By: Brent Parrish
The Right Planet
Yet another radical leftist rag decides to publish a piece shilling for all things communism. Worth noting is the fact that the article appearing in Salon was written by the same author who wrote a similar piece for Rolling Stone recently.
I really don’t know what sort of spiritual degeneracy and moral bankruptcy one must descend into in order to rationalize and excuse the monstrous crimes against humanity committed by communist and socialist regimes in the 20th Century alone. But, then again, it’s Salon.
As the commentary around the recent deaths of Nelson Mandela, Amiri Baraka and Pete Seeger made abundantly clear, most of what Americans think they know about capitalism and communism is arrant nonsense. This is not surprising, given our country’s history of Red Scares designed to impress that anti-capitalism is tantamount to treason. In 2014, though, we are too far removed from the Cold War-era threat of thermonuclear annihilation to continue without taking stock of the hype we’ve been made, despite Harry Allen’s famous injunction, to believe. So, here are seven bogus claims people make about communism and capitalism.
1. Only communist economies rely on state violence.
Obviously, no private equity baron worth his weight in leveraged buyouts will ever part willingly with his fortune, and any attempt to achieve economic justice (like taxation) will encounter stiff opposition from the ownership class. But state violence (like taxation) is inherent in every set of property rights a government can conceivably adopt – including those that allowed the aforementioned hypothetical baron to amass said fortune.
In capitalism, competing ownership claims are settled by the state’s willingness to use violence to exclude all but one claimant. If I lay claim to one of David Koch’s mansions, libertarian that he is, he’s going to rely on big government and its guns to set me right. He owns that mansion because the state says he does and threatens to imprison anyone who disagrees. Where there isn’t a state, whoever has the most violent power determines who gets the stuff, be that a warlord, a knight, the mafia or a gang of cowboys in the Wild West. Either by vigilantes or the state, property rights rely on violence. […]
2. Capitalist economies are based on free exchange.
The mirror-image of the “oppressive communism” myth is the “liberatory capitalism” one. The idea that we’re all going around making free choices all the time in an abundant market where everyone’s needs get met is patently belied by the lived experience of hundreds of millions of people. Most find ourselves constantly stuck between competing pressures and therefore stressed out, exhausted, lonely, and in search of meaning. — as though we’re not in control of our lives.
We aren’t; the market is. If you don’t think so, try and exit “the market.” The origin of capitalism was depriving British peasants of their access to land (seizure of property, you might call it), and therefore their means of subsistence, making them dependent on the market for their survival. Once propertyless, they were forced to flock to the dreck, drink and disease of slum-ridden cities to sell the only thing they had – their capacity to use their brains and muscles to work – or die. Just like them, the vast majority of people today are deprived of access to the resources we need to flourish, though they exist in abundant quantities, so as to force us to work for a boss who is trying to get rich by paying us less and working us harder. […]
3. Communism killed 110 million* people for resisting dispossession.
*The number cited is as consistent as it is rooted in sound research; i.e., not.
Greg Gutfeld, one of the hosts of Fox News’ “The Five” and a historical scholar of zero renown, recently advanced the position that “only the threat of death can prop up a left-wing dream, because no one in their right mind would volunteer for this crap. Hence, 110 million dead.” In declaring this, Gutfeld and his ilk insult the suffering of the millions of people who died under Stalin, Mao, and other 20th Century Communist dictators. Making up a big-sounding number of people and chalking their deaths up to some abstract “communism” is no way to enact a humanistic commitment to victims of human rights atrocities.
I would literally laugh out loud after reading this utterly ridiculous claptrap by Salon, if it wasn’t for the fact that millions and millions have been murdered and killed by communist and socialist regimes. Apparently Jesse Myerson never read M. Stanton Evans’ book Blacklisted by History. And he is obviously clueless of the revelations in the Venona Papers, which exposed the very real infiltration of communists into the highest levels of the federal government. But I digress.
The utter fantasy central planning and the relinquishing of one’s inalienable rights to the state will somehow lead to an egalitarian paradise is just that–a tragic fantasy. Name me one place where this sort of forced communal system has ever worked … just one.
A typical response to my inquiry is “it’s still a noble idea worth fighting for.” And what noble ideal would that be? The belief that people should sacrifice their freedom and liberty under the pretense someone else will take care of them? As Milton Friedman once asked, “Just where are we going to find these angels that will organize society for us?”
I find this all beyond pathetic. I’ll bet anyone, if you take Jesse Myerson’s freedoms and liberties away, he’ll be the first one demanding them all back. Careful what you wish for, Jesse, you just might get it. And you won’t be able to say you were not warned. But when imagination trumps logic and reason, it is highly doubtful Jesse Myerson will ever heed the warnings of history … which dooms him to repeat them.
h/t: Weasel Zippers