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Monday, May 07, 2018

Karl Marx's real gift to the world...

Perhaps if Ambrose Bierce were still with us (and who knows, we don't know what became of him since he disappeared somewhere in Mexico during its revolution) he might have made the following addition to his famous work The Devil's Dictionary:

A simple idea, that with innocent charm and seductive promise makes monsters of men.

"It just hasn't been attempted correctly!"  How many times are we going to hear that one?  Looking around the past few days at the celebrations of the 200th birthday of Karl Marx, my head cannot but shake in disbelief.  That even today, there are many who will scream that communism will not only work but be a raging success... if the right people could be in charge of it.  And of course they will claim that they are the very "right people" who should be at the controls and trusted to guide the people into a bright and shining socialist utopia free of hunger and suffering.

Except, it has never worked out that way.  And it never can work out that way.  And every time that Marxism in whatever form it takes has been attempted, the result has invariably been the same: a small oligarchy at the top of the heap living in excess at the expense of "the workers".  You know, the very same ones who were promised that utopia to begin with.

It never happens.  But would you like to know what might happen, what will probably happen given enough time and what HAS happened?

Thousands if not millions dead from starvation, political purges and outright incompetence.  And often even armed conflict with neighboring countries or countries thousands of miles across an ocean basin away.

I'm historian enough to admit: no social system is perfect.  No legal system is perfect.  No system of government at all is perfect.  But at least some of them allow for a striving toward that perfect ideal within the boundaries of human dignity and the acknowledgement that life is sacred and worth defending for its own sake.  That the individual deserves a chance to be successful, even if that success doesn't work out as it was envisioned.

Communism, and socialism in general for that matter, brooks no favor for that.  It is an ideology for its own sake.  To its adherents, other people are grist for the mill on the way to that glorious promised paradise.  And it tolerates no dissent or individual effort.  Try to break away from the will of the masses as determined by those few at the top, and you'll end up with a bullet in the skull, or smothered with a plastic bag, or wasting away from caloric intake being rendered zero, or sent off to fight and die for the good of the state.

In short: communism can never improve on itself, as is possible with republican government and capitalist economy.  Communism can do nothing except stave off the inevitable demise of the countries that have adopted it... and in the end, none can be spared from its death throes as it desperately tries to survive at all costs.

All of this and more stems from the "radical and revolutionary" philosophies of Karl Marx.

How this merits commemoration as a virtue of societal evolution, is something that boggles my mind and no doubt forever will.