Communism Sucks. And Socialism isn't far behind. Why is this? Because any system that places absolute power in the hands of a few individuals - or one individual - results in the persecution of a large number of people and economic misery for most.
Regardless of the "faults" of our economic and political system, America remains one of the most prosperous and free countries on the planet - perhaps the most in both categories. Consider that in France, they are talking about banning headscarves or in Switzerland banning the construction of Minarets. In America? You'd have a hard time getting either law to pass.
And please, don't try to compare an outright ban on Minarets in Switzerland with the fake "controversy" of the "ground zero Mosque". In America we have a staggering amount of freedom - economic freedom - which of course is the same thing.
Same thing? Yes, freedom and financial freedom are intertwined, if not the same thing. You cannot be free and beholden to others financially. On the flip side, if you have financial freedom, you can pretty do just about whatever you want.
There are many who would argue that the two are distinct - as in the distinction between free speech and commercial speech. But I would argue that they are the same. But that is a topic for another posting.
Communism sucks, let's face it. And yet there are people out there who still secretly - or openly - admire it and think it would "solve all our problems." But like any extremist solution, the cure is worse than the cold, and Communism clearly falls into that category. Why? Well, a number of reasons.
1. The Track Record of Communism Speaks for Itself. Communism has had a Century to try to work, and has failed utterly. Not only have communist economies collapsed, but the record of violence and intolerance in Communist countries has been staggering.
Commies like to talk about how great things are under Communism - and how awful things are under Capitalism. And while our country has its share of troubles (and has had its share) we do not have a secret police (and never have) who breaks into people's homes, drags people away in the middle of the night, and then lines them up against the wall and shoots them.
Communist countries, without exception, all have this feature. People are stuffed away in jail or just shot like dogs, without a trial. Or sent to detention and torture camps for years, until they die of exhaustion.
Oh, yea, I know what the Commies are going to say, "What about Guantanamo Bay?" - as if the detention of a couple hundred suspected terrorists is akin to the massacre of millions of people by the likes of Stalin.
Yea, you're right, they are equivalent. In Commie-dream-world, that is. But the reality is, people in this country are pushing to have trials, or at least military tribunals, for the inmates in Guantanamo Bay, and no, "water boarding" is nothing like what happened to people in Cuba, China, or Russia. What we consider abhorrent, they consider patty-cake.
And yes, you are right, that doesn't make it OK. But in this country, you are free to protest that, to fight against injustice, and change things. And therein lies the key - not that our country is "perfect" or never does any wrong, but that there are mechanisms for protest, change, and reform - and that changes and reforms do occur and atrocities are not swept under the rug.
Such mechanisms do not exist in Communist countries. At all. In fact, if you argue that the government is wrong, you will end up in a Gitmo-like detention, only 1,000 times worse. And no one from the ACLU will be trying to get you out.
Of course, one of the problems with Guantanamo is that we let a few people out of there who we thought were innocent taxi drivers, and, well, they turned out to be terrorists and went back to blowing up things. This makes the government a little gun-shy about letting any more go. Can you blame them?
2. Communist Countries devolve into Dictatorships: The Dictatorship of the Proletariat, Marx called it. Back then, the term "Dictator" was not so emotionally loaded as it is today. Studebaker even named a car after it. They had the Commander, the President, and the Dictator - the latter disappearing from view after the start of WWII.
But Communist countries quickly devolve into a Dictatorship of the Dictatorship, as the command economy model puts all power in the hands of a few. And a Dictatorship, by design, quickly devolves into a Police State. No one with absolute power will let go of it without a fight, and quickly paranoia sets in, as the Dictator sees enemies behind every tree.
As a result, freedom is squashed, people are browbeaten into submission, and live in a constant state of fear.
3. Everyone is Equal, but Equally Poor. Che Guevara, during his famous motorcycle ride, said he saw the plight of the Andean miners, living at a subsistence level, and wanted to do something about it. So he reduced an entire country to a subsistence level. Everyone was at least, equal, I guess.
Since Command economies are horrendously inefficient (even compared to inefficient capitalist economies) and there are no incentives to produce, people end up starving - almost without exception.
So yes, everyone - or nearly everyone - in a Communist country has a similar standard of living. But that standard of living is abject poverty, if not in fact, starvation. Meanwhile, the party bosses drive their Zil limousines down their designated lanes during rush-hour Moscow traffic. Everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others.
At least in a Capitalist economy, there is some rough correlation between achievement and success. Being wealthy in America depends more on labor and effort than merely who you know or how you claw your way up the party apparatus.
4. Everyone Wants Out, No One Wants In: One of the most famous litmus tests of any country is whether people struggling to leave or enter. No one wanted to live in Communist Russia or Communist Cuba. But everyone tried their darndest to leave - even risking their lives to do so. And it continues on today, in Cuba, as people try to float their way to a better life in the USA.
Of course, you commie-pinkos out there will say, "Well, they are just leaving for a better economic life, not for real freedom". But as I noted before, the two are intertwined, if not the same. Freedom of speech is fine and all, but what's the first thing a free man will stand on his soap box and complain about? Yup, taxes.
And please, none of this "Cuba suffers because of the American Embargo" bullshit. Every other country in the world trades with Cuba, and they have an opportunity for economic freedom. They suffer because the Communist Command Economy simply doesn't work. No one else wants their sugar cane, or at least no one is willing to pay much for it.
It is a shame that in 2011, I even have to write such an entry. But there are people in this country - people I know, who still secretly or openly admire Communism. Most of these are academics, who feel powerless in their own lives. They believe, wrongly, as Oscar Wilde did, that "Educated Men" such as themselves would be put in charge, once the revolution comes. And once this educated elite ran things, well, everything would just be hunky-dory!
But the reality is, academics make lousy managers, having no real-world experience. And academics are the first ones lined up against the wall, when the revolution comes. So be careful what you wish for.
"Democracy is the worst form of government, until you consider the alternatives" - a quote variously attributed to Will Rogers or Winston Churchill. And it is indeed true. Our system of government is horribly inefficient and often results in horrible compromises, a race to the bottom, and back-room back-scratching. But there is really no better system out there, and the errors and excesses of our present system would not be improved by a switch to Communist Rule.
But, try convincing a true believer or a weak thinker of that!