The ‘good on paper’ defence of Communism, or the idea that the practical or specific implementation of communistic systems of governance are the issue that has displaced, starved and murdered uncountable millions, especially from those who consider themselves of the right, troubles me deeply.
I have two primary criticisms of this. The first and most obvious is as follows: a system of governance that believes that the entire material wealth of society should be redistributed according to the will of the proletariat requires a strong state, or similar actor, to perform such a redistribution. Thus, the state must control a significant aspect of your life.
People should not be treated equally, they should be treated fairly.
It determines the clothes you are entitled to wear, the food you eat. Here there can be no safeguard from the power of the state as you are effectively the property of the state and it must use you for the advancement of ‘the people’.
This stands aside from the valuable point that those who would use the state for their own gain will do so. Leadership positions will eventually inevitably be taken by those who are prepared to do anything to advance themselves – and if the dangers of such leaders are not apparent to you then I suggest you open any book on human history.
Secondly, the fundamental and unchallenged notion at the heart of communistic ideology is that of absolute egalitarianism – the notion that all people are to be treated equally. I would argue that this has been the single most destructive delusion since the French Revolution.
Naturally, most readers will profoundly disagree, but I ask you: why should those who make different decisions to you be treated in the same manner? One would not consider someone without a medical degree to be your doctor, nor a paedophile to be your child-minder.
This attitude can only ensure that individuals are not seen as individuals, acting under their own direction, but as automatons with no freedom. It denies the fundamental humanity of people by neglecting the very thing that makes us human – the ability to make our own choices.
If people are not people, there is no moral consequence to their harm when it is for the ‘greater good’. People should not be treated equally, they should be treated fairly. Therein lies the crucial difference.
Opinion pieces are the view of the author and in no way reflect the views of Forge Press.
Words by Matthew Rowland
Image credit: Willi Wallroth