Experiments in Socialism
Pros and Cons of Socialism
Vladimir Lenin was filled with hatred, and he was a compulsive liar. He promised various groups of Russians self-determination until he came to power in 1917; fully knowing he intended no such thing. Promises of a grassroots democracy were made, but they were lies; what Lenin delivered was a dictatorship. Lenin and his circle of Socialist intellectuals imposed Communism on Russia while spouting democratic slogans. Their untruths then enabled them to take control of the world’s largest country and fifth-largest economy without having any business experience at all. None of these men had ever administered anything. Lenin was acutely aware that in order to enforce the will of a small minority of intellectuals upon the populace, it was necessary to have a totalitarian dictatorship in place, a dictatorship ruled by coercion, violence, and terror.
It would have been impossible for this small band of intellectuals to have prevailed under “normal” methods. The only way they could have come to power was through radical, brutal violence and retaliation. The cruelty, the crimes, and the repression created the greatest tragedy of the human experience.
Lenin preached class warfare; he encouraged the poor to seize the land from those who owned it, and he incited workers to take over the factories in which they worked. He fully intended from the beginning that both the land and the factories would be taken from them—which they were. The state ultimately owned and organized everything—all property, industry, transportation, wholesale trade, retail stores, and other institutions. Within eight years, the country’s productivity fell to less than 20% of what it was before Lenin took control.
To manage all of this, a huge bureaucracy was required, one that would place its collective interests above those of the population. To ensure loyalty, bureaucrats were granted special privileges, such as better food, clothes, housing, household goods, health care, resorts, and cemeteries. This would provide the bureaucracy with a vested interest in the survival of the regime, but it also served to make a mockery of the social equality that was supposedly at the heart of Socialism.
Socialism promised that the state could run the economy more efficiently than Capitalism. This was proved to be wrong. The free market went underground. The government flooded the country with freshly printed money; their express intent being to cause the inflation that would destroy private savings. Prices increased by 100 million times in six years. The Russian economy was destroyed.
Socialist attempts to run agriculture were so poor that 5.2 million people starved to death. That number would have been six times higher had not Americans, led by Herbert Hoover, rushed in to feed the Russian people.
In 1923, Joseph Stalin took over. His first act was to confiscate the assets of all Russian churches, supposedly to feed the masses, but in reality to enrich the state. All places of worship were closed, and 106,800 clergymen were shot. 60,000 more were exiled to Siberia.
Stalin thrived on crisis. He said, “Crisis alone permitted the authorities to demand—and obtain—total submission and all the necessary sacrifices from its citizens.”
In 1929, Stalin instituted full governmental control to central plan the entire national economy. He ensured the Russian people that “construction of socialism” would greatly improve living standards. But living standards dropped precipitously, to less than 10% of what they were, within five years. Since all workers were paid the same wages regardless of effort and competence, effort nearly ceased and the unqualified had no incentive to acquire new skills.
Stalin, unwilling to admit to the deficiencies in Socialism’s theories, decided to place blame for the ruination of the Russian economy on its peasant farmers. They were herded into collective farms thereby reducing 75% of the Russian people to government chattel. All of their belongings, including livestock and farm implements, were confiscated. Any farmers who were financially independent found themselves deported to labor camps, presumably because they were more intelligent than the average bear, and because they might be useful. The death penalty was instituted for stealing a few grains of wheat. Peasants quickly became slave laborers—told by the state when to work and what to do— and paid just enough per year to buy one pair of shoes, for backbreaking work. The state reaped the profits from agriculture, at 300%, far higher than any Capitalist operation in history.
40% of the USSR’s national income went into the country’s military budget. When there proved to be too many ignorant mouths to feed, Stalin created an artificial famine that was responsible for the starvation and death of 6.5 million people in 1933. Russia, once the world’s leading exporter of cereal, could no longer feed itself. If people criticized Socialism, they were simply killed—1.5 million of them in 1938 alone. Many common citizens were compelled to participate in this orgy of destruction by informing on others; ordinary people were forced to spy on their friends and neighbors in order to stay alive.
Free speech was eliminated in order to create the illusion of unanimity. Minds as well as bodies were to be dispossessed for the good of the Socialist State. Lenin’s first act was to shut down the free press and implement censorship. Under Stalin, not only were people told what not to write, but also what to write, stage, film, or broadcast—according to what the state decided was Politically Correct. History was rewritten for Soviet schools; the reality of history no longer existed. The official doctrine of the country became “Socialist realism” in 1932. Lying and cheating became a means of survival. Social ethics and civil society were shattered. Everyone looked out for himself, a far cry from the stated aim of Socialism, “all for the common good.”
Max Eastman, Lenin’s old friend, said, “Stalinism is worse than fascism, more ruthless, barbarous, unjust, immoral, anti-democratic, unredeemed by any hope or scruple. Stalinism is Socialism, the nationalization and collectivization on which Stalin had relied in his plan to erect a classless society.”
The Soviet experiment in Socialism was a terrific tragedy. Lines to buy bread stretched for blocks. Productivity was pitiful. Laborers who worked hard found themselves beaten up for their efforts, for making the others look bad, “They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work.” Central Planning either missed or ignored innovations such as plastic, synthetic fibers, computers, and other information technologies.
When the Soviet Union finally collapsed, one-half of the population earned less than ten dollars a month. Many stayed drunk. Corruption flourished, and the officials in charge of goods and services expected bribes. Positions with the greatest opportunity to receive bribes were sold to the highest bidder. The three million people who ran the country were the same percentage of the population as the nobles and capitalists who ran it before Socialism took over, and they enjoyed similar privileges. The Russian people had simply traded one group of “exploiters” for another. In the words of a Soviet bureaucrat: “It’s not simply a matter of good cars or apartments. It’s the continuous satisfaction of your own whims, the way an army of boot-lickers, ready to do everything for you, allows you to work painlessly for hours. Your every wish is fulfilled. You can go to the theatre on a whim; you can fly to Japan from your hunting lodge. You are like a king; just point your finger and it is done.”
If you wonder how people could treat each other so cruelly, remember that the Socialists were Atheists and Darwinists. People were expendable because people have no inherent worth under such a belief system. Existing humanity was debris, and killing off garbage was no matter of consequence to an enlightened Socialist.
Pros and Cons of Socialism
The word Nazi means National Socialist. The Nazis were genuine Socialists, as evidenced by their antagonism toward Capitalism and Democracy, and love for coercive collectivism. The ideas that guided the German state under Hitler were the ideas of Socialism. The most important ancestors of Socialism were Germans (Fichte, Rodbertus, and Lassalle).
The Soviets backed Hitler by allowing him to produce and test his weapons on their soil; they also provided the Nazis with food and metal. The common enemy of the Soviets and the Nazis was liberal democracy—meaning liberal in the classical sense, as in the ideas of the American Founding Fathers, not in the postmodern use of the word “liberal” in American politics to denote Socialists. Classical Liberal Democracy reveres free enterprise, private property, and individual rights.
Hitler admired the Soviet model of the totalitarian one-party state, and applauded its Socialist ideology that human beings were expendable raw material to be used for state purposes. The Soviets and the Nazis wanted to control every aspect of organized life, to impose iron discipline on all persons, through the use of secret police endowed with unrestricted powers, using law to advance the goals of the state not to protect the individual.
In the eyes of Hitler, nothing was more contemptible than the universal striving for happiness among individuals. The life of the state ranked higher than the life of individuals. Organization is the essence of Socialism, and Germany under the Nazis was the most convinced exponent of Socialism and developed the most highly organized economic system. Socialism is a power policy to centrally plan every aspect of life, and a conscious and determined opponent of individualism.
Under the National Socialist, there was no such thing as a private person. Everybody worked for the German state, all salaries and wages were set by the state, and the state administered all property. It was a fight against the capitalistic order. It was entirely socialist in worldview. It was the fusion of Socialism and Nationalism.
One would think that the outrages committed by totalitarian governments would make people in the West fearful that such a system might arise in their own countries. On the contrary, the attitude is “it couldn’t happen here.”
People seem not to be aware that to a German in 1930—and even to outsiders—the idea of a totalitarian state rising there would have seemed a paranoid fantasy, even though the influential German Jewish professor, Edgar Jaffe, wrote in 1915, “Individualism must come to an end absolutely. A system of regulations must be set up, the object of which is not the greater happiness of the individual, but the strengthening of the organized unity of the state. We must eliminate profit to kill Capitalism.” It is tragically ironic that like those of Professor Jaffe, most of Hitler’s ideas were Jewish ideas.
Socialists want to break all ties to the past, getting rid of the traditions and customs of a people, to prepare the way for totalitarianism. These Socialists are sincere idealists and often men of considerable intellectual distinction. They are relativists, not believing in objective truth, who would make morality a function of politics. They would use media to mass-produce mass opinion.
In the Germany before the rise of Hitler, political professors agitated for a scientific organization of society. These scientist-politicians were not on the side of liberty, they were “elite experts” impatient with the ways of the common man, contemptuous of anything not consciously organized by their superior minds. They insisted that the classics of Western Civilization not be taught to students, as they would instill the dangerous spirit of liberty. These scholars and scientists paved the way for National Socialism.
The role of intellectuals in the totalitarian transformation of a society was seen clearly by French philosopher, Julien Benda: “It is a superstition that science is competent in all domains, including that of morality. Those who brandish this doctrine either believe in it or simply wish to give the prestige of a scientific appearance to the passions of their hearts. They are partisans of arbitrary authority. This is quite natural, since it eliminates the two realities they most hate, i.e., human liberty and the historical action of the individual.”
Socialist intellectuals hate the distinguishing features of Western Civilization. They are Darwinists who believe in scientific planning based on evolutionary theory. In Germany they were joined by labor union leaders who yearned for the destruction of the competitive system fostered by free market Capitalism, never mind the accompanying doom of freedom for the individual. They wanted the impersonal discipline of the free market to be replaced by the will of a few individuals. If you destroy the former, you get the latter.
The bylaws of the Nazi party feature a fierce hatred of Capitalism—profit seeking, free enterprise, banks, stock, retail stores, interest, and loans. The abolition of Capitalism was the program of the Nazis to which the German people responded enthusiastically. It is noteworthy, that the young adults of Germany were nearly unanimously in favor of the end of Capitalism and Classical Liberalism. The inherent logic of collectivism could only lead to universal compulsion.
All Germans had to be coerced into accepting the anti-individualist program of the National Socialists, who scared the populace with anti-Communist propaganda before driving them into a system that only differed from Communism in name. The Nazis gradually extended the field of state activity, until they had central control of the economy.
National Socialism’s aim was to make the state the “daddy of the people.” It was contemptuous of business and free enterprise, and yet, it esteemed bureaucrats. Socialism leads to totalitarianism and dictatorship, and such a social order will inevitably fall under the control of the most heinous individuals. Socialism is the father of Nazism.
Pros and Cons of Socialism
Chairman Mao, a big hero to American college campus Socialists, was a proponent of massive violence. Mao said, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. If worst came to worst to worst, and half of mankind died, the whole world would become Socialist.” Mao learned from Marx and Lenin that to stay in power, Socialists had to demolish every vestige of Capitalism. Even that was not enough; Socialism’s ultimate aim was to change humankind into complete conformity with the ideals of Socialism. This would require “reeducation camps.”
Mao’s Little Red Book was the only book allowed in China for some time. It was also a popular book of “wisdom” among American Socialists. In it he says, “The outstanding thing about China’s 600 million people is that they are poor and blank. This may seem a bad thing, but in reality it is a good thing. Poverty gives rise to the desire for change, and the desire for revolution.”
Mao’s Socialist policies caused the starvation, or outright killing, of 30 million Chinese people. In 1966, he recruited barbarous hordes of urban youth to viciously ravage the general population; to destroy Chinese culture. All of the schools were closed, western music was prohibited; intellectuals were taken, tortured, and killed. These actions are in keeping with Socialist movements everywhere. As their ideas fail to produce promised results, they find it necessary to become even more ruthless in the implementations of their policies, rather than admit their ideas are wrong.
Experiment in Socialism on the Korean People
The Soviets exported Socialism to North Korea. South Korea remained free. In case some defenders of socialism try to blame the failures of this system on the national character deficiencies of a certain people, which they do, this case of Korea—and of Germany (East and West) rebuts this with hard evidence. The Koreans, whether north or south, are one stock of people.
What have been the results in the Capitalist South and Socialist North? In the North, millions died of starvation during the 1990s alone, and millions of children continue to be born with malformations, deformities that are for the majority caused by the malnutrition of their mothers. Not a single person has starved in South Korea, and its infant mortality rate is 8 per 1,000 versus 88 in North Korea. Average life expectancy is 49 in the North and 70 in the South. GDP per capita is $13,700 in the South but only $900 in the North. Gee, could it be the system of Socialism at the heart of this disparity? Do you think?!
Pros and Cons of Socialism in Cuba
Cuba once enjoyed the second-highest standard of living in Latin America, prior to the takeover by Castro. Castro learned Marxist ideology from the murderer, much beloved by American Socialists, Che Guevara. In 1960, Castro confiscated most of the land in Cuba, stole all businesses and industrial plants owned by foreigners, and forbid competing political parties. He had lied to the Cuban people that he was going to restore democracy. 50 years later, they are still waiting for its restoration.
In 1961, Castro proclaimed Cuba a “Socialist” country. He urged the Soviets to launch a nuclear strike against America, and was fully prepared to sacrifice his entire nation for the triumph of “worldwide Socialism.” The Soviets didn’t do it, but in appreciation they did give Castro ten billion dollars.
By 1970, Castro had nationalized the entire economy of Cuba. He also created his Revolutionary Tribunals and labor camps to punish speech and thought that he deemed Politically Incorrect. When his policies made the Cuban people miserable, as Socialism always does, and living standards sharply declined, Castro blamed the United States. The best educated and most enterprising of Cubans fled to the United States, apparently not believing his propaganda (there is no record of one person going back voluntarily).
In 1992, Castro was able to boast the lowest rate of AIDS in the world, launching a wave of sex tourism. What many American Leftists, who adore Castro, may not know is that he achieved this by compulsory HIV testing, and by placing all HIV-positive persons in lifelong quarantine—the old school method of combating infectious disease. So, naturally, the disease did not spread in Cuba—saving millions of lives.
Pros and Cons of Socialism in Chile
Chile actually elected a Socialist president, Salvador Allende, in 1970. Upon his election, Allende promptly nationalized the banking, mining, and manufacturing industries; his actions reduced the economy of that nation to a shambles. The Soviets loaned him half a billion dollars, but it was not enough, so in order to pay for his ambitious social programs he simply kept printing money. The amount of money in circulation increased by fifteen times during Allende’s three years in office, resulting in a 300% rate of inflation during each of those years. As a result, he collectivized agriculture; the outcome, food production dropped in half, followed by the predictable food shortage. Allende planned a government –owned trucking company to compete with Chile’s independent truckers, who mounted dramatic protests. Finally, the military had to take him out to save Chile from complete chaos and collapse.
Pros and Cons of Socialism in Ethiopia
In 1974, Socialists gained control in Ethiopia by force. They seized all private wealth, nationalized the banks and insurance companies, outlawed private property, and declared Ethiopia a Socialist country. Massacres soon followed, and after that famine caused by collectivization of agriculture. One million Ethiopians died.
Pros and Cons of Socialism in Cambodia
The purest experiment with Socialism was imposed in Cambodia (1975-1978). The Socialist leaders, as is typical, would do anything to anybody to achieve their objective—the creation of a state where everybody truly had an equal outcome to their lives. The mass annihilation of people proved to be no obstacle. An intellectual elite guided by Marxist doctrine would completely reshape the lives of Cambodians through sheer violence. The Socialist revolutionaries, the Khmer Rouge, trained their believers to “love killing.”
The people of Cambodia welcomed the Khmer Rouge, because they promised non-violence and equality for all. After taking power, they killed 26% of the population, including all government employees, military members, teachers, merchants, landowners, professionals, skilled workers, and monks.
The Khmer Rouge would execute people who were late for work, complained about anything, or criticized their regime. Their officials would rape a woman, and then ram a bayonet into her vagina. Pregnant women were cut open, and their unborn babies yanked out. Women would have their breasts cut off. Western Socialists blamed the United States, as usual, this time on the theory that Americans had made the Khmer Rouge mad— mad enough to torture and exterminate their own people.