i know we have always been told that communism is evil, but we (me anyway) were never told why. what the hell is so bad about everyone getting an equal share? i wouldn’t want it personaly, but why did we go to war to keep it from spreading? why is it any of our buisiness? as far as i can tell, it never works, but who cares? our system works, why mess with other peoples’ beliefs?
this was not intended as trolling, though some of you will think so, i realy want to know.


The evil capitalists figure anything that moves that isn’t they must be stamped out.

Ray (no, not a Communist or communist)

I don’t think Communism, in and of itself, is “evil”–however, people like to OWN things. In Communism, the government owns everything, right? (I’m not 100% sure about that myself, but that’s what I’ve always thought). It’s the nasty things the government has to do to enforce these rules that make Communism bad, as I understand it.

If I work twice as hard as you do, why should you get an equal share of the proceeds of my labor? And if you hold a gun to my head and demand it, is that moral?

Here’s a question for you - at what point is it okay for a group of people to take an action that would be immoral for an individual to take? In other words, if it’s immoral for you to break into my house and steal my property, by what philosophical principle does it become okay to do so simply because you can get enough people to back you up?

And, on the flip side, if most of the value or market price of a product comes from the labor used to create it (e.g., most individuals will pay much more for an assembled car than for an unassembled pile of car parts), how moral is it for management to take the bulk of the profits?

There are two sides to every question.

“I love God! He’s so deliciously evil!” - Stewie Griffin, Family Guy

Well, the only reason that communism was evil was that they were our enemy. I’m sure the Indians were called evil, just as the national socialists were evil (I concede that one). You’ll notice that England is socialist and no one calls them evil.
Marx said “from each accourding to his abilities, to each according to his needs,” which actually doesn’t mean an equal share, it’s supposed to mean that no one starves while others throw food away. Marx and Engels lived in some of the worst times of the industrial age when there were no unions or any solidarity in the working class. Read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair for a view of those times in America.

THe governments of the Soviet Union and it’s allies were considered evil. Labeling communisim as evil as well was convenient.

Communism was called evil because the major proponents of Marxist Communism (who never achieved better than a modified, if intense, socialism themselves) were our opponents in the World Power game.

The fact that the earliest proponents of various forms of socialism and communism in the nineteenth century were revolutionaries trying to overthrow the structure of society certainly provided fodder for the wealthy (who owned the newspapers and provided the textbooks) to label socialists and communists as evil.

Rather than evil, communism is probably simply not workable on a large scale. Smaller religious communities pull it off pretty well–as long as it is voluntary and as long as they embrace celibacy. (As soon as a group has kids to worry about, they seem to begin looking after how much wealth they can accrue to guarantee that their kids are provided for.)

The voluntary issue is also very large. As dhanson indicated, most of us have acquired wealth (or at least housing and possessions) through some sort of personal effort (or the effort of our parents). For anyone else to decide to redistribute the stuff that you have acquired through your own efforts without your prior consent looks a lot like theft.

The nineteenth century utopian socialists believed that a society could be created in which everyone did what they could and threw the benefits of their labor “into the pot” and everyone would simply take from “the pot” only what they needed.

No one has ever figured out how to make that work.

Of course, capitalism has more than a few flaws in it, as well. Without some sort of system for redistribution, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The U.S. saw that happening at the end of the nineteenth century and began breaking up monopolies and instituting an income tax in order to prevent that from getting out of control.

No system works cleanly forever, so when the redistributionists finally achieved real power during the Great Depression, the concept became a cornerstone of government policy for years. The policies begun during the “New Deal” are the ones that we currently blame for the “welfare state” and similar problems of society. We have begun taking corrective action (some good, some bad) on those policies ever since the Republican Congress was elected.

Of course, many of the proponents of those course corrections are no more likely to read history than anyone else and you frequently hear various idiots calling for the total repeal of all the “failed” redistributionist policies–simply so that we can go back to the sort of monstrous inequities that the Republican president Theodore Roosevelt worked so hard to rectify.

We will never achieve the perfect society, we simply need to keep modifying the approach ever few years once any group has figured out how to beat the system.


The early Christian communities in the first couple centuries A.D. were communist. It works on a small scale if people are free to leave if the don’t like it. That isn’t the case on a national level, because you run into national loyalties as well as family ties, cultural differences etc, that bind you to that place, even though you don’t like it.

On a large scale, you also run into alot more deadbeats who just want to sponge off of the work of others. Socialist/communist theory has historically done a very poor job dealing with these freeloaders without taking advantage of the hardworking people. In a small community, such people simply aren’t tolerated and are thrown out, but in a large society there’s room for them to slip through the cracks. One of the biggest problems in socialist countries is the comparitive lack of work ethic compaired to capitalist society. This is because Ivan the Soviet sees his co-worker sitting on his ass all day, doing a sloppy job, and still enjoying a reasonable (though not great) life. Ivan then thinks to himself “Why am busting my ass when that bum Dmitri gets the same wages for doing almost nothing?”

“I had a feeling that in Hell there would be mushrooms.” -The Secret of Monkey Island

Some of the reasons communism was considered “evil” by capitalist countries:

  • It threatened the power structure of the rich industrialist countries. Remember that when the French Revolution brought democracy to France, the major crowned heads of Europe united in declaring war against the French Republic.

  • Early communists opposed organised religion since most organised religions in Europe supported the existing power structure.

  • Marx and Engels preached a union of the workers and opposed nationalism. This would have marked an end to people blindly following their political leaders into war. (One of the first things the Soviet Union did was pull out of World War I, upsetting the allies to no end, which is why the UK, France and the USA invaded the Soviet Union after the end of World War I to try and restore a non-communist government.)

  • Lenin postulated that the economic inevitability of communism could be hastened by violent revolution. Since he was successful in Russia, many other European countries had the fear that the same thing would happen at home.

Communism was brought about by the excesses and unfair labour conditions of the industrial age. Since these conditions occurred in every capitalist country, the communist party had adherents throughout Europe and the United States.

See the movie “Reds” by Warren Beatty to get an idea of the harrassment and violence inflicted upon early union organizers in the USA.

After World War II, the Soviet Union was the other dominant world power besides the USA, and since every country “demonizes” its enemies, the USA policy was to describe communists as evil, whereas right-wing military dictatorships (see Pinochet in Chile) were supported by the USA.

People that grew up in the Soviet Union or China were taught that capitalism is evil. So your point of view depends on where you grew up.

J’ai assez vécu pour voir que différence engendre haine.
Henri B. Stendhal

Well said, tomndebb. Why communism was considered evil is a pretty hefty subject. I have really studied this and would like to elaborate. I’ll try and keep it short and entertaining.

first, some history:
Capitalism (called “Sacred Hunger” by Barry Unsworth) is the closest thing to a natural condition. Humans naturally compete and are naturally acquisitive. Capitalism created the industrial revolution. The inhumane living conditions of the industrial revolution created opposition and gave birth to the anarchist movement which rejected all organization and central authority. They visualized a system where everybody just did whatever they wanted to do and could collect their needs at central depots. The anarchists could never get organized because their fundamentalist faction rejected all leadership or formal organization. After several decades of anarchist bombings, assassinations, and riots along came a new philosopher, Karl Marx. The opponents of capitalism gathered around the new banner. Marx had two fundamental flaws in his manifesto:
(1) The theory that capitalism was on the verge of collapse. It only took about ten years of Marxism for perceptive people to start to realize that capitalism was flourishing and that people’s lives were gradually improving under it.
(2) The theory of brotherhood of the worker. The workers really felt no brotherhood and could not resist competing to rise above their fellow workers.
In western Europe the political concept of liberalism was born out of intellectual disillusionment with Marxism and liberals theoretically now bear the burden of controlling the excesses of capitalism.

The Communist revolution in Russia in 1917 occurred in an autocratic state that tolerated no democracy or parliament whatsoever. WWI had devastated the country. Other communist states, China, Cuba, were also born violently under a charismatic leader,and others were subverted or conquered. I don’t think any state has ever voluntarily become communist. Socialism is a constant experiment but doesn’t work very well. Read about Sweden (I recommend “Eat the Rich” by P.J. O’Rourke).

Communism is fundamentally flawed and goes against human nature. Therefore more and more control and oppression is required to impose it on a population. In Russia, people were executed for hording coins. A man was once deported to Siberia because his local police chief “was reasonably sure the man had contemplated a criminal act.” The list of crimes against humanity by communist regimes is staggering and the death toll is upwards of fifty million people in Russia and more in China.
One of the strangest things about communism is that everything is political, all decisions are political. Communist economics is 100% a political science. The control required by the political leaders is all pervasive. Krushchev ordered the tractor factories to churn out hundreds of thousands of tractors (because he already had enough tanks) and then ordered them to plow up central Asia to grow wheat. Result: an enormous desert. Chairman Mao muttered once that “the people must make steel” and a directly resulting famine killed thirty million people.
I guess the bottom line is that communism requires iron fisted oppression to impose its unnatural philosophy. That’s why the West has always treated it as a threat to freedom.
Communism is still around. Cuba will eventually break free. Castro, the iron fisted dictator, will die. Again Cuba was in terrible shape under a corrupt fascist dictator when the communists shot their way into power. China is unique. The recent suppression of the exercise and meditation sect that had collected hundreds of millions of followers is a good example of communist suppression. Any movement of any kind that might be used to organize an opposition must be eradicated. Communism in China is a convenient system to control that kind of population density and it is a very delicate situation to try and change such a fundamental and all pervasive government.

There may be some soul-searching going on because of Cold War excesses against the communist threat (after all, it did collapse on its own - I personally think the Chernoble nuclear reactor disaster triggered the end of communism in Russia) but rest assured that the USA was absolutely right to stand against it. God bless America. Go ahead and plunge into an academic career to try and develop a fair and equitable political system. Liberal democratic capitalism is standing the test of time.

I was under the impression that during the Red Scare, the Government was more interested in asking people with Communist affiliations if they advocated the overthrow of the present US government.

The more discerning Red-baiters looked for that distinction in people’s personal philosophy before they went out to destroy someone’s life.

Very simple. Communism was considered evil because Marx called for the abolition of religion. Evil athiests!

Of course, Communism produced such wonderful individuals such as Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Ceaucescu, Kim Jung and Fidel Castro, so I guess whoever said it was evil when it first came out was proven right.

BobT, can you provide an example? The only people who were not black-listed, cashiered, and otherwise violated were those who would make a show of handing over names of other people who “may” have been communist.

I can’t recall any scruples among the witch-hunters in ruining careers and lives. Can you name a “more discerning Red Baiter”?


To pldennison: The labor theory of value was disproved about 200 years ago. Value is derived from scarcity, as any econ 101 student could explain (water/diamond paradox). I think that communism was considered evil because it kept people who have trouble thinking for themselves from becoming communists. Looking at the concepts it looks utopian. To try and explain in a newspaper paragraph or thirty second sound bite that it is unachievable, and any half-attempt will leave you worse off than our beloved capitalist system, is a worthless endeavor. Easier all and all to call 'em all fiends and leave it at that.

Well, one should try to define which area of communism. Never was much for it on a small scale like in the family where you have to share everything. Anyway:

com•mu•nism "kam-ye-'ni-zem\ noun [F communisme, fr. commun common] (1840)
1 a : a theory advocating elimination of private property
b : a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed
2 cap
a : a doctrine based on revolutionary Marxian socialism and Marxism-Leninism that was the official ideology of the U.S.S.R.
b : a totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production
c : a final stage of society in Marxist theory in which the state has withered away and economic goods are distributed equitably
d : communist systems collectively

©1996 Zane Publishing, Inc. and Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. All rights reserved.

My $.02 is borrowed:

The overwhelming majority of people have more than the average (mean) number of legs. – E. Grebenik

A) Show me a capitalist country where the poor got poorer. A rising tide lifts all boats. There have been lots of cases where the increase was much greater for the rich than the poor, so the gap between them widened, but the poor always get richer (there may be exceptions I’m not thinking of, but it’s overwhelmingly true).

Marxism’s ‘labor theory of value’ is nuts. One of the central tenets of Marxism is that labor is labor, and equally valuable. This is demonstrably false. If one person digs a hole and the other one fills it in, lots of work is done, but nothing of value is created.

On the other hand, (responding to Pldennison), the reason why management and owners get a big share of the profits from the labor of their employees is because only small percentage of the profits comes from that labor. What makes us all wealthy is the concentration of capital. A truck driver in a capitalist country might make $10/hr, but the reason he can is because of the capital concentration in his tools. Someone paid for the truck, someone dug the ore used to refine the steel in the truck, etc. In other words, the owner of a company provides materials that magnify the productive capacity of the laborers. In return for this, the laborers get more money (and thus goods) than they could ever get if they had to haul goods on their back, or dig with their hands, etc). And the owner of the company benefits from the magnified labor of his employees. The managers of succesful companies learn to effectively distribute the labor into areas that return the most value. As a reward, they get a large chunk of the profit. But the worker is still better off because he gets a higher wage than he would if he wasn’t provided a highly profitable area to work in.

Communism is evil at its very roots, because it says that a man is not free to live in the manner that he chooses, but rather must be a slave to others.

Two major reasons why communism was evil:

  1. The nations that considered themselves communist were also totalitarian, which is evil, and

  2. “Everyone getting an equal share” means that those who do not produce are rewarded by society just as equally as those who do produce. This has the effect of fewer people actually performing productive work…a disincentive.

Chaim Mattis Keller

“Sherlock Holmes once said that once you have eliminated the
impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be
the answer. I, however, do not like to eliminate the impossible.
The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it that the merely improbable lacks.”
– Douglas Adams’s Dirk Gently, Holistic Detective

To respond to some of the points made by previous posters:

“Capitalism is the closest thing to a natural condition.”

What is a “natural” condition? Human beings evolved as societies with many individuals cooperating to increase their chances of survival. Capitalism is no more natural than communism.

“Communism is fundamentally flawed and goes against human nature. Therefore more and more control and oppression is required to impose it on a population.”

Capitalist countries also had oppressive governments. Consider the governments of czarist Russia, Central and South American military dictatorships (supported by the USA), colonial governments in Asia and Africa. Those oppressive governments brought about communist/socialist revolutions. Many people mention the list of crimes against humanity committed by communist regimes, but a large list of crimes committed by capitalist regimes can also be made up. Read about the recent history of Argentina and Chile. Of course, even USA history has its dark side (slavery, forcible relocation of all Native Americans).

Several people also mention the lack of “work ethic” in communist countries because hard work does not get rewarded. The same is true in capitalist countries, in that there are many inequities are present in the economic system. If I am born as Nelson Rockefeller, John Paul Getty or Melissa Gates, I automatically inherit millions without ever having to lift a finger for it. If I am Michael Ovitz, I can earn 90 million US$ after working for 9 months at Disney Corp. and being fired. Do those people work harder than (for example) the average police detective, public defense attorney, construction worker?

Capitalist societies have survived by adopting many of the ideas of communism to “redistribute” wealth, such as insurance, retirement benefits, welfare, etc… Communist societies, on the other hand, have been moving to adopt many of the ideas of capitalism, such as increased private ownership of the means of production.

J’ai assez vécu pour voir que différence engendre haine.
Henri B. Stendhal