This month marks the 100 year anniversary of the communist takeover of Russia. Throughout this centenary month MLLG chronicles the century of communism and its close cousins – socialism, utopianism and collectivism – in our series: Red October.
From time immemorial, quixotic romantics have dreamt of paradise: Utopia, Elysium, Valhalla, Xanadu, Eden, Nirvana. In the end, all they had to show for their fantasies and delusions was a sea of blood and millions of broken lives. Despite its grisly record, collectivism still exerts a powerful emotional appeal on progressives, who remain slaves to Utopia. Our Red October series documents communism’s century of mental poison and human misery to bestir those beguiled by its siren song.
America’s first settlements began with Utopian dreams. When colonists arrived in Jamestown everything went into a common store, severing all links between work and benefit. Within 6 months most died from starvation. When another 500 settlers arrived, 440 more died. When the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth, the socialistic Mayflower Compact governed them; soon they were eating rats and most died. Like socialism everywhere (Venezuela today), there was starvation in the midst of plenty. Only when they rejected socialism and embraced property rights did the colonists prosper.
A hundred years of communism has produced death and destruction on a massive scale. Soviet communism killed 50 million, not counting tens of millions in Gulags. Not to be outdone, Mao and the Chicoms killed 70 million. Pol Pot killed 6 million in tiny Cambodia. Then there is Laos, Cuba and North Korea. The toll in death, torture, misery, destruction and suffering is unparalleled in human history. It must be noted that even the reviled Nazis were socialists as Nazi is shorthand for the National Socialist Party. Fear not, the unreconstructed commies will get it right the next time.
The evils of collectivism are on full display today in oil rich Venezuela – once the wealthiest country in South America. After 18 years of Chavez/Maduro style socialism people are starving. Medical care is unavailable; operating rooms are filthy; and people die for lack of antibiotics. Infant mortality is higher than in war-ravaged Syria as incubators are broken and there no longer is any baby formula. Shortages, including toilet paper, are endemic. Inflation is nearly 800% and the economy has contracted by one-third. People are dying daily in the streets while others are desperately fleeing.
The gulf between the words and deeds of communism and all forms of collectivism is an unbridgeable abyss. They speak of comradeship, equality, brotherly love, peace, prosperity, progress and freedom. Their deeds result in brutal dictatorships, Gulags, world wars, police states, totalitarianism, economic stagnation, shortages and a general sense of torpor and malaise. They promise Utopia but deliver Venezuela. They want to be judged by their lofty intentions but they are damned by their actions.
Communism and its collectivist cousins always fail because they are diametrically and fundamentally opposed to human nature – which is deeply ingrained and cannot be overrode. From each according to his ability; to each according to his needs abrogates human nature. Even people as altruistic, homogenous and devout as the Pilgrims chose to starve rather than to modify their humanity to conform to that deadly mantra.
Collectivism sometimes may work for a family, clan or tribe where familial bonds (a key part of our human nature) override economic incentives. However, throughout human history, there is no example extant where socialism has worked for a group of more than 25 people. Judge collectivists by their actions – not by their words!
Our Red October series continues next Sunday with “A Tale of Six Islands”.