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OPINION

Why Marxism/Communism Fails, Part One

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

“Marxism wasn’t a bad idea that went wrong.  It was a bad idea.”—Richard Pipes, Communism.

Communism failed everywhere, and oceans of blood were the result.  Though dozens of attempts worldwide were made to establish societies and governments based on the ideas of the 19th-century German economist/philosopher Karl Marx, they all went down in flames.  Only four such societies survive—China, North Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba—and all of them (except North Korea) exist solely because they made significant compromises with capitalism.  And North Korea is probably the number one hellhole on earth today.  There is no such thing as “communism” now, even in “communist” countries.   

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It is also interesting to note that nearly every Marxist-based country in the past 100 years has ended up with a dictator or some kind of one-man despotism.  This is the very antithesis of Marx’s theory, which saw communism as driven by impersonal economic forces, with the end being the ultimate abolition of government and boundless freedom for all.  When I recently asked a CCP member in China if he could possibly even imagine the CCP voluntarily giving up power as Marx predicted, he kinda chuckled and said, “Maybe in 500 years.”  Yeah.  When none of us will be around to see it.  Well, given enough time, anything is supposed to be able to happen.

I don’t know what is going to happen in 500 years.  All I know is what HAS happened in the past 100, and Marxism/communism has been an utter catastrophe wherever it has been applied.  It has stacked countless millions of human skulls on top of each other, adding to torture, poverty, oppression, and slavery.  Why anyone would still defend that philosophy, given its historical record, is a fathomless mystery.  We had better oppose it with all our being because if the Democrats succeed in bringing it to America...well, we have history to tell us what will happen.  There is plenty of room in Siberian Alaska for gulags and for burying dead bodies.

But Marxism persists in American academia and the empty, vapid minds of American Leftist intellectual elites and Democratic Party comrades.   They insist that Marxism didn’t fail because of anything inherently wrong within the system but because of inadequate application, i.e., human error.  Marxism, they opine, was never correctly implemented but was always tainted by “counter-revolutionaries,” or “capitalist roaders,” or those who were impure in their application regardless of their slavish devotion to the ideology.  Thus, purges and “cultural revolutions' (i.e., mass murder of even the “faithful”) were necessary byproducts.  For the Utopia of tomorrow, many must die today.  And they tended to get worse as the failures mounted.  Lenin led to Stalin, Stalin led to Mao, Pol Pot, and the Kims.  Xi Jinping continues to try to eradicate the “corruption” of the Chinese Communist Party and those who oppose it (Uyghurs, humanity, and anybody with bodily organs).  It doesn’t matter how many millions of innocent communists starved, shot, tortured, or imprisoned; it has never been, to Marxists, the fault of the theory.  The failure is only with those who didn’t understand how to implement it successfully.  The Democratic Party will get it right!  Trust them!  The Golden Age of Freedom and Equality is just around the corner!  If we can just get rid of those pesky constitutional conservatives and Jesus freaks who “cling to their guns and Bibles.”  It will work next time.  Marxism always works...next time.

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But as Richard Pipes indicates in the quote at the beginning of this essay, Marxism wasn’t a bad idea that went wrong; it was a bad idea, period.  It inherently contradicts reality and human nature and carries the seeds of its own doom within it.  It is in error in many ways.  Let me point out a few of them in this series of articles.

1.  Understanding Marx’s “philosophy of history”—the dialectic.  Let me attempt to simplify the confusion.  Marx’s compatriot, Friedrich Engels, wrote, “The world is not to be comprehended as a complex of ready-made things but as a complex of processes.”  This is “scientific.”  Everything is evolving, changing, and modifying; nothing is final and absolute.  Interestingly, Charles Darwin concocted his theory of evolution during the same period that Marx and Engels lived.  In almost every analysis of historical personages, it is critical to understand the age in which they lived.   With the great Industrial Revolution underway, thinkers were casting about to explain reasons for the “changes” sweeping societies.  For most of human history, things didn’t change much.  “Stasis” was the operative word.  Things didn’t change because God doesn’t change.  But, in the 19th century, things WERE changing and rapidly.  Thus, new philosophers arose attempting to explain such.  Hegel, Comte, Spencer, Darwin...Marx.  They were products of their time, a time of rapid modification of societies.

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Marx was so impressed with Darwin that he wanted to dedicate one volume of his massive tome Capital to him.  Darwin’s theory provided Marx with the underpinning for his “scientific socialism.”  Everything, including history, is an evolutionary process, with nothing absolute or permanent.   

Once this theory of history is understood and accepted, the demand for final solutions or moral absolutes disappears. Thus, as Engels said, “Each [historical] stage is necessary, and therefore justified for the time and conditions to which it owes its origins.”  But as history changes and “develops,” new “stages” appear, and the old ones are no longer “justified.”  It is all an “evolutionary” process.  “For it [dialectical philosophy] nothing is final, absolute, sacred.”  Historical justification is thus the only justification, the supreme ethical principle in Marxism.  Even slavery and incest were considered historically justified at given times in history.  Yes, capitalism and private property also have their part to play in the “process” called “history.”  But their day, too, will pass.

It’s a stupid theory.  “History” doesn’t “justify” anything.  It only tells us what has happened.

More on this in subsequent articles. 

Check my substack mklewis929.substack.com  for recent articles on the Republicans caving again, Nikki’s tyranny, the politicization of science, a podcast on democracy, and other things.  Follow me on Twitter:  @thailandmkl.   My western novels, Whitewater , River Bend,  Return to River Bend, and Allie’s Dilemma are available on Amazon.  

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