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Vietnam war - Domino

 
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The primary topic was whether the Vietnam war contributed to the fall of communism. Personally, I believe it did and I think some of the posters here have said it better than I could.
However, a corollary topic is whether democracy truly is better than communism. And despite the unflagging empirical evidence that makes it clear that democracy is the government of choice for free people, some people point to the fact that there are still areas where democracy isn't working yet. The questions arises as to whether this is the fault of democracy and its adherents or of the pro-communist movement that still lives on amongst a small but vocal population.
One of my previous sources was Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (anybody remember that great REM song?) and they've got some great quotes from various heads of state on this page:

Vaclav Havel, President of the Czech Republic:
I believe that these radio stations are significant even today, after the end of the Cold War. I believe this not only because human rights are not fully respected in all countries which have shaken off totalitarianism, or because democracy has not yet fully matured in them, but also because through their sources of information and by their professionalism they can set a standard for the new independent media in this country, creating a healthy competitive environment.
It seems to me that the continued work of these stations is important and is, among other things, an expression of the responsibility taken by the United States for the world situation.

Eduard Shevardnadze, former president, Georgia:
Many assumed that with the end of the Cold War, the raison d'etre of Radio Liberty might actually cease to exist. I have always been, and remain, in opposition to this notion. Why? Because the inertia of totalitarian thinking has not ceased to exist. Because many challenges and questions await response. Therefore, rather than yield to complacent voices, you must remain the stalwart champion of democratic ideals.

Petar Stoyanov, former president, Bulgaria
Not only Bulgarian society, but the societies in all Central and East European countries [still] need a radio station like RFE. I say this now with even more conviction than I did 10 years ago, right after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
I remember the euphoria right after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the belief we all held that it was only a matter of a few years to leave everything behind and achieve the standards of the West. Today we must say "farewell" to all of these illusions. The fall of the Berlin Wall got rid of the most immediate dangers of communism, but we now face no less difficult and important issues in our transition from a dictatorship to a free society.
And not just that, years after the fall of communism, we still see a lot of pro-communist nostalgia. You see it not only in Bulgaria, you see it in Prague and even in the former [East Germany]. We forgot that democracy is, first of all, about society's ability to face challenges. And it is in this context that I see a new role for RFE and nongovernmental organizations such as the one to which I now belong.

These are strong voices. Havel in particular is one of the great minds of Eastern Europe. Great stuff!
Joe
[ February 29, 2004: Message edited by: Joe Pluta ]
 
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EFH: I see another meta-argument in progress -- you're now starting to argue about how to argue.
This is an important meta-question. We stumble over it all the time.
Brother Joe wrote early morning: I'm only doing what I learned from you, Map: posting links I find and letting people draw their own conclusions. You post things about my country all the time and your sources are no better than mine.
We are here to help each other, Joe. I promise to work harder on my sources. So far my favorite places regarding Cold War history are:
The Parallel History Project on NATO and the Warsaw Pact
The Cold War International History Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
National Security Archive at George Washington University
You quote weblogs, where we don't even know the real identity of the person, or Russian language newspapers.
It is a very good newspaper, one of a few decent that survived in Russia. I gave a link to document my sources; you could use some automatic translation program or ask somebody to help you, if you wanted to verify my words. I think, it's one of the best MD tradition -- to provide a variety of sources and viewpoints.
 
Joe Pluta
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I think, it's one of the best MD tradition -- to provide a variety of sources and viewpoints.
And that's what I did. You just don't like my sources .
Joe
 
Mapraputa Is
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Joe: The primary topic was whether the Vietnam war contributed to the fall of communism. Personally, I believe it did and I think some of the posters here have said it better than I could.
So do you agree with "it was a good war" statement? Even considering all casualties and economical damage it inflicted? This is the same way communists used to think: "Goal justifies means". As long as the goal is noble, and they believed it was, casualties were Ok.
Somebody said about dissident movement in Russia: "they aimed at communism, but hit Russia". I am not sure how applicable this phrase is to the Soviet dissidents, they did not bomb anybody after all, but it seems very applicable to the Vietnam situation. Anti-communism can become just as evil as communism.
I am reading Martin Luther King's autobiography, and there is a place where he is talking about his reading Gandhi, and what impact Gandhi's theory of non-violent resistance had on him. I am going to investigate more about this topic, since this looks like the truly revolutionary way to social progress and harmony.
 
Joe Pluta
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So do you agree with "it was a good war" statement?
I didn't see anybody saying it was a good war, did you?
In any event, I'm not getting into that argument. I know enough people on both sides of the argument that I have been unable to come to a conclusion, and frankly I probably never will, so you can keep your "ends justify the means" comments in your pocket.
This thread was about whether the war helped stop communism, and I believe it did. It is also about whether democracy is better than communism, and I believe it is. In my opinion, communism is a horrible form of government, it has failed miserably, and thankfully it is nearly gone, with the rather notable exception of the largest country on Earth.
If you want to start another thread to argue about whether the Vietnam war was a "just" war, be my guest. Don't expect me to chime in on that one.

Anti-communism can become just as evil as communism.
Yeah, but communism STARTS OUT evil.
[ February 29, 2004: Message edited by: Thomas Paul ]
 
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Anti-communism can become just as evil as communism.
As far as I know, anti-communism hasn't caused the deaths of millions of people.
 
Mapraputa Is
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Joe: I didn't see anybody saying it was a good war, did you?
Maybe I misunderstood what Eleison Zeitgeist said on the very first page of this thread:

While I initially thought that vietman was a bad war, I do not think that the current situation in the ME is bad. With this in mind, all I can say is that the media was biased in the 70's. There seems to be no major difference between Vietnam war and the situation in the ME. The viet war, even with all the suffering people saw on tv, was good -- as good as the current situation in the ME...
https://coderanch.com/t/39907/md/Vietnam-war-Domino&p=


Not sure, though, in what sense "good" was used in "The viet war, even with all the suffering people saw on tv, was good".
I know enough people on both sides of the argument that I have been unable to come to a conclusion, and frankly I probably never will, so you can keep your "ends justify the means" comments in your pocket.
You sound a little angry here, Joe, so I re-read my last post to check what made you feel this way, and I see that unfortunately I did express myself ambiguously enough to make you feel attacked. My question "So do you agree with "it was a good war" statement" sounds almost like a rhetorical question, but I didn't intend it so. I did not know whether you agree or not, and all the following wasn't addressed to you personally.
If you want to start another thread to argue about whether the Vietnam war was a "just" war, be my guest.
Wait, what do you think we've been discussing in this thread?
Don't expect me to chime in on that one.
You already explained your view, Joe, thank you for it.
 
Joe Pluta
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You sound a little angry here, Joe,
Nope! Just not gonna be sidetracked. One of the reasons I used to get so upset here was that some people liked to change the subject of a conversation midstream, and silly me, I'd just go with the flow into discussions I didn't really want to have.
From now on, the kinder, gentler Joe only answers those questions that he feels like answering.

Wait, what do you think we've been discussing in this thread?
The issue I was discussing was whether the US involvement in Vietnam actually helped contain communism, relating directly to EZ's original comment ("Domino theory. (...) People were saying that we had to go to vietnam because of it.").
EZ did incidentally mention that he was tired of the word bad and there were some moral pontifications in the thread but those are of no interest to me. The part of the discussion I was interested in centered on the Domino Theory, and that's the part of the thread I was participating in (as well as the discussion of communism in general).
Joe
 
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It is also about whether democracy is better than communism, and I believe it is. In my opinion, communism is a horrible form of government, it has failed miserably


There is a bit of a misconception about the democracy vs communism issue, in that it doesn't tell the real story. What it really should be written as is (capitalism + democracy) vs (state run economy + single party dictatorship). Communism is basically split into two parts - the part that says that the economy should be owned by the people and the part that says that the government should be run by the people. What happened in Russia and China was actually against what Marx had set out to do - he had invisioned a state with the people having a say. Basically is would have been (state run economy + democracy). Unfortunatly this didnt happen. Marx also made a big mistake by encouraging communists to spread communism by revolution. Although Stalin was probably one of the most evil people to ever exist, he did have one good idea which was to concentrate on the communism in his country rather than spread it by revolution.
Much of the reason why communism was concidered bad was not the economic theory side of it, but the fact that the country was controlled by a single party as a dictatorship, not by the people. Had communism been run in a democratic way, I dont think that it could have been shown as being evil. I think that people should not say "It was about democracy vs capitalism", but "it was about democracy vs dictatorship". There is not part in the communist manefesto that says millions should be killed - that is not communism, it stemmed from the corrupt rulers instead. The real problem was that although Marx had a vision of the finished product, the socialist-anarchy that he thought would be achieved through communsim, he didn't really get it right on how this should be done, and this lead some rather nasty people to be able to use what he wrote to gain power in a way he would have hated.
Remember that one of the key points of communism was that everyone should be equal. There is no way that this was true in the USSR, or is true now in China. The fact that these two refer to their system as communism doesn't mean that it is.
As for communism failing, its hard to see how it could have succeded really. Over a country the size of the USSR it must have been nearly impossible to accuratly plan an economy. Maybe if it was done again in a small country, utilising modern information technology, and done in a democratic way, it could work. The problem is that it was done in such a bad and inproper way before, I dont think it'll get another chance in a long time....
Sorry for the rant..... its a monday morning
[ March 01, 2004: Message edited by: Joe King ]
 
Joe Pluta
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There is a bit of a misconception about the democracy vs communism issue, in that it doesn't tell the real story.
Communism got as fair a shake as democracy. Bad democracies have come into being as well. And in fact, even good democracies go through bad periods, but they are able to (usually) shake them off and move on. Why?
The problem is that communism by its very nature tends to reward apathy and laziness, as well as corruption. Democracy, on the other hand, rewards only corruption, while it actively discourages apathy and laziness. This may seem tongue-in-cheek, but it is not. The society that will get the best out of people is one that appeals to the fewest of their base instincts.
And while corruption is a pain (as we're seeing right now with the collusion between big business and Congress in the US), it's nowhere near as fatal as laziness. In a democracy, corruption usually only exists as long as there's excess money to distribute, and tends to be self-regulating, whereas any government that makes it easy for people to be lazy is going to quickly end up with a mass of people looking for entitlement. This is true not only of communism but socialism.
No, it seems to me pretty clear that communism didn't work because it's a horrible form of government.
Joe
[ March 01, 2004: Message edited by: Joe Pluta ]
 
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No, it seems to me pretty clear that communism didn't work because it's a horrible form of government.
As the wise man once said, if men were angels communism would be an excellent form of government. But then, if men were angels we wouldn't need governments.
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
No, it seems to me pretty clear that communism didn't work because it's a horrible form of government.
As the wise man once said, if men were angels communism would be an excellent form of government. But then, if men were angels we wouldn't need governments.


Interesting thing was that the aim of the communist manefesto was to have a state without a government. It went pair shaped because it didn't take into account the simple fact that people are selfish. Maybe thats why capitalism is the best we've got at the moment - because it works on the assumption that everyone works hard for themselves rather than others - an economic theory based on greed.
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by Joe Pluta:
There is a bit of a misconception about the democracy vs communism issue, in that it doesn't tell the real story.
Communism got as fair a shake as democracy. Bad democracies have come into being as well. And in fact, even good democracies go through bad periods, but they are able to (usually) shake them off and move on. Why?


I wasn't saying that democracy is bad. Believe it or not I (even as a socialist) hold democracy as being one of the most important rights that we should all have. Are you comparing democracy to dictatorship or capitalism to state run economy here though? They are seperate issues. Comparing democracy to communism is a bit like comparing cars to fish - they are in different fields.


The problem is that communism by its very nature tends to reward apathy and laziness, as well as corruption. Democracy, on the other hand, rewards only corruption, while it actively discourages apathy and laziness. This may seem tongue-in-cheek, but it is not. The society that will get the best out of people is one that appeals to the fewest of their base instincts.


I think you are meaning to compare capitalism and communism not democracy and communism. It is perfectly possible to have a democratic country with a state controlled economy, it just hasn't been tried yet (IIRC).


And while corruption is a pain (as we're seeing right now with the collusion between big business and Congress in the US), it's nowhere near as fatal as laziness. In a democracy, corruption usually only exists as long as there's excess money to distribute, and tends to be self-regulating, whereas any government that makes it easy for people to be lazy is going to quickly end up with a mass of people looking for entitlement. This is true not only of communism but socialism.


Again, I think you mean capitalism when you are saying democracy. As to laziness being more fatal than corruption... personally I think both are equally as bad. In Albania, when they became capitalist, the entire economy collapsed due to half a dozen corrupt pyramid schemes, partially just because they weren't used to the "greed factor" that comes with capitalism.
Laziness is *not* a built in part of communism or socialism. Marx wrote (about communism) that work should be "To each according to their needs, from each according to their ability". This means that people should work as hard as they can. Personally I think that communism *was* flawed because it didn't allow for corruption, and so laziness crept in and was allowed as a result of the corruption.
Laziness is not a massive in built problem in a socialist country. Socialists are not like communists, and do believe in trade hand in hand with social support. In a socialist country people may get income support if they do not work, but this is only just enough to get by, and they will mostly be better off if they are working (except maybe in a few extreme cases). Take the UK for example. By some standards it is a socialist country - we have income support, NHS etc. If I was to be lazy and not work, I'd get support from the state, but I'd only be able to afford a tiny place to live and have a fairly low standard of life. I have to work hard to be able to afford a nice place to live. The idea of social support is not to give everyone free money, but to provide support to those who need it for as long as they *need* (not want) it.


No, it seems to me pretty clear that communism didn't work because it's a horrible form of government.


Communism didn't work because dictatorship was the form of government. Had it been democratic it would have stood a better chance.
Funny thing is that although you may say that socialism is bad, even the US has many socialist traits. In a purely capitalist country all police, hospitals and fire services would be private companies - people would have to pay the police to come out. In a purely capitalist country people would have no income support if they didn't have a job (could you possibly want that?). In a purely capitalist country *all* schooling would be private.
I think what we both can agree is that pure capitalism and pure communism are both heavily flawed, and that a compromise is best, although we may argue over where on the scale the compromise is. This, however, is socialism.
There seems to be a view in the US that all Europeans are socialists who are sympathetic to communism and dislike democracy - this is not true. In the principles of the Second International (of which most main stream socialist parties in Europe are members of e.g. Labour etc), it is written:


The crimes of stalinism, mass persecution and the violation of human rights, as well as unsolved economic problems, have undermined the idea of communism as an alternative to democratic socialism or as a model for the future.



The socialist answer is unequivocal. It is the people of the world who should exercise control by means of a more advanced democracy in all aspects of life: political, social, and economic. Political democracy, for socialists, is the necessary framework and precondition for other rights and liberties.



Political democracy is an indispensable element of a socialist society.


Anyway, enough of boring you all.....
PS I hope this doens't come accross as being a major stress - this kind of discussion is extremely fun, because of what JavaRanch is - a great place for discussing these kinds of things in a semi polite way
[ March 02, 2004: Message edited by: Joe King ]
 
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socialism == communism in today's world.
What with communists everywhere calling themselves socialists to confuse the electorate as to their true identity and convictions the difference (which was always semantic) has disappeared.
Laziness under communism is of course relative. Those who are not in prison are lazy because it doesn't matter whether they work or not (they get paid the same no matter what which is just enough to not starve), those in prison are all but lazy because as long as they are productive they get less torture and more food.
 
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Originally posted by Joe Pluta:
[b] ... In a democracy, corruption usually only exists as long as there's excess money to distribute, and tends to be self-regulating, whereas any government that makes it easy for people to be lazy is going to quickly end up with a mass of people looking for entitlement.

Joe
[ March 01, 2004: Message edited by: Joe Pluta ]


Just as we have a separation of Church and State to prevent them from corrupting each other, there should also be a separation of Economics and State as much as possible to prevent the same problem. A government limited in scope and size reduces the opportunities for corruption. Interestingly enough, those most fanatical on Church/State separation issues are often the most in favor of a government larger in size and scope.
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Joe King:

It is the people of the world who should exercise control by means of a more advanced democracy in all aspects of life: political, social, and economic.
[ March 02, 2004: Message edited by: Joe King ]



I love this idea of 'economic democracy' : Its not the people who invent, create, and produce who are entitled to the rewards of their effort, instead we will all just vote on it. Bill Gates has his faults, but I have no moral right to the fruits of his labors.
This is the same principle as communism, "From each..., to each..", whereby the most productive are robbed the most and least productive live as parasites.
 
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Originally posted by Joe King:
Are you comparing democracy to dictatorship or capitalism to state run economy here though?


I believe the term you are looking for here is socialism.
 
Mapraputa Is
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Lainess under communism is of course relative. Those who are not in prison are lazy because it doesn't matter whether they work or not (they get paid the same no matter what)
If you were an engineer, you got the same salary every month. Until you got promotion. The difference in paying between a beginner and an experienced engineer was 3-5 times. If your department worked well, you would have a bonus. Is it really different from the capitalist paradise?
If you are a worker, good chances you were paid depending on how much you produced.
You pension would depend on what you made during your working years (there were different laws, the last one as I remember was you can choose any period of 5 years to calculate your pension). My mother switched her engineering job to work in a foundry to make more money. She worked like a horse.
which is just enough to not starve
Well, education on all levels, all health care was free, goods for kids and books were sponsored by the government, which means they were cheap, the rest was relatively affordable. (And please, notice, that the Soviets didn't rely on cheap clothes made by kids in sweatshops )
Then, many people received their apartments absolutely free also!
So yeah, "just enough to not starve"...
The real problem was that many goods were difficult to find, so people accumulated big sum of money on their accounts -- they couldn't find what to spend them for. But when you did get a chance to buy, say, furniture, the money were here.
Then, if you are still not happy about what you make and want more, there was such thing as "northern coefficient". You could move to some Arctic cities where all salaries were indexed to compensate for harsh climate. It was easier to buy a car or an apartment there also.
And of course, you couldn't simply live on welfare -- if you didn't work, you would be put in jail!
And of course, there was no such thing as unemployment, so there were no people living on unemployment benefits either.
I am painting a far pinker picture here than I would like; of course, there were big problems in the USSR. It's just that your approach is so coarse, that it becomes simply wrong.
 
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Well, education on all levels, all health care was free
... but no running water (either cold or hot) in the hospitals
the rest was relatively affordable.
... a pair of jeans would cost you a half of your monthly salary, a 19-inch TV set would cost you about 1/3 of your annual income, and a domestic car would set you back about 4 annual salaries.
Then, many people received their apartments absolutely free also!
... but you would have to wait in line for approximately 15 years, and the quota was about 9 square meters (~80 square feet) per person.

:roll:
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Joe King:

...
Although Stalin was probably one of the most evil people to ever exist, he did have one good idea which was to concentrate on the communism in his country rather than spread it by revolution. ...


So you count as "his country", Estonia, Lithuiana, and other Eastern European countries forced to join either the Soviet union or the Soviet block/Warsaw pact? Or was that your idea of "liberation" as the communists used to say? Funny how the people of those countries never saw it that way (revolt in 1953 in East Germany months after Stalin died, with several more revolts in other countries a few years later that were brutally suppressed with Soviet tanks). http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB50/
And maybe you forgot/overlooked North Korea? The North Koreans would not have launched their attack in 1953 without the blessing, help and support of Stalin :
http://www.alternativeinsight.com/Korean_War.html
http://www.ku.edu/carrie/archives/korean-war-l/2003/03/msg00041.html
http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cold.war/episodes/05/spotlight/


Had communism been run in a democratic way, I dont think that it could have been shown as being evil.


So if the mass murders and suppression of millions had been approved democratically they would not have been evil? It was not the form of government that was inherently evil, it was the actions they took. And I will also argue that the idealogy of any form of communist government tends towards evil at the very least in the deprivation of property rights. Democracy is no panacea since without limits on government (e.g. Bill of Rights) it can become mob rule with plenty of oppression and evil.



There is not part in the communist manefesto that says millions should be killed - that is not communism, it stemmed from the corrupt rulers instead.


Funny how ALL the rulers became corrupt in EVERY country over 70 years... But any event the rulers had plenty of accomplices in carrying out their murders, so we can't blame it on a few bad apples, its the principles of communism that bring out the worst in humans.



The real problem was that although Marx had a vision of the finished product, the socialist-anarchy that he thought would be achieved through communsim,

"Finished Product" ??? As if any modern society could be sustained by any type 'anarchy'. What a hallucination Marx had.


Remember that one of the key points of communism was that everyone should be equal.


Men are inhererntly not equal in terms of ability, effort, and ambition. If men are free to act and have the rightfull results of their actions, then there will be inequality of wealth and income. Equality of which you speak can only be had by the loss of liberty and be accompanied by serfdom to one degree or another.


There is no way that this was true in the USSR, or is true now in China. The fact that these two refer to their system as communism doesn't mean that it is.


Sort of like saying, in an equally true way, that the US is neither capitalistic nor democratic.


As for communism failing, its hard to see how it could have succeded really.



Even without "failing", communist countries are inherently less efficient than market based economies because of the incentive factor, and the fact that unregulated prices serve as signal to the market on where to allocate resources where demand is greatest.
[ March 01, 2004: Message edited by: Joe King ][/QB]
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
[b]So do you agree with "it was a good war" statement? Even considering all casualties and economical damage it inflicted? This is the same way communists used to think: "Goal justifies means". As long as the goal is noble, and they believed it was, casualties were Ok.

So do we determine what is good based on casualties and damage? Should the Soviets after being invaded by the Nazis, sat down and added up the costs of resisting and just said it's not worth it? I think if they were sufficiently docile they could have kept their causalities lower than what they experienced by resisting. But of course you were not being serious....


I am reading Martin Luther King's autobiography, and there is a place where he is talking about his reading Gandhi, and what impact Gandhi's theory of non-violent resistance had on him. I am going to investigate more about this topic, since this looks like the truly revolutionary way to social progress and harmony.


It all depends on the adversary you try non-violent resistence against. Against a decent people, if the cause if just, you have a chance. Against Nazis or communists you can end up dead...
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
But luckily most of the world agrees: democracy is the most prevalent type of government on the planet, and more countries join the group every year.
Yeah, I just read an article (disclaimer: it's in Russian) about a "Death Valley" (how they call it) in Tajikistan. People die from tuberculosis, whole families, because the Soviet health care system is totally destroyed and nobody cares anymore. But I guess, what's more important, that there is one "democracy" more on the earth!
The worst thing you can learn, Joe, is that there is something even worse than communism.


Now Joe King would say that the Soviets were not REAL communists in the first place so we can't give them any credit. And furthermore, under a socialist/anarchy (REAL communism), I find it hard to see how any type of modern or effective national health care system could be created and sustained. Maybe I'm just hung up on the "-anarchy" part....
 
frank davis
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:

What's worse, I don't see what was evil in what I was taught. That all people are created equal, that nobody should live in a castle and eat with a golden spoon when somebody else is hungry, that there are no "inferior" races or nationalities, that when your country needs you, you go and defend your country -- what exactly is evil?


Sister Map, let me help you in your re-education and assimilation. You have confused a lot of ideas about communism with patriotism and other concepts that are neither unique to Communism or have nothing to do with Communism. Furthermore, the talk of equality can mean to two completely different and diametrically opposed ideas. There is the equality of each person having an equal right to life and liberty. And then there is the communist idea of equality whereby a man's liberty violated so that wealth and income are redistributed. Its this forced deprivation of liberty, of economic and property rights, that makes communism immoral at its very core.
 
Mapraputa Is
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To bro Eugene: I agree that the Soviet camp was nowhere close to a paradise. I even thoughtfully provided my speech with a cryptic "I am painting a far pinker picture here than I would like" clause. My post was a reactionary one: I reacted to people's "communism rewards laziness" oversimplification...
 
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bro Herb wrote: So do we determine what is good based on casualties and damage?
I would accept Tom's definition as a working draft: a war is just when it is waged to prevent even bigger disaster. Under this clause a war of defending your country from an invasion is probably just. (No rule without exception: Iraq). However if we are talking about committing an invasion ourselves, say, abut the Vietnam war, my problem is: how do you estimate expected disaster? At which point casualties caused by an attempt to prevent the future disaster surplus the disaster itself?
 
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Sister Map, let me help you in your re-education and assimilation. You have confused a lot of ideas about communism with patriotism and other concepts that are neither unique to Communism or have nothing to do with Communism.
Bro Herb, first let me thank you for your help on my hard path to become an enlightened citizen of the world. I really appreciate it. Having said that, my duty is to re-pay you for your service, and my mission, as I see it, is to provide you with a first-hand account of experience of living in a communist country, as I remember it. This is true that "pure communism" doesn't exists, it's always a fusion of lots of cultural, historical, etc. factors. I am a bit worried watching your attempts to hatch a homunculus of pure communism, as such attempts, I am afraid, are performed mostly by discarding all what isn't evil, on the premise that it has nothing to do with communism, and keeping only what is perceived as pure evil. My concern is that in following this tactics you can miss a chance to achieve a better understanding of the world as it is. This would be sad, and my sister's duty is to warn you.
Furthermore, the talk of equality can mean to two completely different and diametrically opposed ideas. There is the equality of each person having an equal right to life and liberty.
For one thing, communists proclaimed a man and a woman equal. This meant that women were denied neither jobs nor education, and in fact, they made slightly more than 50% of work force, and maybe even more among college students. There were dark sides behind this policy as well: women had to work and take care about families, yet I feel that here communists achieve a big social progress.
And then there is the communist idea of equality whereby a man's liberty violated so that wealth and income are redistributed.
Well, even free capitalist countries have taxes. So it's only a question of degree.
Its this forced deprivation of liberty, of economic and property rights, that makes communism immoral at its very core.
I am an atheist, and I don't believe even in an intrinsic right to life. It happened that you were born, thanks to your parents. If tomorrow an earthquake will happen, where will be your right to life?
Societies try to provide their members with as good chances to live as they can, but these chances are not absolutely equal. For example, if a war happens, men suddenly have less rights to life than women, as predominantly men get mobilized.
As for forced deprivation of property rights, I see these rights even less intrinsic than a right to life. Communists argued that property rights are a root of all other social evils (like children working 14 hours a day and not getting education) and therefore these rights have to be revoked. We can say that the final results of such policy aren't perfect, but I don't see the act of deprivation of property per se evil.
Now need to go to bed...
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
socialism == communism in today's world.


No. Socialism is very different from communism. Socialists believe in a balance between a free market and state intervention. They understand that for many things the market system brings about the most efficient method of production and supply, but also realise that there are some areas of life that cannot be regulated by market forces, such as education, health, policing, national security etc. Communsists believe that there should be no free market. By these standards most western countries are socialist, but you wouldn't call the US, UK, Germany etc communist.
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:

This is the same principle as communism, "From each..., to each..", whereby the most productive are robbed the most and least productive live as parasites.


Is it best that the most productive should get the most rewards though? Take the case of the teacher and the director. The teacher works hard all day, but only just gets enough money to get by. The director inheritted his job from his father, works two hours a day and earns more that the teacher earns in a month. How is this best? The idea of the "from each...to each" statement is that everyone should work as hard as they can, and that everyone should have what they need. One of the main problems with the communist theory was that while it described how people should get what they need, it didnt describe how to properly allocated luxury goods, which are (in terms of keeping people happy) much more important than the early communists realised.
My (slightly rambling) point is that there are parasites in capitalist economies as well as communists economies and in all economies between the two.
 
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:
So if the mass murders and suppression of millions had been approved democratically they would not have been evil? It was not the form of government that was inherently evil, it was the actions they took.


I totally agree that it should have been democratic and there should have been a bill of rights and an accountable government. In this case, its likely that the death of millions may have been avoided - not many truly democratic governments can get away with killing millions of their electorate. A democratic communist state would most definatly have been less cruel than a dictatorship communist state.

its the principles of communism that bring out the worst in humans.


Total rubbish.

As if any modern society could be sustained by any type 'anarchy'. What a hallucination Marx had.


Maybe one day, but I agree that Marx was a little optimistic to think that an anarchistic society was easily achievable and stable in the long term. I'm not arguing for it (I'm against it), I was just trying to clarify what he was writing about.

Sort of like saying, in an equally true way, that the US is neither capitalistic nor democratic.


Its not either in a "pure" sense. Its not a pure capitilist state as there are state owned and state run parts of the economy ie education, police etc. There are no "pure" capitalist states at the moment as far as I know. Its not "pure" democracy not through law, but through social factors ie a person can only run for presedency etc by having loads of money and loads of corporate support. On the other hand, I think that the US (despite its flaws) is one of the most democratic countries, and this is something that I applaud... its just that I dont think its as demcratic as it could be.

Even without "failing", communist countries are inherently less efficient than market based economies because of the incentive factor, and the fact that unregulated prices serve as signal to the market on where to allocate resources where demand is greatest.


Yes, the market is great for showing how to efficiently allocate resources, but there are some things that are vital for society that the market would show are not efficient. An example would be a museum - they are very important for helping us understand history and different cultures, but in a purely capitalistic country they would only exist if they could make a profit
[ March 03, 2004: Message edited by: Joe King ]
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:

Now Joe King would say that the Soviets were not REAL communists in the first place so we can't give them any credit. And furthermore, under a socialist/anarchy (REAL communism), I find it hard to see how any type of modern or effective national health care system could be created and sustained. Maybe I'm just hung up on the "-anarchy" part....


Yes, I don't think the soviets were communists as Marx envisioned it. Don't for a moment think that I agree with communism though - I agree that a totally state run economy would be flawed, and that the anarchistic state envisioned by Marx would not be good..... It bugs me that so many people think that all socialists are communists (which they aren't) and that all communists were evil (which they weren't).
 
Joe King
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Originally posted by herb slocomb:

Sister Map, let me help you in your re-education and assimilation. You have confused a lot of ideas about communism with patriotism and other concepts that are neither unique to Communism or have nothing to do with Communism. Furthermore, the talk of equality can mean to two completely different and diametrically opposed ideas. There is the equality of each person having an equal right to life and liberty. And then there is the communist idea of equality whereby a man's liberty violated so that wealth and income are redistributed. Its this forced deprivation of liberty, of economic and property rights, that makes communism immoral at its very core.


Its no more immoral than a purely capitalist society would be. Under capitalism it isnt the people who work hardest that get rewarded the most its whoever has the most capital to risk that gets rewarded the most. A society which doesn't provide for health care, which doesn't provide free education, which doesn't ensure that no person will starve would be equally immoral, and thats why there aren't any purely capitalist states. Pure capitalism and pure communism are both heavily flawed, but luckily most countries are neither.
 
Jeroen Wenting
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Yeah, I just read an article (disclaimer: it's in Russian) about a "Death Valley" (how they call it) in Tajikistan. People die from tuberculosis, whole families, because the Soviet health care system is totally destroyed and nobody cares anymore. But I guess, what's more important, that there is one "democracy" more on the earth!
You will need to dig deeper and you'll find that the Soviets deliberately denied the Tadjiks and other non-Russians healthcare and often even sufficient food in order to keep their numbers down.
They were often deported en-masse to Siberia and dumped on the side of the railroad with just the clothes on their backs and left to die from starvation and exposure (not the mention wolves, bears and disease) in the campaigns to "Russify" the central Asian republics.
So nothing changed yet over there, hardly surprising given the state of the nation the Soviets left behind. They took 70+ years to achieve their worst, which can't be reasonably expected to be undone in under 10 (especially given the constant opposition and sabotage of whichever reforms and improvements are intended by the communists still dreaming of "renewing the revolution" which is of course only possible if people see capitalism as failing.
 
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Originally posted by Joe King:

Its no more immoral than a purely capitalist society would be. Under capitalism it isnt the people who work hardest that get rewarded the most its whoever has the most capital to risk that gets rewarded the most.


They are also the ones who lose the most. But what you say isn't really true anyway. There are those who provide the venture capital and they get their slice true. But they fund ideas for others as well. And it is those others who get new companies and products going.
 
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JW: You will need to dig deeper and you'll find that the Soviets deliberately denied the Tadjiks and other non-Russians healthcare and often even sufficient food in order to keep their numbers down.
Could you tell where you read it? Just curious.
The same article said that prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union they had to went through medical exams every year, and in case of a slightest suspicion were hospitalized. I have no reason not to believe it. In fact, my cousin after finishing her medical school was sent to one of these republics to work as a doctor for three years. But to have something substantial to talk about, could you show some statistic for children mortality and an average life expectance for Tadjiks before the Soviets and in 1980-s?
They were often deported en-masse to Siberia
How often?
and dumped on the side of the railroad with just the clothes on their backs and left to die from starvation and exposure (not the mention wolves, bears and disease) in the campaigns to "Russify" the central Asian republics.
Major nationalities deported according to Gulag statistics were:
from European part of the USSR - Germans - 1,224,931,
from Crimea - Tatars ans some other nationalities - 204,698
from North Caucasus - Chechens/Ingushes - 498,452
from Baltic states - Estonians/ Lithuanians/ Letts - 139,957.
I haven't find any mentioning about Tadjiks, besides 2795 members of basmach bands with families deported in 1950. In fact, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan etc. were republics into where other nationalities were sent. More Gulag statistics for "pereselenez" (1953):
Kazakhstan - 988,373
Uzbekistan- 188,689
Kirghizia - 143,638
Tadjikistan - 46,392
So where your "campaigns to "Russify" the central Asian republics" came from?
So nothing changed yet over there, hardly surprising given the state of the nation the Soviets left behind. They took 70+ years to achieve their worst, which can't be reasonably expected to be undone in under 10
:roll: Next time you will post, bring up some statistics.

[ March 03, 2004: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]
 
Joe Pluta
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Under capitalism it isnt the people who work hardest that get rewarded the most its whoever has the most capital to risk that gets rewarded the most.
Just gonna pop into this for a quick bit. This comment only makes sense if by "rewarded" you means "gets stuff". That only counts in the capitalist frame of reference. However, you can also do quite well in a capitalistic democracy being a starving artist, if that's what gives you inner satisfaction. And there are a ton of opportunities in between, with more or less capital reward and more or less internal reward. What you get in a democracy is the ability to do any of these, regardless of what the state says you should do.
Is it perfect? No. Capitalism run amok is easily seen in $500,000 automobiles and $20,000,000 houses. The amount some people spend on jet fuel could easily fund a school. The pork meted out by Congress is getting to the point where it would offend even a conman. But until we get some measures of campaign reform and term limitations, there's little to be done about it, because the majority of Congressional seats are bought by lobbiests. Serving in Congress ought to be a burden - a true public service; that's what it was back when it worked. In fact, they ought to reverse the salaries of Congress and teachers - put the money where it's really earned.
Anyway, I've wandered around a bit. Just wanted to toss in my two cents.
And communism still sucks .
Joe
 
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JK: One of the main problems with the communist theory was that while it described how people should get what they need, it didnt describe how to properly allocated luxury goods, which are (in terms of keeping people happy) much more important than the early communists realised.
This makes a lot of sense. Few theorists apart, most communists, like most of population, had very modest needs. Their goal was to feed hungry, to provide everybody with some clothes, a place to live and that's basically how far their dreams went. They didn't realize that as soon as people aren't hungry, they ask "What now"? They want something more. And most important, more than the neighbor has.
There was such thing as "partmaximum": communist functioners' salary couldn't be more than an average salary of a qualified worker in the region. It was abolished in 1934, since thatn they basically built an ugly copy of capitalism, only more cruel and without luxury.
 
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Originally posted by Mapraputa Is:
JW: You will need to dig deeper and you'll find that the Soviets deliberately denied the Tadjiks and other non-Russians healthcare and often even sufficient food in order to keep their numbers down.
Could you tell where you read it? Just curious.
The same article said that prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union they had to went through medical exams every year, and in case of a slightest suspicion were hospitalized. I have no reason not to believe it. In fact, my cousin after finishing her medical school was sent to one of these republics to work as a doctor for three years. But to have something substantial to talk about, could you show some statistic for children mortality and an average life expectance for Tadjiks before the Soviets and in 1980-s?
They were often deported en-masse to Siberia
How often?
and dumped on the side of the railroad with just the clothes on their backs and left to die from starvation and exposure (not the mention wolves, bears and disease) in the campaigns to "Russify" the central Asian republics.
Major nationalities deported according to Gulag statistics were:
from European part of the USSR - Germans - 1,224,931,
from Crimea - Tatars ans some other nationalities - 204,698
from North Caucasus - Chechens/Ingushes - 498,452
from Baltic states - Estonians/ Lithuanians/ Letts - 139,957.
I haven't find any mentioning about Tadjiks, besides 2795 members of basmach bands with families deported in 1950. In fact, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan etc. were republics into where other nationalities were sent. More Gulag statistics for "pereselenez" (1953):
Kazakhstan - 988,373
Uzbekistan- 188,689
Kirghizia - 143,638
Tadjikistan - 46,392
So where your "campaigns to "Russify" the central Asian republics" came from?
So nothing changed yet over there, hardly surprising given the state of the nation the Soviets left behind. They took 70+ years to achieve their worst, which can't be reasonably expected to be undone in under 10
:roll: Next time you will post, bring up some statistics.

[ March 03, 2004: Message edited by: Mapraputa Is ]


Talking of statistics, you don't mention between 350,000 and 1.5 million ( estimates vary ) Poles sent to the Gulags from 1939 onwards.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Joe King:
Under capitalism it isnt the people who work hardest that get rewarded the most its whoever has the most capital to risk that gets rewarded the most.

So are you saying that all those "rags to riches" stories are lies?
 
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
So are you saying that all those "rags to riches" stories are lies?


Today's newspaper says that JK Rowling is now on the list of billionaires.
I heard she was living in a trialer not too long ago.
 
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SW: Talking of statistics, you don't mention between 350,000 and 1.5 million ( estimates vary ) Poles sent to the Gulags from 1939 onwards.
I mentioned only a few groups out of a long list. I was mostly interested in movings on the territory of the fUSSR, and Poland was occupied only temporarily. Just was curious what Jeroen's idea about Tadjiks "often deported en-masse to Siberia" was, since I've never heard about particularly Tadjiks being repressed, as opposed to many other nationalities.
 
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