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Lately on the LO boards I have noticed that several people have voiced their political choice as Communism.
Whenever I see this I have to stop and think for a moment and I attempt to delve into the mind of a person who wants to live in a Communist society. However, the idea is so far removed from my psyche that I just can't imagine it.
What I'm looking for here is a discussion of why any person would want Communism after seeing the results of it turn badly over and over in each and every country that has attempted to institute it.
If you happen to endorse this line of thinking, then please don't flame me, I'm just trying to understand.
I think what you're going to get mostly, in the way of response here, is something along the lines of:Originally Posted by H0urg1ass
"Well, those countries only instituted 'imperfect' communism and thats why they failed."
An answer which I personally don't subscribe to.
I believe that communisn is doomed to failure because the human race is; by nature; an imperfect creature, and trying to get us to do anything 'perfectly' is a waste of time and effort.
Besides, I never really went in for the whole: 'Take stuff from people that worked for it and give it to other people that didn't' approach to governing.
Communism, imho, is just a giant welfare program.
Some people are going to come back at me with the counter-argument that: 'Well, it isn't just taking from people that work hard and giving to those that don't!'
To them I ask, "What exactly does the phrase; 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.' mean to you?" [ edit> I know the preceding is a Marxist statement, bu the concept is also applied in communism which borrows heavily from Karl Marx.]
I really don't think you need to worry about getting flamed for this discussion, it's actually quite thought provoking and should garner a bit of interest.
Great topic for discussion, btw.
Last edited by Joker; July 25th, 2005 at 15:10. Reason: spelling and other stuff
I am a firm believer in the Communist ideals, not because I think they work but because I think that if we stop trying to achieve perfection we condemn ourselves to a slow decay. Democracy has proven to be flawed in many situations yet most people are not so swift to condemn it.
A Communist society may one day be a real possibility, after we realise that greed and capitalism have a lot to answer for. When we have the technology to ensure the Government will know what the people want.
Itâ€™s a dream but without dreams are we any better than animals?
I was about two sentences into a reply last night when my sleeping pills kicked in. It was sick, my computer screen started to slide around on top of my desk and I couldn't make it stop, so I couldn't see what I was typing anymore. I swear, I'm gonna have "insomnia" for the rest of my life if I can keep getting these sweet pills. lol
I think that the one thing that I really disagree with most about communism is rewards vs work. If I do something for a living, then I want to be rewarded for it based on my abilities. In a communis society, however, everyone is supposed to be rewarded the same, because everything made is gathered up and redistributed.
The problem with this is that there are no incentives. If I'm a doctor, why should I work hard to be a better doctor than Bob across the hall? I'm going home to the same house he is, with the same redistributed food and the same paycheck.
Some wonderful people have the ability to strive to make the best of themselves no matter what situation they are in. I, however, am not one of those people. I need rewards for my work as do I suspect most people I know.
This is a very interesting topic for debate so I've decided to voice my opinion, for better or worse (your decision ). I don't know who these people who claim to endorse communism are, nor do I know where in the world they live, but I'm going to assume for the sake of argument that they live in a socialist/capitalist society, as that is the most predominant type in the first world.
First off, I don't think most people living in such a society (socialist/capitalist) know exactly what communism is. Yes, it's fairly common knowledge that communism espouses private ownership in favor of government control of the economy for the betterment of all, and that sounds all nice and good, but it's far from the entire story. I don't claim to know everything on the subject, or even enough to argue this topic beyond a few shallow points , but communism is a despotic system of government. A dictator rules, usually forcing his/her ideals on the populace, or at least utilizing the overall control of wealth and goods to further those ideals. Often these dictators have agendas that are focused more towards overthrowing capitalism than bettering life for all citizens under their rule. This inevitably leads to a military state in which people are oppressed in order to maintain control and fund a ravenous war machine that's off combating, or planning to combat, the capitalist nations of the world. A lot of money is diverted to the military, meaning less for the people. Of course, when the strongest country on the planet is the biggest advocate and practitioner of capitalism, you've got a problem on your hands.
Communism doesn't sound like a good solution to me; socialism seems like the happiest medium. Freedom to pursue private interests and own private property is a good thing, though I think it should be balanced with a necessary tax to ensure that those who are in need of immediate aid are taken care of. I don't think hard-working citizens should be made to support those who are unwilling to work, though they should aid those who are unable to. Yes, there are many problems with a capitalistic society, but capitalism has succeeded on a large, LARGE scale. Communism has failed in every (or nearly every, I can't be sure) attempt. If we can attain a peaceful state in which everyone is taken care of but isn't oppressed or taxed to hell or robbed of ownership (i.e. the complete elimination of economy so that currency is worthless, meaning wealth is not an influencing factor), then I think we'd have something good going. Sort of a perfect Star Trek thing. Everyone has private interests, however, and if they're prevented from pursuing them, they'll be pretty pissed. There is no easy solution, but it's worth talking about.
Last edited by Zanzibar; July 29th, 2005 at 00:49.
I believe that there isn't anything wrong with humanity trying to better itself.Originally Posted by Deadly Nightshade
But to seek perfection is folly.
Humans can become better, but never perfect.
Now I want to address this quote. Because it strikes at the very heart of Communism, which; oddly enough; would never allow human beings to strive for anything more than what they are, because it is a system based on a purity of equality that by definition leaves no room for improvement!
In fact there is no need to dream under a pure communist regime, because according to their mantra they are right where they need to be!
So by this definition, Communism would turn humans into animals!
Drones; with no minds for dreaming or wanting or striving for anything. If that is the perfection Communists seek then let them have it.
I prefer good old fashioned falibility.
The whole idea of complete 'Governmental' control over peoples lives is an abomination to free society.
I don't mean to offend anyone here by saying this, but people who feel the need to have some entity; other themselves; controlling every aspect of their lives, seem to need psychological help (in my inexpert opinion)!
What could be so wrong in their lives that they say, "You know what? F... it all, I'm giving up my freedom to make decisions for myself to some 'Government' so they can care for me for the rest of my life!"
I'm sorry, but it just doesn't seem rational.
Last edited by Joker; July 29th, 2005 at 14:37. Reason: spelling
So lets see whats the Flaws of Communism and what the Flaws of Capitalism.
Flaws of Communism:
1 Communism assumes that all people will seek to stay at the same level as everyone else, but the reality is that most people will try to do something to "get ahead" of others.
2 Communism needs a mechanism, a governing body, to decide how to redistribute the wealth. This therefore assumes that the individuals that act as part of this governing body would not seek to promote their own interests over that of others. It also assumes that the governing body has perfect information, and perfect wisdom to make the appropriate decisions about how to redistribute the wealth.
3 Giving equal resources to all individuals sounds fair on the surface, but many resources may lie dormant. For example, society could give everyone a Pentium 233 computer. Some people would use it, some would not, and some would wish they had a Pentium 466 computer so they could do more, but the equality system would not allow this unless society could provide the Pentium 466 to everyone. The new technology must be made available to a priviliged few and accepted and desired so that society can determine whether or not the new technology will be mass produced for everyone.
Flaws of Capitalism:
1 The assumption that each person "knows" what is in his best interest. For example, who really "knows" the BEST way to invest their money for the next 5 years?
2 Even when a person knows what is in his best interest, will he act in his best interest? For example, people smoke even though they have the knowledge that it is not in their best interests.
3 Actions taken in an individual's best interest does not mean they are in society's best interest. For example, a man can literally use cash to start fires to prove his incredible wealth, but that money could have been better spent on other causes more beneficial to society.
So whats better for society after comparing all these flaws, i still dont know.
MEAT IS MURDER
Indeed Capitalism has a lot to answer for itself.
We are still using fossil fuels despite the fact that are unlikely to last the centaury. Not only that but the governments of the world are ignoring the environmental damage, people are still dismissing Global Warming saying it is not a problem!
Personally I consider myself a socialist of sorts, however this is not the place for my views.
Actually, a communist state is one in which the government controls the economy, along with the usual stuff like the military, etc. They don't have the power to tell you what to do on a daily basis, or at least in theory they don't. This does happen however (totalitarian rule) because, as I mentioned earlier, communism is often forced on the populace by a dictator who, more often than not, rules with an iron fist. In principle, citizens living under communist rule are free to live their lives as they see fit, so long as they conform to the societal norm and follow the rules. Because we've only experienced examples of the tyrannical form of communism we crap on it as being oppressive, which it is, but if for some reason an entire country or civilization were to willingly adopt a communist regime and agree to live under it, I think the results would be a lot better. Also note that one single ruler isn't the only way to go about things. Democratic communism is a possibility, though it seems fraught with inherant disastors to me.Originally Posted by JokerAgain, I may just be talking out of me arse here but would they really simply hand out computers to everyone? The way I see it working (and I've not researched this or anything so it could easily be wrong) is, instead of giving out the raw goods, vouchers are distributed that can be used to requisition needed things from the "governmental provisioner" or something (that is, if someone needs a Pentium 233 they'll use their vouchers to obtain one while someone who doesn't won't). This seems a little too much like currency for it to be plausible in a communist society but, as it's all distributed equally and can't be used on the world market or even outside the communist nation, it might work.... You never know!Originally Posted by Nagato
Unfortunately in todays world we have only seen imperfect examples of Democracy and Communism, and I think the posters so far have been influenced by hearsay and their own experience. Niether political system is inherantly corrupt in its pure concept, or even more prone to corruption than any other, but we are immersed in a world where political systems are routinely corrupted by the people in power, and the proles are deliberately kept in a state of ignorance.
All animals (including human beings) are programmed at the level of their DNA to seek the best advantage for their offspring. This basically means that all individuals are constantly striving to get a better life for themselves, and set themselves up for having heathy and plentiful children to continue their DNA. Any aspect of human civilization, from the fabrication of religious myth to television advertising can be seen in this context.
Therefore, any system that purports to offer 'equality' is inherantly flawed from the start, as everyone affected will instinctively start looking for ways to better themselves relative to their fellows. Corruption will set in if there is any possible way for it to exist.
Just an anecdote that comes to my mind. We had a kind of pure system of communism in the British Army, although we would not have called it that at the time. Technically we were all soldiers, but some had higher ranks and the junior ranks were the most plentiful. We were supposed to move and act as one for the benefit of the unit, we performed activities at the same time and to a similar standard. The analogy doesn't go too far, but to a certain extent the 'weaker' members of the unit were helped out collectively (by training or coaching) so that their shortcomings were not a handicap to the overal performance of the unit.
Anyway, there was a saying amoung the Sergeants that seems appropriate to what I am discussing here "If a squaddie isn't complaining, then he's onto something good." ('something good' = light duties, better rations, some booty or other)
This suggests to me that in a community of 'equals' that some of the individuals are going to be looking for ways to improve their own individual status. By extension, this suggests that the people with more responsibility and executive power will also be looking for ways to exploit the system, to a lesser or greater extent.
Anyway, I think that, for basic biological reasons hardwired into the human psyche, that Democracy is closer to the optimum that allows humans to achieve their full potential. With Communism, I fear that the 'flattening' effect could stifle individual creativity and progress itself, the major leaps of technological progress having come from individual creativity and vision.
But, I have no strong feelings either way as yet, and maybe technology can help to even the playing field, by poviding better information services to the electorate for example.
Ryan Dancey, Vice President of Wizards of the Coast, believed that TSR failed because of "...a near total inability to listen to its customers, hear what they were saying, and make changes to make those customers happy." Are you listening, Games Workshop ?