Thursday, June 24, 2010
Andrea Ostrov Letania: How Socialism Destroyed Communism & May Well Destroy Capitalism.
A general assumption prevails that communism failed for its extremism, and that capitalism may fail for the same reason. There is no doubt some truth to this. Communism is an extreme form of socialism and suppressed and stifled freedom and initiative. And the kind of hyper-globalized–over-extended–capitalism where the finance industry has grown ever more powerful is also causing havoc all over the world.
Of course, communism is a god awful ideology, and here can be no good communism in the way that there can be good capitalism. For one thing, capitalism thrives within and provides us with freedom. Capitalism or the rise of the bourgeoisie loosened old ties wherein most people were peasants toiling for their lords. Though working conditions for most people during early capitalism were inhuman by today’s standards, there was a new unprecedented vertical and horizontal mobility of populations. People moved into cities or other towns, even other countries. Many were uprooted but they also found a new kind of freedom. The children of workers moved up to middle class status, and their children could move up higher–while others went into business themselves. Capitalism unleashed innovations and advancements in all fields like no other system before. There had been periods of great innovation long before the rise of capitalism, but they failed to generate the kind of profound and continuous changes that capitalism brought about because, in the pre-capitalist order, the system of trade in material goods and investment in future growth had been curtailed by old prejudices.
Though trading was oldest profession–older than prostitution, though smartasses will say, ‘what’s the difference?’–, traders traditionally weren’t allowed elite status. Elite status was reserved for the warrior caste(the nobility), priestly caste(the church), or god-like kings or demagogues and their henchmen(allied with the military and priestly castes). Traders, middlemen, or businessmen were seen as having no scruple or principle–as did the warrior caste–, without spirituality–as the priestly class–, and without wisdom or powerful vision(or medicine)–as the kings or great leaders who sometimes even posed as ‘philosopher kings’. This prejudice against tradesmen existed in all societies–and even does today. In India, the merchant class was well below in stature to the Brahmins and the warrior castes. In China, Confucian system regarded the merchants as leeches, the lowest of the lowest, but surprisingly enough, merchants rated higher than military men. Confucius despised merchants as a people who produced nothing while profiting from selling goods produced by others. He despised the military even more as people who resorted to violence to gain power and influence or settle disputes. His ideal was a society ruled by a persuasive wise king with well-educated advisers of cultivation and refinement. They would ideally rule by example as well as by teaching. It was a Chinese version of the ideal of philosopher kings.
Trade was very important in the Ancient Civilizations of the Near East, North Africa, and Southern Europe. Indeed, the richest and most powerful empires tended to be ones that traded most. Even so, traders got less respect than other groups, and for reasons that were obvious and applicable even today. There is something holy about the priestly class. There is something about higher truth with the intellectual or philosophical elites. There is something romantic about artists, and there is something heroic about military men. Traders, on the other hand, are in it for wealth, and that means they are more fluid and compromised than any other group. Businessmen generally settle economic disputes through haggling about prices, not by invoking God or gods or ‘heroically’ going to war. Also, those who seek profits don’t really care whom they buy from and sell to. Hollywood liberals distribute their movies to conservatives, and a pizza joint owned by a white conservative is not averse to making money from non-whites, liberals, and gays. One can laud this as the great thing about business–that it brings people together and makes them cooperate(in the name of self-interest) in ways other systems do not.
Indeed, it is the paradox of business/trading that it is obsessively about self-interest yet it brings together the greatest number of people under the same roof. Capitalism, more than communism or Christianity, has played a key role in bringing peoples together. Communist Russia and communist China became bitter enemies, but the increase in business between current Russia and China has led to friendlier relations. During the Cold War, both India and China were in the anti-imperialist camp yet were also arch-enemies. Since they have turned to capitalism, both nations have been more willing to cooperate and do business. This is the magic power of capitalism. It is a way of uniting different individuals and peoples through self-interest. One would think self-interest would keep people apart, and this may well be true in most cases. A person or nation may seek to shut out everyone or every other nation for his or its self-preservation–like Japan during the Tokugawa period or North Korea today. But capitalism is a system whereby you can buy to and/or sell from others for your own self-interest. It’s a system of give-and-take. You sell what others want from you AND you buy what you need from others. If your nation has lots of coal but no iron, you sell the coal to a nation without coal and buy iron from a nation with lots of it. If you’re doctor with medical knowledge, you sell your services to someone who needs medical attention. The doctor himself buys legal services from a lawyer, food from a grocer, and car from auto dealer.
Why was capitalism different from previous methods of trading? One was the change in the social outlook, and this change would catapult the West far beyond other nations–until others learned the art of capitalism too. Capitalism removed the negative connotations associated with trading and business. In pre- or non-capitalist social systems, some people grew rich through trading but felt shame about their profession or means of wealth/privilege. Thus, upon earning a certain amount of wealth, they didn’t invest in future growth but put on aristocratic airs, went into politics, built huge mansions, patronized the arts, donated to the church, and read some books(and pretended to be wise). Same pattern happened in China. Though businessmen had always been crucial to the economy of China, once they reached a certain level of wealth they bought land, collected taxes from the peasants, put on scholarly airs, and sought social respect; and they steered their children toward learning to take exams to be respected scholars or bureaucrats.
If Japan had a more developed merchant class and dynamic economy around the time the Western imperialists arrived, it was because Japan’s social ordering had been somewhat different than that of China or Korea. Though heavily influenced by Confucianism, the most prestigious caste in Japan were the samurai, the military, the group most despised by Confucius. The samurai nobility were landowners and looked upon peasants–over 90% of the population–with contempt. In China, the peasants, though mostly poor, were second only to the scholarly class in terms of social respect. Confucius regarded them as honest and productive salt of the earth–an idea echoed later by Thomas Jefferson in his paean to ‘yeoman farmers’. In Japan, since the samurai relied heavily on the merchant class to act as a conduit between themselves and the peasants, merchants came to enjoy a status much higher than in other Asian countries, and this may explain why, even prior to the Western influence on East Asia, Japan had a more advanced economy than China and Korea. Among all the Asian nations, Japan had moved furthest toward the proto-capitalist development, and some historians think this was one of the reasons why Japan had been more adept than other Asian nations in adopting Western economic ideas and means.
The rise of capitalism gradually removed the social stigma from the business class, and nowhere was this more truer than in Northern Europe. But there was another paradox that led to the flourishing of capitalism in this part of Europe. We generally associate capitalism with super luxury, ostentatiousness, excess, and crass narcissism, yet capitalism developed in the part of Europe that happened to be more restrained, steadfast, thrifty, spartan, and reserved than other parts of Europe. In Catholic parts of Europe, the rich really loved to show off their richness. The clothes they wore, the houses they built, the jewelry they adorned, and so on were very loud and colorful. Much the same was true of Catholic Poles and Orthodox Russians. Protestant-ized Northern Europe was different. After all, Martin Luther had rebelled against the corruption not only of the Catholic Church but of Catholic Society, where stairway to heaven was bought by people who wealth and jewelry. In the Catholic world, wealth got associated with piggery despite–or precisely because of–the great money donated to the Church by the rich. The Catholic church used the wealth to build bigger cathedrals, design more colorful garbs for its elite priestly class, and so on. Riches were very much on display in Catholicism, which made the Church all the more magnificent and ridiculous. Magnificent since the Church hired some of the best artists to build artistic treasures. Ridiculous since Christianity was about purity of spirit, not puerile obsession with what glitters in THIS world.
Protestantism, on the other hand, restored the spiritual aspect of Christianity and, as a result, shaped Northern Europe into a more sober and solemn place. Of course, the Protestant rich also had nice houses, fine clothes, expensive jewelry, and hired best artists they could find, but it would have been considered excessive, gauche, and even immoral(and sinful) if Protestants went to the excesses that the Catholic rich folks did inside and outside the Church. Since Protestant businessmen didn’t excessively spend their wealth to show off how rich, powerful, and glorious they were, they were more likely to invest in future growth and expansion, which made them even richer. But since they couldn’t use their greater riches to show off their wealth, they invested their greater profits into yet bigger ventures. Thus, capitalism grew in the North. (Same difference existed in the 19th century between Protestant rich in United States and Catholic Rich in Latin America. The Catholic Latin American Rich built the bigger houses, but the Protestant North American Rich built the bigger economy.
Furthermore, since Protestant Europeans were more sober and solemn about spiritual matters–preferring morals over rituals–, there was the idea of using wealth for social good, and thus, greater wealth got associated with greater good.
There was the idea of doing social good in the Catholic world too, but it largely amounted to giving charity to the poor. It was good work to be sure, but unlikely to do much for the economy since giving poor people fish isn’t as productive as teaching them how to fish. In Protestant Europe, on the other hand, the rich business class didn’t simply invest in business expansion but in projects for higher education, medical science and research, social reform, and etc. This tradition still operates today–again, mostly in the white protestant world. In America, the captains of industry such as Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller donated huge sums for the public good. Ford Foundation has served a similar mission. Warren Buffett and Bill Gates likewise believe in using their wealth for social good. Indeed, Buffett had led a rather modest lifestyle considering he’s been one of the richest man in the world. Of course, what passes for ‘social good’ today isn’t what such meant100 or even 50 yrs ago. The radical, venal, and hideous Left has completely taken control over capitalist-funded institutions and foundations, and it’s not much of a stretch to say today’s capitalists are donating to the death of the West. Even so, this desire to do ‘social good’ has its roots in Protestant capitalism. It was Protestant austerity which suppressed the desire of the rich to show off and blow off their wealth.
As a result, excess wealth was reinvested for innovation or expansion than buying fancy clothes, diamond studded jewelry, and huge mansions. Also, the moral component of Protestantism justified the accumulation of wealth since a good portion was used for constructive social reform of society. Even today, rich Germans live in modest houses, own and drive normal cars, pay their taxes, and don’t put on I’m-the-richest-mofo-in-the-world airs. Compare them to Silvio Berlusconi, the brash corrupt pig of Italy or with Russian tycoons who act like Tony Montanas(of the SCARFACE remake). And we all know Greeks and Italians don’t wanna pay their taxes though they demand everything from Big Government. If United States had been founded by the vain and narcissistic Catholic or Orthodox elites than by sober and serious Protestant elites, it would have been a very different nation. Indeed, a study of the Latin American Catholic elites tell us pretty much what we need to know. Argentina has been ruled mostly by Spanish and Italian peoples, and it’s a society where looks matter more than talent, where style counts more than substance.
The loss of Protestant sobriety and simplicity among the masses in America was in some ways regrettable, in other ways, beneficial. At any rate, it was predictable. As America grew richer and as new pleasures gushed forth for the consumerist masses, the ethic of sobriety became less fashionable. With the rise of the Negro and his funky ass music, whites too began to shake their booties in ape-like ways and began to gyrate to Jazz and blues. With Italian-American food and folklore, Americans were wooed by Old World Catholic flavors and tribalism over idealism. With the rise of youth culture, there arose the anti-ideal of the rebel without a cause. Previously, rebellion or resistance had been justified in America on MORAL grounds, such as rebellion against British tyranny or rebellion against the unjust system of slavery. But youth angst that rose in the 1950s was simply about vanity, narcissism, self-pity, and self-aggrandizement.
With the arrival and ascendancy of the radical, subversive, and/or zany Jews, Anglo-American culture and traditions seemed boring, bland, and conservative(in a potatohead-ish way) by contrast. Also, Jewish Hollywood seduced and tempted the entire nation with its glittering and glamorous stars.
To be sure, there was a morally sober element in Jewish leftism, especially in communism. However, in its radicalism and aggressiveness, it was markedly different from American Protestant sobriety. There was an element in Protestantism that was self-reflective and self-critical as well as critical of society itself. Thus, Protestant reformers didn’t see themselves as all-knowing agents of social change with all the answers. They were serious people who incrementally sought to reform society. Sometimes, their means were misguided to say the least–such as Prohibition–, but the fact is they were not radicals. Jewish radicals, on the other hand, were filled with aggressive energy and ruthless pride and confidence in their cause. They didn’t simply want to improve society by extending power to other peoples but by grabbing all the power for themselves in the name of THE PEOPLE and SOCIAL JUSTICE–whatever that meant.
Well, enough about capitalism and its origins. The point is, while all of us know of the excesses of capitalism and its problems, there is no denying the crucial role it played in the rise of the West and advancement of mankind. The Ancient Greeks had tons of great ideas as did the Romans, but they failed to realize their full potential because they didn’t have capitalism. They had advanced mathematics, philosophy, theories of democracy and republic, the will to build empires, and so on. But they didn’t have an economic system that relied mainly on free workers than on slaves or helots. They didn’t have a means whereby the business class would reinvest their wealth as capital into new projects and enterprises, thus allowing even greater innovation. Indeed, one can say the same thing of the Soviet Union. The USSR had its share of great scientists, mathematicians, and highly intelligent people–many of them Jewish. But there wasn’t much these individuals could do with their ideas in material terms. They could not go into business with their ideas like their counterparts could in Japan or the US. Communism faded in Russia in the early 90s, but Russia still lags behind in economic development because of its corruption, absence of rule of law, and its lack of work ethic and sobriety, which still exist among many Germans and WASP Americans. Russians work best at guzzling vodka, dancing on tables, and wrestling with bears. Putin puts on all those magnificent military parades but most times of the year, rich Russians only care about showing off their wealth–and don’t care how they earn it–and most non-rich Russians only care for vodka.
The real point of this piece is to examine how SOCIALISM came to endanger communism and then capitalism. Of course, we first need to define what we mean by ‘socialism’. For some socialism and communism mean the same thing. For some, socialism means social-democracy. Social-democracy can mean public ownership of natural resources and major industries–postwar Britain under Labor government–OR it can mean mostly privately owned companies taxed heavily by the state–Sweden. Socialism can also be defined as the initial stage from away from capitalism toward communism. There has been utopian socialism, ‘scientific’ socialism–aka Marxism–, anarcho-syndicalism–a form of de-centralized socialism–, national socialism, fascist socialism, and welfare socialism. Europeans consider America as too freewheeling cutthroat capitalist, but many Americans would complain America is too socialist–at least since the New Deal or Great Society. For hardline libertarians, even public education and libraries constitutes forms of socialism. With so many meanings for ‘socialism’, we easily misunderstand one another in discussions and debates.
So, let me define socialism in the easiest way possible FOR OUR PURPOSES. What I offer is not THE definition of ‘socialism’ but of how it is understood by most people. In today’s world, socialism essentially means expanded bureaucratic or institutional positions/powers for the educated elite class, and it means expanded ‘rights’ and ‘entitlements’ for the masses. The modern socialist ideal says society cannot be left exposed to the greed, avarice, stupidity, and prejudice of individuals; society must be controlled and guided by an enlightened, progressive, and politically correct elite and its army of indoctrinated social engineers, bureaucrats, and officials. We have the seen the rise of such all across EU, especially in UK, France, Germany, Greece, Spain, etc. There is no longer unfettered free speech since it may lead to ‘hate speech’ or ‘incorrect’ speech. Recently, Gordon Brown called an ordinary voter a ‘bigot’ since she wasn’t happy with UK’s immigration policies. (To be sure, the woman was careful to raise concerns only about Eastern European–white–immigrants since it would have been very politically incorrect to raise concerns about black or Muslim immigration. Even so, she got labeled a bigot by the elitist Brown, who obviously lives in luxury and doesn’t have to worry about crime and other social problems faced by ordinary Britons.)
There used to be forms of national or right-wing socialism–and such still exist on the fringes–, but 99% of what passes for socialism today(at least in the West) is leftist.
For most socialists, the idea of ‘national socialism’ or ‘national bolsheviks’ is a oxymoronic. Socialism goes beyond nations, race, blood and soil. It must be about all humanity, the equality of all peoples. Socialists believe it is wrong to say only THIS or OUR people have rights and entitlements while the rest of humanity doesn’t. Therefore, European socialists are for open borders since EU should welcome to ALL peoples without prejudice or ‘racism’. Some argue that socialism grew out of the Enlightenment and the cult of reason, and it just so happens that Reason and Universal Truth are not compatible with atavistic, irrational, and reactionary notions of nation, territorialism, blood and soil. And the elites and brainwashed masses are absolutely certain–or at least desperate to convince themselves–that RACE is a cultural myth and not a biological reality.
When the radical Right espoused the ridiculous notion of RACE being almost synonymous with SPECIES, the Left indeed had the scientific and rational advantage. In comparison to Nazi lunacies, even Franz Boas comes across as a rational person. But the Left soon went from arguing for fundamental similarities among races to denial of race altogether. In time, this became a cultural myth on the Left, and today it is the race realist or racist(meaning race + ist = a person who believes in races and racial differences)who stands on sounder scientific and rational ground.
Anyway, socialism among today’s Western elites simply means more elite control. Strangely enough, this has the blessing of many and perhaps the majority of top capitalists. There are many reason for this. Socialists need money to run their institutions and programs, and taxes and donations come mostly from the superrich. Also, many politically powerful and well-connected socialists came from rich families, attended top schools, and have mostly rich and powerful friends. These are not the freaking Khmer Rouge. Indeed, many rich and/or well-educated people turn to socialism because they want to do ‘clean’, ‘progressive’, and ‘noble’ work than ‘greedily’ wallow in the private sector. (Working for government also requires less intelligence and creativity than starting or running a business, and most children of the rich are not as smart or driven as their parents.) It’s more respectable to work in a nice clean office in the name of public good than run a chain of hotdog joints. Besides, working for government means you don’t have to worry about the budget. Government can always raise more taxes and if not that, borrow more or print more money. And the benefits are good too, and if you ever leave the private sector, your resume will get you picked up private firms. Just look at the kind of people who’ve gone back and forth between government, Ivy League institutions, law firms, financial firms, etc. Among the elites, socialism and capitalism come to the same thing: power and privilege. This is especially true among the Jews who represent both the top capitalists and socialists in America. Many Jews–New Democrats and Neocons–cross back and forth between both spheres.
Socialism also appeals to the rich and powerful because they hunger for respect and good reputation. Even in our heavily capitalistic world, there is still the notion–more so in the EU than in the US–that wealth equals greed, that big money is evil, that corporations are all crooked–notice that even corporate Hollywood makes anti-corporate movies–, that rich people are crass and spoiled, and etc. People wanna be rich, but riches alone don’t bring respect. If anything, it can make you the target of leftist activists. So, the superrich try to win love and favor by supporting modern socialism. Or they try to buy off the socialist opposition by donating huge sums to progressive causes. Remember when the liberals tried to skin Microsoft alive for its monopoly powers? Well, ever since Bill Gates remade himself as Mr. Do-goody, he’s been the darling of the Left and left alone. And notice Hollywood almost never gets audited for its ‘creative accounting’. And no one on the Left goes after Google–though it’s becoming even more monstrous than Microsoft–because it donates 99% of its money to the Left. So, there is the capitalist-socialist collusion.
Besides, rich people aren’t satisfied with money. They also crave power, and power means politics. To gain more political power, there needs TO BE more political power, which means there needs to be bigger government. Also, the global elites are well-aware of the fact that the NWO has led to economic disruptions in the First World, and as a result, many workers–especially the working and middle classes–have grown apprehensive and anxious. How to you pacify those people? Through bread-and-circuses offered by socialism. If people who’ve lost decent-wage jobs can be socialistically anesthetized into couchpotatoes addicted to TV shows and videogames–and free food and medicine–, maybe there won’t be any great social uprising against the NWO.
For the masses, modern socialism means more ‘rights’ and ‘entitlements’. This has an infantilizing effect on the masses since more people will think that goodies grow on trees and everyone should be ‘entitled’ to them.
If you want corn, you have to plant the seeds and harvest the corn. In other words, corn is the product of work. But, if corn becomes a ‘right’, it means you can sit on your ass and just demand corn because it is, well, a ‘right’. A right is something guaranteed to ALL regardless of what that person does. If you have a right to ‘money’, government must give you money even if you don’t work. You don’t have to work to earn money since it is a ‘right’. For examples, all citizens 18 and over have the right to vote. They don’t have to work to earn this right. It is a right whether one is rich or poor, employed or unemployed. When material goods are made into rights, society is telling people they are owed stuff because they are simply entitled to them. So, if housing, food, medicine, transportation, clothing, water, gas, electricity, and living expenses are rights, one need not work for them. One need merely be born and alive and demand his or her ‘rights’. One works to pay for one’s needs. One doesn’t work for ones’ rights. Rights are guaranteed by the state. If material needs are rights, it sends a message that the people should just sit on their asses and demand their rights.
(This is why the idea of healthcare as a right is DANGEROUS. It should be considered as a NEED that people should work and pay for–with minimal interference by the state. If some people cannot pay for healthcare, their BASIC needs can be met by the state if surpluses are available. Indeed, this is how we deal with food, housing, clothing, and etc. Those are even more crucial to life than medicine, but they are not handled as rights but as needs. As needs, people work and pay for them. In the process of working to produce and consume goods and services, wealth is created and even surplus wealth to take care of those who’ve fallen through the cracks. But, if needs are all said to be ‘rights’, one need not work for them but just demand them as ‘rights’ or ‘human rights’.
The first lesson learned by increasing numbers of immigrants–both legal and illegal–in the US and EU is ‘I have my rights. Gimme free housing, free clothing, free food, free medicine, free everything because the are my rights’. Of course, there are ever increasing numbers of native born leeches who feel the same way. This kind of idiot mentality is bound to hasten the erosion of work ethic, social discipline, and personal responsibility of a nation. It is also terribly demoralizing. If you work your butt off to pay your own way and pay taxes, how does it feel to look at growing number of bums who are leeching off society by invoking their ‘rights’? Socialism isn’t only destructive to the takers but to the workers and earners. Eventually, more and more workers/earners either drop out and demand their ‘rights’ OR they look for ways to avoid paying taxes. Why should they bust their butts to pay for the wages and benefits of fatassed government bureaucrats and the ‘rights’ of lazy leeches and bums?
The social climate grows even more poisonous and acrimonious when much of capitalism becomes demented and venal–like finance capitalism of Wall Street and globalist capitalism that seek to tear down all national and cultural borders at breakneck pace. (Radicalism, as opposed to gradualism, is always dangerous whether it is socialist or capitalist). When this happens, every side has its readymade excuse to defend its empire of self-interest. Capitalists will say they don’t wanna pay taxes to pay for corrupt big government and lazy welfare bums. Socialist elites and masses of bums will say they refuse to budge an inch since economic problems are the product of evil capitalist crooks. (Though most business people in America are good solid people, scumbags on Wall Street and other crony capitalists–like Enron among others–have given the Left ammo to trash all of capitalism.)
Anyway, how did socialism destroy communism? The favorite narrative among American conservatives is that Western capitalism defeated communism. There is some truth to this. Directly and indirectly, capitalism did indeed triumph over communism. It was obvious to everyone in the postwar era that Western Europe–capitalist or at least half-capitalist–outperformed the Eastern Bloc in economic wealth, social freedoms, and political liberties. Indeed, Western Europeans never had it so good as during the 1950s and 1960s. From the rubble of WWII, their economies expanded into the richest the world had ever known. The combined GDP of revived Western Europe was larger than that of the US.
The US and USSR comparison also made it clear which side was the winner. Many people in the USSR hoped to move to the West. Only a few morons in the US wanted to move to the USSR. US was far freer, richer, more innovative, bountiful, interesting, exciting, and etc than drab and grey USSR where ordinary people had to stand in line for hrs to buy bread and toilet tissue. Things were so shitty in the USSR that Russians were amazed by shops in Poland!! People fled from East Germany to West Germany, not the other way around. East Germany was supposedly the top ranked economy in the Eastern Bloc, but one had to wait several yrs to buy a car made mostly of plastic. My friend once showed me a photo by a East German camera, and it was the crappiest quality image I’d ever done seen. I once felt a commie Polish toilet tissue, and it felt like sandpaper. Another region where capitalism clearly beat communism was East Asia. Communism brought forth Mao’s madness, North Korean nightmare, Khmer Rouge psychosis, and Vietnamese Boat People, and the mass murders in Mongolia. For all the right-wing military rule and abuses in non-communist East Asia, the casualties came to tens of thousands than tens of millions. Japan did as spectacularly as Western Europe in the postwar era. South Korea developed an economy 40x larger than that of North Korea. Maoism brought nothing but famine and oppression to the Chinese, who only began make great progress through capitalism. In Latin America, the greatest success story was Chile soon after Augusto Pinochet toppled that scum Castro-ite Marxist Salvador Allende and instituted free market reforms. Even socialist policies that followed later under leftist governments in Chile could be paid for by the rising economy of Chile thanks to encouragement of free enterprise. So, communism lost its luster, and today, only intellectual midgets and morons still go by the label of ‘communist’. Today’s leftists prefer the title of ‘progressive’, ‘neo-Marxist’, ‘intellectual Marxist’, ‘multi-culturalist’, ‘anti-racist’, ‘feminist’, ‘gay rights activist’, or ‘environmentalist’. Having failed in their macro-venture to change and ‘save’ the world, leftists have now gone for micro-taking-over and mico-managing of every aspect of our lives. So, environmentalists would tell us what kind of toilet bowls we can use, what kinds of coffee we can drink, and how much water we should use when showering. And anti-racists would tell us what is and isn’t ‘thought crime’ and drag us to sensitivity training sessions to weed out the evil ‘racist’ within us. With the influence of Bill Ayers and Elena Kagan, public education is less about teaching basic skills and knowledge than indoctrinating students to worship a certain ideology or historical/political/cultural figure–such as MLK, Harvey Milk, Oprah, or Obama, Mmm Mmm Mmm.
Anyway, even though there is much truth to capitalism defeating communism, it isn’t enough to explain the TRUE WHY as to why communism fell as it did, at least in Eastern Europe. It could just as well be argued that SOCIALISM destroyed communism. By socialism, I don’t mean the kind Karl Marx meant–the transitory middle phase from capitalism to communism–but the kind of welfare socialism that developed in the West.
How did this kind of socialism come to infect the communist world, and why was communism unable to cope with it in the long run?
Before we answer that, we must first consider the history of communism in Eastern Europe, especially in the USSR. Soviet communism was essentially Stalinist, and there is no doubt that Stalin was the greatest of all communists. He may have been the most evil communist, but he was the greatest because he understood the ‘evil’ nature of communism. Had it not been for Stalin, Soviet communism probably wouldn’t have amounted to much. Though there were plenty of ruthless and murderous communists in the Soviet Union, only Stalin understood that communism was indeed a slave system and can only succeed as such. Does this mean Stalin was a pure cynic who only used communism for self-aggrandizement and national power? No, it’s very possible that Stalin sincerely believed in Marxism, but he well understood that masses of uneducated or undereducated Russians and others in the Soviet empire would never become good theoretical communists–people who were loyal to communism by ideals alone. Most of the early Soviet elites–especially the Jews–had spent their time among fellow intellectuals and understood people as social constructs and theoretical models. Stalin, having rubbed shoulders with the people of the Lower Depths–as did Hitler with real stinking humanity in the war trenches and men’s hostels–, believed that this rough, dumb, unruly mob had to be whipped like cattle. Only RUTHLESS FORCE and the CULT OF FEAR could make communism work.
On one level, communism had a simple mass appeal in its call for the overthrow of the Old Order. Even illiterate peasants understood the slogan ‘Land, Bread, Peace’, especially after yrs of war and famine. But most peasants understood the slogan in a ‘proto-capitalist’ way. They understood it to mean “I’m gonna have a piece of land to call MY OWN, I will grow wheat on MY land, and with the wheat I’ll bake bread and sell the surplus to make a profit in a land ruled by peace and law.” Russian masses flocked to the Bolsheviks out of self-interest. They thought they would left alone to own their own land, work it, and make a profit. But once communists took power, they sought to create a new kind of people who thought beyond private property and self-interest. The problem was all that Marxist stuff about NEW MAN working together in collectives and sharing and moving toward socialism and then communism(after which the state would dissolve and there would everlasting ‘social justice’)either went over the heads of the masses or sounded like the sort of sophisticated idiocy that only educated fools could believe. Sometimes, simple minds instinctively see through bullshit faster than educated minds. (The less educated in America are likely to be more candid and truthful about race and race relations than educated fools who spout the most convoluted nonsense.)
Stalin hated the peasants but understood them better. He understood they could only be forced into communism. Also, since there wasn’t much in the way of material incentives in communism, he knew the state would have to rule with the whip and instill bone-chilling fear in the masses. He also knew that this approach would yield results since over a 100 million people being forced to work is bound to produce something. And indeed huge industrial complexes and mega-cities were created. Though many peasants were torn from their roots and shipped off to work in cities under horrifying conditions, for many young people it was all very exciting and thrilling, especially since their young impressionable minds had been molded by nothing but communist propaganda and Stalin’s cult of personality. The brutal and ruthless use of force led to millions of deaths but also built great cities and giant industries, which filled the Soviet peoples with great pride and confidence. Within a single generation, Stalin had indeed transformed the entire country–even to the point where it could deflect and even defeat the mighty Nazi war machine.
Experts often say Soviet communism crumbled in the late 80s because economic crises, but this is only half the story. After all, the Soviet Union was in far worse economic straits in the 1930s when possibly 7 to 10 million starved to death across the USSR due to Stalin’s forced collectivization. Though the USSR won WWII, the much of the nation was a wasteland following the war. There’s no way anyone can say USSR was worse off in the 80s than it was in the 40s, 50s, or even the 60s–when things started to get better..
No, what really changed by the 1980s was the change of will(or loss of will) among the leadership and the rise of SOCIALIST expectations on the part of the masses. Think back to the days of Stalin. Though Soviet communism guaranteed food, housing, medicine, and etc for everyone, the fact is most people didn’t get diddly squat, especially if they were toiling in the gulag. And no one thought to complain and ask, “Can I have a little more?” since his ass would have been grass in no time. So, under fearsome communism, Soviet peoples were producing more than they were consuming. They were given the bare necessities for life and then driven to work, work, and work. They were human cattle. Many worked out of fear, many worked out of idealism, many worked out of combination of both. Apathetic cynicism had yet to infect the nation since communism was still young(and idealistic) and almost no outside influence entered the USSR. During the Stalinist-communist era, Soviet Union was an inhuman giant factory powered by human cattle under the whip of iron chains and wave of the red flag. Even if Soviet products were, by and large, shoddy or defective–or economically irrational–, USSR was indeed a nation of workers producing lots of stuff. Under communism, things such as housing, food, clothing, medicine, and other necessities were material rights BUT they existed ONLY FOR workers. Those weren’t human rights but workers’ rights.
In contrast, under modern socialism, you need only to be born and breathe to demand your rights. You don’t have to work. You can be a jiveass Negro shaking your ass all day and playing videogames all night, but you can demand your rights to free everything. Such kind of rights didn’t exist under Soviet communism. Rights were ONLY for workers, and the state made sure you were given some kind of work. If you didn’t work, there were no rights to be had. Since communist economy was run wastefully and ridiculously, unemployment wasn’t a problem. It generally took 20 Russians to finish a job that required 5 Germans or Americans. This wasn’t necessarily because Russians were lazy–they couldn’t afford to be under ruthless Stalinist communism–, but because centrally commanded economies tend to lack balance of supply-and-demand mechanisms.
Well, what happened to the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin? It went from Soviet communism to Soviet socialism, and that’s what eventually led to the fall of the Soviet Union. Initially, it didn’t appear that way, and many people welcomed the changes as positive and productive. They thought Soviet communism had matured and liberalized toward allowing greater freedoms and offering more consumer goods. Others thought Stalinism had been a cruel perversion of communism, and a humane and truer version of communism was taking its place. The anti-communist West looked upon the changes with hope and trepidation. With hope in the sense that a more liberal form of communism would be less aggressive. With trepidation in the sense that a reformed communism might be even more formidable–not only able to produce guns but also butter–and more appealing as a model to the Third World. And indeed for a time, especially in the 60s and 70s–with the flood of petro-dollars from the West–, it seemed as if the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc were on the economic upswing. And given that WWII had been far more devastating to most of Eastern Europe than to Western Europe in terms of lives lost and destroyed infrastructure, one could not neglect the fact that communism did accomplish the basic task of reconstruction and providing most people with their basic needs–plus something extra. The standards of living in the communist world was far below that of the West, but most people were decently off compared to Third World standards.
Also, a more humane form of communism and a more liberalized attitude served to depressurize certain social tensions. The privileged and loyal members of communist nations were allowed to travel to other countries. Young people were allowed greater access to Western films, music, and fashions. In some ways, a taste of freedom caused problems too, especially in the Eastern Bloc countries. The newly privilege elites of communist nations felt an acute inferiority complex vis-a-vis their Western peers and wanted to win the respect, but his required reforming or Westernizing their nations.. Just as John McCain the ‘reform conservative’ sought to win plaudits with the liberal power elite by ingratiating himself with the New York Times crowd(and just as Christopher Buckley voted for Obama to be invited to cocktail parties by the NPR crowd), new generations of communists who’d studied in or about the West wanted to be like the West and to be liked by the West. In this sense, Gorbachev was like John McCain of communism, which is why so many Russians came to despise him. When Gorbachev began to reform communism, he was the darling of the Western elites and media. He seemed to care less about the preserving the power and glory of the Soviet Union than about courting good press and approval from the rich Western elites.
East Germans wanted to be like West Germans than live under the iron heel of what was essentially Soviet occupation. Poles felt likewise, and besides, they’d always regarded themselves as closer to Western Europe than to Eastern Europe. Hungary rebelled in 1956 as a direct consequence of Nikita Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization policy, and easing of communist control led to Prague Spring in 1968, only to be crushed by Soviet tanks.
The Soviets wanted to have the cake and eat it too. They wanted a more humane and freer communism, but the problem was greater freedom and human rights always seem to lead to fatal weakening of the whole communist project. Prague Spring, after all, hadn’t started out as an anti-communist movement but as a reform communist movement. But once reforms allowed greater freedom, more and more people wanted to be rid of communist rule itself. Though Soviets crushed this movement, they too were infected with a similar spirit with Mikhail Gorbachev’s Glasnost. Again, it followed the same logic. Once freedom was allowed into the USSR, the whole communist apparatus began to weaken and crumble.
These events suggest that the main reason for the fall of communism was political or even cultural, but we need to consider another factor–the economic. (Of course, we must keep in mind that the political, economic, and cultural forces are interlinked.)
The fact is that by the 1980s, communist nations were in really bad economic shape. They were, for the most part, more liberalized and humane than they had been in the 1950s, but there was a feeling of apathy, cynicism, and disaffection unknown in previous generations. This was rather odd since previous generations underwent far worse problems and crises.
The difference was that by 1980s, the communist bloc had essentially become the socialist bloc. It was no longer the world of workers but world of shirkers. Under harsh and oppressive communism, people had been forced to work. Maybe they didn’t work as competently or efficiently as workers in the capitalist world, but they did work indeed. Certain goals–such as the Five Year Plans–had to be met, and besides, you could get severely punished by shirking one’s duty or by complaining too much. Anyone condemned of ‘sabotage’ under Stalinist communism would be in big trouble.
Especially following WWII, the need to work was obvious, if only to clear away the rubble and build new housing, schools, and factories because so much had been destroyed by the war. But once the basic rebuilding was accomplished, people came to breathe more easily. Also, the elites didn’t want to control the populace with the iron whip forever. The elites wanted to win the genuine heartfelt support of the people; they wanted to be humane communists. Though Soviet occupation continued in Eastern Bloc nations until the fall of the Soviet empire, Soviets wanted to rule with the carrot as with the stick. Soviets wanted to be respected and admired than merely feared. Even Stalin had been uneasy about being too hardline in the Eastern Bloc nations. If communists pushed too hard, there would be obedience but also simmering hatred and resentment. So, there was a general transition from communism to socialism as yrs passed.
If this ‘socialism’ had meant greater privatization and free market reforms, it would have been good, and there was some of that, especially in Hungary and Poland. (Romania and Yugoslavia were anomalies as communist nations seeking neutrality and playing both sides in the Cold War.) But in effect, transition form communism to socialism proved to be highly costly. For one thing, most Eastern Europeans didn’t have much in the way of work ethic. Not only did communism play an important role in snuffing initiative, risk-taking, and enterprise–even ordinarily hardworking Germans in East Germany were made relatively lazy, dependent, and dull in comparison to their Western brethren thanks to half a century of communism/socialism–, there had never been anything like a Northern European Protestant work ethic among the majority of Eastern Europeans. Even in the 18th and 19th century, Germans used ‘Polish’ as being synonymous with ‘lazy and inept’.
When communism turned toward socialism in the Eastern Bloc, it didn’t allow sufficient freedom for the enterprising members of society to economically remake and rebuild society, but it did allow just enough freedom for workers to become shirkers. Without the bullwhip of communism, one hour lunches soon became two hour or three hour lunches. With kinder and more humane supervision, workers produced even less than before, and most of them couldn’t be fired and replaced since nearly everyone was a lazy bum. And since there wasn’t much of a material incentive–as under capitalism–to work hard to get ahead of others, why bother to take risks or work harder than the next lazy shirker bum? So, once communism became more humane, it produced less and less. If people living under capitalism have a material incentives to work–to make more money and to pay for their needs and desires not provided by the state–, people living under communism could only be forced to work hard since there was little material incentive for working hard. Once the bullwhip was removed, there was no need to work hard at all. Besides, the basic needs were all provided by the state as ‘human rights’. All you needed to do was show up to work, putz around, drink vodka, dance, have 3 hr lunches, and look over one’s shoulder to see if the supervisor was coming, but then the supervisor was most likely snoozing off in his office.
So, what happened in the long run as communism turned into socialism? It meant workers doing less work but demanding more ‘necessities’ of life–as ‘rights’ of course. Especially since communist governments promised the people butter as well as guns in the 1960s–in order to prove that communism could be just as fun and plentiful as capitalism–, ‘necessities’ came to mean more than bread, roof over one’s head, and a pair of pants. People wanted to afford consumer goods as well–cameras, phonographs, records, TVs, fashionable clothing, etc. Though the average person living in a communist country got much less than the average person living in a capitalist country, he still got enough to lead a decent enough life. Problem was that since most workers became shirkers, communist nations weren’t producing enough to provide their people with the goodies in life. So, what did communist nations do in the 70s and 80s to pay for their socialism? They did what Greece did for a long time before it finally went bust. They borrowed from the West.
There is a misconception in the West that most people in communist nations rebelled and rose up to replace communism with capitalism. Not true. Though there were many pro-capitalist liberalizers in the communist world, MOST people rebelled because the communist regimes could no longer afford to provide people with socialist goodies. The Polish Solidarity movement was not pro-capitalist–though Lech Walesa later jumped on the free market reform bandwagon. Most Polish workers were demanding higher pay, more benefits, and more socialist goodies. Under Stalinist communism, such troublemakers would have been rounded up and shot or sent to gulag to work and produce things. Under the ‘humane’ socialized form of communism, workers weren’t forced to do much of anything that could be called real work. Painters could spend two weeks to paint a single room. A factory floor could spend an entire month making shoddy goods which had to be scrapped because they were useless. Workers at a publishing company could show up to work and spent most hours chit-chatting. And even conscientious supervisors couldn’t really fire anyone since the government had to offer jobs to everyone. Yet, all these people were making a ‘living wage’ and provided with ‘rights’ and entitlements. Now, how can any nation sustain ‘living wages’ where most people produced little or nothing? And besides, the shoddy goods that were produced could not be sold to the West from which the money was borrowed to sustain the communist/socialist enterprise? Eventually, Western nations stopped lending to Eastern Bloc countries, and the whole facade of humane communism–or socialism–began to crumble.
West Germany, Sweden, and France could afford their socialism because they had productive wealth-producing capitalist sectors. Those nations produced some of best quality goods in the world, and a good share of their earnings came from exports. What did the Eastern Bloc make that the West wanted? The Yugo? East German cars or cameras? The Polish toilet tissue? The only people who might be impressed by Eastern European technology were the ever cruder Russians. Since Russia had plenty of natural resources while Eastern Bloc nations were technologically more advanced–at least in the consumer products industry–, they mostly traded with one another. The Eastern Bloc got the lumber, iron, and oil while the Soviets got East German cameras, Hungarian cosmetics, and maybe even Polish toilet tissues. The problem was this wasn’t enough to sustain the ‘socialist good life’ that the government had promised their peoples in the Eastern Bloc, if only to pacify the people and half-convince themselves that life in the East was nearly on par with life in the West.
Soviets needed extra cash to maintain its empire and revolutionary reputation around the world–and dole out tons of aid to Third World countries–, and this could only be afforded by Soviets selling petroleum and other raw materials to capitalist countries. The going was good until the price of oil plummeted, and even to this day, Russia depends largely on its sale of its vast natural resources. Eastern Bloc produced just enough goods–industrial and consumer–to sell to the Soviet Union in order to pay for Soviet raw materials like iron and oil, but that was simply not enough for Eastern Bloc nations to pay for what their peoples demanded–and kept demanding more. And with the relatively humane form of communism–socialism–firmly entrenched in the Eastern Bloc, there was little chance of going back to hardline Stalinist communism. There was a crackdown in Poland in the 1980s, but brutal as it was, it was nothing like ruthless communist repression of the past. Soon, Solidarity regrouped and gained more ground, and the Polish government could only hope to compromise by offering higher pay and more benefits... except there was no way to afford them except by taking on even more debts via loans from the West, which was growing ever more reluctant to lend to nations that had no hope of repaying their debts.
Some cynical observers might argue that the capitalist West intentionally made sweet loans to the communist world to eventually bring down the system, but this most unlikely. In the liberal West, there was a sense–even a hope–that both oppressive communism and cutthroat capitalism would meet in the middle area of humane socialism. The communist world would grow more capitalist, and the capitalist world grow more communist, and the result would be socialism for both, whereupon the West and East would come to see one another eye to eye. This didn’t happen. When communism began to ease its control, most people didn’t become capitalists willing to take risks and run businesses. They simply wanted to work less and be provided with more ‘rights’ and ‘entitlements’. Especially in the Soviet Union, which had been communist for nearly 70 yrs, the mentality of dependency on the state for all basic needs and services had become endemic. If 40 yrs of communism could so profoundly alter East Germans–who had once been known for work ethic and pride–into nanny-state bums, just imagine what 70 yrs of communism did to Russians who never had a work ethic or culture of diligence to begin with? Russians only worked hard and produced thing under the bullwhip of Stalinist communism. The effective fear and awe of this kind of communism survived to the early 60s, but it began to fade once the humane form of communism–or socialism–took its place. Everyone from Leonid Brezhnev to the factory worker was just slumming through the 70s, with the economy largely dependent on petro-dollars. As with Cuba and Venezuela today, the Soviet economy could only function by selling to rich nations or attracting capital–or tourists–from rich nations(all of which happened to be capitalist).
Well, there was no way the capitalist West was going to keep lending to the Eastern Bloc. And the West pretty much abandoned the hope that the reformed communist bloc could produce goods or services worthy of purchase in the West. The Eastern Bloc could never earn enough through exports or develop a self-sufficient economy to do real business with the West. With each passing year, the communist/socialist nations could only sustain their myth of the SHIRKER’S PARADISE by borrowing more and more from nations like Germany, UK, and France. So, one could argue that socialism, more than capitalism, destroyed communism. Notice that Chinese embarked on cutthroat capitalism, and it has saved Communist Party rule to this day. China may no longer be economically communist, but it is stilled controlled by the Leninist political apparatus that took power in 1949. Capitalism in China provided the people with incentives to produce, work, and trade, thus producing more than the people consumed. China earns than borrows its way to prosperity and power.
Of course, there are other reasons for the resilience of Asian communist rule. Asians care less about human rights. Oriental despotism will not stop at mowing down 1000s to maintain its iron grip. This is a problem not only of the Asian elites but of the Asian masses. The strongman is respected for his power. Even capitalist Chinese still revere Mao as a ‘great leader’. And if even European communist nations had long been influenced by Enlightenment principles of reason, freedom, liberty, and rights of man, such concepts appear foreign and suspicious to most mainland Chinese who never came under Western domination or influence–like the Japanese, Hong Kong folks, Taiwanese, and South Koreans. To be sure, communism was a Western invention with roots in the Enlightenment, but its inbuilt authoritarianism well serves authoritarians in power.
Now, let’s consider what is happening to the West thanks to the rise of socialism. The crisis-filled events in Greece–and potentially in Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland–suggest that Western Europe too may have overdrawn from the socialist account. A third of the Greeks workforce is in government. The state provides the people with what are considered ‘fundamental human rights’, which amount to lots of goodies and freebies. Since they are deemed to be ‘rights’, no one has to work to pay for them. He only needs to DEMAND them. Greece has a nice enough tourism industry, but that alone cannot pay for all the things that Greeks–in and out of government–demand.
So, just like Eastern Bloc nations, Greeks borrowed and borrowed. They also lied and cooked their books to borrow some more. It just so happens that the richest nation in Europe is Germany, a nation burdened with historical guilt, and thus Germans had been reluctant to say NO to other nations, especially if they’d been victimized by Germany during WWII. But things got so bad in Greece that the Germans were compelled to say NO...until a final bailout was worked out which is gonna cost the Germans dearly. But Greeks are fuming mad because, in order to renegotiate their debts and receive new loans, they must make sacrifices. And government workers must face cutback, work harder, and retire later. Oh, those poor poor Greeks, they are finally being made to do some real work!!! What cruelty!!
Until now, Greeks, as members of the EU, had expected rest of Europe to foot the bill for their good times. Greek students attend universities where they pay nothing, learn nothing(but to spout 19th century Marxist and anarchist slogans), and graduate to do nothing–unless they can land a sweet government job through nepotism, bribery, or connections. What a country, eh? Italy faces much the same problem because only the northern part has been hardworking and productive. Indeed, northern Italians are racially and even culturally close to Germanic types. But it just so happens that most of Italy comprises the lazier and messier middle and southern Italians whose favorite economic activity is crime and cheating. Given these circumstances, it’s no surprise that so many Italians and Greeks have become expert tax evaders. I mean who wants to work to pay taxes to support government leeches and welfare socialist leeches? Who wants to pay for college students who learn nothing of any value but Marxist slogans and the desire to work in the public sector, which in most cases amounts to hanging around government office, drinking tea, and chitchatting all day?
To the extent that there is still some degree of cultural solidarity and the shared work ethic among Germanic peoples–Germany, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, etc–, their public sector workers are more likely to be conscientious and efficient(sincerely working for the public good) and their people in the private sector are more likely to pay taxes for the common good. Of course, this is in relation to rest of Europe. Compared to the past, socialism has also spread the culture of laziness and dependency in Germanic nations–though it’s nothing like the reality in Southern Italy or among the black underclass in the US. But the rise of the EU and immigration are making even ‘enlightened’ Germanic peoples nervous. The rise of EU has meant tax payers in richer nations must provide for ALL Europeans, and many Germans feel their tax dollars are being wasted on the wrong people–Greeks, Southern Italians, Spanish, Portuguese, certain Eastern Europeans, etc. If this keeps up, Germans are not gonna be too happy about paying their taxes.
There is also the problem of immigration. Already, certain cities in Denmark, Holland, and Sweden have turned majority Muslim or African. These newcomers want freebies as ‘rights’. They even seek permanent refugee status as ‘human rights’. And self-righteous and morally narcissistic white elites promote and defend the ‘rights’ of immigrants, legal and illegal.
Though most Europeans are liberal–the great majority of them peed in their pants over the election of Obama–, they are beginning to wonder if their socialism is a good idea or viable in the long run. Socialism forces diminishing number of productive people to serve the growing number of bums. This resentment can even be white-on-white within the borders of a single country. Northern Italians are tired of paying for Southern Italians, and the Flemish Belgians dislike the Walloon Belgians–who tend to be more socialistic and suck on the wealth created mostly by the Flems.
Of course, limited and conditional national forms of socialism aren’t so bad and even can serve the common good. Though Adolf Hitler was a psychopath on race and a tyrant, there were some good ideas in National Socialism. As with communism, certain ‘rights’ were guaranteed to only those who worked and produced. If one didn’t have or want to work, he was forced to work–at least to the extent that he took from public trough. In other words, if you wanna take from the nation, you have to do your part for the nation. And the political and working conditions for most people under National Socialism were more humane than under Stalinist communism. For one thing, National Socialism believed in private property and the natural reality of classes, and therefore didn’t seek to exterminate enemy classes whereas Soviet communism wiped out the bourgeois, aristocracy, and ‘kulaks’.
Furthermore, one could argue Germany was already an industrialized nation by the time the National Socialists came to power, and therefore Hitler only needed to get the factories running again. In contrast, Stalin needed to industrialize much of Russia from scratch, a much more daunting task. Finally, Hitler could trust most Germans to work hard with due diligence since German national character was synonymous with discipline and thoroughness. In contrast, Stalin had a much rougher and lazier population to deal with, the kind of people whose consciousness was unfamiliar with the concept of working hard for the sake of individual pride and communal good. Also, as the USSR was more diverse and culturally disunited, Stalin felt it was important to use extreme force to pull and hold the nation together. (Of course, the brutality of Nazism was in full display once the war began and the Nazis began to use non-German laborers, who were treated as badly if not worse than Soviets treated their own people.)
If conditional or national socialism can work–most obviously in Singapore–, what prevails in the West is leftist or liberal universalist form of socialism. The ultimate logic of this kind of socialism looks beyond national borders and argues for something envisioned in John Lennon’s song “Imagine”. Even if most left socialists are not quite that utopian, their core ideology makes them allergic to any ideas pertaining to race, nation, culture, and interests of white people. Even if they are alarmed by the rise of non-white numbers, rise in black crime, and exploding deficits, they’ve been programmed to suppress those fears and doubts. They’d rather lose themselves in liberal myths heard on NPR or seek refuge in bohemian communities where mostly white liberals come together to flatter one another on how creative, wonderful, and progressive they are. And since a good many are affluent, they can afford to move away from danger zones and put on fancy liberal airs without facing the direct social consequences of liberal policies, which are more likely to fall on poor or working class whites who cannot afford to move out of black or non-white areas. And when affluent liberals hear about increasing violence and mayhem, they look for answers that are fashionably PC. So, they convince themselves that blacks are not dangerous because of their racial make up but because of poverty and lack of self-esteem caused by centuries of white imperialism. So, the problem of radical Islam is not really with Muslim culture but with white hostility against Muslims which forces some Muslims to seek extreme measures. White leftists argue that what we need is more love, more understanding, more compassion, more relief, more handouts, and more welfare for blacks and Muslims. If this leads to even higher black and Muslim numbers–via more immigration/migration or higher birthrates–and produces yet more problems, the white socialist left will say it’s because NOT ENOUGH has been done for the ‘underprivileged’, therefore EVEN MORE has to be done. This kind of left socialist argument doesn’t only apply to what’s happening in Europe but all over the world. The West has pumped over a trillion dollars in Africa, yet Africa is still a pisspot. So, what is the answer of the Western Left? Oh, NOT ENOUGH was given to Africans, and we must give trillions more.
The concept of national socialism died with WWII because of Hitler’s evil crimes. But minus the radical racist ideology, the idea of a national socialism is sounder than the idea of left socialism because national socialism operates within borders of a nation with a people with shared culture, ancestry, values, purpose, and destiny. Also, national socialism was CONDITIONAL in requiring healthy people to contribute to the system as well as receive benefits from it.
In this sense, it had something in common with communism where ‘rights’ were linked to work and productivity of an individual. In neither system could one just sit on his arse and say, “gimme this and that and blah blah cuz it’s they be MY RIGHTS.”
What prevailed in the West was left socialism. Initially, it didn’t do much harm since right after WWII, most European nations were still nation-states in the old sense. The borders meant something, there were few non-European immigrants, and most people hadn’t yet been infected by welfare-socialitis. But the concept of left socialism did have impact on weakening the borders among European states. Since the sacrosanct European conviction following WWII was that nationalism is a great evil–after racism–, the idea of national loyalty, values, heritage, and community were seen as morally suspect and gradually weakened.
WWI ended up with British and French nationalist pride intact while Germans faced only national humiliation and resentment; in time, this led to revival of German nationalism, which led to Hitler’s rise and then WWII. For many, the lesson was that British and French nationalist gloating after WWI led to German rage that led to WWII; therefore nationalism was gradually suppressed for ALL Western nations following WWII. Besides, among Western European nations, only UK could claim victory in WWII, and it was utterly bankrupt and on the verge of losing most of its empire, which it did. So, even the winner was no winner at all. The real winners were US and the USSR, but USSR too collapsed 45 yrs later, and US is now facing major decline by having taken its power and success too easily for too long–and letting liberal Jews and Negroes grab much of the power. (To be sure, the main crime of Hitler was not nationalism but imperialism. He refused to respect the nationalisms of other nations. EU might be called headless imperialism. In traditional imperialism, one nation or people gained dominance over other peoples. There was the mother country and the children countries–or the possession of the mother country. EU is like a bunch of orphans without a mother, a sort of imperialism where EVERY country is a subject country, thus a headless or masterless imperialism. Or perhaps one can say that the master of this new kind of imperialism is an abstraction called progress.) Once the borders of European nations were weakened and a new entity called EU was created, the next logical ‘progressive’ step was to unite EU with other parts of the world. Sarkozy has spoken of incorporating North Africa. Gordon Brown and the British Labor Party want to open British borders to the entire world, especially to Pakistani Muslims and African/Carribean blacks. And since left socialism has expanded the concept of ‘human rights’ as guaranteeing not only political liberty and legal rights to citizens of the state but also providing for the necessities of life to all of humanity, this ideology and movement have no choice but to invite more non-whites into Europe and to forge NWO ties with the rest of the world.
Anyway, will the West go the way of the Eastern Europe? Will capitalism be destroyed by socialism as communism was? One advantage that capitalism has over communism is that it produces the wealth that can pay for socialism–as long as there are considerably more people in the private than in the public sector. Also, unlike communism, capitalism has an inner mechanism that makes people want to work. One can go from rags-to-riches under capitalism, especially if one is smart. Many Hollywood moguls in the early part of the 20th century started small. Some went from floor sweeper to studio boss. Of course, rags-to-riches story isn’t common–most people can only hope for rags-to-clothes–, and the problem of capitalism is it tends to leave some people very far behind. Under communism, the hare is chained to the tortoise, so that wherever the hare goes, it cannot get much ahead of the. In capitalism, the hare can run far afield and leave the tortoise behind. But, under a healthy capitalist system, even those who are left behind materially do better than the ‘equal’ workers under communism. Since talented individuals with freedom produce great wealth–and produce lots of jobs for workers who also pay taxes–, there’s money left over to take care of those left behind. Even people living on welfare in the UK, Sweden, Germany, and US materially live better than the average worker living under communism. Indeed, even poor people in the US had easier access to goods and services than even the members of the Soviet elites did. Even a poor American on welfare can go into a shopping mall and buy what he or she needs. But when Soviet elites entered a store in Germany, UK, or the US, he was shocked by the bounty and choices. Even the privileged elites of communist countries were lucky to have access to what even poor people in the US took for granted.
As long as a nation has a strong capitalist base and industrious private sector producing innovation, expansion, opportunities, and good & services, a reasonable amount of socialism has been affordable. Of course, richer the nation, more socialism it can afford, which is a kind of paradox. Paradoxically, there are indeed two kinds of times when socialism becomes most attractive: hard times and boom times. During hard times, the masses grow angry and resentful, and the rich are blamed as scapegoats for all the misery. There is a natural tendency to ‘take from the rich and give to the poor’ as Robin Hood did. Venezuela is undergoing this kind of social transformation, and it’s proving disastrous. Not because the plutocracy in that country has been a noble bunch but because Hugo Chavez is just another robber-thug practicing a form of crony-socialism. But, not all calls for socialism during hard times are simply for the redistribution of wealth. Proud people with work ethic want JOBS than WELFARE during hard times. In both Germany and the US during the Great Depression of the 1930s, most people were not demanding freebies but jobs so they could work and earn their way. They wanted to use their hands and feet productively than be given handouts. And they were not calling for communism either–the prohibition of private property and free enterprise. They wanted crooked rich people–who had rigged the system in their favor–to be punished, and they wanted the state to devise projects which would hire people and put them to work. Hitler scapegoated the Jewish financial capitalists but didn’t attack all of capitalism. He instinctively understood that there needed to be a private sector. The government would intervene mostly in massive projects like building highways and the war machine.
In the US of the 1930s, most people without jobs were proud and simple white folks who were too proud to take handouts. They wanted jobs so they could feel productive and provide for their families. So, FDR too embarked on massive government projects to produce jobs. To some extent, this led to a stimulation of the economy, but there are some people who believe that these programs and policies only made the problem worse. Germany did revive the economy but with borrowed money. Any nation can produce a short-term boom with borrowed money. And FDR’s programs didn’t do much to pull US out of the Depression. It was WWII which boosted demands for US goods and got the factories running again. Still, to the extent that this kind of socialism was about WORK and PRIDE, it could be called a form of national or fascist socialism, and to that extent Jonah Goldberg’s book LIBERAL FASCISM is half-correct about some of the fascist elements in the New Deal. As far as I’m concerned, that was the GOOD thing about FDR. He was more a (liberal)fascist socialist than a welfare socialist–the worst kind of socialist. FDR’s policies may or may not have been misguided, but he really wanted people to be working again and regain their pride.
The Great Society Welfare Socialism, on the other hand, wanted people to sit on their arses and just leech off freebies and handouts. It robbed the beneficiaries of their work ethic and pride, especially since welfare was rewarded mostly to teenage mothers and the like. It rewarded the WORST kind of behavior possible or imaginable.
Fascist socialism–New Deal and German National Socialism–at least tries to boost pride and productivity through work, but it too can be DEVASTATING if the populace generally lacks national character and work ethic. Compare German National Socialism and Argentinian Peronist fascism. Why did the former work so much better than the latter? While it’s true that Nazi Germany stacked up dangerous amounts of deficits and debts to finance the economic recovery, much was accomplished from 1933 to 1939 in Germany. New roads, new hospitals, new stadiums, new military, and new lots of other stuff were built. It seemed as though Germany could have both guns and butter as consumer goods also filled the shops. Under National Socialism, Germans were provided with things like universal healthcare, but most Germans worked hard in the new order to rebuild their country. They didn’t slack off, and the state was run more efficiently than in Latin countries–Fascist Italy or Argentina. Also, Germans being a hard and stoic people, didn’t demand TOO MUCH or EVERYTHING from the state. When necessary, they tightened their belts and learned to do with less. There was a both a sense of individual pride and communal spirit.
Now, let’s look at Argentina. Up to the early part of the 20th century, Argentina was one of the fastest rising and most promising nations in the world. While it’s true that the Spanish and Italians–two largest ethnic groups in the country–were not particularly known for the work ethic, there was a kind of gaucho pioneer spirit in the Argentinian soul that took risks and embraced new adventures. But the spirit of socialism crept into Argentina and began to poison the well. Eventually, the kind of socialism that took root was the rightist or fascist form of socialism under Peron. It emphasized national unity and power, and all that. Yet, why did it prove to be so disastrous? Because Latins turned out to be a bunch of shallow, self-interested, lazy, and corrupt drama queens. Lacking the national character and deep-rooted work ethic of Germans under National Socialism or Protestant white Americans during the New Deal, Peronist fascist socialism just became an excuse for the Argentinian workers and bureaucrats to demand and get everything.
Socialism can be affordable IF a nation’s private sector produces sufficient surplus in wealth that can be taxed for public services. Without that surplus–and given the Latin(and Mediterranean) penchant for tax dodging–, Argentina went the way Greece(as well as Italy, Spain, Ireland, and Portugal)is going today. The problem was not that Argentina was desperately poor but it promised and spent more than it could afford. A person who makes $20,000 a year and takes on no debt and lives within his means has less to worry about than a person who makes $100,000 a year but blows it all and then borrows another $100,000 to ‘have it all’.
Socialism generally leads to spending money one doesn’t have because the non-productive bureaucracies keep expanding and also because people have been promised this, that, and everything under the roof. Politicians, to maintain their power, must not only keep their promises of freebies but offer yet more freebies as ‘rights’. Also, people who get stuff for free generally have no appreciation for it.
If you work and pay for your food, the food on your table is precious. If you are given free food and whatever else, you think all that stuff grows on trees and demand more and more. More and more people on welfare in the EU and the US enviously eye people who have more and demand what ‘rich folks’ have as ‘rights’ for themselves. If people have computers and cell phones, why shouldn’t EVERYONE have those things?
Worst of all, under welfare socialism, people want those things without doing any work. They feel OWED stuff because they are ‘rights’, even ‘human rights’. So, if some jiveass single-mother welfare queen has 15 children, they all have a ‘right’ to free food, free clothing, free housing, free medicine, free computers, free cell phones, free etc. Thanks to the ‘compassionate conservative’–or conservative socialist–concept of ‘ownership society’, there was even the fiction that home mortgage was also a ‘universal right’ that should be made available to EVERYONE, even those without jobs and living on welfare.
Under welfare socialism, rights have turned into wrongs. Some idiots support welfare socialism out of compassion and guilt–‘ohhh, help those poor poor people’–while others really and insanely believe in its ideological and intellectual validity on the grounds of ‘social justice’–whatever that means. Today, not just far left radicals but mainstream liberals and even many conservatives believe that these ‘rights’ should even be extended to illegal aliens and even to Africans and Haitians. It’s as though every African or Haitian has to be fed, clothed, housed, and aided by rich, evil, capitalist, and neo-imperialist Americans.
This mentality, which used to be limited to the underclass, is now spreading to the mainstream. The underclass grows bigger and bigger because dumb uneducated people have more kids. The middle class is warming to the idea of socialism or statist dependency since many of their jobs have been shipped overseas. They have to maintain their livelihoods or lifestyles somehow. Also, the West no longer operates via social shame. There is little or no shame associated with declaring bankruptcy, just as there’s no longer any shame associated with divorce. It’s do-whatever-you-want. Now, do-whatever-you-want attitude is okay as long as you’re willing to face the consequences with of your actions, but many people wanna do what they want but then dump the blame, consequences, and burden of one’s stupid actions on other people, on the state, on society.
Besides, since so many people feel over-taxed–already having been forced to bail out others–, they want their share of pork from the public trough. If you’ve been working for a long time to take care of people who don’t work, you naturally want everything when you no longer work since “it’s my turn at the trough.”
As for the superrich, they’ve gotten so rich that they no longer have any sense of what real money is. Swimming in excess cash, they think they can afford to ‘take care of society.’
Besides, rich people generally went to best schools, and best schools tend to be very politically correct, instilling their students with leftist PC orthodoxy. Thus, those who are most likely to succeed in business are likely to be liberal and/or socialist-minded.
Socialism isn’t much of a danger if the state provides only that which can be afforded and sustained by the overall economy, but what happens more often than not is people keep demanding more and more. Since they’ve been told by the elite-controlled media that they are owed all these ‘rights’ and that egalitarianism is what ‘social justice’ is all about, everyone with less wants more. They want more not by working more but by demanding what is ‘rightfully mine’.
So, we have less-than-stellar black students demanding higher rates of admission into colleges not because they’ve gotten good grades but because, well, it’s ‘rightfully ours’. With Obama at the helm, this mentality has been spread far and wide. So, Obama told students that they are owed free college education. Prior to Obama, Bush in essence promised easy home loans to just about everyone. Where does the money come from? What does it matter? It’s a matter of rights, thus a matter of principle. They must be provided with their material or ‘positive’ rights, regardless of budgetary concerns. And plenty of neo-Keynesians will jump in and say “deficits don’t matter” and that more spending by the government will ‘stimulate’ the economy. Now, Keynesianism isn’t necessarily wrong. If you have a lot of rich people with a great surplus of wealth, it could be taxed and spent on public projects or services, and the spread of the wealth will indeed stimulate the economy. But a nation with chronic deficits cannot sustain this level of spending. FDR’s programs half-way worked because prior to the New Deal, the tax rates on the rich had been low, and a great amount of wealth had accrued with the super wealthy. We have lots of super wealthy people today in the US, and it would probably be a good thing to raise tax rates on super millionaires and billionaires–after all, these rich people eagerly give whole chunks of their fortune to charity anyway. But the unfunded liabilities facing the future of this country is so astronomical that even taxing everything from the super rich will not even pay a small portion.
Anyway, such are the dangers of socialism. When rights are redefined to include the economic as well as the political/legal, it’s only a matter of time before society begins to decline and rot. This process will be hastened if the nation takes in a lot of non-productive immigrants who are further drag on the economy and if the overall national culture or character has eroded away–more shirk ethic than work ethic.