Ebeling on the Human Cost of Socialism

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Richard Ebeling, whom I was lucky enough to have as an economics professor eons ago, has some food for thought (HT: HBL) for anyone insufficiently alarmed by all the "voices ... raised today calling for socialism in America." Taken as a whole, it reminds me of the following passage by Ayn Rand:

When, at the age of twelve, at the time of the Russian revolution, I first heard the Communist principle that Man must exist for the sake of the State, I perceived that this was the essential issue, that this principle was evil, and that it could lead to nothing but evil, regardless of any methods, details, decrees, policies, promises and pious platitudes. This was the reason for my opposition to Communism then -- and it is my reason now. I am still a little astonished, at times, that too many adult Americans do not understand the nature of the fight against Communism as clearly as I understood it at the age of twelve: they continue to believe that only Communist methods are evil, while Communist ideals are noble. All the victories of Communism since the year 1917 are due to that particular belief among the men who are still free.
I include in my astonishment a few of the immigrants I have encountered from that part of the world. Those uniformly evade or otherwise fail to see the connection between the morality of self-sacrifice and such brutality. But Ebeling's piece makes such a connection all but impossible to miss -- by quoting from a publication of the forerunner to the KGB:
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.
And flow it did, in addition to abject terror for the living. Here, Ebeling quotes from the diary of a young professor in the 1920's:
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. Sometimes a neighborhood is surrounded and everyone caught out of his house without a certificate is arrested ... Life these days depends entirely on luck. [minor edits]
There is much, much more, including numbers of deaths, although those might be life's lottery winners under such an evil system.

This is a long article, but definitely worth reading and filing away for future reference.

-- CAV

P.S. My latest column, "With Gold King Mine Spill, U.S. Right Mimics the Left," now appears at RealClear Markets.

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