Sunday, June 26, 2016

Communism/Socialism and Academia

I saw the following two articles juxtaposed at Instapundit with no explicit relationship drawn between them:
Professor rejects Marxism after traveling the globe: ‘Socialism doesn’t work’
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Professor Jack Stauder says his political and ideological conversion away from socialism and Marxism occurred when he actually witnessed these systems in action.

After traveling to more than 110 countries to pursue various forms of research, notably cultural anthropology, Stauder described his conversion from Marxism as a process of disillusionment.
“I gradually became disenchanted with Marxism by visiting many of the countries that had tried to shape their societies to conform to its doctrines. I was disillusioned by the realities I saw in … socialist countries – the USSR, Eastern Europe, China, Cuba, etc,” Stauder told The College Fix via email.

“I came to recognize that socialism doesn’t work, and that its ‘revolutionary’ imposition inevitably leads to cruelty, injustice and the loss of freedom,” the professor continued.

“I could see the same pattern in the many failed left-wing revolutions of Latin America and elsewhere. By combining actual travel with the historical study of socialism and revolution, I succeeded in disabusing myself of the utopian notions that fatally attract people to leftist ideas.”
I commend his intellectual honesty.

Professor raised under communism explains academics’ love of socialism – and why they’re wrong
He hasn’t looked back. Discovering academic and personal freedom unlike anything he could have in post-Communist Romania, Curta permanently relocated to America.

“There’s a certain atmosphere in which scholarly thinking can grow in the United States that it cannot grow in any European country,” Curta said. “I left after communism collapsed, but it was a regime that left a deep, deep imprint on people’s minds. Even though there was no official communism in the government, a lot of people continued to think in communist ways, specifically in the academic world"...

I think that there’s an idealism that most people in academia, specifically in the humanities, share. We live in an era of ideological morass, especially with the collapse of communism that has left no room for those idealists in the academic world. No matter how you can prove that system doesn’t work, with an inclination to go that way perhaps because most people associate socialism with social justice, while the former is an ideology with concrete ideas and concrete historical experiences, while social justice is a very vague abstract notion.

You have to understand, the difference between ideas and facts is what is of major concern here. As my father used to say, it is so much easier to be a Marxist when you sip your coffee in Rive Gauche, left-bank Paris, than when living in an apartment under Ceaușescu, especially in the 1980s.
No ordinary citizen who lived under communism wants to see it returned.  There might be a reason for that.  Heck, I doubt there are many Venezuelans happy with their extreme socialism right now.  The Cubans, stuck on that island as they are, aren't too thrilled with their government, either.

1 comment:

KJ Marx said...

Another thing that blows my mind here is that this is a professor at a major University, and he isn't aware that the USSR split up into 15 separate countries (the largest of which is Russia) in 1991?