Granny's Programming Pearls
"inside of every large program is a small program struggling to get out"
JavaRanch.com/granny.jsp
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
programming forums Java Mobile Certification Databases Caching Books Engineering Micro Controllers OS Languages Paradigms IDEs Build Tools Frameworks Application Servers Open Source This Site Careers Other all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
Marshals:
  • Campbell Ritchie
  • Paul Clapham
  • Bear Bibeault
  • Liutauras Vilda
  • Devaka Cooray
Sheriffs:
  • Knute Snortum
  • Junilu Lacar
  • Henry Wong
Saloon Keepers:
  • Ron McLeod
  • Stephan van Hulst
  • Tim Moores
  • Carey Brown
  • Tim Holloway
Bartenders:
  • salvin francis
  • Frits Walraven
  • Piet Souris

Ronald Reagan dead at 93

 
blacksmith
Posts: 1332
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Reponding to Herb Slocomb:

Then you're missing the point of how easily and often accusations turned into punishments in a communist country.

Joe King:

This is something that is common in many dictatorships - the troubles of this variety in the communist countries were most likely because of them not being democratic, not because of them having a state run economy.

At least in the case of China and Southeast Asia through the 1970s, the extent of the dislocation and death was directly related to communist theory.

Communism is supposed to work through a society with only one class - workers - thus eventually eliminating class struggle by creating a workers' paradise. But what do you do with members of other classes - such as, say, shopkeepers, or even farmers who spend part of their time selling their wares rather than just creating them? You can't get to a communist state while letting anyone hang around showing how one can be economically successful in a noncommunist way!

Getting rid of them is what the initial revolution is for. It's not clear you can get rid of them all any other way.

And what about when the ideas spring up again? Hold a yard sale and you're undermining communism. You think it's not a real threat? eBay shows just how fast a yard sale can become a significant economic force. Mercantile ideas grow like weeds if you allow them to, choking off the seeds of communism. You really can't have a communist success unless the very idea of selling something privately is considered wrong, a crime against one's fellow workers.

So you need to reeducate those who think it's okay to sell off a favorite trinket to someone who values it more. Unfortunately, it's much harder to understand what's wrong with that than it would be, for example, to understand a dictator who simply wants to stay in power. Since most people can't see anything wrong with mutually beneficial transactions, you end up having to reeducate a lot of people. And since it's really hard to get them to view such an apparently harmless idea as deadly evil, you end up having to use very forceful "education" methods. You end up with something like the 1960s Cultural Revolution in China, with millions of people dying.

But the 1980s and 1990s in China illustrate just what happens to communism if you don't go through this kind of enforcement. If you let a few people "opt out", and try to make it on their own without the support of the state, some of those people become successful. More and more people opt out. Eventually the entire economy becomes mercantile, and the communism has disappeared in all but name.

To actually keep a state communist, you really need to get rid of large numbers of people who develop bourgeois mercantile ideas. Yes, it might be done in a democracy, but you'd have to do your purges early enough to make sure the majority never came to accept those ideas. And I think you'd still end up with purges and death on a comparably large scale.
 
town drunk
( and author)
Posts: 4118
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Warren,

I can't say that I agree or disagree with you, but that's a damn fine post: fact-based, pejorative free, well written, and entertaining. Nicely done.

M
[ June 15, 2004: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]
 
High Plains Drifter
Posts: 7289
Netbeans IDE VI Editor
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
JW: [W]hether you like it or not, ALL communist ruled countries are dictatorships.

ME: Whether you like it or not, that's completely wrong. Please look up the definition of a dictatorship when you get a chance.

JW: While communist THEORY may all be nice and rosy, and many communists will extoll its virtues based purely on that theory, the practical implications of implementing communism in every single recorded case have been a totalitarian regime that stays in power through mass murder of its own population, violent oppression of any and all who dare speak out against it, and abject poverty for most people outside the ruling elite.

ME: That's reactionary propaganda. It has no basis in fact. Much of it isn't really at odds with any form of government, viewed under a hysterical and hostile lens.

JW: What may surprise you is that many of the reviled capitalist countries are actually closer to implementing theoretical communism (absence of a class society, equality for all, everyone having a decent standard of living) than any communist country ever came or will ever come.

ME: This is, interestingly enough, neither surprising nor accurate. There is no capitalist country in the world that proposes a classless society, nor one that states classlessness as a goal. Class is irrelevant in capitalism, which is neither to say it does not exist nor of little influence. The Marxist view -- bearing in mind again it is informed with a mid-19th century view of capitalism -- saw capitalism as a logical (and corrupt) extension of imperialism. Later proponents often used the term 'capitalist' and 'imperialist' interchangeablely to emphasize this contempt.

The 'rise' of the bourgeoisie was, in the view of a man trying to construct a 'better' framework, a pale recreation. The ashes of imperialism for Marx had merely been reformed under a more flexible means of property ownership ('production'). It was Marx's prediction that this form of revolution was trivial: eye candy to the masses.

The death of the old ways, some decades after the French Revolution, was clear to the progressives of the time: a rule based on authority derived from heritage or some divinely-inspired tenets didn't make much sense if you foment bloody revolution against God's divinely-chosen ruler on earth and live to tell about it. But no one interested in keeping what shreds of former power they could was interested in complete revolution, and that included the bourgeoisie who had figured out how to co-opt property through an only partially-destroyed imperial/colonial system. True revolution meant no one got to hold on to nothing: we start completely over.

Marx's abstract solution to this was a model of government that fused the political and economic truths he saw before him. Communism was the concrete experiment. It was a novel idea in its time; that the experiments to date have failed is apparent. That some people show tremendous eagerness to point to those failures rather than examine the framework is really much more interesting. What is that uderlying hostility about? A Marxist idealist would simply point out that such opponents see the mere idea of communism as a threat, and so don't want much of a discussion of it unless notes of its failures are securely fastened to the collar of all speakers.

In the U.S. we have political democracy and economic capitalism, an alliance Marx I think didn't consider doomed so much as awkward, inherently inconsistent, and prone to failures that expose the contradiction of those two forces. And I think he'd be right to show the cracks of that in our modern society. It's not question of whether it works, which clearly it does so far, but whether it demonstrates a unified philosophical strength, which I would argue it does not.

This is one thing Marx, an intellectual at heart, clearly did not value: the idea of something workable was less important to him than something that, if it could be built, could last for what seemed a foreseeably long, long time in peace.

Now: the former Soviet Union as a testing ground? Marx's eyes seemed a good deal bigger than his stomach on that choice. It was a seductive place to start: Russia still suffered under the decaying but powerful artifacts of imperial rule and seemed ripe for change. Lots of pissed-off farmers and all that. It was a bold experiment, to say the least. The subsequent devastation that the Soviet Union suffered, particularly in WW II, had more than a little influence on the experiment, while Marx foresaw substantial internal turmoil, I think it's fair to say he did not imagine in Germany a neighbor with dreams of global domination. I'm not saying Communism might have thrived otherwise, but it certainly got the kind of kick in the teeth that has put 'lesser' countries in an almost cyclical state of turmoil.
[ June 15, 2004: Message edited by: Michael Ernest ]
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 5093
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Considering that the USSR was hardly started by Marx I doubt you can make that into the experiment Marx wanted.
Marx (and all communists since) wanted communist world domination and realised all too well that the only way to achieve that is to murder anyone who doesn't agree to their ideas (as well as anyone who agrees too eagerly because those can be nothing but people planted to subvert the Party from within.).

Communist experiments were started in several countries starting from scratch that weren't invaded since by anyone but other communist countries (all in the light of helping a fellow communist country against subversive elements of course, think of the Prague Spring, Budapest, Bucharest, and Gdansk).
Cambodia was the ultimate communist experiment and led immediately to what every communist state thrives for: complete abolishment of personal posession. Everyone was owned by the state, everyone (except the rulers of course) was equal.
Property was forbidden, individuality was abandoned. Children were removed at birth and raised in government institutions. About the only thing not abandoned were names, but I think they must have planned that...
Strangely it was a communist country that put an end to this abomination, this perfect communist society, by invading and reinstalling the old government which that same communist country had helped the Khmer Rouge remove previously.

Yes, the USSR was a failed experiment. But not because of the massive abuse of the population and economy. It failed because they didn't take the steps needed to get to the state in which Cambodia ended up in under 5 years, which would have created a True Communist State maybe as early as 1925.
 
mister krabs
Posts: 13974
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If men were angels then communism would work. But if men were angels we wouldn't need any form of government.
 
Michael Ernest
High Plains Drifter
Posts: 7289
Netbeans IDE VI Editor
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jeroen: That's very interesting material for a campfire story, but that's about it.

Thomas: Agreed.
 
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Posts: 13974
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Michael Ernest:
Thomas: Agreed.

The original quote is from Thomas Hobbes, of course, although James Madison is often given as the source. Madison quoted Hobbes in The Federalist Papers. I'm not sure where I first saw the quote linking Hobbes with communism.
 
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand
Posts: 5093
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Tell that to the millions (number still not known, 3 million is now agreed as the lower limit) who were murdered by the Khmer Rouge in their perfect communist state experiment.

Or the tens of millions dead in the Chinese slave labour camps producing cheap goods "made in China" for sale in the USA and Europe.

Or the millions or tens of millions sent to Siberia with only the clothes on their backs to die in the lead and uranium mines.
 
Michael Ernest
High Plains Drifter
Posts: 7289
Netbeans IDE VI Editor
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
:roll:
 
Leverager of our synergies
Posts: 10065
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In case somebody is still interested in what Gorbachev said about Reagan, here is the text. It was in NY Times, now inaccessible.
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 233
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
Marx (and all communists since) wanted communist world domination and realised all too well that the only way to achieve that is to murder anyone who doesn't agree to their ideas (as well as anyone who agrees too eagerly because those can be nothing but people planted to subvert the Party from within.).



I disagree. This sort of behavior was first implemented by the proletariats versus the Bourgeois in France. This behavior had just evolved into the type of communism that Stalin endorsed. Communism was originally implied to bring down the capitialists and for a utopic and "balanced" society.

Good discussion though Jeroen

Gabe
[ June 16, 2004: Message edited by: Gabriel White ]
 
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Posts: 10065
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jeroen: Marx (and all communists since) wanted communist world domination and realised all too well that the only way to achieve that is to murder anyone who doesn't agree to their ideas (as well as anyone who agrees too eagerly because those can be nothing but people planted to subvert the Party from within.).

You know, Jeroen, if I were you, I would be careful about what to post. There are still alive communists around, you know. We don't want to see you murdered.
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 820
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
Considering that the USSR was hardly started by Marx I doubt you can make that into the experiment Marx wanted.
Marx (and all communists since) wanted communist world domination and realised all too well that the only way to achieve that is to murder anyone who doesn't agree to their ideas (as well as anyone who agrees too eagerly because those can be nothing but people planted to subvert the Party from within.).


Fantastic story there. Great example of propaganda. Any proof at all that all communists want to murder anyone who doesn't agree with them?


Cambodia was the ultimate communist experiment and led immediately to what every communist state thrives for: complete abolishment of personal posession. Everyone was owned by the state, everyone (except the rulers of course) was equal.


Cambodia was most certainly not the "ultimate communist" anything. Firstly the working class did not hold any political power, and secondly the rulers had a significantly better life style than the workers. According to most communist literature, including the Communist Manifesto, this would not be thought of as communist. Just because a country labels itself as being "communist" doesn't mean that it is. Zimbabwe calls itself "democratic", but that's hardly true.


Strangely it was a communist country that put an end to this abomination, this perfect communist society, by invading and reinstalling the old government which that same communist country had helped the Khmer Rouge remove previously.


This was nothing to do with communism, but just a part of the ongoing struggles for power that had plagued the area for a long time before and since communism came onto the scene.


Yes, the USSR was a failed experiment. But not because of the massive abuse of the population and economy. It failed because they didn't take the steps needed to get to the state in which Cambodia ended up in under 5 years, which would have created a True Communist State maybe as early as 1925.


No. It failed for many reasons, none of them being that it wasn't enough like Cambodia. The primary reason was that it just wasn't possible to plan efficiently an economy of that size. Without the economy working efficiently, the USSR just couldn't afford to maintain the huge arms race of the cold war and provide for the needs of all of its citizens.
 
What's gotten into you? Could it be this tiny ad?
Java file APIs (DOC, XLS, PDF, and many more)
https://products.aspose.com/total/java
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!