“What really grinds my gears” republished

July 19, 2008 at 8:52 pm 2 comments

A friend of mine, Kyle Brockman, just wrote this amazing piece on capitalism as a note on Facebook.  He’s allowed me to republish it here so I can share it with my Friendfeed and Twitter followers:

You know what really grinds my gears?
So, you are sitting around with your friends, having an intellectual discussion, and all of a sudden the word communism get mentioned. This in itself is not a problem, or at least, it wouldn’t be if it weren’t for a particular social nuance associated with the word. Inevitably as the bloody tides, someone will just have to add in a nasal ivy-league voice before acting smug:

“Well, communism is a good idea… in theory.”

NO. COMMUNISM IS A TERRIBLE THEORY.

Every time any reasonable number of people have attempted to establish a communist society, they have managed to bring about not only total economic failure, but an inevitably fascist state that throws human rights out the window and ushers in a newfound era of human suffering. If communism is a “good theory”, then it is officially the poorest implemented theory in human history… ever.

Oh wait, here comes the self-righteous anti-capitalism brigade, demanding that someone acknowledge the suffering capitalism causes. Except… wait a second… It is completely, 100% impossible for capitalism to cause suffering. The very idea of capitalism is that all exchanges are voluntary and optional. If you think a trade or exchange is going to make you worse off, don’t make it. If you don’t have a choice, surprise! That’s not capitalism! Any supposed sins of capitalism are not only fabricated outright lies, but completely overshadowed by the bloodbath that is communism anyway.

This isn’t an opinion piece. There is no viewpoints for us to share or respect. Humanity already figured this out guys, it’s a solved issue. The earth is round, not flat: arguing otherwise makes you both ignorant and stupid, not “respectful” or anything of the sort. A centrally planned economy and group ownership of resources sounds like a clever idea to maximize productivity; so did the idea of the Earth being the center of the universe surrounded by ether-filled spheres that the other planets and bodies glide around on. Clever, but completely wrong.

Communism brought out the worst in humanity, and speaking fondly of it only makes you sound like an idiot for digging it out of its well-deserved grave.

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Entry filed under: Economics, Politics. Tags: , , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. taylorshelton  |  July 19, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    First of all, there is a logical fallacy in the beginning of the piece. To say that every communist state will inevitably become ‘facist’ is simply wrong. Sure, you could ascribe to the circular spectrum theory that the far left and the far right end up in the same place, but that theory also has its flaws. It is true to say that many of the nations that become ‘communist’ do, in fact, turn into dictatorships. Such a thing is inexcusable, but it is inherently not communist to establish a dictatorship – or at least not Marxist (that may be overly semantic). Coming from that, to say that communism is the most poorly implemented theory in history is probably completely true. the Soviet Union was not very communist, mostly because establishing a dictatorship and punishing citizens indiscriminately isn’t communist – it is authoritarian. because the USSR gave ‘communism’ a bad name, it is easy to confuse the two. but still, they are different. Cuba is probably the closest thing to a true, and successful communist state in history. Cuba has its fair share of abuses, including some homophobia and executions. It has, however, also established one of the most gender and professionally-equitable in human history. but still, Castro was a strong-handed dictator – so even the closest thing hasn’t quite gotten it right. so yes, communism has been poorly implemented. but that has nothing to do with the theory itself.

    As for the sins of capitalism, I don’t have to lecture you on externalities – you’ve taken economics. The sins of capitalism aren’t always, or ever, visited upon the people who choose to participate in the system. Externalities require regulation because otherwise, capitalism would be allowed to run rough shod over society as a whole, regardless of political or economic beliefs. And to say that any sins of capitalism are overshadowed by the sins of communism is completely irrelevant – since when did the rule of thumb become that just because one thing is supposedly better than another, you are no longer allowed to criticize it?

    On a wholly separate note, it is probably just as fair to say that true capitalism has never existed. A free market doesn’t exist, especially in the United States. For over a century, our government has been skewed towards corporate welfare. Oil companies aren’t so successful just because their product is in demand – they do so well because they are propped up by the American government. The same goes for agribusiness, mortgage lenders, banks, etc.

    Also, could the author be any more polemic or self-aggrandizing? To say that an issue that is outside any realm of scientific certainty (there will never be a scientific association that says that with 99% certainty that capitalism is definitively better than communism or socialism – in no way can this be compared to the earth being spherical or flat, or even global warming) is not up for a debate is not only undemocratic, it undermines the intellect of anyone who, for any reason, may disagree. That, if anything, is authoritarian – in a very scaled down, unenforceable way.

    Thumbs down. Capitalist, communist or otherwise, I feel like this piece misses the point. Whatever the point may be, I don’t see a reasonable argument being made here. ending my rant now

    Reply
  • 2. Konservo  |  July 24, 2008 at 6:48 pm

    TS sayz:

    As for the sins of capitalism, I don’t have to lecture you on externalities – you’ve taken economics. The sins of capitalism aren’t always, or ever, visited upon the people who choose to participate in the system. Externalities require regulation because otherwise, capitalism would be allowed to run rough shod over society as a whole, regardless of political or economic beliefs.

    Capitalism is not the same as thing as anarchy. Please keep in mind that most folks in favor of a “free” market expect the government to prevent and punish fraud, coercion, intimidation, etc. No, “capitalism” will never “run rough shod over society as a whole,” this assertion doesn’t even make sense. Capitalism is merely the belief that individuals have the legal and moral right to do as they please with their own own property as long as those actions do not infringe upon the rights of others.

    And to say that any sins of capitalism are overshadowed by the sins of communism is completely irrelevant – since when did the rule of thumb become that just because one thing is supposedly better than another, you are no longer allowed to criticize it?

    By all means, friend, please, criticize away…

    Oh, and those evil, evil externalities that you speak of can and should (according to mainstream capitalist thought, e.g. Friedman and Hayek) be addressed by the government in the public’s interest.

    As the post says, you only make yourself “sound like an idiot” trying to make an argument against individual political and economic freedom.

    Reply

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