In December, I alluded to a better reply when nationalists are blood-libelled as “Nazis.” Rather than vociferously rejecting the label–and strengthening a tool which dehumanises us–we ought to respond:
There is some common ground between National Socialism and today’s nationalists: including support for white identity and traditional gender roles. Some nationalists have more disagreement with National Socialism; others have less. However, if history is our forecast on who will commit future crimes against humanity, in the interests of accuracy, we must set the record straight. The modern Left is indelibly linked to Communism: an ideology that killed tens of millions more than National Socialism ever did. This connection is not incidental–it is intimate–given the modern Left’s embrace of deadly utopianism and a false egalitarianism. Likewise, the modern Left’s belief in progress translates to an endless war against human nature; much like Communism butchered millions while removing the profit motive. By their own standards, Leftists are far more likely than nationalists to commit wholesale murder.
We rarely see this combative case made, which reveals plenty about the Right’s losing predicament.
But when these rare counter-offensives are launched, the Left responds in two ways. The first–and smartest approach taken–is to step over past atrocities; to disown all association to them, so to emphasise more contemporary issues. Case in point: we rarely hear from ‘Gulag Revisionists’, as commonly as Holocaust Revisionists.
Then there is the second response, which this post intends to vanquish. This is seen when Leftists downplay or minimise Communist atrocities. They do this by arguing “Communism is good in theory, it just hasn’t been implemented properly. It is the practice of Communism, not the ideology itself, which has caused the deaths of millions.”
An obvious way of negating this inefficacious case, is pointing towards Communism’s consistent implementation in practice: the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China, Cambodia, North Korea and Cuba. In these examples, it is the rule–not the exception–that yields Communist tyranny.
If a bridge type repeatedly collapsed upon construction, we could infer there was something flawed about the design itself. Communism’s incessant failures support a similar conclusion: its theory is inherently defective.
Besides this pattern-based polemic, various characteristics outlined in Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s ‘Gulag Archipelago’ make it so that Communism is necessarily tyrannical.
1. The Close Affinity for Thieves
The Connection Itself:
The USSR penal system viewed stealing from private citizens a far less serious offence than taking from the state or engaging in anti-Communist activities. As Solzhenitsyn puts it (page 414 of Volume 2):
For robbery of the state, embezzlement of state funds, a packing case from a warehouse, for three potatoes from a collective farm–ten years! (After 1947 it was as much as twenty!) But robbery of a free person? Suppose they cleaned out an apartment, carting off on a truck everything the family had acquired in a lifetime. If it was not accompanied by murder, then the sentence was up to one year, sometimes six months.
The thieves flourished because they were encouraged.
The thieves’ behaviour was even incentivised by guards of prisoner transports (page 506 of Volume 1):
From the middle of the thirties until the middle of the forties, during that ten-year period of the thieves’ most flagrant debauches and most intense oppression of the politicals, no one at all can recall a case in which a convoy guard intervened in the plundering of a political cell, in a railroad car, or in a Black Maria. But they will tell you of innumerable cases in which the convoy accepted stolen goods from the thieves and, in return, bought them vodka, snacks (sweeter than the rations, too), and smokes). The examples are so numerous as to be typical.
And while the much anticipated 1953 ‘Voroshilov amnesty’ avoided releasing millions of political prisoners, it “flooded the whole country with a wave of murderers, bandits and thieves, who had with great difficulty been rounded up after the war” (page 416 of Volume 2).
Why the Connection Exists:
The psychology of the ‘urki’–habitual thieves–is driven by a desire to “live and enjoy myself; and f*** the rest” (page 413 of Volume 2). This attitude could only emerge from one who has absolved all duties to community, nation, tribe, custom or culture. It is the response of one who seek to extract maximal material pleasure from life. Thus, it is unsurprising Communism favourably looked upon thieves, for its concept of liberation ideology–that overcomes ‘oppression’ of *individuals* through destroying class, hierarchy, authority and tradition–has a similar ultimate end to thieves in mind: the actualisation of fully autonomous individuals, no longer subject to traditional or Western forms of subjugation.
Likewise, accompanying Communism’s belief an equal society can and should be created, is a vindictiveness towards those with higher aptitudes and resulting financial means. As Maxim Gorky roared to workers on the Volga Canal, “Any capitalist stole more than all of you combined!” (page 87 of Volume 2). This conforms to the mindset of thieves, who feel justified in stealing the fruits of another’s labour. Solzhenitsyn confirms this much, noting “The thieves roared with approval, flattered.” (Page 87) of Volume 2).
2. The Trouble with Subjective Evidence
In line with Communism’s belief that truth is relative, the pre-eminent Soviet jurist Andrey Vyshinsky formulated his views on evidentiary principles. According to Solzhenitsyn (pp 101-102 of Volume 1),
Vyhsyinsky… pointed out in a report… that it is never possible for mortal men to establish absolute truth, but relative truth only… Thence arose the most practical conclusion: that it was useless to seek absolute evidence–for evidence is always relative–or unchallengeable witnesses–for they can say different things at different times.
With all evidence relative, any fairness-centred notion requiring the prosecution prove guilt “beyond reasonable doubt” disappears. Into this vacuum of procedural justice arises a despotic system, where citizens are wrongfully convicted of crimes, through evidence obtained by extreme torture, coercion and manipulation.
3. The Necessity of Slave Labour
Solzhenitsyn suggests that up to 15 million people were in the Soviet Union’s forced labour camps–‘Gulags’–between 1929 and 1953. While some have estimated at higher figures, one thing is unequivocal: the necessity of these forced labour camps under a Communist regime.
Solzhenitsyn quotes Comrade Molotov, who outlined at the Sixth Congress of the Soviets of the USSR: “We did this earlier. We are doing it now. And we are going to go on doing it in the future. It is profitable to society. It is useful to the criminals” (page 559 of Volume 2).
The camps didn’t generate more income than was spent on their maintenance; but Gulags were profitable in a different sense. Their slave labour accomplished hellish tasks in remote locations which no-one–without a profit incentive–would voluntarily undertake. Writes Solzhenitsyn (page 561 of book 2),
The labor of the seeks was needed for degrading and particularly heavy work, which no one, under socialism, would wish to perform. For work in remote and primitive localities where it would not be possible to construct housing, schools, hospitals, and stores for many years to come. For work with pick and spade–in the flowering of the twentieth century. For the erection of the great construction projects of socialism, when the economic means for them did not yet exist.
That last point on ‘economic means’ is paramount. A regime that socialises the means of production, will necessarily require slave labour where there is no incentive to complete particular types of work.
Written prior to its practical enactment in the 20th century, ironically, the Communist Manifesto decried the transformation of economic relations under capitalism: “It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage labourers.” But as Solzhenitsyn points out: “At least they were paid! And at least they were let to work in their own ‘field of professional specialisation,'” rather than being sent on suicidal logging missions (page 242 of Volume 2).
2 thoughts on “Communism: A Necessarily Tyrannical Ideology”
I always thought the most tyrannical aspect of Communism was the inability for consenting adults to freely contract with each other without the state as intermediary.
Under communism if I and 4 other likewise individuals wish to lease a shop (voluntary contract), and form a partnership (voluntary contract), to bake bread via the purchase of ingredients & machinery (voluntary contracts), having obtained the training required to do so (voluntary contracts), to sell to customers who wish to buy (voluntary contracts) I am unable to do so.
Every decision must be made with the approval of the state, and my own discretion is removed from the equation in virtually all steps.
On the other hand under capitalism people are free to live out a communitarian dream if they wish.
A group of people wishing to live under communism WITHIN capitalism need only register an organisation (perhaps a non-profit but it can also work as a regular company) that provides services like healthcare, education, housing, welfare and other services to its members. Each member can then volunteer their labour to the organisation and provided the organisation pays out in services and goods equivalent to what has been contributed (which is obviously how a communist society would be designed to work) there would be no profit to distribute and so no tax (or very little to be paid).
The only difference would be that unlike in a true communist society the ability to pressure people to contribute in the manner dictated by the state or be jailed is removed.
So a capitalist system allows people to live a communitarian lifestyle within it if people so choose voluntarily, whilst under a communist system those that would live out a capitalist existence within it are gaoled. You do not get more tyrannical than that!
There’s certainly less capacity to enter voluntary business transactions in Communism.
To be fair though, there is compulsion in capitalist societies, via state sanctioned violence. What ultimately underpins all effective politics is violence or the threat of violence. In that respect, the ancaps properly characterise modern society.
The capitalist state imposes policies that affect all individuals, regardless of disagreement. And if you don’t agree with this “social contract,” you’ll be jailed for tax evasion.
I agree that I’d rather many aspects of life dealt with at the community level, rather than by the state. That said, liberal capitalist governments have tremendously expanded control over their societies, largely due to the logic of Liberalism itself.