Damn!! Communists. Warning; Thread Dredging


Damn!! I shoulda known you sharp bastards would have thoroughly tilled that plot.

The rest of the planet: http://boards.straightdope.com/ubb/Forum5/HTML/000980.html

The Devil said got the essence of it way back last Halloween when he said:
[In capitalism, people are rewarded for doing something valuable with money, and the amount of money they recieve is proportional to the value of the service or product they are providing. When you take away that money you are in effect punishing them. In communism there is no reward for doing anything.] http://boards.straightdope.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/003127.html

I like this old saying that boils it down even more. In capitalism, if a worker sees his boss driving a nice car he says, “I’m going to have one like that someday”. In communism, the worker says, “I’m going to take that away from him someday”.

Just to contain the shit storm I’ll draw a few lines. I’m not going to try to defend capitalism. I’m not going to rehash gory details of the 20th century. I’m not going to wrestle with the ghost of Karl Marx. I am going to pick out why I think communism doesn’t work on a large scale.

It’s all about incentives and the human animal.

Let’s have a squint at the beast, walk all the way around. Sure, most folks love their fellow man, are kind to the less fortunate, and want to promote the common good. That is built on the bedrock of taking care of number one, backfilled with ‘blood is thicker than water’. Most people except my landlord aren’t evil, but I don’t run into too many angels either.

Beyond that people are born to run, climb, adventure, bleed, heal, gamble, grow, fly. Take that away and you get dry rot and hate. Everyone but children knows in their bones that life is just a summer day and the night is long. The worst torture is taking away opportunity, risk, and choice, leaving only the ticking of the clock.

Now let’s scope out the incentives, the framework.

Under communism, (big picture), you have workers directed by government. The government people mostly want to do good things and make the system work, but they also want to line the old pockets a bit too. There is no real fire under their feet because the top bosses can only pay attention to so many things at once. Besides some big central government decision will usually come rumbling through and change everything anyway, it happens at random all the time. So they aren’t going to really care and strive as much as they might. The workers are in a jail of the mind. They are told where they will live, where they will work, what they will wear, when to breathe. If the system works well they are directed and taken care of from cradle to grave. If the system doesn’t work so good, a leaky petrochem pipeline poisons the drinking well and nobody fixes it. Maybe tomorrow your town gets relocated to the north pole. Doesn’t make a damn bit of difference if you go to school, work your guts out, or nap in the cellar. Pass the bottle.

Capitalism is much more like an ecosystem. There are angles, niches, choices, opportunities, plain old open doors to find. If you work, you get paid and can buy cool toys. If you work harder/smarter you get paid more, a lot more. If you don’t work you get hungry. Sure, you can screw up and lose it all, and you can’t sleaze out of the taxes, but what you get to keep is YOURS GODDAMIT. You can invest it wisely or blow the whole stack on a boxcar of pink feather dusters if you like. If that setup won’t light a fire under your lazy butt you don’t have a pulse.

deToqueville saw it clearly and said it best.

I didn’t say capitalism was perfect, I didn’t say it was right, I just said for organizing large groups of people it works better than anything else we’ve come up with so far. Looking at the sorry state of my neighborhood that can be hard to believe, but there it is.

The most valuable commodity is human intelligence and creativity. Large scale communism proposes that a few bosses can direct the details of 100 million lives better than 100 million motivated minds. Even us rich Americans can’t afford that kind of waste.

We have a joke in my crew; (carrying breifcase), “Hi, I’m from the government and I’m here to help you”. It always rolls 'em in the aisles. The best government is the least necessary and then get the hell out of the way or feel my smoking bootprints. Last year I threw my bedroll in a truck, drove 1500 miles and started over. Didn’t ask anybody if I could, damn sure nobody got in my way, and I keep in touch. Maybe I’ll get rich and maybe I’ll starve. That freedom is by far my most prized possession. Safety tip; do not ever try to take it away.

Lay it on me, comrade.

Hooray for speakeasy. The Pit might be the best place to deal with defenders of Communism.

It’s almost funny to think that, after what happened in the 20th century, there are still people who think now is the time for the real Communists to stand up and be counted.

The great enemy of Communism wasn’t capitalism, it was fascism. After WWII this mutated into Communism versus democracy. No Communist government was or ever will be legitimately elected in a truly democratic country.

I have said it here before: Communism goes completely against human nature and is based on lies and very serious violent social engineering. There is no “brotherhood of the workers”; all workers wish to rise in society. If they do not achieve a larger home and a bigger car they hope their children will.

Communism also fundamentally believes that capitalism is on the verge of collapse. This is proven wrong again and again. The Great Depression could be used as an example of a collapse of capitalism but capitalism recovered and learned from the experience, on a practical level without political smokescreens.

There has been some jibberish about the wastefulness and inefficiency of capitalism. Hey, that’s what makes the wheels go 'round! Do you think a city like L.A. with 16 million people would be better off under something other than capitalism? 16 million people with cars, televisions, clothes, decent food…even the poorest people have a relatively reasonable degree of comfort. Street Economics 101 (with apologies to you who have a formal education in Economics):
(1) If I fly into a city with $50 in my pocket and give a cabby $50 for a ride he then spends the $50 on a whore who then buys $50 worth of cosmetics from her Mary K rep who then goes grocery shopping at the corner store…by the time the sun goes down 15 people have spent $50 and received $50 worth of goodies. If the government gets 10% tax on every transaction they bag $75 before the sun goes down.
(2) If I open a factory in a little town creating jobs for 50 employees 500 new jobs come into being. The 50 employees will have families so there is a need for teachers, cab drivers, real estate agents, sales clerks, fast food outlets…

Money moving around is the secret. Everybody participates and everybody gets a piece of the action. Even the lowest poorest member of the society has his hopes and spirits lifted by the sight of the money circulating around him because he has hope of getting in on the action and improving his lot.

The government running all aspects of people’s lives is a horrifying concept. Politicians making all decisions in a society? Art, industry, science, all subservient to a sacred political ideal? It is appalling.

Kruschev decided that Russia should lead the world in wheat production. For political reasons he wanted the global statistics to show that Russia produced the most wheat. Factories tooled up and produced hundreds of thousands of farm tractors which then procedded to plow up the vast steppes of Kazakhstan. The entire Communist scientific community risked their lives and protested in writing against this political decision, unsuccessfully. You can now fly over this vast desert and still see the huge squares of land that were plowed up so that the wind could blow away all of the thin soil.

The political elite in all Communist countries have always taken special privileges for themselves - luxury shops, better homes, better cars, foreign travel, favours for family and friends - and yet they expect the workers to have no desire for such things and in fact criminalize the quest to better one’s lot in life (except through political channels). It is irrational. An attempt to change human nature. I am reminded of the wealthy environmentalists we have who, having acquired their beautiful country estate and expensive motor vehicle, preach to the masses about making do with less. Well, we all want to find a way to own a beautiful home in the country. One of the mobsters in Mario Puzo’s “The last Don” said “Everyone has a right to make a living. If you don’t believe that go live in the shit.”

During the show trials of the 1930s, when Stalin was murdering millions, the Communists were very good at staging courtroom confessions from high party officials. If the accused was reluctant to admit to antisocial activity or impure political thought, there would be a recess while he would be backroomed and beaten very carefully. If you are pissing blood you are motivated to cooperate.

I have no idea what kind of government the USA will have when there are over a billion people on the North American continent. I don’t want to be around to see it. Maybe China has the right government now, a nasty dictatorship hiding behind a communist mask, to deal with its population. Any shakeup in China might trigger famines and violence that would quickly kill tens of millions. China won’t be changing to some democratic utopia in the near future. It is not easy for us to conceive of how to govern teeming billions. Communism may be a better dictatorship than fascism but when either is applied to reality they look pretty much the same. In any case Communism isn’t dead yet.

Believe it or not, democracy was and is truly revolutionary. It was born and won with blood and iron. Most of our family trees have people who have died fighting for democracy. Where you have democracy you will have capitalism because, when the will of the people prevails the people will have the right to improve their lot, work hard on behalf of themselves and their families, and pursue their goals and dreams as they see them. “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

I support liberalism, social safety nets, labour unions, and other checks and balances against human greed and ruthlessness. I also love political opposition in democracy where a powerful opposition has the devil’s advocate job of arguing against the motions of the party in power. A healthy opposition is distinctly lacking in many of the new “democracies” springing up around the world. This is due to the unsophistication of the electorate who canot resist the cult of personality and the perception of political opposition as treason. But this will grow and develop under a rational and realistic system like democracy. I’m not really annoyed at defenders of communism on this message board because they are performing a political opposition role. Through healthy discussion the truth is sought and progress is made in the fight against ignorance.

In the spirit of the Pit, fuck all Communists to death. Anyone who comes around with a revolution that does away with democracy and wants to impose some unnatural sacred ideal on the workers is going to have to deal with some very tough democratic capitalists. We will fight and die for our cause and we will be smarter, tougher, healthier, better equipped, better led, and better motivated than any Communist “freedom fighter”.

I expect I will log on here later and find all kinds of quotes being flung back in my face, as this extemporaneous posting of mine is nitpicked to pieces (or maybe this thread will plunge). I would rather see clear explanations as to why Communism is better for people and can improve their lives. I do hope defenders of Communism continue to post. I am waiting to hear how Communism can function without violating basic human rights and forcefully changing human nature. If Communism is good then people should be able to receive an education in its merits (and I don’t mean through Marxist “re-education camps” like they had in Cambodia). Why is it that Communist political education always deteriorates into torture and murder? It’s not easy to make people truly believe that black is white or the sun rises in the west.

I almost didn’t post this because the issue of Communism, and political systems in general, is so complex. But what the heck…

It’s amazing how much we agree speakeasy. I’m going to respond to your comment too, however I’m going to do it in the other thread. There was one that was just to easy to pass up though.

See. Communism doesn’t propose that, it’s capitalism. Capitalism says that there are people in government and bosses who know how to plan things better than 100 million motivated people. Communism states that 100 million motivated people can figure it out much better than an elite few. Under capitalism there is a minority that makes descisions that affect the majoritie’s lives. Under Communism the majority makes that descision. I will respond to everything els in the original thread that you posted a link to.

history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce - Karl Marx

Sorry Al, I’m going to respond to you in Great Debates too. I didn’t see your post until after I posted mine.

Personally, I could use some more reds to debate with. I feel guilty the way oldscratch gets ganged up on. I also get impatient between the pro-communism posts. I’m at the dwindling tail end of the semester now, and actually have the time to respond to a number of points in depth. So let this be in invitation to others to head over to GD and support communism (in the debate that is). I’ll argue with all of you to the best of my abilities, whatever they may be.

“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.” - Adam Smith

I agree. I would respond more frequently. But, I’m forced to respond to 5-7 posts at once. I don’t want anyone to feel that I’m ignoring their arguments. If anyone else wants to jump in please do so. :slight_smile:


Well shit and fall back in it. I don’t want to leave the Pit. I like the Pit. I’m not housebroken. I don’t play nice and I like to cuss.

But since you answered the call, just this once I’ll put on my cheap dark sunglasses and crawl out from under my rock. But of I eat your liver out in public and we get booted back here, good.

I’ll see you at: http://boards.straightdope.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/003127.html

Wups. I guess I won’t see you at: http://boards.straightdope.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/003127.html

The stinkin thread is closed. I don’t find you in any recent commie debate threads. So what’s it going to be?


You can’t find me in any recent debates? Have the capitalists place blinders on you too? I’m at http://boards.straightdope.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/001778.html
I’ll post my latest response by 11am SDMB time. Woohoo.

history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce - Karl Marx


Ya, I’ve been dorked by that button too. Now I do all my composing in a text editor offline.

Thanx for the link, I missed that thread on the first couple passes. I seem to having tech problems, the search function on these boards does not return anything and sometimes locks up my box. I’ll twiddle with it.

Back to the subject. I read the thread. Holy shit! Damn me if I didn’t get scooped by some amazingly capable posters on every count. They hit all the points I had lined up and then some. Remind me never to cross blades with Al Zheimers (obviously not suffering from that condition) or dhanson. There’s also some bullshit and ranting in there, but all the essential points are made. I can see you’ve got an intimate knowledge of recent history and balls the size of grapefruits to take on that crowd.

You’re also flat wrong. Communism will work just fine, just as soon as we change human nature. Until then it’s a recipe for slaughter and disaster. Matter of fact, it sounds like you are stumping for that very thing:

[Yes people, I am talking about revolution. Yes I am talking about violence.]

Even if I agreed with your politics, that’s where I step off. Butchering people for their own good doesn’t really hang together for me.

So I’ll dig a little deeper next time before I open fire. Excuse me while I slink off to my favorite sulpher pool to look for the other half of my ass. Can’t find my sunglasses either.

Rickin, frickin, frackin hackensacken, mumble, grumble…