"But That Wasn't REAL Communism!"
Communism is undoubtedly the most controversial political theory ever created, as history tells us how communist nations always end up riddled with starvation, famine and poverty. It's borne witness to the deaths of nearly 100 million people through acts of human rights abuse: purges, famines and worked to death in forced labour camps.
When discussing the theory, one argument always arises, "Oh, but that wasn't REAL communism." Meaning, since there hasn't been a successful communist nation, all communist nations aren't really communist since there wasn't a utopia. It's an argument I engage with quite often—reluctantly, by the way—and to whomever I'm arguing with (or conversing with, depending on how level-headed the person is), I always strive to present a logical and fact-laden argument.
The point that angers me the most, is that after investigating counterpoints for the argument, and researching about communism as a whole—the main sources being Dr Jordan B. Peterson and Steven Crowder, as they cover the topics of communism and authoritarianism so often—the people who present this argument are extremely arrogant and self-righteous. This argument tells you all you need to know about them and who they really are as a person. To quote Dr Jordan B. Peterson, they're saying: "If I were in Stalin's position, I would've ushered in the damn utopia instead of the genocidal massacre, because I understand the doctrine of Marxism and everything about me is good." If the power was in your hands, and if you had the competence to run a communist country—which is a big if, by the way—which you don't, you wouldn't have done any better. You ought to avoid these people, they are incredibly dangerous. No one is pure; everyone has some capacity of evil lurking within them, waiting for the day it can manifest itself in the world. "You are not the avatar of moral clarity that you claim implicitly." I can't trust you if you tell me this: "I wouldn't dare engage in a genocidal massacre, I want the utopia!" No, that's a lie. Everyone has pet peeves that they would love to eradicate if given the chance.
I'm a conservative, so I believe government should have a limited role in someone's life. Communism is the exact opposite; you don't possess anything that you worked hard for—that's property of the government now. It's antithetical to the human spirit as we wish to work hard for all we own, as well as humans being naturally greedy. Greed is good, that's the thing. Greed gives incentive to workers and individuals to work harder, be more creative, innovative and contribute more to the world. Take Steve Jobs for example, his innate greed and lust for money and success, as everyone else has, created the iPhone. I think we're all in agreement that the iPhone has impacted and shaped our society in both positive and negative ways, but that the overall outcome is success since it's so handy.
Karl Marx wasn't popular, and there's no wonder; he invented a political theory which dictates everything you owned was no longer yours, it's owned by the government. The all-knowing, almighty powers that be are wiser than you and know how to redistribute resources better than what you would use them for yourself, of course. The thing that gets me though is that Marx didn't think theft—the government sending scary and strong men to your door with guns and taking your property—was theft, and allowing the government to own everything is okay. Marx believed it was the government's job to encourage 'leisure', which, in other words, just means unemployment. This is in place of productivity, progress and innovation since he thought not everyone needs to work, but that the rest should pursue hobbies instead. Personally, when I'm on uni break, I get bored really quickly since I don't have something to wake up for and do every day, e.g. going to uni or doing homework on days off. In the communist utopia that Marx envisioned, people would get bored pursuing 'leisure' all day. Doing nothing all day would get stale, work fills that 8-hour gap from 9am to 5pm.
Yes, there's a kernel of truth in that "real" communism—the Utopian dream—has never happened, and that's the thing, it will never happen. As long as there are people in the world who will get drunk on power, they will always—always—turn into tyrannical dictatorships. Compared to the rest of the world, the West is a utopia. It's not perfect, but it's damn near close. Our society allows people who were raised in lower socioeconomic communities to become rich and famous through hard work and dedication via capitalism. Utopias are impossible to achieve via communistic societies, and the potential consequences—tyrannical dictatorships and mass genocides—are not worth risking. You must keep this in mind: in a world of 7.5 billion people, as soon as you begin to ring in the utopia, there's bound to be someone ready to shoot you in your sleep and dismantle the Utopian system you've been building.
Tell me in all honestly, if you're a conservative and you were handed the reins of power, would you not covet a purge, mass re-education or send feminists and social justice warriors to a forced labour camp at the first available moment? I know I would. I have an immense disdain for liberalism. As for liberals, would you not do the same to conservatives? I mean it's your utopia anyways, you can mould it however you wish and do whatever the hell you want since you have all the power.
I acknowledge that capitalism and socialism/communism both have their problems. For example, in capitalist societies the likelihood for overabundance of food is higher, which gives rise to obesity, addiction and life-threatening illnesses, as well as wealth inequality and the creation of monopolies since we live in a meritocracy. In communist societies, they always end up with food shortages which leads to famine, cannibalism and death. There is also the issue of lack of ownership; anything you work for is property of the government. Personally, I'd rather be obese in a capitalist society than endure famine in a communist society.
Although I know this isn't addressing the point of this article directly, it's still related because socialism is a stepping stone towards communism, and because of that we most recently we have the failure of socialist Venezuela; a country so incredibly rich in natural resources—home of the largest oil reserves in the world—but has an extremely high level of inflation and scarcity of staple food products, from 2010 to current times. This is just more evidence to prove that socialism and communism doesn't work; handing the reins of power to one person will lead to either mass genocide, famine or, like in Venezuela, shortages of food and inflation so high that even if you did find a dollar laying on the ground, it wouldn't matter since there wouldn't be any food to buy anyways, but you'd instead have to resort to sifting through garbage to find food.
Another problem I have with communism is the principle of "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." This dictates wealth redistribution—taking from the rich who worked hard and earned it, and giving it to people who most likely have poor work ethic and are less deserving of such wealth and resources. If anything, it encourages people to be even lazier because they know they'll be looked after, like Centrelink for Australians. This principle is antithetical to the human spirit because it kills ambition; we wish to work hard, become proficient, make incremental accomplishments, climb the dominance hierarchy and not get things for free—when you get things for free instead of working for it, you value it less. Humans want agency in their lives; I want to control my future and what I possess. Communism doesn't offer this.
This is my message to communists everywhere: if you love communism so much, then move to a communist country and tell me how much you like it. Hint: given the amount of control and censorship that communist governments can enact upon their citizens, and how individual thought isn't allowed, you won't enjoy living there. I am absolutely not willing to try communism, ever. You shouldn't either—if it can kill 100 million people in under a century, who's to say it won't do so again? Tyrannical dictatorships are the reality of communism. Just because the theory doesn't match the reality, doesn't mean the reality is false. How many failed past and future countries, people to be slaughtered do you need to be proven wrong? Take the Soviet Union and China for example.
I believe the way forward is teaching students that Nazism and communism were both evil, and not just Nazism. I had to learn the atrocities of communism for myself, instead of being taught it in school.
I recommend you read further into this political theory, that way you can fully understand it and so we can prevent any socialist or communist politicians coming into power in the future and not repeat history. Here is a list of the top 10 most evil dictators of all time, and their respective death tolls. Two important reads I can recommend are The Communist Manifesto [Manifesto of the Communist Party] by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.