Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Only Good Communist Is A Dead Communist

Growing up during the Cold War I believed that, and I see no reason to change my belief today.  Some people just need killin', and communists are among them.  If any need to be kept alive it's only as showpieces, as examples to future generations of why we should not revere communists.  There is nothing in communist ideology that is of value except perhaps as an identifier of sociopathy or totalitarian intent, neither of which should be tolerated in polite society.

Think my words are harsh?  Perhaps you want to sugarcoat your history but I prefer to see it as it was and to learn from it.  You may be mamby-pampy and "tolerant" and think it's not nice to make others uncomfortable, I say you're what the communists themselves called "useful idiots".

No, on this topic I don't mince words.  I grew up with visions of global nuclear war with those people, and such a war would have been preferable to living with their boot on my neck.  "Live free or die."  "I prefer liberty with danger to peace with slavery." To me those are not just words.

So imagine my shock when I read who's being celebrated at UCLA:
Look whose photo graces the campus of UCLA, meant to be an inspiration to incoming students. The woman in the photo is standing above the slogan: “We Question.” On the right-hand side, in small letters, students are informed that they are “the optimists.”

This banner adds to the shadow that today is cast over so many of our major universities.

For those who can’t identify her, the photo depicts Angela Davis, the notorious former Communist Party USA leader who, beginning in the ’60s, molded together black nationalism with Marxism-Leninism. She created a heady brew for recruiting new cadre into the CP and the original Black Panther Party of Huey Newton.

Some optimist! Davis believed in the triumph of Communism.

For her loyalty to the Soviet Union and its foreign policies, in 1972 she was awarded a Lenin Centenary Medal in the Soviet Union, after which she spoke to thousands at an outdoor rally in Moscow. Next, speaking at a factory in Kirov, Davis praised the workers for not using “products of labor [to fuel] the irrational drive for capitalist profits as it is used in our country.”

As she left Moscow and went up the stairs to enter her plane, she yelled out with a clenched fist: “Long live the science of Marxism-Leninism.” There is not an iota of evidence that she questioned anything about the dreary reality in the Soviet Union and their Eastern European client states...

One might ask: Why is Davis so important? The answer is that today’s cultural elites, like whoever at UCLA decided to adorn the campus with her photo, treat any rebel — even a dogmatic ideologue like Angela Davis — as a leader from which students can learn valuable lessons. It is these academics who treat her as both a saint and a leader, and who constantly invite her to give major speeches on our campuses which they urge their students to attend.

To herald Angela Davis as a person who questions anything reveals the mindset of our university administrators, and is itself more evidence of the decline of standards at our major colleges and universities. Expect Ms. Davis to be a graduation speaker sometime in UCLA’s future. That is the logical next step in helping Angela Davis lead her march to a communist future via “the long march through the existing institutions.”
Some people hate Illinois Nazis.  As the Instapundit says, communists are just Nazis with better PR.  That UCLA is holding such a person up as an exemplar is sickening.  It's unjustifiable.  It's foul.  It's gross.

If you went to UCLA, you should contact your alumni association.  The rest of us can start here.


Mrs. Widget said...

I remember an inspection by a general. In ranks, "what's your job solider?"

"I am an Intelligence Analyst sir."

"no, your job is to kill commies."

Next soldier, "What's your job solider?"

"Kill commies sir."

There are times I miss the Cold War.

allen (in Michigan) said...

If communists just want to talk the talk I say let 'em. The antidote to evil speech is good speech which is why college campuses are currently the home of illegitimate if not illegal, control of speech - the commies are in charge.

But commies always end up pissing in the soup which is part of the reason they always pursue power, they don't like to live with what they produce but they do want everyone else to do so.

In a representative state however, those the communists expect to accept what the communists produce are in a position to refuse the honor and, with maddening inevitability - from the communist's point of view - that's exactly what we do.

Oh, we may put up with it for a while but as the outrages pile up so does public impatience and when that impatience reaches some critical height it avalanches down on the communists in one fashion or another and that, for all practical purposes, is that.

That a few communists survive, and even prosper, isn't a big deal to the nation at large even if it is intensely aggravating that people as vile as Angela Davis and Noam Chomsky prosper to some of us. But since I can't do anything about people like that I have to come up with a way of dealing with the frustration.

Keeping in mind that, despite all their socialist talk, the likes of Angela Davis and Noam Chomsky, and plenty of other lefties, are actually successful practitioners of free enterprise. Micheal Moore, and Noam Chomsky, have made themselves quite wealthy by monetizing the conceits of the left. On the basis of what they've done, as opposed to what they say, they're the quintessential practitioners of the free enterprise they revile.

I find it helpful, and gratifying, to keep in mind that Noam Chomsky has to carefully avoid dealing with the truth about himself and resides in a card-house of tawdry justifications.

maxutils said...

So, let me get this straight... it's not okay for liberal groups to band together and force universities to cancel conservative/politically 'incorrect' speakers from coming to campus, or to heckle them if they do come ... but people like Angela Davis should be "killed?"

That's patently ridiculous. I assume you're being metaphorical and hyperbolic, but still: the Communist party has every right to exist in the U.S., and I actually welcome hearing points of view different from mine. I don't agree with communist philosophy myself, but I've recognized two things: that communism, as espoused by Marx, is not a terible way to view the world (Utopian, inefficient, and unsustainable, but not evil); and second, that we have yet to see an actual communist-run country.

In a communist system, there are no people who prosper; the community works together to provide for the best common good. Russia, North Korea, North Vietnam, China, Cuba ... none of these is truly communist (and the fact that China was the closest, and has seemingly been the most willing to embrace capitalism is telling) All were brought about by revolution, as Marx predicted they would need to be ... but then again, that's how we broke away from England, and how France became a democracy, etc. ... so they get a pass there. But ... when the leader of the revolution starts killing and/or reeducating his general population in order to maintain government control of the economy? That's facistic socialism ...not communism. Communism is control by the peole; Socialism, by the government. People make that mistake because the facisist socialists would rather label themselves communists, even though they aren't. And it's evil in the same way that these Isis morons are evil. So it's right not to like them ... but dislike them for the right reason. And perhaps consider that people like Angela Davis, who believe in real communism, might have something to offer.

Darren said...

Liberals and liberalism are wrong. Communists and Communism are *evil* and should be treated as such. They're up there with ISIS and al Qaeda and Nazis and no, I'm not so tolerant that I'm interested in a damn word they have to say.

maxutils said...

Your not being interested in what they have to say is obviously your prerogative . . . personally, I want to know the arguments so that I can refute them. But, let's check the scoreboard: ISIS, al Qaeda, and the Nazis all slaughtered people on the basis of religious beliefs different from theirs, and two of the three have made land grabs a part of their staple. All three use vile means to conform to their religious views.

Communism has never done that, because, as I mentioned in my previous post -- there has never been a true Communist take over. The Socialistic Facists, Lenin, Tsung, Pol Pot, Castro, etc. disdained religion, true -- but they weren't communist. They all killed people and reeducated them to support their system, which was anything BUT communistic. In true communism, it's the community that matters -- not the leader.

The only examples of communism that I can think of, the Mondragon community in the Basque region of France, and Israeli kibbutzes work ... but they work only because a) they are small enough to guarantee buy in, and b) everyone there wants to be there. I'll grant you every country we have incorrectly labeled as Communist has done evil things ... but they weren't Communists.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Sure they were communist max. That communists don't understand communism might be a cause for hilarity but not much else. Certainly professing to believe in communism doesn't make you an expert on the subject. It merely makes you an expert in the dialectic which isn't the reality.

The reality is that the spectrum of governance falls along a line between representative forms and authoritarian forms. It doesn't matter if there's a king or commissar in charge, they're fundamentally the same and not that different on the surface either.

It's no coincidence that communism inevitably results in a cult of personality nor that kingdoms tend to be pretty economically inept. Yes, you can find exceptions but those exceptions are inevitably the result of a hard-learned lesson.

In the case of China, for instance, it was watching the slow-motion collapse of the Soviet Union knowing that, absent some significant changes, that was to be China's fate as well. But the history of authoritarian regimes of every type shows that sort of acceptance of reality to be the exception.

With regard to your examples of "true" communism, I don't know anything about the Mondragon community, but the kibbutz isn't an example of successful communism. It's a democracy that's small enough to operate without the need for representation whereas communism's the musing of just another nineteenth century fraud with which the century seemed over-supplied.

Communism's only utility is that it provides a framework for authoritarianism based not on family lineage but, oddly enough, egalitarianism. The value of communism lies in providing an excuse for a society in which all are equal but some are more equal then others.

Darren said...

Hear hear.

pseudotsuga said...

Ah, it's the "the only TRUE communist" fallacy, the idea that because they didn't meet the ideal that they weren't actually communists.
They (Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, etc.) believed that were working they up through Marx's cycle of revolutions from capitalism to socialism to pure communism. So, no, they weren't TRULY communists,if we want to split hairs--yet that's where they were headed. They certainly believed that they were communists working through the cycle to change the world. And they sure did some vile things to prepare for that paradise on earth.

maxutils said...

Okay, allen, claws are out. I defy you to find a single sentence, complete, in which I say I believe in communism, or in which I proclaim to be an expert. And you can rag on my posts as much as you want, but don't tell me I'm something I'm not. I've read a little bit of Marx ... but you, and Darren, should know that Communism is not a system of government ... it has nothing to do with electing leaders or letting them take over, or anything like that. It's an economic system, pure and simple. The fact that it doesn't work is exemplified by a) needing a dictator willing to kill to even attempt it and b) no country even trying for communism has done so successfully, and c) people are not treated equally. Were Marx to see what his theory had wrought, he would be appalled.

Socialism, though, IS a governmental system as well as economic... and it can be either fascistic or not. Sweden? Socialist. But the people seem to like it that way. Cuba? Socialist, but the people flee to Florida when they can.

And Orwell aside? Once it gets to that point, it is no longer Communism. As to Mondragon? It's a production collective that decided they wanted to have a semi-collective agreement, where workers made wages based on job performed, but was scaled; if you're interested, an excellent book studied it, titled "Making Mondragon," by William and Kathleen White. Kibbutaes work exactly as you described ... making them ... wait for it ... communistic. Get it? They're communes. They may be democratic, or not ... but they all put in, and they all take out. That's what Marx wanted ...

The fact is, most Americans have never read Karl Marx, and don't know what actual communism is ... the term has been misappropriated, and is regularly used incorrectly. And if you really are convinced that the other side never has anything to offer of possible value? I really wish you wouldn't vote. And I feel the same way about the Dems ... so don't come back with "Well you must be a liberal." Because I'm not. I'm what I like to call 'open-minded'. Perhaps you've heard of that.

maxutils said...

Pseudotsuga -- I don't entirely disagree with you; each revolution was led in opposition to an arguably worse regime and a Communist state may have been the initial goal -- but one of the failings of Communism is that the minute that leader gains power? Communism is out the door, because he realizes that he now has complete control. That requires the killing of those opposed of them, and complete control of the economy. Neither of those is a principle of true , or even close to true, Marxism.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Max, if someone says they're a communist I'll take them at their word. I have to. There are no objective tests to determine degree of communism or an ideological star chart to determine where in the constellation Marx your star resides.

Castro says he's a communist? Good enough for me and obviates the need to cleave the excruciatingly fine divisions of communism adherents and students claim exists and seem willing to enthusiastically murder each other over.

And about kibbutzes, you want to call them communes? I suppose the term is flexible enough to encompass kibbutzes but the ones that have survived are rather more flexible in their views on private property then purists would find tolerable.

Necessity being the mother of acceptance, a kibbutz can't dictate to its members - they'll just leave. That's part of the reason why there are far fewer kibbutzes then there used to be and most of those that still exist bear only a passing resemblance to a dreamy egalitarian paradise. It's a big world though and there are enough true believers to keep a couple of Marx-impressing organizations operational.

You're also positing a false, if popular, dichotomy in the assertion that communism is an economic and not a governmental system.

The truth is governmental systems and economic systems aren't mutually exclusive. An authoritarian regime can't long tolerate free enterprise, as the Chinese are finding out, because people who make decisions on the basis of their own views in one area of their life are difficult to disuade from making decisions in other areas of their lives. Once you get into the habit of making decisions it's a hard habit to break.

On the flip side a government based on self-determination is going to be intrinsically inimical to central planning.

You are right that most Americans have never read Marx. My own copy of "Das Kapital" sits between my copy of "Mein Kampf" and "2048 Dirty Limericks".

In my defense, I did get about ten pages into "Das Kapital" and I suspect if I were to check the dictionary definition of the word "turgid" I'd find "Das Kapital" given as a literary example. Of the three, "2048 Dirty Limericks" was more insightful of human nature and, oh, a lot more fun.

In defense of all the rest of the Americans who haven't read "Das Kapital" it's hardly necessary. You don't need to be a meteorologist to know you don't want to be caught by a tornado nor a herpetologist to know you don't want to be bitten by a snake. Communism has honestly come by a similar connotation in the mind of most Americans and beyond "it's bad" how much more does anyone who isn't a scholar need to know?

pseudotsuga said...

MaxUtils wrote: " That requires the killing of those opposed of them, and complete control of the economy. Neither of those is a principle of true , or even close to true, Marxism."
However, Max, there is no one single "true" definition of Marxism. Even Wikipedia admits this. You seem to be arguing that the personality cult that arose in every single Marxist state of the 20th century disqualifies such states to be called Communist (since that isn't what Marx preached.)
That's like arguing that there are no Christians since no Christian believers have lived up to the ideals of Christianity. Yet they are aspiring to those ideals, flawed humans that they are. So do we not term them Christians? The CORE of their beliefs is the same, and the goal is the same, yet they differ in how they get there.
I think the same applies to Communists--they have not done so well in reaching Marx's cloud-cuckoo land, but just because they have diverged or degenerated into personality-worshipping, brutal, mass-murdering states doesn't mean that we can't call them Communists. Perhaps they are perverting the true gospel of Marxism (as you seem to term it), but as Christian heretics are still Christian, Communist heretics are still Communists.

maxutils said...

The common ground we share is that we both acknowledge that Communism cannot work on any large scale. Where we diverge is in that Communism, by itself, is in no way 'evil' ... and if a Republican call himself that, yet votes with the Democrats regularly, is he still a Republican? In fact I believe Republicans have crated a useful acronym for that ...

In any event ... the original post suggested that we try to keep the Communists we disagree with from speaking at universities, or acknowledging their philosophy, and then we should kill them. To me,t hat sounds a lot Like Lenin ... or Pol Pot... or MaoTe-Tung.

maxutils said...

I give up. Clearly, Wikipedia knows better than Marx, what Marxism is. I don't know why I didn't start there. You guys clearly know better than I do.

Ellen K said...

They worship her for the same reason they worship Che-because it's hip and cool. These same students have no idea the terrible and illegal things these people have done.

Darren said...

I'm not so sure, Ellen. I think they *do* know and they justify it.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Max, the error you're making is in clinging to the assumption that Marx has anything of value to say at all. I've come to the conclusion that he doesn't and that his value lies not in his observation of human characteristics and the implications of those observations but in the misuses to which those observations can be put.

Like Freud, and you may draw what conclusions you wish from my choice of metaphor, Marx essentially pulled his "insights" out of his butt. There's no comparison to the observed dynamics of human behavior, from either man, nor is there much apparent desire to do so. Both are smitten with their insightfulness which neither need nor invite critique.

The nineteenth century seems to have an oversupply of such charlatans and I attribute the bounty to the emergence of science in the common mind due to such miracles as railroads, the printing press, steam engines and the telegraph.

Science was all over the place, explaining mysteries and paving the road to exciting, new developments. A fine time to peddle "sciency" ideas and nostrums since, again in the common mind, the difference wasn't all that great between them and the science they aped. Close enough, it's hoped, is good enough. Sadly, it quit often isn't and it sure isn't in the case of Marx.

There's no such thing as the New Soviet Man nor will there ever be absent genetic manipulation which means the promises of communism are predicated on a lie. Worse then that though is the dismissal without consideration of human characteristics which put the lie to communism even in the present.

That's the lie in the excuse that the Soviet Union wasn't "true" communism. The excuse contains the assumption that "true" communism is possible and it isn't. Communism assumes the perfectibility of man when it's pretty damned clear we're not even remotely interested in becoming better and nothing, violence, coercion, prayer or good intentions is going to make us better.

That, by the way, is the crucial difference between a constitutionally-limited republic and any of the endless stream of utopian schemes including communism.

A constitutionally-limited republic is built on the assumption of some pretty unsavory characteristics on the part of humanity and our inability to make much of a dent in those characteristics whereas utopian schemes ignore human failings in preference to the utopian vision. That's why the former, against all presumptions, have a reasonable chance of success whereas the later inevitably collapse.

Darren said...

Those last two paragraphs belong as an independent post.

maxutils said...

allen ... okay, I don't give up. Marx did not pull his theories out of his butt. Rather, he pulled them fro Adam Smith, a man who he respected. If you actually read The Wealth of Nations and Capital, Marx use virtually the same logic and examples that Smith did, and Marx completely respected Smith, to the point of almost apologizing to him. His theory, in abstract form, actually makes perfect sense. The capitalist adds no intrinsic value to the product. The problem is ... without the capitalist, you lose incentive ... and human nature dictates that that system will fail, and the only way to sort of make it work is through force ... and it still doesn't. But, the fact that he came up with a thoughtful idea which doesn't work does not make him evil, it doesn't make him stupid, and it doesn't mean that we should be killing people or banning their speech because the do believe. Obama got a terrible health care bill through Congress ... does he deserve to die? Because I guarantee, that bill will cost our nation more than anything that the communist party ever does.