THE COMMUNIST THREAT IS ALL IN OUR MINDS
Since World War II, much of our foreign aid and military
build-up has been to defuse the Communist influence. Has the Communist threat
died with the breakup of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)?
To answer this question, we must first understand what communism (also called
socialism by some of its proponents) is.
Many of us have experienced some form of the Communist ideal in our immediate families. Many parents do without so their children won't have to. Parents can keep the wealth they create for themselves, but they are likely to generously share with their children. No one points a gun at Moms and Dads to get them to comply. Parents choose to give out of love.
Communists believe that we should all be family to one another. If we won't voluntarily give to others until the available wealth is evenly distributed, then we must be forced - at gunpoint, if necessary. Such tactics quickly destroy the love that is the source of such giving.
For example, we might help a family member in need, even if the need is frequent. If that family member insisted, with gun in hand, that we were going to help whether we wanted to or not, we'd probably feel less inclined to give anything at all. Instead, we'd probably hide what we have. Aggression inhibits spontaneous giving while encouraging resentment and hoarding.
Traveling by train through Poland and East Germany in the early 1980s, I always knew which side of the border I was on by the temperament of the customs officials. Those from the so-called free nations were courteous and friendly; those from the Eastern Bloc seemed miserable and eager to take out their frustrations on the passengers. A society based on the belief that selfish others are to blame for the world's woes is a society in which others who have more are seen as enemies. One person's gain is seen as an-other's loss. A Communist society believes in a win-lose world.
Because of this win-lose belief, most of the wealth in
Communist countries is taken from its creatorsat gunpoint, if necessaryand
is distributed by a handful of government officials. People who create more
wealth than others seldom benefit by having more for themselves or their
loved ones. Aggression has disrupted the marketplace ecosystem so much that
the Wealth Pie is just a fraction of what it otherwise would be.
Creating Class Distinctions
The Communist ethic championed a classless society with an even distribution of wealth, but the aggression used to implement it in Communist countries actually produced the greatest extremes. Individuals who created goods and services that the government considered critical were rewarded with the best food and living conditions. Such people might have developed new military technology or excelled in athletic competition, for example. Under communism, the average Soviet waited in long lines at state stores for unwrapped and unattractive produce and occasional meat, while high-ranking party officials and political favorites ordered high-quality, well-packaged food in exclusive stores and restaurants that were off limits to the average Soviet. (10)
Medical care likewise depended on one's status. High-ranking party members and other citizens of status were able to get Western-style care in special hospitals. (11) In spite of the high-sounding rhetoric, top-level Communists enjoyed a lifestyle that the average Soviet had no chance of attaining, no matter how hard he or she was willing to work.
To understand how politicians dedicated to an even distribution of wealth could let this happen, put yourself in their shoes. Imagine that you are a concerned head of state who wants everyone in the country to enjoy the same standard of living. You have the guns of government at your disposal, so you start by forcing everyone - at gunpoint, if necessary - to work for the same wage.
Since doctors are paid the same no matter how many patients they see, the doctors work at a leisurely pace, and lines outside their offices grow. To counter this, you consider paying doctors according to how many patients they see. Since doctors respond to incentives like everyone else, they see as many people as possible, giving all patients cursory exams and sending them on their way. Soon the doctors are making more than the workers they treat. Using aggression as your means, you have created a privileged class!
Instead of paying the doctors per patient, you set a quota for each doctor and send someone to make sure that the doctor spends the allotted time with each patient. The monitors are paid the same regardless of what their reports on the doctors contain. Knowing this, doctors will undoubtedly suggest that the monitors look the other way while the physicians maintain a leisurely pace. In return, the doctor will put the monitor's family at the front of the line if they should need treatment. This "medical insurance" cost the monitors nothing, so they have every reason to accept it. If the doctor lets some patients bribe their way to the head of the line, some of this money might also be split with the monitor. You have created two privileged classes instead of one: the doctor and the monitor.
You could have a second monitor check on the first, but what prevents the new monitor from accepting bribes as well? The more layers of monitors you have, the less wealth is created, since monitors produce no new goods and services. More dissatisfaction arises.
You could ask the police to torture any monitor who takes bribes, but the monitors might very well bribe the police. Because monitors take bribes, they can probably offer the police a better deal than merely making the same as everyone else.
If you threatened to torture police who accepted bribes, you would incur the animosity of an armed elite skilled in violent action not a good idea if you want a long life. To make your police unbribable, you must pay them more than anyone else. Once again, you must create class distinctions, with those who wield the guns of government at the top. Equality cannot be achieved through aggression.
Harming the Environment
The more often that aggression thwarts the natural regulation of the marketplace ecosystem, the more often the environment is devastated. In the United States, energy consumption is minimized so that profits will be maximized. As a result, the energy used in 1989 to produce a dollar's worth of goods was about half what it was in the late 1920s. (12)
In Communist countries, however, no one profits by conserving energy. People do not reap as they sow, because the wealth they create is taken from them - at gunpoint, if necessary. Manufacturing becomes wastful. As a result, the Communist economies use almost three times as much energy as the so-called free nations for every dollar of goods produced. (12)
In Communist countries, the only choices that are honored are those that the government officials make for the entire nation. If government control were the solution to pollution, the Eastern European countries would be pristine. Instead, pollution runs rampant to an extent seldom seen in the Western world. For example, in Cop a Mic , Romania, carbon spews nightly from a nearby tire factory, literally coating everything and everybody black. (13) In Leipzig, East Germany, more than 90% of the population suffers health problems because of the high level of sulfur dioxide.14 Polish economists estimate that pollution destroys 10% to 15% of their nation's annual GNP. (15)
The Czechoslovakian Environment Ministry estimates that 5% to 7% of their country's annual wealth creation is similarly wasted. (15) Two-thirds of the forests may be dying, and half of the water is undrinkable. (16) One allergy specialist in the Bohemian city of Most blames pollution for lowering the life expectancy of the residents by 10 years, compared to the already low national average. (17)
The plight of Eastern Europe reminds us that aggression-through government makes pollution worse, not better. When aggression prevents homesteading the waterways and owning the environment, individuals do not profit from protecting it.
Altruists who are willing to preserve the environment, even without the positive feedback of profit, find themselves thwarted by the guns of government as well. Sovereign immunity protects the government officials who choose pollution for the sake of political gain. Since selling out the environment is the only way the public officials can profit from it, they have little incentive to do otherwise.
Turning Adults into Children
The greatest tragedy of communism is not the poverty, sullenness, or even the environmental destruction it encourages. The devastation of the human spirit is its greatest casualty.
A medical colleague returning from Finland in the 1980s told me how Russian men would marry Finnish women so they could emigrate to Finland. Once there, however, the array of decisions that the average citizen makes concerning housing, shopping, etc., was just too much for many of them to bear. Overwhelmed by the task of taking responsibility for their life, the men went back to Russia where scarcity and aggression make choice a rarity. This destruction of the questing human spirit, of the confidence in one's ability to cope with the world, is the most devastating effect of the extreme aggression of communism.
Like overprotective parenting, aggression- through- government hinders normal human development. On the average, individuals, knowing their situation, strengths, and limitations, make the best choices for themselves. Even when they choose poorly, the lesson to be learned prepares them for better decisions later on. As each individual optimizes his or her own well-being without aggression, the whole society benefits. Looking out for Number 1 is nature's way of ensuring that we optimize the whole. If each cell maintains its health without harming the others, the body can hardly be diseased!
A little bit of communism is like a little bit of disease. Mixing aggression with non aggression isn't a happy medium; it's the beginning of societal ill healthin more ways than one. As the United States embraced aggression, it started down the path to communism as well. The architects of communism knew this well. In 1847, Marx and Engels proposed ten steps to convert the Western nations to Communist countries without firing a shot. (18) Most of these ideas have been successfully implemented in our own country with little, if any, resistance!
Is It Happening Here?
One of the ten steps called for "centralization of
credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with state
capital and an exclusive monopoly"just like our own Federal Reserve!
As described in Chapter 9, a central bank transfers the wealth of the average
person to the well-to-do through inflation. Communism, like all aggression-through-government,
is a tool of the rich. The next chapter explains how domestic aggression
in the U. S. banking industry created our need for national defense by helping
to establish the Communist threat overseas.
It is wrong to demand that the individual subordinate himself to the collectivity or merge in it, because it is by its most advanced individuals that the collectivity progresses and they can really advance only if they are free.... The individual is indeed the key of the evolutionary movement.
- Sri Aurobindo, THE FUTURE EVOLUTION OF MAN
...violence is the cornerstone of socialism's existence as an institution.
- Hans-Herman Hoppe, A THEORY OF SOCIALISM AND CAPITALISM
Soviet citizens have a worse diet than did Russians under Czar Nicholas II in 1913.
- Mortimer B. Zuckerman, editor-in-chief, U.S. News & World Report, 1989
Measured by the health of its people, the Soviet Union is no longer a developed nation.
- Nick Eberstadt, THE POVERTY OF COMMUNISM
The use of force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests.
- Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize winner, Economics
When man interferes with the Tao, the sky becomes filthy, the earth becomes depleted, the balance crumbles, creatures become extinct.
- Lao-tsu, TAO TE CHING
The ecological situation in Czechoslovakia is, in a word, disastrous.... It's nothing short of a catastrophe.
- Dr. Bedrich Moldan, Czechoslovakian Environmental Minister
Our power does not know liberty or justice. It is established on the destruction of the individual will.
- Vladimir I. Lenin, Bolshevik revolutionary leader
Socialism of any type leads to a total destruction of the human spirit....
- Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Soviet dissident and defector
Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.
- Thomas Paine, COMMON SENSE
Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalist system was to debauch the currency.
- John Maynard Keynes, THE ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES OF THE PEACE
Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.
- Vladimir I. Lenin, Bolshevik revolutionary leader
The control of the production of wealth is the control of human life itself.
- Hilaire Belloc, THE SERVILE STATE
The right of private property in land is forever abolished. All land owned by the Church, by private persons, by peasants, is taken away without compensation.
- Vladimir I. Lenin, November 8, 1917
The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism, but under then name of Liberalism, they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program until one day America will be a Socialist nation without knowing how it happened.
- Norman Thomas, Socialist Party Presidential candidate
It is a known fact that the policies of the government today, whether Republican or Democratic are closer to the 1932 platform of the Communist Party than they are to either of their own party platforms in that critical year.
- Walter Trohan, Chicago Tribune, October 5, 1970
The United States will eventually fly the Communist Red Flag... The American people will hoist it themselves.
- Nikita Khrushchev, Soviet premier, November 16, 1956