A Century of a Million Deaths Per Year

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

I'm a bit late to this party, but let me recommend one last look at Communism on its centenary, this one by Robert Tracinski of The Federalist. Here are the closing paragraphs:

A few victims of a political ideology that has become fashionable in America. (Image via Wikipedia)
The only person who fully grasped these lessons was the Russian émigré Ayn Rand. She escaped the Soviet Union and set out to revive individualism and build a philosophy that redefined the meaning and moral status of individual self-interest. She would later explain: "Stalin did not corrupt a noble ideal ... . If service and self-sacrifice are a moral ideal, and if the 'selfishness' of human nature prevents men from leaping into sacrificial furnaces, there is no reason ... why a dictator should not push them in at the point of bayonets -- for their own good, or the good of humanity, or the good of posterity, or the good of the latest bureaucrat's latest five-year plan. There is no reason that they can name to oppose any atrocity. The value of a man's life? His right to exist? His right to pursue his own happiness? These are concepts that belong to individualism and capitalism."

If Communism represents the full implementation of a commonly accepted view of morality, we can understand the compulsion to make excuses for it, to claim it's never really been tried, to forget its disasters and atrocities, to allow only a gauzy airbrushed version of its history, and to desperately wish that if we just tried it one more time and really did it right, we would finally reach the promised paradise.

We've done that for a full century, and even longer. After all, Communism was tried on a small scale, in voluntary utopian communities, for more than a century before it failed upward and took over entire countries. It's time to start grasping the moral lessons before we're forced to live once more through the nightmare of chasing the Communist dream. [bold added]
Read the whole thing, particularly if you or someone you know is fond of saying that Communism "doesn't work."

-- CAV

P.S. One more. I'll pass along word of a lecture I plan to listen to, "Socialism's Legacy," by Alan Kors, which was delivered at the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism. It's an hour and a half, but I am confident based on the source of the recommendation that it will be worthwhile. Kors, by the way, wrote the following, as quoted by Glenn Reynolds:
No cause, ever, in the history of all mankind, has produced more cold-blooded tyrants, more slaughtered innocents, and more orphans than socialism with power. It surpassed, exponentially, all other systems of production in turning out the dead. The bodies are all around us. And here is the problem: No one talks about them. No one honors them. No one does penance for them. No one has committed suicide for having been an apologist for those who did this to them. No one pays for them. No one is hunted down to account for them. It is exactly what Solzhenitsyn foresaw in The Gulag Archipelago: "No, no one would have to answer. No one would be looked into." [italics in original, bold added]
None of this will occur until knowledge of a proper ethical alternative to altruism becomes better known and respected.

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