Free Markets, Free People

Yep, communism kills – but fools still defend the other fools who believe in it

Following on McQ’s post about deaths due to communism</a>, the same article was noted by Glenn Reynolds. He made the following straight-forward observation:

Communists are as bad as Nazis, and their defenders and apologists are as bad as Nazis’ defenders, but far more common. When you meet them, show them no respect. They’re evil, stupid, and dishonest. They should not enjoy the consequences of their behavior.

I’m not even sure “as bad as” is sufficient. Deaths due to Communism outnumber deaths due to Nazism by a wide margin.

But he got pushback from someone living in the halls of academia, who wants to assure us that those Marxists aren’t really so bad:

As someone who works in academia, I run into my fair share of Marxists. While I disagree with their politics, many of them are decent non-evil people most certainly deserving of respect. There is, to my mind, a big difference between communism and Nazism: it is possible to be a communist with the “good will,” i.e. to sincerely wish the best most prosperous future for everyone. I think it’s pretty obvious that communism is not the way towards that goal, but intelligent people can disagree. Nazism, on the other hand, is fundamentally impossible to commit one’s self to with a good will. It is inherently racist, hateful, and concerned with elevating particular groups of people on the basis of the subjugation and dehumanization of others.

Put another way: communism, like it or not, is an Enlightenment project and an Enlightenment ideology. The evils of communism my be intrinsic, but they are not built into the ideology itself. I.e. Marx never advocated for any society like the Soviet Union or for gulags, etc. The same cannot be said of Nazism.

This is not to give communism a “pass,” but rather to separate the ideology and intentions of the believer, from, say, crimes like the Great Leap Forward. One does not convince communists to give up their creed by calling them Nazis and refusing to show them a modicum of respect. One convinces them (and I speak from personal experience) but engaging them as people who want the good, but don’t realize that their politics cannot and will never be able to effect the society they seek.

This is so wrong-headed that I don’t know where to start. Let’s go phrase by phrase and point out some of the highest caliber foolishness.

While I disagree with their politics, many of them are decent non-evil people most certainly deserving of respect.

No, they’re most certainly not deserving of respect. They might or might not be “non-evil”, but if they still defend the rotten corpse of Marxism and its legacy of death, they’re idiots, and therefore deserving of no respect, no matter what degrees they hold or how much cocktail-party glibness they possess.

Naturally, someone in academia is likely to form some psychological accommodation to these idiots. They’re just down the hall, don’t ya know, and the kids play soccer with them, probably in games where it’s not allowed to keep score. Letting them know that they’re idiots is career-affecting, and seriously curtails opportunities for social activities on campus. So it’s pretty easy for someone in that environment to convince themselves that “on a personal level, those Marxists are not really that bad” from their own need to find a rationalization to avoid friction with them.

There is, to my mind, a big difference between communism and Nazism: it is possible to be a communist with the “good will,” i.e. to sincerely wish the best most prosperous future for everyone.

First, this is the classic leftist fallacy: that good intentions are enough to excuse anything. They’re not.

Second, it’s patently untrue. “Everyone” includes people who have a lot of wealth. Communism explicitly says such people are supposed to give up that wealth for others, and be brought down to supposedly becoming equal with them. How in Hades is that the “best most prosperous future” for those wealthy people?

That’s even leaving out the reality that goes even beyond the iron-clad logic above: Many (most?) of the wealthy were murdered in every case where Communism was tried. Anyone who can hand-wave that aside and still sincerely believe that communism offers the “best most prosperous future for everyone” has a pretty narrow definition of “everyone”.

Instead, I think it’s an indication of the Marxist’s view (shared by many academicians even if they don’t realize it) that the wealthy are nothing but a bunch of  immoral exploiters. It’s easy to leave them out of “everyone” if you hold that view of them.

I think it’s pretty obvious that communism is not the way towards that goal, but intelligent people can disagree.

No. Stupid people and people who crave a reason to control others can disagree. Intelligent people only have to look at a century long string of failure and death to know that communism is not the way towards that goal. If a person can’t see that, I can’t conceive of how they can be labeled “intelligent”. (Of course, my definition of “intelligent” includes a connection to reality, which often seems to be strangely missing from the academician’s definition of “intelligent”.)

Put another way: communism, like it or not, is an Enlightenment project and an Enlightenment ideology.

Wrong again. The ideology that inspired the terms “groupthink”, “double-think”, and all the rest isn’t an Enlightenment ideology. Communism in practice is profoundly anti-Enlightenment. It distorts every meaning that it touches, and disposes of rationalism as soon as it challenges the ideology. Hence the Soviet joke “We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.”

This is not to give communism a “pass,” but rather to separate the ideology and intentions of the believer, from, say, crimes like the Great Leap Forward.

But separating the supposed intentions from a century of results is giving them a pass! These people defended the Soviet Union my whole life, far past the point where it was clear that it was a murdering, thuggish regime capable of producing only deprivation and violence.

Academic historians were among the worst such defenders.  They’ve never come clean about their support of the Soviet Union. These Marxist fools are still supporting Chavez and Castro today! Sorry, their supposed good intentions shouldn’t give them a pass for that.

One does not convince communists to give up their creed by calling them Nazis and refusing to show them a modicum of respect. One convinces them (and I speak from personal experience) but engaging them as people who want the good, but don’t realize that their politics cannot and will never be able to effect the society they seek.

First, saying that their ideology produces results just as bad or worse as Nazism isn’t calling them a Nazi. It’s stating the clear truth.

But there’s an even better reason to treat their "creed" with complete contempt. Behaving otherwise makes their beliefs acceptable, even respectable, in academia.

Those beliefs should not be respectable. It’s time their ideology joined phlogiston, the luminiferous ether, phrenology, and Lamarkian biology in the historical gallery of failed concepts. They shouldn’t be coddled for believing in nonsense; they should be ridiculed for it.

Giving them any respect whatsoever means that get to continue to indoctrinate new generations in the same idiocy, meaning we still have the problem of academic idiots pushing an evil, failed ideology into the indefinite future.

Far better, I believe, to make it clear and obvious that their belief is not a respectable one.  That in fact, continuing to believe in Marxism at this late date means defending over a hundred million deaths committed in its name, and advocating a philosophy that has caused hundreds of millions to live their lives in misery, deprivation, and de facto slavery. That should be beyond the pale, not treated as some sort of ideological quirk to talk someone out of.

The left wants us to play by different rules from what they impose on themselves. By their lights, believing in principles espoused by the founders of this nation is extreme and racist, but believing in principles that have killed more than a hundred million and enslaved hundreds of millions more is just an ideological quirk.

I believe that not more than one in a thousand can be convinced by the gentle means advocated by this academician. After all, they don’t really seem to learn from history or reality. They took no responsibility for the support of the Soviet Union, Cuba, North Korea, or today’s Venezuela. And I wonder how many of this academic’s friends are *still* siding with the Sandinistas in Nicaragua.

So no more coddling. Just ridicule. If they don’t like it, well, too bad. I think it’s time they suffered the consequences of total ridicule for their idiocy; maybe that would convince some of them to re-examine it. 

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36 Responses to Yep, communism kills – but fools still defend the other fools who believe in it

  • This is not to give communism a “pass,” but rather to separate the ideology and intentions of the believer, from, say, crimes like the Great Leap Forward.

    What an AMAZING idiot!  The ideology has INEXORABLY led to the ends…every time it is applied.
    And the false distinction between one form of Collectivism and another is precious!  Nazi = bad  Commie = unfortunate excesses by misguided followers
    The root of the evil is the notion that we are components of the state, and that man is perfectible by “science” in the hands of “brights”.
    Patrick Henry comes to mind…

  • While I disagree with their politics, many of them are decent non-evil people most certainly deserving of respect.

    No.  They are NOT.  Not any of those things.  Not decent.  Not non-evil.  And certainly not deserving of my respect.  They have none for me.  They have none for my children.  They would make us slaves with their “politics”, and have demonstrated that slavery goes down to telling us NOT to love.
    They are dangerous, and everything that is inimical to the Enlightenment.

  • I was thinking along the same lines earlier today when I read that at instapundit.  Leave it to those who spend their lives in ivory towers to so cavalierly lie to themselves to arrive at a ideology that promises unicorns to  children,  free and unrestricted healthcare to women, and farts that smell of lilacs and buttered popcorn to men.  Communism (and socialism to an extent) has to be achieved at the point of a bayonet.  To pretend otherwise ignores the totality of human history.
     
    One can argue in favor of socialism, or communism, but to be intellectually honest, they have to acknowledge that they value equality higher than liberty.  And further, once that admission is made (forced from them?) they have to admit that it necessarily must follow that the whole concept of liberty is malleable, subject to the whims of those in power.
     
    But most of those involved in “BigEducation” are unconstrained by logic and fact, and latch onto theoretical ‘heaven on earth’ fantasies in which every single step has to be “well in a perfect world, this is what would happen here.”   No, they are not “non-evil”!  They are active participants, enablers, or useful idiots for the subjugation of man, and murder of dissenters.

  • One can argue in favor of socialism, or communism, but to be intellectually honest, they have to acknowledge that they value equality higher than liberty.

    Socialism places equality ahead of liberty, but communism doesn’t. 

    Communism places the dialetic above everything.  The dogma of communism is such that everyone under communism is “free” and everyone under communism is “equal”, but communists actually practice equivalent disrespect to freedom and equality.  

    There has never been a communist state that has practiced equality. 

    • I don’t think that there has ever been a communist state that practiced communism.  Those states that identified themselves as communist basically wanted centralized control, which is simply a dictatorship.
       
      The notion of a society where they are no leaders and everyone is on equal footing has never existed, and I don’t believe it ever will.  I don’t think it’s really possible to have a communist government once your nation grows beyond a population of around 30.  But it’s a nice label to use so that you don’t have to admit that you’re simply a totalitarian regime.  How many dictatorial governments refer to themselves as “the people’s republic of“?  They aren’t people’s republics, just like the USSR wasn’t a communist government.  Academics and others who worship at the altar of communism wouldn’t seem to ignorant if they simply accepted that.

  • Academia is one of the first places the ‘true’ communists/socialists always get around to ‘cleaning up’ in large measure once they’ve served their purpose.  Sure, a few, generally less capable ones, survive to rise to power, but well, we can’t have the educated trying to explain to the true purists how the system is SUPPOSED to work when the purists occasionally have to color outside the lines to make the workers paradise arrive more quickly.

    Be comforted if you are determined to be unfit for re-education the man or woman taking the cure-all pill (9mm) in front of you will more than likely be an academic.

  • My argument was not what actual communist states have done – although I do point out that those in ‘western democracies’ either studiously avoid real world examples, or excuse them as not being “done right” – rather what those in academia like to think as attainable.  This is what I found so offensive, and I suspect Billy did as well, with the point the Glenn’s commenter was making.  Unlike France (and the rest of the socialist democracies across the world), our governments’ raison d’etre is not Liberté, égalité, fraternité, it is Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  Those that suggest that fellow Americans who argue for communism (and to a lesser extent socialism) are doing so in good faith are not only wrong, but they are de facto enablers of political systems antithetical to our own; if their ‘logic’ were taken to it’s inevitable conclusion it would necessitate the destruction of the USofA as defined by our constitution.  It is impossible to say you are a defender of liberty while arguing the overwhelming benefits of socialism/communism.  It is this that many find so repugnant with the un-intellectual elitism of the American left.
     
    I’m not denying your point, rather voicing strenuous objection to those that claim that the proponents of socialism/communism (especially in western  academia), because they mean well, do no harm to the ideological foundations of our nation.
     
    Before a decision is made on which political system is preferable, one has to decide whether one values equality or liberty more.  I will willingly sacrifice equality for liberty.  But the smarty pants of the left are exceedingly reticent to admit the opposite.  And it is understandable for once you place equality above liberty, liberty becomes meaningless, subject to the fickle whims of whatever governing class is in power.

    • There really is no dichotomy between liberty and equality. Because true equality is equal treatment under the law, not forced leveling.

      • That depends what you mean by equality.

        Equality as equal outcomes for all is insanity, but many still believe that.

  • Further clarification:   My objection with the self-called intellectual left (especially those in academia) is the constant refrain that communism/socialism hasn’t worked because it hasn’t been implemented properly.  NO!  Unstated, the fundamental premise of this argument absolutely requires that everyone within a socialist/communist system have 100% agreement on everything.  The unmitigated arrogance of professors and nascent politicians who believe that their brilliance is so magnificent that everyone else must agree is stunning… and deadly.  Those that excuse them, for the sake of polite society, are contemptible.

    • I’ve read that Lenin…on his deathbed…acknowledge that communism was a failure.  But he knew how to fix it.  Naturally.
      All Collectivist notions are known by anyone with a brain to be fatally flawed.  Their acolytes just know how to fix them the NEXT time.

  • You took the words out of my mouth, I could not have said it better.  Marxists deserve ridicule, and when possible I like to urinate on them.

  • Most interesting post in that right now I’m reading Paul Kengor’s book, “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressive fro a Century”.
    Having picked up bit and pieces of data from the Soviet archives for about fifteen years, no one seemed interested in finding out what REALLY had gone on during the 70+ years of Soviet hegemony.
    While Kengor apparently (I’m on page 260 of 480 pages plus another 100+ pages of footnotes and appendixes) thinks the worst thing the Communists did was to suppress religion, he brings out people the ostensibly were trustworthy, in areas such as academia, the media, Hollyweird, politics. At the least, they should have known better but LET themselves be self-deluded.
    The “Useful Idiots” per Lenin were more or less willing accomplices of regimes that set records for brutality. The USSR, China, and Cuba today have apologists that surmount even the worst excesses of the various Inquisitions and theirs.
    No matter how one tries to twist it, there is no way to put a happy, benevolent face on the tyrannous collectivism of Communism. And despite endless tortured logic, Marxism will never end up any other way than in the bloody, murderous manner it did.
    And Progressivism is merely ‘semantic infiltration’ for REACTIONARY.

  • Some dichotomy exists because whilst “equality is equal treatment under the law” there is liberty that occurs outside of law. 

  • McQ - So no more coddling. Just ridicule. If they don’t like it, well, too bad. I think it’s time they suffered the consequences of total ridicule for their idiocy; maybe that would convince some of them to re-examine it. 

    Now, now!  Don’t you know that you’re not supposed to label people any more?

    / sarc

    A passionate and well-stated post.  I’m not sure how Hitler has become the essence of evil while most people barely know who Stalin was, why sporting a swastika is tantamount to a hate crime while wearing a Che or Mao t-shirt is trendy, or why it’s bad to rob and murder Jews but not “the rich”, but there you are.  It’s rather like the old saw that the smartest thing that the devil ever did was convince people that he doesn’t exist; the smartest thing that the reds ever did was convince people that they really, really have good intentions.  Yessir, murdering millions of people in the gulags or Katyn Forest or the killing fields or the Great Leap Forward were just messy little complications; the INTENTIONS were of the best.

    Bah.

  • Damn right, Bruce and Billy, damn right! Cancer, is what it is, and Communism is a cancer.

  • Without exception, every Marxist state ranked in the bottom category of respect for human rights. Without exception, every Marxist state ranked in the bottom category for national prosperity.

    The next time you run into an academic apologist for Marxism–they abound on just about every campus in America–simply direct them to the Harvard University Press’s publication of the ‘Black Book,’ written by communists who are historians about communism when the secret files were opened after the collapse of the Berlin Wall: 94.3 million dead, mostly starved to death.

    By the way, Marxism is not a philosophy; it is an ideo-theology grounded in the deep distrust–one could say, pathological distrust–in the nature of human nature. As for ridiculous remarks by the academic, Marxism shares with Nazism the six ingredients which comprise all of the organized mass murders of the 20C: Disaffected population; determinist world-view; stasis; idealism; absolutism; and sacrificial virtue. The academic is remarkably illiterate about Marxism and Nazism.

    But the very best way to take on the apologists for Marxism is to read his ‘Capital.’ Every one of his four main criticisms of capitalism is simply horrible economic gibberish; each criticism is completely wrong as a matter of hard economic facts: ‘Surplus value of labor'; ‘anarchy of production'; ‘the four alienations from division of labor'; ‘needs trump wants.’

    One last mention. The very best book written about Marxism and Nazism was Hoffer’s “True Believer.” It was brought back into print on the first anniversary of 9/11. Small book, enormous influence.    

  • Communism is not ‘de facto slavery’, it is slavery at its core. The plantation master is the State, and it owns you, your children, your work, and your sustenance. (The Politburo are the slave overseers, claiming to follow the wishes of the master.) Leftist apologists are just arguing that their ideal master is a ‘good massa’, and they are hoping for a utopian plantation where all the good little slaves (oops, citizens) will be happy and the whips will be few.

  •  That someone could even debate this notion is frightening and all too sad 

  • Wow!  Where to start?  There are two glaring things.
    1) Marx and Engles were horrific anti-semites.  Now it would also be fair to say that this was the norm in the late 19th and early 20th century in Europe.  It wasn’t so much a corner stone of Marxism to be racist but simply that it was fashionable at the time.  Never the less, that is no excuse.
    2) F.A. Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom has a great section called, “Why the worst get on top”.  It is a great explanation of why socialism/communism/fascism gets so violent.  To sum it up in a short bit, it takes a strong man with very little in the way of ethics to use force over millions of people to convince them that the will of the collective trumps their human rights.  When the central planners fail to correctly predict the will of the millions of individuals, which is practically a given because you’d have to be omniscient to get it right, the use of force naturally ensues to get the collective to trump the individual.

    • Communism has a tendency to become fascism. For example, the USSR ended up fighting the “Great Patriotic War”, and the church was revived. Basically, nationalism came back into style as reality intruded.

      Also, the claim that nazis were less well meaning than communists is wrong. Nazi racial ideas are only evil to those who don’t agree with the nazis. Just as communist wealth redistribution ideas are only evil to those who disagree with them. Both are objectively evil, but it requires a proper level of knowledge to understand that. Ignorant well meaning people can be nazis or communists, it is just that it is hard to be that ignorant these days.

    • Oh, and I forgot to add in some about communist racism. In the USSR, women who married foreigners were sent off to the camps. There was obvious antisemitism involved as well, and the soviets refereed to foreign market weapons (MiGs and tanks without the full capability of domestic models) as “monkey models”. 

  • “many of them are decent non-evil people most certainly deserving of respect.”
     
    “Definitions of respect on the Web:

    esteem: the condition of being honored (esteemed or respected or well regarded); “it is held in esteem”; “a man who has earned high regard”
    an attitude of admiration or esteem; “she lost all respect for him”
    deference: a courteous expression (by word or deed) of esteem or regard; “his deference to her wishes was very flattering”; “be sure to give my respects to the dean”
    obedience: behavior intended to please your parents; “their children were never very strong on obedience”; “he went to law school out of respect for his father’s wishes”
    regard highly; think much of; “I respect his judgement”; “We prize his creativity”
    regard: a feeling of friendship and esteem; “she mistook his manly regard for love”; “he inspires respect”
    show respect towards; “honor your parents!””

    No. Courtesy, perhaps, but not respect. Respect must be earned. At best this bozo is naive and ignorant, neither of which earns respect.

  • Communism has never been implemented properly? It has been implemented in the only way it can be implemented- by force and deception.

    • It can’t work. So it doesn’t work the way the intellectuals want it to. So they blame implementation, rather than it’s inherent faults.

  • I would argue that communism is, in fact an enlightenment ideology. As is nazism and other forms of fascism. They all decend from the French Enlightenment.


  • FROM HERE: http://www.abcdunlimited.com/ideas/doublestandards.html
    Ironically, this is the point when one perceives that the much- vilified “Stalin-Hitler equivalency” is only a euphemism for a more-feared equation. The connection that MacArthur and all the other “naive liberals” evade is not between the dictators Hitler and Stalin, but between the theorists Hitler and Marx. What they ultimately dread is not the notion that “Stalin was as bad as Hitler” in practice, but that Marxism is as evil as Hitlerism in principle. For what was Nazism ever other than Marxism in which class consciousness was replaced with racial nationalism? Is a determinist doctrine of classism and class warfare less repugnant than one of racism and racial warfare? Is it less evil in principle; is it less evil in practice? To affirm the first part of that last question is to affirm the second — as exemplified by MacArthur’s morally grotesque distinction between “[s]tarving masses of people to death in Ukraine” and “gassing Jews en masse.” One last link to ponder: In the first months of 1849, Marx published Engels’ series of pieces for the Neue Rheinesche Zeitung in which he hailed the “bloody” liquidation of different European ethnic groups in a “world war” that would “result in the disappearance from the face of the earth not only of reactionary classes and dynasties, but also of entire reactionary peoples.” In 1924, references to these articles appeared in Stalin’s Foundations of Leninism.[ It is this necessity of genocide to the collectivist struggle, the jihad of an Us vs. Them hate theology, that is the lesson Marx taught Stalin — who in turn taught Hitler.

  • Communism is based on control, control requires regulation, and regulation requires penalties. When penalties fail, punishment is required.  At the point where punishment begins to “not be enough” to stop violations against the regulation, it all falls apart.
    The inherent problem with any kind of an encompassing government without representation, and its concentration of total power, always results in the most accomplished Politian, one with the burning desire for power, taking control; whatever it takes. This is not rocket science, its history…

  • “So no more coddling. Just ridicule. If they don’t like it, well, too bad.”
    As much as I support this mode of thought when focused on ideological leftists, I also think it should be focused just as clearly upon religionist/supernaturalist ‘believers’ of all stripes who want to control the lives of others based on whatever brand of mysticism they embrace.

  • Do you think all christian people are evil and their sympathizers fools? After all, christians have gone all over the world murdering and torturing  “heritics” until they subjected themselves to christian ideals and ways of life. Certainly they veil there evil doings in the all to used idea of “good intentions”, but can anyone really buy such bullshit when the christian texts have inspired so much evil when it comes to practice?
    Likewise, do you think all muslims are evil?
    Do you think anyone who supports the U.S. is evil? The U.S. was founded on the bloodshed of millions of  natives and economically on the racist subjugation of africans and those of african descent. On top of that the U.S. wasn’t even founded on good intentions. Mostly just out of greed.

    Hell, maybe I’m comparing apples to oranges. Humor me for a second if you will, and I apologize for the Aristotelian question, but What is evil? Are these communists really evil? I think so, but I argue at the same time that you can’t have it both ways. If they are indeed evil, we all are at least a little. So, f*ck you all, you vile, evil little bitches who get upset at a billion or so deaths here and there. Direct or indirect, its a tradition to support genocide when you’re in power, whether it be in power of a “democracy”, “fascist state”, “commune”, or anything above or in-between . Worlds got too many people anyway.