Monday, March 6, 2017
Socialism: A Century of Death and Destruction
Richard Ebeling emails:
I have a new article on the website of the Future of Freedom Foundation on, “Socialism: A Century of Death and Destruction.” It is based on a talk I recently gave as the John W. Pope Lecture sponsored by the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism at Clemson University.
In 1993, less than two years after the end of the Soviet Union, I was in Vilnius, Lithuania and was offered the opportunity to have a tour through the building that served as the local headquarters for the KGB, the infamous Soviet secret police. It was a walk through a chamber of horrors of terror, torture and death. It captured the essence of Soviet-style socialism around the world since the communist revolution in Russia one hundred years ago in November 1917.
Modern socialism arose when classical liberalism and free market capitalism was in the beginning of the process of liberating mankind – first in Europe and North America, and then slowly to other parts of the world – from ages-long poverty, plunder and tyranny.
Socialism promised a different supposed path for human betterment based on the idea of changing human nature into altruistic collectivism through enlightenment and force rather than accept men as they are, self-interested individuals whose reason can be used to improve his own circumstances and those of others under the right market-based institutions and a limited government that secures and protects each individual in his rights.
This war on human nature explains much of the reality of socialist ideas and practice, beginning with Karl Marx’s call for the a “dictatorship of the proletariat” that would “reeducate” the masses, following the revolution, from a capitalist mindset to the communist conception of living only for the society and not primarily for yourself.
It also explains the inescapability of socialist central planning of human beings – their thoughts and their actions – as well as the physical means of production to make a “better world.” Hence, the logic of socialism led to control, command, and coercion to bend human beings to what the self-appointed “revolutionary vanguard” knew to be what mankind should be, rather than what human beings, by nature, really are.
The end result was not only the economic disaster and stagnation of socialist central planning, but the mass murder of tens of millions of human beings in the quest to make the “new man” for that “new society.”
But human nature arose to the surface in each these new collectivist “workers’ paradises” in the form of those with the reins of communist power using it to plunder and brutalize the people under their command through the establishment of networks of privilege and favoritism in the spiders’ webs of bureaucratic planning and distribution.
The lesson from this century of collectivist “experiment” since the Russian Revolution of 1917 is that freedom, prosperity and a humane society can only arise from a social system that recognizes and respects the individual’s right to peacefully and honestly live for himself as he comes to think best, and his voluntary association and exchange with others in the community of free men.
at 2:32:00 PM