Communism: What is it, and why it's lethal

Jane Spencer

Communist regimes have proven the most violent in history, responsible across nations and decades for well over 100 million deaths.

Recently, aspects of Marx’s thought have surfaced in unlikely places. Check out Black Lives Matter’s website to read up on their philosophy of globalism and the destruction of traditional values. Do some research into their violent protests, which fuel a mentality that the ends justify brutal means. BLM foundress Patrisse Cullors even admitted during a video interview featured on The Real News Network that she and fellow organizers were “trained Marxists.” BLM isn’t alone, either. Look up Kamala Harris’ recent video about equality of outcome. A black man and a white man climb the same mountain; at first, the black man can’t keep up with the white man because he starts from a lower plane. Then, he is lifted up until he can start from the same plane as the white man. “It’s about giving people the resources and the support they need so that everyone can be on equal footing and then compete on equal footing,” says Harris. So far so good, but her conclusion— “equitable treatment means we all end up at the same place”—is the same idea that has led to absolute mayhem in multiple countries throughout history. Government-regulated equality of outcome is a distinctly Communist idea. So is the tactic of categorizing people and setting these categories against one another: black versus white, working class versus bourgeois.

So, what is Communism, and why does it lead to chaos?

According to Marx, Communism is the “abolition of private property,” (Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto, New York: International Publishers, 2018. pg. 23.) particularly the stuff belonging to the bourgeoisie— the middle class who profit off other people’s work. A lot has been written about its problems by men who have actually lived through the horrors of a Communist regime; this article just suggests three aspects of Marxist philosophy that pave the way for cruelty: its materialism, its consequent principle that the end justifies any means, and its globalist destruction of national friendship.

Materialism: What’s the problem?

Marx rests his whole political system on a purely material view of man. He claims that “men can be distinguished from animals […because they] produce their means of subsistence.” (Marx and Engels, The German Ideology, New York: International Publishers. 1970) Unlike dogs, horses or birds, people work for their living. Marx holds that since men can’t live apart from the work they do to earn their food and shelter, this work is the most significant, fundamental part of life itself. Everything about a person, including his thought process, religion and values, is an “efflux” (Ibid.) or a contingency of the basic act of production.

This opens the door to violence in two ways. First, it authorizes the total destruction of anyone whose means of production is (or seems to Marx to be) unjust, since nothing about them transcends the act of production. So, slaughtering the bourgeoisie isn’t really a problem…in fact, it rids the earth of something essentially bad. Second, no human, even one whose means of production is just, has dignity if his soul is nothing but the efflux of his bread and butter. If the soul has no dignity, it demands no reverence; men can be treated like animals—packed off to the gulag, robbed of their property, raped, tortured, and generally trashed.

The ends justify the means: What’s the problem?

Marx’s materialism also leads to cruelty because it destroys the stability of spiritual values. For example, a salesman in the 21st century may say he believes in honesty, integrity, and justice towards his employees, but his whole brain has been shaped by the act of making sales in a 21st century environment. So, his values aren’t permanent or transcendent. Marx’s proof for this: threaten that you’ll fire him from his job if he refuses to lie, cheat or steal. Since he can’t live without an income, he’ll give up his principles to remain employed. His values have morphed as he does what he needs to survive. If spiritual values are a consequence of our means of production instead of a stable guide which regulates them, they can be pushed aside as the means of production are revolutionized. This leads to Marx’s conclusion that a utopian end justifies “despotic” (Manifesto, 30.) means. He thinks it’s ok to be a tyrant—just for a little while—if you’re aiming for an ideal society in the long run.

Marx carries a deep grudge against traditional institutions like family and religion, holding that they just facilitate the bourgeoisie—he thinks, for example, that religion is a sort of drug which comforts the working class so that they didn’t notice how they’re being maltreated. Hence, the Communist believes that every traditional value should be destroyed. In Marx’s own words, “the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things…their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.” (Manifesto, 44) It’s interesting to note the latest fad of vandalizing or removing statues of figures who played a prominent role in shaping the Christianity and political values of our society—like Christopher Columbus, George Washington, St. Junipero Serra, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Like Marx, present-day rioters and revolutionaries see history through colored glasses: everything to them is a plot, an injustice, a personal insult demanding a violent lash-back.

Globalism: What’s the problem?

Another way that Marx fosters cruelty is by breaking apart the ties of friendship within a nation as he establishes the global friendship of the working class. Communists “point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire [working class], independent of all nationality.” (Manifesto, 22.) This is problematic because friendship is by nature exclusive; being friends with the whole globe is equivalent to having no friend at all. Under this system, no one has a nearby ally that stands for him against his enemies. Also, this system leads to political leaders losing all sense of responsibility towards their own people, since being answerable to everyone is effectually the same as being answerable to no one. Aristotle says that calling someone “their own and their favorite” (Politics, 1262b.) moves people to care for each other. Donald Trump has been severely criticized by the globalist-leaning Left for his “America first” foreign policies, but Aristotle would agree with his mentality that our own community is our first responsibility.

Marx argues that his system of friendship is exclusive; the working-class is loyal to itself, and “constitute[s] itself the nation.” (Manifesto, 28.) This is dangerous and impractical, however, because it demands people to become enemies and foreigners to the other classes with whom they live, while being loyal friends of people who are so distant that their interests simply don’t overlap. Proximity, not just ideology, defines a community. Marx’s philosophy establishes a broad, abstract friendship, while ensuring concrete warfare at every street corner.

Today, Marxist philosophy might take on a different hue; rather than a clash between classes, it could be seen as a clash between races, genders, or any other of the controversial topics stoked by the media. For example, the hated so-called oppressor is now called “white privilege” instead of the “bourgeoisie.” But the fruits are the same: violence, revolution, and the overthrow of all traditional values.

Thinking critically, learning from history, and speaking out can literally save entire nations from the fate of Stalin’s Soviet Russia, or Mao’s Communist China. It’s essential to act while prevention is still in the cards.

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