The Utopian Goal of Equality – Part One
by Michael Murphy
Michael Murphy has written a thorough and informative two part series on “The Utopian Goal of Equality” that is a must read. Enjoy Part one.
In this first of two articles on the subject we will look at the history of the Communist idea of a Utopia, an equality based society designed to deliver equal results to all. Many of today’s school children are no longer taught the failures of Socialism and Communism, in fact many of them will tell you it is a viable alternative to our Representative Republic. We will not go into the difference between Socialism and Communism; they both rely on government ownership of property and business while Communism is the mechanism of wealth redistribution.
There have been disagreements between two groups since the inception of the nation, the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. To break it down in simplest terms, it is the differing of opinion as to whether it is best to have more power centralized in a federal government (Federalist) or to have a very weak central government with more power retained by the states. However, both of those groups sought more freedoms for the people and the republic, including keeping a representative government closer to home. They understood the free market after some of the earliest settlements nearly failed using socialist, equality based governance.
The idea our founders would have embraced wealth redistribution would be as likely as Superman embracing Kryptonite. Biblically, we recognize the Garden of Eden as a perfect place, and also recognize that sin destroyed that concept on earth forever. However, the idea of this perfect utopia is something people still long for and the creation this Shangri La as a perfect place to live out one’s years stays in many minds.
Karl Marx was an academic, and as often happens, academic theories work well in the classroom, but in practice, not so much. In Europe with the royalty and large lower class, Marx built deep divisions in society as he pitted the bourgeoisie (the wealthy families, factory owners and land owners) against the proletariat (the people working for wages). More on that later.
Marx joined with German philosopher Friedrich Engels to work on their theories. Communism is built on the idea that the business owners and the wealthy purposely keep the lower class at the bottom of the ladder, where they’re never able to climb to the higher rungs. Of course, Capitalism has taken more people from the bottom to the top, or nearly so, than any other system. Rather than raise the lower class, however, communism lowers the upper classes. It is very important to identify and promote a class struggle before Socialism and Communism can be made to appear a desirable alternative. Bernie Sanders claims to be a Democratic Socialist; this is simply using the mob rule of democracy to bring forth the socialist policies. It is a revolution at the ballot box, rather than in the trenches with guns.
“Social justice, inequality, victim, discrimination, war on women” are the vocabulary liberals the past several years. If you’re poor, it’s because the evil rich are keeping you down. Everyone is put in a group, and almost everyone is made into some type of victim. Bernie promises free education and free healthcare while bashing and blaming the banks and big businesses for all of the country’s ills. He urges his followers to “Feel the Bern,” however, if his policies are enacted the rest of us will feel the burn.
I enjoy listening to Andrew Wilkow on the radio. He has a saying, “Socialism is for the people, not for the socialist.” This is simply the idea of the elite who feel they are entitled to be the leaders, but they never have to endure what they put on the people. The politicians who promote socialism have to set themselves up as the savior of the people. They “appear” to be looking out for the best interests of the people, and the socialist system needs the people looking up to and relying on their leaders.
Those who push for the move to Socialism and Communism must destroy all aspects of the capitalist society. They will abolish any distinction between city and rural regions, attack and demean the importance of family, private industry and religion. This is right out of their “operations manual.” Does any of this sound familiar?
It is interesting that communists believe a successful transition to communism is best begun with a capitalist society, which is one reason the US has been a target for over 100 years. However, the class struggle required to divide people is better suited for a Monarchy or similar government, such as the Tzars of Russia. Of course, Russia became the first real experiment of Communism. There are words you will see again and again with communism and when I hear them my “antenna” perks up, and I try to pay special attention. You will hear the wealthy bad mouthed and torn down at every possibility, with the exception of the wealthy who will “play the game.” Have you ever wondered why Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are not pilloried, and the Koch brothers are?
Let’s take a look at the USSR, or Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Soviet means “Worker’s Councils.” In spite of the idea of class warfare and communism being the great “equalizer,” the workers and the “Ruling Class” are not the same. The Ruling Class simply took the place of the Tzar. Workers were more like slaves of the state, another resource to be controlled. Remember George Orwell’s Animal Farm? If you have not read it in recent years, you really should take the time and read it again…and if you have never read it, what are you waiting for?
Most communism governments failed in the late 1980’s, with the exception of North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela. Communism only survives with a strong dictator, and an iron fist used on any who get out of line. I had the opportunity to meet Viktor Belenko, the MIG-25 pilot who flew his plane to Japan and defected from Russia. Due to the propaganda of the Russian government, Viktor thought that the US was a terrible place and he had no desire to go there. He just knew that he did not like where he was, and he wanted out.
If communism was such a utopia, why did they build a wall to keep people from fleeing? It wasn’t to keep people out, but to keep the “worker” from escaping the oppressive communist society.
Communism has been nothing, but a vehicle for terror and death. Some of the worst genocides of the 20th century have occurred under communist governments. Communism is responsible for more deaths than any other political ideal or movement. Stalin starved 10 million people to death in one single year in the Ukraine. Let that sink in. Mao Zedong, often heralded by liberals, was responsible for the deaths of up to 65 million. The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression is one of the most comprehensive manuals detailing the crimes of communist dictators over the past century.
The drive for the human spirit to survive, to grow, to improve and to produce is something Marx and Engels did not grasp. It is virtually impossible to quench that thirst. Communism fails because it does not take one vital thing into account, individuals. Today we are told that socialism works and is superior to capitalism.
People will point to the Scandinavian nations as successes in socialism. NATO provides their military protection, so they expend very little on their national defense. They have large oil reserves, and as long as they hold out, the royalties from these fields help to pay for their huge social programs. Last but not least, their taxes are incredibly high. Their tax burden of 45-60% of GDP is double the US, plus there is a 25% VAT added onto everything they buy. The average Norwegian family pays $70,000 a year in taxes. Figuring in the oil revenues and business taxes (some of the highest in the world) it comes to nearly $100,000 per family. They get do get “free” healthcare and “free”education, if you call $100,000 per family per year free.
Tomorrow, in Part 2 we will look at the move to socialism here in the US. It has not been just under President Obama, nor has it been just under Democrat presidents. These United States are the Holy Grail to communists, and they are closer to their goal than you might think.