Hugo Chavez is clearly a closet Marxist but when asked why he was such an avid socialist he summed up socialism by describing it as “love”. “Socialism is Love” is perhaps the best description, in the fewest words, of socialism and communism that I have ever heard. If you consider the motives of many of the outspoken Liberals, Socialists, and even Marxists, you see that what they are seeking is to ensure that everyone shares in the wealth and advantages of society as a whole. Truly a worthwhile objective but then why have these altruistic philosophies failed in practice – or have they failed”
It seems clear today that Communism has failed. Lenin overthrew the Czar in 1917 and purged not just the aristocracy but the capitalists, the business owners, and even the farmers who owned land. Everything was taken over by the state and was to be run for the benefit of everyone. The very foundation of Marxism is expressed in this one phrase:
“From each according to his ability. To each according to his needs.”
This simple phrase indicates that everyone will work to their capacity and give to the state all of their output so the state can redistribute the wealth they generated according to the needs of everyone. In practice this means that if you can generate $100 but only require $10 to support yourself then the state returns $10 to you and distributes the remaining $90 according to the “needs” of others. Of course in practice it seems that members of the Communist Party had more needs than non-members and senior party members had even more needs. Intellectuals, artists, and professionals were generally viewed as parasites because they didn’t produce anything tangible and were treated accordingly.
The stark reality is that the left wing of society closed its collective eyes to the failure of Communism under Lenin and Stalin. The Western Intelligentsia continued to extol the glories of the Worker’s Paradise even when it was obvious that it was nothing short of a crude dictatorship that was systematically murdering thousands of people. This self-deception continued right up to and beyond the fall of the USSR. Castro came to power as a “socialist” whose objective was to overthrow the evil Dictatorship of Bautista with a free and democratic – albeit socialist – government. However, once Bautista was gone, the free and democratic government never materialized, instead Castro declared himself not just a “socialist” but a Marxist. Elections were held but the only party was the Communist Party and the only candidate Fidel. Gone was any semblance of freedom. This same scenario is being played out today in Venezuela by Hugo Chavez who describes himself as a “socialist” while he is rigging elections, nationalizing industries, and wrecking the economy in the his efforts to spread the wealth. Even Chavez himself hints that he is a Marxist, but few people in the media or on the left are willing to call him what he is – a Marxist Dictator cut from the Stalinist cloth.
Every communist regime from Lenin until now has been a disaster economically as well as politically. There has never been a Communist government voted into office and once in control no communist regime has ever been unseated electorally – all have been overthrown by violence. Fortunately few communist regimes remain but those that do are repressive and examples would be North Korea, Viet Nam, and Cuba. Of course many of the fellow travelers would point out that China is “communist” and very successful. However, modern China is no longer a “communist” nation but rather an updated version of Imperial China. The country has adopted many of the trappings of a capitalist society like entrepreneurship, profits, and individuality. Of course there is little freedom of the press, assembly, or speech, but then those things weren’t characteristics of Imperial China either. China has let the capitalist cat out of the bag and they will never be able to put it back, so China will slowly continue its evolution from Communism to Capitalism.
But what of those nations that are truly socialist – countries like France and Sweden? Aren’t they successful? Obviously it depends on how you measure success, but keeping in mind that one of the primary objectives of socialism is employment not profitability or productivity, then the socialist countries of Western Europe do not perform well.
The Gross Domestic Product per capita of France is 26% below that of the US, Sweden is 22%
And Germany is 38% below that of the United States. When viewed in terms of Gross Domestic Product per Employed Person the United States produces $81,024 per person while France produces $63,097, Sweden $63,401, and Germany $59,052 and these are countries where employment is a primary objective and the rationale for government control. But the unemployment rate in the US is at 4.5% while France and Germany have unemployment rates of 9% and Sweden 7%.
The obvious conclusion is that capitalism undoubtedly has greater swings in employment it has greater productivity and wealth generation than any of the socialist countries and ironically less unemployment. So while the socialists and Marxists show their “love” for the poor and downtrodden at the expense of the rich and successful, the overall result is a reduction in overall wealth and greater unemployment, not considering the flight of capital and brains as the more educated and aggressive members of their society flee their loving embrace. One is reminded of George Orwell’s “New Speak” where “Love is Hate”. This certainly seems to apply to Communism and Socialism.