservatively that between 85 million and 100 million human beings lost their lives to communist experiments in the twentieth century. Never has an idea had such catastrophic consequences.
FROM VENEZUELA TO VIRGINIA?
MARXISM REBRANDED AS SOCIALISM TODAY
In 2018, the word communism has been dropped like a bad blind date. But Karl Marx is making a comeback, and socialism has been rebranded. By the time Bernie Sanders gave Hillary Clinton a run for her money in 2016, the makeover was complete.
A 2016 Harvard IOP poll found that around one in six young voters identified as socialist, and a whopping one in three said they support socialism. Hostility to free enterprise is almost as common on the left as on the right. Many young, confused conservatives now try to show how “woke” they are by denouncing capitalism and even playing footsie with socialism.
No one longs for gulags, of course, but the appeal of socialism lingers. If you point out its sorry history, its new partisans will insist that, say, China under Mao or the Soviet Union under Stalin or Venezuela under Maduro were not true socialism. (No one ever says that about Nazism.)
Probe a bit deeper, and you’ll find few of the people who campaign for socialism know what the word means. They associate it with pleasing mental images. They imagine a peaceful Scandinavian village where everyone has a Volvo in the garage, plenty of (non-GMO) fish and cheese in the pantry, cradle-to-grave health coverage and job security, and two months’ paid vacation every year.
Sorry, no. Socialism refers to an economic system in which private property is abolished, and the “means of production” are owned by the state. The friendlier way of putting that is to say that property is owned “by the people,” though that always means the state. Here’s Merriam-Webster’s dictionary definition: socialism is “a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies.”
Get that definition on the table, link it to Lenin and Stalin, and you’ll find very few takers. Few twentysomethings are gung-ho to have the government take over Apple, Starbucks, Microsoft, Chobani Yogurt, Google, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, or their favorite food trucks and farmers’ markets. Not even “democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders calls for that. He just wants to get ever closer to socialism by way of the ballot box rather than by bullets. Here’s the problem. We all know today that all the communist-orchestrated blood baths of the twentieth century are the grim reminder that ideas have consequences. What many today do not want to admit is that these horrific episodes were and are the fruit of socialism. Any wonder why the Soviet Union called itself the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics?
In sum, “communists,” following Marxist theory, created “socialist” states in the hope of bringing about a future stateless utopia, which they called “communism.” So, proponents of socialism aren’t just misusing the word. They’re ignoring its history and the grim reality to which it refers.
That’s why we all must be exposed, over and over, to reality — to the monstrous events of Marxist, communist, and socialist history and to economic truths that help explain it. And we must understand how deeply diabolical is the thinking of the man who inspired these events.
Socialism’s Broken Promises
“The free market for all intents and purposes is dead in America,” said Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.). “The action proposed today by the Treasury Department will take away the free market and institute socialism in America.” Senator Bunning’s comments, made in the wake of the bank bailout, and followed by the election of a president who has openly advocated redistribution of wealth, should make Americans pause, for the formerly unthinkable is upon us.
Socialism, the Utopian economic and political system that promises equality, prosperity, and universal peace through the workings of a collectivist state, has repeatedly been exposed as a colossal failure. Its history, marked by failed societies and brutal dictatorships, is quite literally littered with the bodies of millions of innocents, and yet in the United States we stand on the brink of a socialist abyss, the edge of which looms ever closer as time passes. The conflict between individual and collective rights rages on, but despite socialism’s historical failures, it remains attractive to those vulnerable to its false promises of egalitarianism and economic equality. Instead of being relegated to its own proverbial “dustbin of history,” it continues to entice well after its failures and crimes have been laid bare for all to see.
Socialism and its twin partner communism cannot be separated, and in fact socialism has its modern roots in the Communist Manifesto. It was there that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels laid the blueprint for a type of socialism that called for total social change and class warfare. “Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians [laborers] have nothing to lose but their chains. They have the world to win,” wrote the two socialist revolutionaries in 1848. They promised the world to laborers; they would take the property from capitalists (whom they call bourgeoisie) for the benefit of laborers: “The distinguishing feature of communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property…. In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.”
They claimed that laborers were held down by capitalists, that only capitalists benefited from capitalism, and that communism would literally stop the buying and selling of goods and allot everyone an equal amount: “In communist society, accumulated labor is but a means to widen, to enrich, to promote the existence of the laborer…. Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labor of others by means of such appropriations.” In truth, the working classes had much to lose under socialism, and for later generations the shackles of communism would weigh heavy; for in practice, a central person or group had to control the redistribution of the wealth, and under communism power was concentrated for the benefit of the few at the controls — at the expense of the masses, no matter the harm and the suffering visited upon the masses.
In a later preface to the 1888 edition of the Manifesto, Engels made it clear that various socialist Utopian systems of the mid-19th century and earlier were dead and had been replaced by a “crude, rough hewn, purely instinctive sort of communism.” This was the model that would usher in the Russian Revolution and set the stage for a class of 20th-century societies that featured two distinctive qualities: political dominance by a revolutionary party, and nationalization of the means of production coupled with the transfer of personal property to the state. Although it cannot be said that all socialist countries are communist, it is safe to say that all communist countries are socialist, and in the case of Venezuela, we see a socialist state moving along a trajectory that will ultimately end in a classic communist state.
At the very least, all of the socialist societies that came into being after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution necessarily reflect some basic characteristics of the Soviet model — central control and coercion. In Russia the cruelties endured under the Tsar, which were to be replaced by equality and welfare, were merely replaced by a more brutal hierarchy and an economic system that crushed individual enterprise and guaranteed a dysfunctional economy. Worse, those groups that had fared well during the monarchy ultimately lost everything. Lenin’s classless system required the collectivization of farms, and the Kulaks, those independent farmers who had managed to retain control of their property, were ruthlessly targeted between 1930 and 1932 for extermination. Resisters were shot or deported to Siberia or the northern forests where they endured forced labor.
The great Ukrainian famine of 1932-33 was the result of the Soviet state confiscating food and literally starving the rural population into submission. In the end six million died. The false promise of a utopian classless society free from oppression meant death and misery for millions of Russian Ukrainians, as it did for millions of others who died at the hands of 20th-century communist regimes.
From the very beginning of the socialist experiment in 1917, millions have been ushered to their deaths by brutal communist regimes intent on consolidating power. Those who doubt early communist motives need only consider Lenin’s actions. His bid to “build socialism” was the motivation behind the reign of terror that historian Stéphane Courtois, the editor of The Black Book of Communism, characterized as the “utopian will to apply to society a doctrine totally out of step with reality.” It is the essential fallacy of socialism, its inability to deliver the goods, its inherent imperfection, that inevitably moves its architects along a path of increasing state control, and in the case of communism results in extreme brutality. In 1920, Leon Trotsky, who rose to a level of power in the new Soviet state just below that of Vladimir Lenin, claimed, “Dictatorship is necessary because this is a case not of partial changes, but of the very existence of the bourgeoisie. No agreement is possible on this basis. Only force can be the deciding factor…. Whoever aims at the end cannot reject the means.” As the original architect of the first socialist state, Lenin, and his successors, never shrank from employing brutality to ensure the survival of their socialist Utopia.
The totalitarian dimension of communist socialism has its roots in the belief that all aspects of society had to be transformed. Class warfare and the extermination of “enemies of the state” were constant characteristics of the Soviet state’s progeny – China, North Korea, Cuba, etc. It was not sufficient to merely defeat the enemy. Whether it was the Kulaks, peasants unable to pay their taxes, or the intelligentsia, extermination awaited them all. In his Defense of Terrorism, Trotsky wrote of the need to eliminate the tenacious bourgeoisie, “We are forced to tear off this class and chop it away. The Red Terror is a weapon used against a class that, despite being doomed to destruction, does not wish to perish.” Trotsky’s socialist doctrine of terror was so ingrained in the minds of party members that it provided justification for the enormous crimes perpetrated during Stalin’s regime. One former party member, a gulag detainee herself, wrote, “The truth is that all of us, including the leaders directly under Stalin, saw these crimes as the opposite of what they were. We believed that they were important contributions to the victory of socialism.”
In 1971, the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security released a study entitled The Human Cost of Communism in China. The report estimated the deaths attributed to the communists in China, at that time, to be between 34 and 64 million people. In the Soviet Union, deaths were estimated between 35 and 45 million.
And so it was with subsequent socialist revolutions, whether it was the execution and deportation of the Cuban “bourgeoisie” by Castro, or the extermination or re-education of the Cambodian urban population from 1975 to 1978, or the ongoing incremental destruction of the North Korean population by Kim Jong-Il. Socialism remains a system predisposed to a profound brutality, and one that inevitably fails to deliver a promised peaceful paradise.
Willing to Be Duped
Americans and Europeans are unlikely to face a communist reign of terror on the road to socialism, meaning that they are vulnerable to socialism’s siren call, and its tempting promises — whether the promises are meaningful or not. And once accepted it becomes very difficult to raise a voice against the monster and its crimes. Quoted in The Black Book of Communism, Bulgarian philosopher Tzvetan Todorov lays out the paradox that faces those that voluntarily accept the inevitable servitude that comes with socialism:
A citizen of a Western democracy fondly imagines that totalitarianism lies utterly beyond the pale of normal human aspirations. And yet, totalitarianism could never have survived so long had it not been able to draw so many people into its fold. There is something else — it is a formidably efficient machine. Communist ideology offers an idealized model for society and exhorts us toward it. The desire to change the world in the name of an ideal, is after all, an essential characteristic of human identity…. Furthermore, Communist society strips the individual of his responsibilities. It is always “somebody else” who makes the decisions. Remember, individual responsibility can feel like a crushing burden…. The attraction of a totalitarian system, which has had a powerful allure for many, has its roots in a fear of freedom and responsibility.
The “fear of freedom and responsibility,” of which Todorov writes, explains the establishment of redistributive bureaucracies on the European continent and the increasing shift toward socialism, both corporate and individual, in the United States. The presidential election of a candidate who has made known his redistributive tendencies points the needle significantly closer to a full-blown socialist state in which individual responsibility is obliterated and replaced with the loss of liberty and personal property.
Redistribution as opposed to a market system is the raison d’etre of the socialist system. In the perfect socialist system everyone works, and the wealth produced is ultimately redistributed as welfare, based upon Karl Marx’s famous dictum, “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” A true socialist system relies upon a planned economy in which the centralized government controls the productive resources. In the end, at least in theory, no one gets rich, but no one wants for anything. In reality, however, it works quite differently. Socialist bureaucracies with heavily planned economies lead to shortages and inequality. In planned economies it is impossible to purchase materials on an open market, so their availability depends upon the plan and central distribution. Such likely drawbacks were pointed out even before 1848, causing Marx and Engels to try to defend the philosophy of communism against its critics:
It has been objected that upon the abolition of private property, all work will cease, and universal laziness will overtake us.
According to this, bourgeois society ought long ago to have gone to the dogs through sheer idleness; for those who acquire anything, do not work. The whole of this objection is but another expression of the tautology: There can no longer be any wage labor when there is no longer any capital.
All objections urged against the communistic mode of producing and appropriating material products, have, in the same way, been urged against the communistic mode of producing and appropriating intellectual products.
But the accusations proved accurate — Marx and Engels wrong. In Stalin’s 1930s Soviet state, Russians lived with the consequences of a planned economy on a daily basis. Food scarcity was a constant threat to survival. Stalin’s collectivization of the farms and his emphasis on building heavy industry nearly killed Soviet agriculture. The survivors of collectivization fled to the urban centers and emptied the food shelves. The Soviet state responded by establishing a network of closed distribution shops (open to particular groups only), and implementing a hated rationing system. Black-market activity grew and remained a fixture of Russian culture for 50 years.
Collectivism is unsustainable. It is a mirage that promises liberation and equality to the worker, but in the end delivers neither. Without the profit motive — the right to keep the fruits of your labor and ingenuity — the economy stagnates and dies.
Party leaders understood this, but they kept up the charade and allowed a second economy to develop and even legalized it in some cases. Food production on small plots, off-hours construction, typing, all of these and more were at times tolerated and at other times prohibited. Sometimes it took the form of an official government act that introduced limited market mechanisms and incentives. After 1968, Hungary experienced a tremendous growth in its “second economy,” and likewise in Cuba after Castro’s 1986 “Rectification.” Economic reforms that introduced elements of a market economy ultimately spelled the end of the classic socialist Soviet-bloc hegemony. Even a die-hard socialist knows when the economic game is up. In the end a voluntary exchange of goods and services guided by a market-oriented economy with protection of personal property is always more successful than allocation determined by politicians and party members.
Socialism does not work even when the intent of those in control is to make it work. But it must not be overlooked that socialism is ultimately about controlling the wealth, as opposed to sharing the wealth. A government that is powerful enough to give the people everything they want — “free” education, healthcare, housing, etc. — by taking from some in order to give to others, is also powerful enough to take everything the people have for the benefit of the few in control. Dictators from Lenin to Hitler surely understood this, and for them the false promises of socialism were simply bait intended to capture the support of the uninformed and misinformed masses.
Enacting Cultural Reform
But while the lure of redistribution and its promised benefits is critical to the socialist strategy, it cannot completely explain its allure. Social engineering plays as important a role. The idealism that Todorov speaks of finds its home in socialism, for what better way to implement sweeping social changes than through the totalitarian nature of socialism and the surrender of liberty that goes with it. A constant characteristic of all socialist societies is the implementation of projects designed to intervene in all facets of life in order to gain control in the name of brotherhood.
The promise of equality often fails to extend to established religions, which often face constraints that impinge upon their ability to deliver traditional messages. Religion is usually attacked, and if tolerated is replaced with a “socialized” version in which the state message is paramount. Religious rituals are replaced with state rituals designed to inculcate socialist ideals, or to increase a secularist outlook.
During the summer of 2008, Fr. Alphonse de Valk, a Catholic priest living in Canada, was brought up on allegations of violating Section 13 of Canada’s Human Rights Act — the now-infamous “hate act” clause that dogged columnist Mark Steyn for his alleged crime of exposing Muslims to “hatred and contempt.” Macleans had earlier featured an excerpt of Steyn’s book American Alone, in which he posits that the West’s plummeting birth rate will result in an increasingly Muslim Europe, given the latter’s higher rate of birth and immigration. He was subsequently hauled before a British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal. Steyn and Macleans were eventually cleared of wrongdoing, but the whole affair points to what can happen when socialist tendencies creep into a democracy. Likewise, for simply defending the Church’s teaching on same-sex “marriage,” Fr. de Valk faced similar charges and a trip to the tribunal, which bears a striking resemblance to Stalinist-era kangaroo courts, only without the dreaded efficiency.
Free speech is always the first thing to go in a socialist society bent upon implementing its ideals. Soviet Russia maintained complete control of the press with various state organs, including Pravda and Izvestia. These state-controlled publications were mandatory reading for party members, and transmitted the party line and ensured compliance from the 1920s until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. From there it is but a short journey to total oppression.
The much-talked-about ideal of brotherhood in the socialist context can never be implemented because compulsion kills the very notion of brotherhood. It cannot be achieved by social engineering, by the suppression of truth and the destruction of free speech. Rather it is the path to tyranny.
Socialism Tried and Found Wanting
Today’s promise of “soft” socialism, although free from the shackles of a planned economy and the brutal tyranny of Soviet-era Russia, nevertheless imitates some of the flaws of classic socialism, and promises as much. The belief that the government can solve basic economic and societal problems has given rise to programs like socialized medicine, Social Security, reparations, and welfare — all promising to free us from the vicissitudes of life in exchange for our freedom. But they are doomed to failure because like all socialist programs, they ignore the fundamental principles of human behavior, including certain natural inequalities.
One needs to look no further than President Lyndon Johnson’s attempt to create the Great Society through a series of socialist reforms during the 1960s for an example of the failed promises of socialism in the United States. Johnson shared much with perhaps the greatest U.S. progressive social reformer, Franklin D. Roosevelt, for each saw the government as the tool to build a vast commonwealth based on their own economic and redistributive objectives.
Johnson ushered in an array of socialist programs designed to reduce poverty, increase access to medical services, and improve education, among other things. Federal aid was augmented by an aggressive system of grant-in-aid to states in order to meet goals. Grant-in-aid outlays nearly doubled between 1964 and 1968. In fact, more grant programs (210) were launched during Johnson’s administration than all of the years dating back to the first grant enactment in 1879. As the numbers increased so did the range of programs. New programs like Medicaid, and urban renewal programs like Model Cities, expanded the liberal socialist agenda beyond the boundaries of the traditional agenda. In the end some programs like Model Cities were unmitigated failures, and the cost of the programs and their questionable levels of success overwhelmed Americans.
According to Charles Murray, author of Losing Ground, Johnson’s Great Society was an unmitigated failure. Murray posits that if trends that had begun during the Eisenhower years were allowed to continue, America would have witnessed significant progress in reducing poverty. But because of Johnson’s programs, they were not allowed to continue; hence, the numbers of those living in poverty, despite the availability of federal and state assistance, remained relatively unchanged. Murray writes that by 1980, the poor were substantially worse off than before the beginning of the Great Society experiment:
The unadorned statistic gives pause. In 1968, when Lyndon Johnson left office, 13 percent of Americans were poor, using the official definition. Over the next twelve years, our expenditures on social welfare quadrupled. And, in 1980, the percentage of poor Americans was — 13 percent.
Why did Johnson’s socialist experiment fail despite an increase in social welfare costs that increased by 20 times from 1950 to 1980? Like all aspects of socialism, Johnson’s anti-poverty programs removed personal responsibility and status rewards from the equation. Status is a reward that society bestows upon its citizens for leading satisfactory lives. In the United States, status is not immutable. Even those at the bottom of society’s ladder can envision a day in which they move up. Put simply, Johnson’s expansion of the welfare state discouraged behaviors that formerly engendered an escape from poverty. Incentive was removed and, worse yet, status was withdrawn from working-class families at the lower end, who were told that the system was to blame for their inability to move up the ladder of success. So the promise of an escape from poverty or lower class status became yet another failed promise of the socialist dream. The incentive to achieve and compete was destroyed and, despite the billions of dollars thrown at it, poverty remained a constant fact.
All the socialist economies are failures at some level:
• Mengitsu’s communist regime in Ethiopia was defeated in 1991 after the Soviet Union failed to provide aid during an anti-communist insurrection. His rule was typically communist/socialist — state-imposed famine, deportations, brutality, etc.
• France has constant labor upheaval, absurd cradle-to-grave benefits, and the looming inability to pay for it all except through increased immigration from North African countries that are culturally hostile to France.
• Germany’s healthcare interventions have led it to try to save money by limiting the salaries of doctors. Doctors are fleeing the country en masse, leaving Germany with a serious shortage.
Socialism saps incentive, destroys freedom, and leads to tyranny. Yet it continues to promise a Utopia to many despite the fact that every socialist experiment has ended badly from an economic and moral standpoint. It promises everything from the abolition of poverty to the destruction of bigotry and inequality. But it has never delivered.
Socialism, fascism and communism enslave, and they do so with lethality
There are some plagues that mankind seems to be incapable of fully destroying. One of these plagues is slavery, which has existed since man moved from being a hunter-gatherer to agriculture. Slavery is the condition where an individual is deprived of much of the product he or she produces and often all or much of their property. The ancient Greeks held slaves. The Romans held slaves. The Chinese held slaves. The Ottoman Turks held slaves. Serfdom, a less restricted form of slavery, existed in Europe from the fall of Rome until it was finally abolished in Russia in 1861. The harsher forms of slavery existed in Europe and most of the rest of the world until the 19th century — when it was peacefully abolished in many countries, such as England, or through violent clashes, such as the U.S. Civil War.
By 1900, most of the “civilized” world had abolished slavery and serfdom. But then a more lethal variant emerged under the more benign names of socialism, fascism and communism. The implementation of these ideologies resulted in governments causing the deaths of somewhere between 100 and 200 million of their own citizens in the 20th century.
As in the 19th century, the peasants revolted, and late in the 20th century, those living in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union rose up and tossed off their yokes.
The peoples of the world had the opportunity to see the economic destruction, loss of personal liberty, and sheer misery that the various forms of slavery caused (including those called socialism or communism); yet, here we are, three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, with allegedly serious politicians calling for the re-imposition of socialism as if history had not happened.
Bernie Sanders and many of the other Democratic candidates for president have stated that “health care is a basic human right.” Where did this human right come from? Unlike passive rights, such as freedom of speech, assembly, religion, the press and so forth, the “right” to free health care, education, transportation, etc. imposes a non-negligible cost on others. The person or persons designated to work to pay the taxes to provide “free” health care for someone else, most often only submits as a result of coercion (we are going to seize your property and/or put you in jail if you do not pay up).
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We are told that all of the “free” stuff being promised will be paid for by someone else who will have to pay a mere 70 percent in taxes. We are expected to ignore all of the evidence from around the world that people will go to great lengths — through either legal or illegal actions — to avoid paying such high rates. And that such high rates always result in less, not more, revenue for government over the long run. People everywhere object to becoming tax slaves.
The Nordic countries are often given as the example of the world that Bernie Sanders and his fellow candidates wish to create. They overlook the fact that these small homogenous countries have lower per capita incomes than the United States. The Swedes also are less socialistic than many places in the United States with their universal voucher system for schools and their largely private pension system.
The Cost of Communism
With all the troubles afflicting the US economy, American workers may not realize how well they’re doing compared to their counterparts in “the workers’ paradise.”
Sirloin steak in Moscow costs only about half what it does here. That’s the good news. The bad news—maybe you’ve guessed it already—is that there isn’t any sirloin for sale, at least not in the government stores patronized by ordinary Muscovites. If you could locate a piece of sirloin at all—a feat intermittently possible in a handful of the Soviet Union’s biggest cities—the true cost (the cost in work-time units) would be about 130 percent higher than in the United States.
Consider: The average factory worker in the USSR makes $237.90 a month (according to Narkhoz 80, a Soviet publication) and a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of sirloin steak costs $4.12 (translating rubles into dollars). On the other hand, Ivan’s counterpart, the exploited American proletarian, takes home $983.98 a month (according to the US Department of Labor), and his kilogram of sirloin costs $7.46. That means that Ivan has to serve the Motherland for three hours and two minutes for his (elusive) sirloin, while John need slave for his capitalist masters a mere one hour and 19 minutes for the same size cut of meat. (And you can bet your A-1 sauce that John’s local supermarket has lots of sirloin on hand.)
This somewhat facetious but pointed example of the disparity between the Soviet and American worker is only one of many nuggets of information, many of them more important, contained in a new survey of consumer prices and take-home pay in Moscow and four Western metropolises: Washington, London, Paris, and Munich. The survey focused on blue-collar workers.
Keith Bush, director of research at Radio Liberty and possessor of an international reputation in the field of Soviet economics, led a team of 60 in collecting the data earlier this year. Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe, a sister organization, between them maintain the largest staff of Soviet-bloc experts in the world, outside of government.https://829b072569bfdda60a6525d3244c272e.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
In every area of the survey the American worker comes out on top. His wages are higher, his cost of living lower. Western Europeans follow fairly closely behind.
Ivan lags badly. The same “weekly food basket” (23 items, from bread to sausages to cigarettes) that costs John $108.47 in Washington costs Ivan $90.68. That might seem good, but wait. John pays 20 percent more for his weekly groceries but earns a whopping 313 percent more. And that despite the fact that Soviet industrial workers are the cream of the Revolution, making on average 10 percent higher wages than comrades in other occupations. John spends 18.6 hours on the job for his groceries; Ivan, 53.5 hours.
Besides tallying a weekly food basket, Radio Liberty charted prices for 177 separate consumer goods and services, all the way up to such major items as cars and television sets. Of 99 foods compared, only three—rye bread, codfish, and beets—were cheaper in Moscow in real terms; that is, in work-time units, the most accurate measure of living standards. Of 20 cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and the like, Moscow produced one “find”: cotton balls.
The Soviet capital is a sweet eater’s nightmare. A chocolate bar “costs” 92 minutes there to 6 minutes here; a liter of ice cream, 118 to 12; and a liter of soft drink, 57 to 5. (Cuban sugar doesn’t come cheap.) Coffee addicts, too, are in trouble in Moscow. The stuff is liquid gold: $27.82 a kilogram—two and a half days’ work.
If coffee is liquid gold, alcoholic beverages are liquid silver. Anything stronger than beer—even wine—is priced prohibitively in a so far vain effort to dry out the populace. A fifth of vodka—the fluid a Russian bleeds if you prick him—goes for $10.22: almost a day on the job. (Beer, by contrast, costs “only” 50 percent more than in the United States.)
There simply aren’t many good buys in Moscow. Bus and subway fares are inexpensive. So are hotel rooms (if you can get permission to rent one, which you can’t), gas and electricity (but for how much longer in view of the USSR’s peaking energy output?), phone calls, telegrams, haircuts, manicures, and above all, apartments. (They’re free but also scarce and rationed. About 30 percent of Muscovites live in dormitories, communal shelters, etc.) As against the above, it would take another 10 or 20 column-inches to list all the things in the Radio Liberty survey that are anything but bargains. To cite two examples: A small car, the equivalent of a Ford Escort, sells for $12,656—nearly four and a half years’ wages. A color TV is $945 or four months of work (two weeks for an American).
Still, Moscow residents are better off than their rural relations. By Soviet standards, the stores of the capital are amply stocked, even though the Radio Liberty shoppers could not find basic commodities like pork chops, tomatoes, and Kleenexes (and sirloin steak).
Prices in the government stores are tightly controlled and lower than on the black market (obviously) or what the operators of kolkhozes (private farm plots) charge. But the “low” prices are sustained by government subsidies, and when an item becomes too expensive for the state to produce, it disappears. Thus, gaps on the shelves or bare shelves. It is the Soviet way of coping with an inflation that officially does not exist.
When Muscovites get to feeling glum about the quality of life, at least in its material aspects, they might console themselves by reflecting on the people of Krasnodar. No tiny village, it is a city of half a million inhabitants. A correspondent for Literaturnaya Gazeta, sent there to scout the local stores for evidences of soap, socks, underwear, toothbrushes, and other articles, was forced to write back that no such exotica were to be discovered in all of Krasnodar.
Even Pravda recently reported a national shortage of eyeglasses—which might or might not explain something about the bad and worsening condition of the Soviet economy and consumer. After all, nobody ever accused the Soviet central planners of far-sightedness.
Socialism: A Clear and Present Danger
Aperilous possibility now confronts us—the conversion of America, the leading capitalist nation in the world, into a socialist state. Impossible, you say? Consider the following.
The national polls continue to show that a large majority of millennials have a favorable view of socialism. A near majority favor the “compassion” of socialism over capitalism which, they argue, is indifferent to the needs of the people, especially those on the bottom rung of the economic ladder.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt)—an avowed socialist—and the equally “progressive” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) continue to run strong in the presidential primaries; their combined support is close to 40 percent among Democrats polled. Younger Americans cheer their promises of universal health care and free education, while brushing aside the proposals’ trillion-dollar price tag.
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Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and members of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) support government ownership of industries whose products are viewed as “necessities” (railroads, coal mines, social media, who knows?). They say that, to the greatest extent possible, government should “democratize” private businesses—that is, give control of them to workers. “Socialism,” says a member of DSA’s national steering committee, “is the democratization of all areas of life, including but not limited to the economy.” So much for the Declaration of Independence and life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
We must acknowledge that the Great Recession of 2008 tore a huge hole in the American people’s faith in capitalism as the way to a better life and sent them looking for alternatives. Many of them, especially younger Americans, found it in a “soft socialism” that was part welfare state, part administrative state, part socialist state. Capitalists failed to present a persuasive case for free markets, beginning with Milton Friedman’s famous axiom: “There is no such thing as a free lunch.”
Socialists love to cite Sweden and Denmark as socialist models, but these Scandinavian countries favor the free market over socialism in running their economies and are content with private rather than government ownership of their major industries. Speaking before the National Press Club, the Danish prime minister opened his remarks by emphasizing that Denmark is not a socialist country.
What is to be done?
We must educate the rising generation about the true costs of socialism, and not just in dollars and cents. Would a majority of millennials choose socialism if in exchange for “free” education and “free” health care, they would have to give up their personal property such as their iPhone and their iPad? This is not simply a possibility–the abolition of private property is the first dictum of socialism.
Would seven percent of millennials be willing to accept communism with its denial of free speech, a free press, free assembly, the imprisonment and often execution of dissidents, no open elections, no independent judiciary or rule of law, the dictatorship of the Communist Party in all matters and on all occasions? This is the communism of China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Nicaragua.
Socialists like to say that socialism has never failed because it has never been tried. But in fact socialism has failed in every country where it has been tried, from the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China to three non-communist countries that tried but ultimately rejected socialism. All three countries of those countries—Israel, India, and the United Kingdom—adhered to socialist principles and practices for more than 20 years, only to change direction and adopt capitalism as the better way to economic prosperity. As a result, India today has the largest middle class in the free world.
The PRC has the second largest economy because in the late 1970s Deng Xiaoping abandoned the rigid excesses of Maoist thought and adopted a form of communism that allowed foreign investments and even a stock market while underwriting SOEs (state-owned enterprises). At the same time, Deng ensured strict political control of China through the Communist Party and the People’s Liberation Army, in accordance with Mao Zedong’s motto, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”
Socialism’s central philosophical weakness is its dependence upon the errant thought of its founder, Karl Marx. Marx insisted that his version of Hegelian dialectic—thesis, antithesis, synthesis—was scientific and without flaw. He asserted that feudalism had been replaced by capitalism which would be replaced by socialism and then communism in an irreversible process. But 200 years after the publication of “The Communist Manifesto,” capitalism rather than socialism dominates the global economy. According to the Heritage Foundation’s “2018 Index of Economic Freedom,” 102 countries, many with less developed or emerging economies, showed advances in economic growth and individual prosperity. As the esteemed economist Paul Samuelson wrote, “As a prophet Marx was colossally unlucky and his system colossally unuseful.”
Socialism depends upon the decision-making of a central government. The Nobel laureate F. A. Hayek put it succinctly: “Planning leads to dictatorship.” Without exception, every leader from Lenin to Castro promised to initiate basic freedoms such as free elections, a free press, free assembly, and religious freedom. None fulfilled these promises. Is a world without freedom, without choice, without basic human rights the world that millennials would choose if they had a choice?
This is our challenge: to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about socialism—a pseudo-religion grounded in pseudo-science and enforced by political might. This is our obligation to this generation and generations to come: to make the case against socialism, a god that failed, a science that never was, a political system headed for the ash heap of history.
fff.org, “The Human Cost of Socialism in Power.” by Richard M. Ebeling; paradigmshift.com, “The Economic Systems in the World: A Comparison of Capitalism, Communism & Islamic Socialism.” By M. Umar Irfan Ch.; thenewamerican.com, “Socialism’s Broken Promises.” By Michael E. Telzrow; washingtontimes.com, “Socialism, fascism and communism enslave, and they do so with lethality.” By Richard W. Rahn; tldm.org, “On the Incompatibility of Christianity with Socialism and Communism…” By Rev. Marcel Guarnizo; reason.com, “The Cost of Communism: With all the troubles afflicting the US economy, American workers may not realize how well they’re doing compared to their counterparts in “the workers’ paradise.” By ROBERT DE CAMARA; heritage.org, “Socialism: A Clear and Present Danger.” By Lee Edwards, Ph.D.; equi.org, “History’s Bloody Mess: Why Marxism Always Fails.” By Christian Research Journal; soapboxie.com, “Capitalism vs. Communism: Pros and Cons”;
On the Incompatibility of Christianity with Socialism and Communism…
“My children, My Mother’s counsel, Her directives, must go with great haste throughout the world. Mankind has not made amends to the Eternal Father for his blasphemy, mankind’s blasphemy and his cursing. The voices of blasphemy have reached all Heaven. The saints who suffered upon earth to win their crowns cry out now with hearts heavy with sadness: ‘O when, O Lord, just and true, shall You set upon mankind a firm and just punishment for their continued disobedience to the law of the Lord high God in Heaven? Oh when, Faithful and True, shall You smite mankind with a chastisement that will be necessary to cleanse Lucifer and his agents from earth?’” Jesus, 6-18-78
“I cry out, as your Mother, as a Mediatrix from God to mankind. Listen to Me, and act upon the directions from Heaven. Save yourselves and your children. There is little time left.
“Shall you be given a full scourge of communism and slavery? Shall the elements be used against you to cleanse your world? Shall mankind feel the great heat and burning of the Ball of Redemption? You who laugh and scorn this message, the day will come when there shall be much gnashing of teeth and woe set upon the earth.
“As it was in the days of Noe, so it is now that man never learns from his history. He repeats his mistakes over and over.” – Our Lady, February 1, 1977
PewSitter.com reported on February 5, 2015:
By Rev. Marcel Guarnizo
There has been much discussion in recent weeks over the debt of Christianity to—and its compatibility with —the ideas and praxis of the socialist revolution, and even of communism. Many, even in the Catholic Church, believe that we share some of the ideals of the socialist revolution because it seems to them that communism, socialism and Christianity are for the poor. In addition to this most unfortunate error, the opposite fallacy has also been made popular in the minds of many, namely that capitalists and advocates of a free market economy, hate the poor.
But the historical record of communism tells an entirely different story. I have worked with the countries of the former Soviet Union for over 20 years, and I have seen what communism does to populations and nations. The scourge of the socialist revolution around the world gave us 6 million people killed by artificial famines in Ukraine and, as documented by The Black Book of Communism, 20 million victims in the U.S.S.R., 65 million in China, a million in Vietnam, 2 million in North Korea, another 2 million in Cambodia, a million more in the rest of Eastern Europe, 150,000 in Latin America, 1.7 million in Africa, 1.5 million in Afghanistan and through the international Communist movement and related parties about 100,000 more victims in various nations. This is a body count that reaches to 100 million victims worldwide. Communism completely destroyed the economy, social fabric, and political culture of dozens of nations. It hollowed out the intelligentsia, ruined every economy where the seed of socialism fully “bloomed,” and abrogated fundamental rights and individual freedoms of the nations it subjugated. Clearly the Judeo-Christian commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” is not among the doctrinal teachings of communism and the socialist revolution. It is hard to believe that the socialist revolution—unlike Nazism—still finds promoters and defenders in the West.
The compatibility of Christianity and its legitimate concern for the poor owes nothing to the violent and inhuman regimes created by the socialist revolution. No system in human history has produced more poverty and misery than communism.
No greater foe has the Church ever encountered, than the communist revolution. During the 20th century, hundreds of thousands of religious and priests were sent to forced labor camps or simply executed. Five year plans to abolish religion were implemented and no true believer was ever safe in such nations. What social doctrine of the Church was ever derived from such madness? Communism and the socialist revolution are not only the antithesis of Christianity. They are also incompatible with free, just, and democratic societies.
The case against the “wonders” of the socialist revolution can be put to rest by simply reminding people that brick and mortar walls, guarded by armed soldiers, were necessary to keep people from fleeing the manmade paradise of “social equality” created by communists. As Milton Friedman pointed out, the “…strongest proof of the failure of socialism is the fall of the Berlin Wall.”
Neither is a complex apologia required to explain why there is no substantial difference between socialism and communism. Communism, as American writer Whittaker Chambers documented, is nothing more than socialism with claws. Theoretically the two systems share the same ideals and philosophical framework. Communism simply takes socialism to its logical, final consequences.
The difference between the two was captured well by a joke I once read. Communists will simply shoot you in the head, but the socialists will make you suffer for a lifetime.
To mount a case against the socialist and the communist would seem completely unnecessary given the historical record. But it is necessary, because, as we see, communism’s ideology continues to ensnare the minds of the West and many of its leaders. Perhaps the statement of Whittaker Chambers, when he decided to defect from his service to the Soviet Union, that he had chosen to join, “… the losing side” is not altogether settled. Many think the fall of the Soviet Union proved Chambers wrong, but I submit that Chambers understood, perhaps more clearly than most, the lasting and insidious nature of the socialist revolution in the West. It seems to me, that the West’s great partial victory against the Soviet Union is far from being final. Though the Soviet Empire has fallen, the West remains in an equally powerful cultural battle, which the architects of the socialist revolution themselves anticipated.
Gramsci’s Tactic: Cultural Hegemony
The socialist revolution in the West has been greatly influenced by the tactics of the Italian communist Antonio Gramsci. Writing in the 1930s, Gramsci recognized that the culture of the West, and in particular, the Catholic Church, stood as robust obstacles to a communist economic and political takeover in Europe. Gramsci proposed that a takeover of the cultural institutions—the achievement of cultural hegemony—was the necessary first step to the eventual takeover of the political and economic structures of a free society.
This strategy meant that socialists should tirelessly work on the takeover over of universities and education, media, churches, and other cultural intermediary structures of the free world. He thought that the eroding of the cultural foundations would weaken a free society’s natural defenses and this would open the path for the economic and political aims of the socialist revolution.
I would submit that the “cultural hegemony” of the socialist revolution is increasing in the West and at an alarming pace. The increasing loss of ground in our culture to socialism and its allies is creating a growing threat to the political and economic freedoms of America and Western democracies.
Therefore, it seems to me, the battle between the free world and the socialist revolution is far from settled. The errors of communism are legion, and the West should not slumber, as the battle is far from over.
The Errors of Communism
- 1. The Error Concerning the Nature of Man
Communism starts not with an economic error but an anthropological one. The economic and political effects of the communist system are but a symptom of a previous error, an error about the nature of man.
The French 19th century political economist and writer Frédéric Bastiat clearly makes the point. Socialism, Bastiat argued, sees man as mere raw material, to be disposed of, to be molded by the “all knowing,” state. In his book, The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism, economist Friedrich von Hayek launches a similar attack on the socialists and their “omniscient state.” Hayek demonstrated the impotence of the socialist to run an economy
Man is just matter: This materialist vision of man is the first and most profound error of the socialist revolution. The materialist vision of man is what justifies the communists’ insistence that they may legitimately do whatever it takes to achieve their utopia. We must be transformed by the state, into its image and likeness.
This materialist view disregards therefore the true dignity of man and the true nature of the human person—his rationality and free will. The artificial social orders engineered by socialists are completely devoid of a proper understanding of man and the kind of being that he is.
Writes Bastiat, they “… start with an idea that society is contrary to nature; devise contrivances to which humanity can be subjected; lose sight of the fact that humanity has its motive force within itself; consider men as base raw materials; propose to impart to them movement and will, feeling, and life; set oneself apart, immeasurably above the human race—these are the common practices of the social planners. The plans differ; the planners are all alike.”
Socialism and communism are fundamentally contrary to Christianity, for no Christian can hold that man is mere matter. Materialism is the exact opposite of the most basic philosophical and theological assertion of Christianity, namely that man is body and spirit.
Whittaker Chambers identified the essence of the radical revolutionary, the communist, the socialist, the radical progressive, in one key word: change. Writes Chambers, “The revolutionary heart of Communism … is a simple statement of Karl Marx… it is necessary to change the world…The tie that binds them across the frontiers of nations, across barriers of language and differences of class and education, in defiance of religion, morality, truth, law, honor, the weakness of the body and the irresolutions of the mind, even unto death, is a simple conviction: It is necessary to change the world.”
- 2. The Error Concerning Man’s Relation to the State
The first fundamental error leads to the second fatal error: Socialism perverts the proper relation between man and the state.
If man is just matter that needs to be molded and transformed to the will of the state (the social engineer), then indeed man is entirely subservient to the state. In this view, man is born to serve the state, from cradle to grave. Catholic social doctrine holds to the precisely opposite vision: the state exists to serve man
- 3. The Error Concerning Private Property
Communism, even for the amateur reader of its doctrine, considers private property a great evil in society. Since that is the theory, dispossessing millions of people of their land and putting to death untold millions more, for simply having more than others, has been the common practice of communist regimes.
The Catholic Church has always held private property to be a great good in society and has defended man’s right to private ownership as fundamentally good and compatible with man’s nature, freedom, and dignity. The Church also recognizes private property as a right absolutely necessary for the proper order and functioning of free societies. Respect for one’s neighbor’s private property rights is foundational to the Judeo-Christian doctrine. The abolition of private property under communism violates the great commandment, “Thou shalt not steal.”
This disregard for private property rights continues in our day. In 2008, the socialist President of Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, seized $29 billion of the private retirement savings of Argentinean workers, to use for what the London Telegraph described as “a funding kitty” for her socialist schemes. The Wall Street Journal characterized Kirchner’s move as “cracking open the piggybank of the nation’s private pension system.” Thou shall not steal, Kristina.
The culture of envy fostered by class-warfare violates yet another commandment, the 10th, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.” To create covetousness and the willingness to dispossess those who have more is fundamentally anti-Christian.
- 4. The Error Concerning the Function of Government
Communism and socialism pervert the proper function of government. If man is just an inert piece of matter and is completely subservient to the state, then clearly he is incapable by his own ingenuity, entrepreneurship, abilities, and efforts, with his own failures and successes, to create anything worthwhile in society. Therefore the state, instead of protecting the framework in which man and associations can flourish, must become a social engineer, to change man, and mold him to its utopian ideals. The state proceeds to artificially create the particular conditions and relations required by ideology to achieve the utopian goals of equality and happiness for all. But the proper role of the state is not to make us happy in accordance with its own warped designs.
Since this is not easily accomplished, given that man is free and seeks happiness on his own terms, much coercion is necessary. This includes not only the coercion of the Red Army, but procedural coercion, coercion by penalties and taxation, by the use of governmental powers to force the non-compliant to comply. All of this is completely incompatible with Christianity and a free society.
- 5. The Error Concerning the Function of Law
Communism and socialism pervert the function of law. The rule of law under the communists and their fellow travelers is no longer a useful framework in which each man may operate freely to achieve his ends and goals. It is no longer a light to the mind, a work of reason designed to help order political and social life, forbidding the things that war against a free and just society. For the communist, law becomes a mere instrument of coercion to bend and force citizens to comply with the warped vision of society’s rulers.
Bastiat put it this way: “Socialists desire to practice ‘legal’ plunder…they desire to make the law their own weapon.”
- 6. The Error Concerning Christian Charity
Communism and socialism war against Christian charity.
The socialist revolution depends on so-called class warfare. This artificial warfare, in its many forms—owners of the means of production vs. the laborers, the rich vs. poor, the landowners vs. workers—is the engine that moves society toward the goals of socialism, toward the perfect egalitarian society. The principle of class warfare is flatly and completely contrary to Christianity.
Class warfare, race warfare, gender warfare, generational warfare—and all the other new rubrics for dividing citizens from one another—are intrinsically contrary to the Christian Gospel. Socialists use them all to erode the foundations of Western civilization. Socialist tactics strive to fan the flames of hatred, discord and resentment in society. They seek to create a “culture of envy” and mistrust. They therefore permanently injure the social fabric and harmony of society. Envy, the socialist “virtue,” is considered a capital sin in the Church’s doctrine. Socialism, with its class warfare, could not be more incompatible with the Church’s teaching that charity and justice are the great binding forces in society.
- 7. Errors Concerning the Family and Social Institutions
Communism and socialism are inimical to the family and those organizations which function as intermediary structures between the state and the individual in society. Anyone who has experienced communism need not have such an obvious matter explained. The communists without hesitation separated children from their families, mercilessly indoctrinated them and made their choice of trade or work simply a matter for a communist bureaucrat to decide. They praised and rewarded children who had denounced their parents for deviating from the doctrine and dictates of the party. This is an illegitimate intrusion on the rights of parents. Catholic social doctrine has always held that the parents, not the state, are the primary educators of children.
The Church upholds the principle of subsidiarity, which teaches that intermediary structures between the state and the citizenry must be allowed freedom to carry out their proper functions in society. These associations are a natural buffer between the state and the individual. The principle of subsidiarity guards associations, the family, and the individual against those who would promote unlimited government and their greed for power.
The current assault of the Obama administration’s Health and Human Services against Catholic healthcare institutions should surprise no one. The socialist state is required to eliminate its strongest competitors to gain greater control. The state, as it is seeking to control the health sector, one-sixth of the U.S. economy, aims to displace the Catholic Church and its mediating institutions. The state is resorting to procedural violence in order to force them to comply or renounce their right to serve the poor and the sick. Comply or get out of the way. So much for caring for the poor.
Required: A United Defense
We see that the communist and socialist state incessantly seeks to attenuate the economic, political, and cultural freedoms of each and every citizen. Therefore, communist errors concerning the nature of man and his relation to the state provide compelling motivation for opposition across the anti-communist political spectrum. All those engaged in the promotion of freedom should seek the common aim of defeating the ever increasing power of the state. Libertarians would be wise to defend the rights of the Catholic Church in its present battle against Obamacare, for in doing so, they fight to keep a safety net over the larger part of society and the individual. The fight here is not about doctrine, but about freedom for all. There is a strategic need for unity among conservatives, libertarians, and classical liberals, at this critical moment when freedom for all is threatened by the state. To continue to loose cultural freedoms is what permits, as Gramsci foresaw, the ever increasing loss in economic and political freedom.
Bastiat, in illustrating the need to defend the social order, urged a fusion of the proper defense of economic freedom and the cultural freedoms in society. The economic, cultural, and social freedoms rise and fall together, and must be defended as one. Social conservatives need to realize that if we lose economic freedom we will lose more political and cultural freedoms and therefore economics really matters. But libertarians and others should see that, by curtailing our cultural freedom, the government is gaining the ability to curtail economic freedom.
Bastiat, in his time, also urged for unity against the common foes of freedom. Speaking of the defenders of the correct conclusions in realm of economics and the defenders of virtue, religion, and ethics in society, he explained, “These two systems of ethics, instead of engaging in mutual recrimination, should be working together to attack evil at each of its poles.”
This nightmare of communism recurs in part because of our failure to theoretically dismantle the lies of the socialist revolution in the West. If this is not done well, on a fundamentally philosophical basis, we will be repeatedly assaulted by new propagandists, who—while admitting communism’s past failures in practice—once again claim that the theory is sound and therefore that the human experiment of the socialist revolution ought to be tried again. But human beings are not proper subjects of experimentation for political ideologues. We must therefore teach that the theory is erroneous, and deadly. Morally, we cannot afford more corpses to show its devastating effects in practice.
A philosophically sound and united defense by all defenders of freedom is needed at this time.
Justice for the Poor
At a practical level, the first duty of the Christian, before jumping into the arena of social policy vis-à-vis the poor, is not good intentions or a loving heart for the poor. The first necessary requirement in justice is competence. Social policy for the poor requires sound economic theory. Bad economic theory leads only to further errors in practice, which hurt the poor.
Good intentions alone do not make one competent in economic or social policy. Simply having a loving heart for the sick does not grant the doctor moral authorization to perform surgery on them. The surgeon must be competent before he picks up his scalpel. An easy indictment of capitalism and free-markets is wrong-headed and empirically inaccurate. This sort of incompetence in economic theory has hurt, and is hurting, the poor.
Believers must also make clear distinctions regarding action. There is a difference between feeding the poor and alleviating poverty per se. The latter requires the creation of economic wealth. Aiding the poor is a corporal work of mercy in the Catholic Church and it is a good to be freely exercised. But feeding the poor is quite different from alleviating poverty. If we feed a poor beggar on the street, he will remain equally poor even as he consumes the bread we have offered. Food aid to the poor does not create economic networks and economic activity capable of alleviating his poverty.
Mother Teresa was in the business of feeding and caring for the poor but she was not in the complicated business of alleviating poverty. The latter takes economic networks, entrepreneurship, creativity of a different kind, and technical know-how concerning the economy, the markets and financial policy.
Unless the poor are incorporated into economic networks, they will always be in need. To create economic networks, society requires entrepreneurship, risk takers, profit and loss, and―most important―employment. Without a job, the poor man will always be poor.
Asking people to seek a job and work has become almost taboo in the present day. Food stamps are so much easier. It is important to help the poor, but to create systematic dependency for political gain is wicked. The state loves easy handouts, since they do not pay for them and they garner votes.
Furthermore, the easy handouts obfuscate an objective view and evaluation of failed socialist economic policies. Socialists, as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher put it, are delaying the inevitable day of reckoning―which is “…running out of other people’s money.” The façade of benevolence may win votes, but it certainly does not help the poor.
Many fail to understand that the Church has always taught what entrepreneurs know: There is a great sense of dignity in work. Since every man is a moral agent, men should not be deprived of the responsibility and adventure of forging their own paths. Caring for the poor is necessary, but intentionally increasing dependence is immoral and contrary to the Gospel teaching. It is an injustice to perpetuate economic arrangements that deprive man from working.
One could mount further arguments against the thesis that the social doctrine of the Catholic Church owes something to communism and its many incarnations. But I will conclude my arguments with the simple assertion that communism’s utopia, in which all men are equal and poverty would disappear, is a dangerous and inhuman illusion. Poverty cannot be completely eradicated from the face of the earth. Our Lord Himself taught, “The poor will always be with you.” If this profound lesson were internalized, the regimes of lethal utopia would be far less enticing.
To Truly Help the Poor
Christian charity and free market entrepreneurship are not only compatible, but necessary to truly aid the poor.
Christian charity strives for the moral betterment of man, and the advancement of our neighbor out of love. For believers, these are works of religion, which many men and women of good will willingly and freely undertake. Forcing people “to do good” is the death of the virtue of charity, as charity must always be freely exercised.
But a second factor is equally needed to alleviate poverty: entrepreneurs and the free-market system. These offer the possibility of a greater and more lasting solution to the problem of poverty. Creating jobs and industry is a great good, and to diminish the possibilities for entrepreneurs and the private sector and claim the façade of virtue in doing so, is pure folly. Entrepreneurs and the business class do more in the United States for the Church and for vital issues to society, than anywhere else in the world.
The two great lies of socialists and communists, that they are the champions of the poor and that they are the real “Christians” of our time, are myths that ought to be unmasked by all believers. For no regime has ever visited more poverty, death and suffering upon humanity. Civilization has seen clearly what this revolutionary change looks like and we would all be well advised to remember as philosopher George Santayana warned—“those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
The West has had enough of revolutionaries and utopians. It is time for them and their supporters to pipe down and own up to their failures and crimes.
Rev. Guarnizo is a Roman Catholic priest of the diocese of Moscow. He is also a member of the Mont Pelerin society, founded by F. A. Hayek.
“My children, I could give you many names that would encompass and describe the entrance of satan into your world: the forces of communism, the forces of atheism. O My children, what manner of words can describe the activity of these agents? They promote delusion: they promote heresy, defilement, misconceptions. And as satan is the father of all liars, they, too, are liars.” – Our Lady, November 19, 1977
YOU SHALL NOT ESCAPE
“O My children of the United States, do you not understand what is ahead for you? Your country, the United States, has not known what it is to suffer through destructive forces. My children, you shall not escape the destruction that the Bear of communism has set upon many countries in Europe and the world. You cannot compromise your Faith to save what there is left, for everything upon earth shall fall as rubble with the Chastisement. A ball of fire, a chastisement, a baptism of fire, is heading for mankind. Can you not understand?” – Our Lady, November 20, 1978
DARKNESS OF THE SPIRIT
“My children of the world, you stand now upon a hill, a hill that you have built upon humanistic values and materialistic manners, as you sought to build a world of your own, cutting off the light, and building a utopia, built with humanism and socialism, and communism-all under the heading of love and brotherhood, but covered with a blanket of darkness of the spirit. For this, the Eternal Father has allowed you to pursue your own course. The awakening shall come in shock to many.” – Jesus, November 20, 1979
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“My children, no country now shall be free from the evils of communism. My heart is torn, for I have come to you in countless appearances upon earth to warn you as Our children to avoid compromise with the enemies of God, though they come to you with smooth tongues, rationalizing their behavior. And because man has fallen out of grace, he will accept these lies and become enslaved.” – Our Lady, May 13, 1978FIFTH COLUMN
“There is, My children, a great conspiracy of evil now throughout your world-the forces, the columns of evil. Man has given them many names-the fifth column. They have been broken up into political parties, including communism. O My children, they are but small arms of the octopus, the gigantic conspiracy of evil that will unite your world and My Son’s Church under the rule of despots!
“There is in Rome, My children, a great struggle for power, a political machine controlled by satan. There shall be a war of the spirits. It shall be bishop against bishop and cardinal against cardinal.” – Our Lady, May 15, 1976TO REMOVE CHRISTIANITY
“One arm of the octopus is communism, atheistic communism. This arm of the octopus will promote discontent, revolution, death. This arm of the octopus will seek to remove Christianity from the earth. O woe unto a man who joins this force!” – Our Lady, June 10, 1978ONE PLAN IN MIND
“There is now a plan in the national and international seat of satan . . . . It is a group, My child, that is united with other groups throughout the world. They have one plan in mind: to bring about the fall of all nations and the introduction of communism to all nations, by destroying the young with drugs and all manners of debasity.” – Our Lady, June 18, 1987
PROMISES OF AN ATHEIST ARE NOT TRUE
“Your world cries, ‘peace, peace’ where there is no peace. You consort with devils. The word of an atheist is not binding. The promises of an atheist are not true. You are falling in with the plan like sheep to the slaughter.” – Our Lady, May 30, 1972
NO HONOR IN THE ATHEIST
“You must remember, My children, when you accept the talking’s and the words of an atheist: there is no honor in the atheist. There is no truth in the atheist. They will cajole you, and buy you, until you no longer are what is called a ‘free nation,’ but you will be enslaved–if they do not kill the multitudes before, My child. I say ‘if,’ because it is their plan to destroy your nation and rebuild it by themselves. The cost of life means nothing to them, as you can recognize in all of the countries around your world that have been invaded by Russia, or Russia is the secret agent giving over the firearms and the destructive missiles to destroy the United States and Canada.” – Our Lady, September 14, 1985
FOLLOWERS OF DARKNESS
“Michael, guardian of the Faith, guardian of My Church, must be returned! You have cast aside your guardian and opened My doors to all manner of heretics and liars! You cannot accept the word of an atheist! You must not accept the word of a communist, for they are not of your God, but they are followers of darkness!
“My children, do not be deceived by those who go throughout your world and say, love and brotherhood; peace and prosperity, with love and brotherhood. Peace, peace, you cry, when man does not make peace. He prepares for war! Love and brotherhood–there is no love in the hearts of man, and neither is there love in the hearts of man for his God! His spirit is darkened, his eyes are blind, his heart is hardened, and that is why your world must be cleansed.” – Jesus, December 28, 1976
COMMUNISM IS ATHEISM
“Atheists abound upon your earth creating a form known as communism. Communism is atheism!
“Satan is the father of all liars, and he will draw you into his web with all promises, but the promises of an atheist mean nothing, for he justifies all by what he gets in the end that he wants! Liars! Just as the father of all liars is satan.
“My children, do not be deceived by the voices that cry ‘Love, love!’ when they know not the meaning of love. Love is God the Father! The love being created by mankind leading to a new religion and a new world rule is a love based on humanism and modernism! The Church I established upon earth is eternal, though it suffers now in a crisis.” – Jesus, August 5, 1977
DO YOU THINK THERE IS HONESTY AMONG ATHEISTS?
“My children, I do not wish to place fear in your heart, but I cannot allow you to go forward without knowing what is happening about you. I assure you, My children, it is not productive to keep the truth from all and to substitute a climate of false hope and false peace. Know, My children, it is by peace, peace, peace–when the world cries peace the highest and the loudest, know that the destruction is at hand! Do you think there is honesty among thieves? Do you think there is honesty among atheists? Are you so blind, My children, not to recognize that communism has a great hold upon your country and the countries of the world?
“O My children, I warned you many years ago, I warned you in Fatima that, unless you prayed and did penance, Russia and the agents of the sickle and the hammer would go throughout the world cutting down nations and bringing death, destruction, and slavery.
“And you, My country, America the beautiful, you are all-wise but stupid in management, for you have the picture of your coming destruction right before your face and you refuse to look. Like drunkards, you build your hopes on what? Not faith! On man? You think that man shall stop the destruction? No, I say unto you! Because of your fall to immorality, because of your loss of faith and turning from your God, you are allowed to be blinded. You do not even recognize the darkness you are living in, for sin has become a way of life among you.” – Our Lady, April 2, 1977
“THE PROMISES AND WORDS OF ATHEISTS WILL GET YOU NOWHERE”
“In your search for love and brotherhood, you have opened My Church in the name of love and brotherhood to all manners of evil and demons! I assure you, My children, compromise will get you nowhere; the promises and the words of atheists will get you nowhere. You will not win souls by lowering your standards or making changes to suit the basic carnal fallen nature of mankind.” – Jesus, April 2, 1977
CAN YOU FIND THE TRUTH AMONG ATHEISTS?
“My voice, My children, and the voice of many from Heaven have cried out to warn you, to prepare you, for you hold the balance for your own destruction or salvation. Your country and many countries throughout the world now are in darkness of spirit. Your medias of communication are controlled. Can you find the truth among atheists? The truth, My children, you will have to carry in your hearts. Shall My Son come back and find even a small light of faith left upon your earth?” – Our Lady, May 26, 1976
“Your children must be returned to learning the Scriptures of the prophets. All parents must gather their children and remove them from the agents of satan. Bring the truth to your children through the Book of life, the writings of the prophets of old, the Bible. This legacy was left to man to guide him in his daily life. Instead, man has chosen to read and absorb, to destroy his eternal soul with books of evil, corruption, blasphemy, atheism—all soul destructors, destroyers of purity of heart and body.” Our Lady, 9-13-73
Jesus – “My child and My children, you are now approaching grave days. My Mother has prepared all of you for the trials ahead. Needless to say, I shall not repeat again the counsel given to you by My Mother. This counsel has been rejected by many, and for all of Her heart that My Mother has extended to you, many have returned this gift with bitterness, mockery and derision, and blasphemy.” 7-15-78
The voices of blasphemy have reached all Heaven
Jesus – “My children, My Mother’s counsel, Her directives, must go with great haste throughout the world. Mankind has not made amends to the Eternal Father for his blasphemy, mankind’s blasphemy and his cursing. The voices of blasphemy have reached all Heaven. The saints who suffered upon earth to win their crowns cry out now with hearts heavy with sadness: ‘O when, O Lord, just and true, shall You set upon mankind a firm and just punishment for their continued disobedience to the law of the Lord high God in Heaven? Oh when, Faithful and True, shall You smite mankind with a chastisement that will be necessary to cleanse Lucifer and his agents from earth?’” 6-18-78
Veronica – Our Lady referred to the cult of devil worshippers, and also the black mass now in existence in various cities of our United States—New York and San Francisco. They are conducting sacrificial rites of a demonic nature involving desecration of the human body, and blasphemy and mockery of the soul and denial of the majesty of the Eternal Kingdom of the Father! Many people of high social standing have joined these groups. They seek the wrath of God! Their debauchery has been publicized on television and in many of the papers. 8-21-70
“We view now the vilest of desecrations being perpetrated in My Son’s House. You who have been given the grace to bring the light have chosen to use your power to destroy. What are you telling the children? The young souls are learning blasphemy, heresy, satanism! You will not escape the flames!” Our Lady, 12-7-71
“My children, you have been given every opportunity to act upon the warnings from Heaven and the counsel of My Mother. In Her mission to Her children, She has met with rejection, defamation, blasphemy, and every abuse that Lucifer could implant into the hearts and minds of man. As a great Mother of great sorrows, She has opened Her heart to all mankind, choosing of Her own free will to act as your Mother, the Mother of all nations, the Mother of all children of earth, to guide you back to the road to Heaven.” Jesus, 10-6-79
Major offenses against God St. Michael – “I shall list the major offenses against the God of Heaven and earth: 1. Blasphemy! 2. Infamy! 3. Immodesty! 4. Worship of false idols! 5. Disrespect of authority! 6. Infidelity in the family! 7….” 6-16-73
“You cannot live in the world and be of the world and stay on the road to the Kingdom of Heaven. You cannot love two masters, for one will you grow to hate. And, My children, it tears My heart anew to hear the blasphemy being committed against My Son even in His own House!” Our Lady, 2-1-78
The Economic Systems in the World: A Comparison of Capitalism, Communism & Islamic Socialism
The author, Mr M. Umar Irfan Ch., compares the currently established economic systems with the Islamic economic system. He has highlighted the shortcomings of capitalism and communism, coming to the conclusion that capitalism works on the fundamental principle of “freedom”, while communism works on “equality”. The Islamic economic system, however, works on the principle of justice so that neither freedom is undermined at the cost of equality nor is equality thwarted at the cost of freedom.
An economic system of society describes the organization and distribution of resources among people of that particular society. It includes resource allocations, means of production, and distribution of capital. It has a very pivotal role in defining the socio-economic and political system of a state or society.
All the governing setups, institutions, and stakeholders revolve around the economy of the country. The economic system is the backbone of any society. It not only improves living standards for human beings but also saves society from destruction and bankruptcy. Therefore, without an economic system, society suffers from economic stagnation and unfair distribution of wealth.
An economic system can be defined by three basic questions: what to produce? how to produce? To whom it must be distributed? Throughout human history, economic systems have undergone evolutionary stages along with intellectual advancement.
Although the current economic systems in the world are more integrated than before, there is still a question of a perfect system that can eradicate economic conflicts and tensions between human beings. In this article, we will enlighten a brief comparison of the different economic systems — communism, capitalism, and Islamic socialism — and their validity.
Capitalism or a free-market economy is an economic system in which private owners control the economy and trade rather than the state. It encompasses private enterprises, economic freedom, competition, profit, wealth accumulation, and less intervention of government. It finds its slightest precursor in the feudal era during the 16th century in Europe.
After the industrial revolution in 1764, Scottish economist, Adam Smith, gave the idea of modern capitalism in his book “Wealth of Nations”. Soon after Smith’s theory, the French revolution appeared as the demise of feudalism and the whole scenario was changed in the favor of capitalism which dominated as a prominent economic system.
Later on, after the cold war and due to the invasion of western imperialism, it sustained its monopoly as a world economic system. According to the World Economic freedom report 2021, more than 152 states have capitalistic economies. Supporters of capitalism claim that capitalism ensures competition in markets which lead to a wide range of high-quality products with low prices.
It also brings innovations, creativity and makes people more hard-working and inclined towards a developed society. It encourages the political freedom of individuals by lessening the government’s influence and also guarantees opportunities for people who want to improve their living standards. Despite all these claims, it is fatal for the lower section of society.
The most destructive facet of a capitalist regime is the way it splits society into different classes. The lower class of society which is a majority is ruled by the minority elite class. They manipulate the working class by suppressing trade unions and gain high profit in return for very low wages, which lead to the accumulation of 99% wealth in the hands of just 1% and vice versa.
Capitalist regimes also monopolize power through imperialism and counter-revolutionary wars. The most lucid example of the capitalist war was the cold war. The prevailing communist manifesto forced the US to wage war against the Soviet Union which led to the division of the Soviet Union and occupation of Afghanistan by superpowers.
Capitalist regimes also invade countries by making military alliances to grab the natural resources, trade routes, and big markets. It also discourages equal opportunities, some are inherited with great wealth, while others are born in poverty with insufficient resources of health and education. Capitalists prefer their interests over social good and environmental safety.
Although most western countries claim that they have now become a welfare state, the class system still exists; there is a class that is earning maximum with minimum or almost zero efforts and dominating the world through multinational companies. On the other hand, there is a class that is barely meeting the necessities of life or dwelling on the charities of the elite class.
A national survey of Pew research center claimed that one-third of Americans now consider themselves as lower class. In simple words, this system works to serve the master class by exploiting the working class. Edelman Trust Barometer published a census report which included over 34000 people in more than 28 western liberal democracies.
Communism or command market economy is a political and economic philosophy that was given to oppose capitalism by German philosopher Karl Marx and his associate Friedrich Engels. He was the greatest critique of capitalism. He quoted that “Capital is dead labor, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks”.
It is an economic system in which all the resources are occupied by the government, while the people contribute and receive according to their ability and needs respectively. Although it has changed its form to socialism, Marxism, or Leninism but the core idea of all these movements remains the same.
It gave the idea of a classless society, common ownership, equal distribution of wealth, and opportunities. The biggest advantage of a communist society is that it refutes the class system and believes in equal allotment of resources. It works on the slogan “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”. It also gives the idea of a welfare state which is more prone to social well-being.
In a communist regime, the people are equal regardless of their financial and educational differences, they can access equal opportunities and resources for health, education, and employment. However, it has many shortcomings and drawbacks which decrease its validation. In a communist regime, there are no extra incentives for hard work and innovation which leads to the lack of competition.
If there is no competition in the market, there will be no technological developments, better quality products, and cost-reducing actions. The second most problem is the proletariat or one-party dictatorship, there is no freedom of speech and the right to express political ideas. One is also restrained to speak against government policies and agreements.
The current ruling party in China, CPC, is accused of ethnic cleansing of Uyghur Muslims through massive genocide in the north-western region of Xinjiang. From 1917 to 2017, according to Wall Street Journal, almost 65 million people died in different communist regimes due to famine, starvation, executions, and the deaths that occurred during forced imprisonment and cruel social engineering.
In a totalitarian regime, the ruling class has more opportunities for corruption. In 2012, Bloomberg revealed that the Chinese president’s extended family had total assets worth $376 million, but due to strict control on media, the report was not published. The Russian communist regime, too, has been accused of massive corruption for decades. Due to these loopholes and frailties, pure communism has never been in its practical form. A mixed form of communism is established in China, Cuba, and Vietnam.
Islamic Economic System
The economic system of Islam is derived from the two basic sources of Islamic jurisprudence, the Quran and the guiding principles of the Prophetic Hadiths. This economic system works on the basic principle of collective justice, which aims at the fair distribution of wealth among all human beings living in a society based on their abilities and capabilities.
It is believed that the economic system of Islam is not the creation of any human intellect but the law given by God Almighty, which is compatible with human behaviors and temperament. Therefore, it is a perfect system. The comprehensiveness of this law can be gauged from the fact that when Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) established the state of Madinah, there was a time when no one was poor enough to take charity from Baitul-Mall.
The Islamic economic system endorses private ownership and economic freedom. It allows humans to do private business and leave a legacy but also sets limitations so that the master class cannot establish its dominance over the subjective class. To control blind capitalism, usury has been declared as absolutely impermissible and forbidden because interest makes the rich richer and spoils the poor deeper into poverty.
Therefore, Islam has chained and controlled capitalism to a certain extent so that a person can fulfill his needs by earning legitimate profit from a private business. In Islamic tradition, it is expected that wealth is legitimate which is earned through one’s own work be it either physical or intellectual.
To prevent the unjust accumulation of wealth, Islam has given a comprehensive system of Zakat which is 2.5% of the accumulated capital so that wealth can circulate in the whole society instead of being in the few hands. Means of production and personal assets are exempt from Zakat Nisab. The proportion of Zakat (Jizya) for non-Muslims is two per cent. Taxation is allowed only if the collected Zakat is not enough to tackle emergencies or disasters.
Welfare programs also started under the umbrella of Islamic socialism during the era of the second Caliph Hazrat Umar R.A including social security, unemployment insurance, retirement pensions, and economic reforms during famines. Unlike capitalism and communism, which are established on the basic spirit of dialectical materialism, the Islamic system is based on a spiritual concept called faith (Iman).
Capitalism works on the fundamental principle of “freedom”, while communism works on “equality”. The Islamic economic system, however, works on the principle of justice so that neither freedom is undermined at the cost of equality nor is equality thwarted at the cost of freedom. Islamic socialism is a moderate theory containing positive aspects of both capitalism and communism.
So, instead of looking towards these imperfect systems, we must establish Islamic socialism which is not only compatible with our tradition but also testified 1400 years ago, when there was no capitalism or communism.
Capitalism vs. Communism: Pros and Cons
We have heard a lot about capitalism as most of us are from capitalist countries. We also know that the Soviet Union was a communist country and, during the Cold War, the spread of communism around the world was a major threat. After the end of World War 2, America and its allies feared the spread of communist ideologies in other countries.
But why was the spread of communism a major issue? What is the basic difference between capitalism and communism?
Before the Industrial Revolution, common merchants needed some form of money or capital to buy goods which they could later sell at a profit. After making a profit, the merchants could then pay back the person who lent them the money. They would also be required to pay some interest to the lender. This perfectly explains mercantile capitalism. This was the earliest form of capitalism where common merchants could get the first capital they needed to start a trade from an investor who would then be properly compensated with interest.https://74d6ea90e4ecf450aef4dae40d93bd35.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Due to colonialism, there was a boom in trading between countries. It was, however, risky as pirates or the weather could disrupt the trade route. Thus, a group of people would unite to create joint stock companies where multiple people could invest in large trade ventures. This somewhat reduced the risk of losses as multiple people shared the risk. However, mercantile capitalism wasn’t widespread and affected only a minor section of the population who were in the trade.
The British Empire with its vast colonial empire introduced industrial capitalism in the 19th century. Capitalism is an economic and social system in which the industries and capital are privately owned and operated for making a profit. Such an economic system relies on investments in technology to increase production. These goods can then be sold for a bigger profit.
For example, the investments made in the field of agriculture introduced new tools and technologies for increasing crop yield which reduced the price of food. This then forced further innovations to increase the yield of crops, even more, to compensate for the drop in prices of crops. With the price of food crops dropping low, the people now had more disposable income which they could now spend on other consumer goods.
This meant that people now had an incentive to find new and creative ways to increase production and cut the cost of manufacturing. This also meant that lesser people needed to work in agriculture which dropped from 80% of the population to less than 25% in a few centuries. So far so good. We now know that capitalism has helped improve the productivity and manufacturing potential which improved the standard of living.
The Thorns of Capitalism
There are, however, many flaws in this approach. The main concept of capitalism is the need for private investors to turn a profit for their effort. It required people with money to invest in new innovative and radical technologies which could then pay them back if they succeeded. There were risks involved in investing capital, but the rewards would be the profits that they would hopefully produce.
This, however, meant that the landlords or investors owned the industry, land or any means to produce goods but the common worker would become very poor. The working conditions for the industrial workers were very poor, the work was monotonous and they were all living in poverty. The workers wanted equality and they were against the current social conditions where the rich kept getting richer and the poor started getting poorer. One way of combating such poor conditions was to form worker unions.ADVERTISING
Poverty in the midst of plenty.
Karl Marx, the father of communism, was a renowned philosopher and historian who wanted to bring out the flaws in capitalism. He wrote Das Kapital, which highlighted that Capitalism relied on the work of unpaid laborers who were the source of surplus income. This surplus income was then claimed by the owner based on property rights. In a capitalist economy, technological improvements and the next increase in production results in diminished profit due to under-utilization: “poverty in the midst of plenty”.
There are two classes in society: the “worker class”, consisting of the manual laborers who do the real work; and the “capitalist class”, consisting of the land and capital owners who invest in manufacturing. Karl Marx believed that it is the struggle between the classes that define classes themselves. Through conflict only can they get a sense of themselves. The struggle here is between the capitalists who own try to produce goods at the least cost possible and the workers who struggle to work at the most wage possible.
According to Karl Marx, it was the workers with their manual labor who are the most important in an economy and as humans, it is only when we share resources that we work effectively. But capitalism replaces that with a sense of conflict between the capitalists and workers. The word “communism” means “common or universal”. It is a socioeconomic order built upon the concept of common ownership of the means of manufacturing goods. It aims at creating a classless cashless and stateless society.
This means that the community owns all the factories, lands and properties. There is no incentive for surplus production as it is only based on the needs of the people. The workers get an equal share of the profit. This means that there is an equal distribution of wealth and there are no classes in society. Since the workers own the capital, there is no exploitation. The workers are then expected to work out of a collective responsibility and not a need or compulsion.
It is, however, very difficult to create a pure communist state. Technically there are no purely communist countries. All the countries which aspire to become communist are actually socialist countries.
It is very difficult for a capitalist country to become a communist state. Socialism is a middle state through which a country needs to transition to become a communist state. Wealth distribution in capitalism is, “to each according to his needs”. In socialism, it is, ” to each according to his contribution”.
Socialism is not a stateless structure but can co-exist with other political systems. The government owns the means of production and wealth instead of the workers. There is also freedom of religion in socialist countries but communist countries are atheist. In a socialist country, some sectors of the economy are private but the government controls most of the economy. Healthcare, education, transportation, etc. are all usually run by the government to give access to all people without any constraint.
Failure of Communism
Although the concept of a stateless, cashless and classless state is attractive, there are various flaws in this approach. Let us consider the following example.
A college professor wanted to teach his students the concept of communism. So he came up with an experiment for the upcoming tests. The final score for each student will be the average score of the entire class and not their individual scores. The students agreed this would be a relatively safe way to get good scores without the risk of failing the exam.
- During the first test, the students got an average score of 70%.
- During the next test, the average dropped to 60% and then to 50% until they eventually failed.
The students who studied well still got low scores as the class average was lower. This led them to put less effort in their next tests. The students who scored less felt that there was no need to study as the other good students would eventually make up for their low scores and that they would pass. Since the amount of effort going into studying declined they all failed. This was precisely the cause of the downfall of communism.
Issues in Communism
In an ideal society, the people work to the best of their ability for the greater good of the society. They should work out of a sense of responsibility for the society. However, the people get rewarded based on their needs and not their contribution. Therefore it is understandable that they won’t have the incentive to work more.
- In a capitalist society the more you work, the more you get rewarded which creates a competitive environment and increases production. But in communism, the production is low as the people do not tend to work more than they really have to due to lack of rewards. There is no individualism and perks for being productive. So progress is very slow.
- Corruption is also rampant in communism. The people who are in power tend to abuse their power for their own personal good. This means that profits do not reach people properly.
- The government also is not very effective in running industries or handling resources. A privately controlled firm will be more successful in handling such operations and hence will produce more profit.
Which System Is Better?
Although communism offers a very tempting deal, it is not as it seems. Those kinds of ideals do not exist in the real word and a communist society will crumble on its own like the Soviet Union. However, socialism, when combined with capitalism, provides a good trade-off. Every person should have access to basic amenities like health care and education without any discrimination. They should be provided free of cost to all by the government. The manufacturing industries owned by private capitalists get the ideal output.
Even today experts debate on which system would bring about the greater good to society. Both capitalism and communism have their set of pros and cons. An economy will prosper if we bring out the best in both capitalism and communism.
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