Is Communism Really A Bad Thing?

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The problem with Communism is that it requires you to give absolute power to an authority and hope they don't abuse. But absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The problem with trickle down economics is that it requires you to give a huge portion of wealth to a select few and hope they use it to create more jobs and expand business. But money is power and large amounts can corrupt most any.


This topic reminds me of a practical example I was told when learning about communism:

So an American economic professor asks his class if communism is a good thing, to which more than half the class agree. The professor then declares that out of a democracy vote, he will implement the following system: Each person in his class will get write a test and everyone will then get the averaged grade on their report. After the first test everyone scored a B, after the second test the average was a C. This was because the smarter kids who studied for the first test, realised that there were some who did not study at all and rode off their coattails, so for the second test they decided not to study. After the third test everyone received an F and the professor failed the entire class, and they all repeated the class the following semester.

AFAIK that story is true.
What that story doesn't take into account is that those students were raised in an individualistic, capitalist society and thus conditioned to be egoistic and somewhat selfish. Had they been brought up in a culture that encouraged a collectivist attitude, the results may have been very different. Never underestimate the power of social conditioning. That said, I'm no communist. I consider myself a right-leaning socialist (i.e. more right-wing than the average socialist, but still very much left-of-centre), but bad arguments are bad regardless of whether you agree with the conclusion or not.

[edit] Also, before you say "over half of them agreed communism is a good thing", that's because they're university students, of course they would say that. They (evidently) didn't actually believe it -- if they did, they would put the goals of the collective first and would have worked hard regardless of who was getting the reward.
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my government is killing off the unions, they all ready say one thing to get in and do the opposite, and people can vote but they will always end up with the same: so I believe we have lost control of the people who control us for profits and there is nothing but doom gloom and exploitation ahead of us.
Chrisname, your response is exactly the point I raised when my macro economics professor used the same example.
then all the students and the teacher in that class are stupid. Communism is "do your best to get your needs". It "removes" people who doesn't give any efforts, but are still very rich (aka kills all the landlords). The teacher should have expelled all the lazy students from the class (which is likely the students who don't think communism is a good thing) and the rest will do great. The teacher could have done that but yea he is American and doesn't want to believe. If 10 students has A grade and 1 student (X) has C (because of x,y,z,...), the average is still A. 10 students can cover that for 1. But if X continues to get C then he doesn't deserve the class grade. Either expel him or let him has his own grade :/

Basically it works like torrent. If you want to have high download speed, you must become a good seeder. Some sites have standard upload/download rate and if you go lower for too long you cannot download from those sites anymore. It works like communism.
(aka kills all the landlords).


I don't believe communism is about mass slaughter.

You can't simply kill people (or otherwise remove people from society) who don't meet an arbitrary and subjective "societal contribution" quota.
I might as well have just set off a bomb.
Somebody set up us the bomb.

What you say?

We get signal.

Main screen turn on.
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Je ne comprends pas
You're too young. Google it.
Oh my gawd, JC a bawmb!
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closed account (Dy7SLyTq)
You can't simply kill people (or otherwise remove people from society) who don't meet an arbitrary and subjective "societal contribution" quota.
oops.... i wish you had said something earlier
Communism, at least as Marx originally described it, has never been implemented. In particular, Marx originally said that capitalism was a "necessary evil," because he argued that a society would need to be capitalist (and then socialist) before successfully implementing communism. In this sense, no country has ever been truly communist, so we can't talk about whether or not it is a successful system, because there aren't any examples to discuss.
closed account (Dy7SLyTq)
i thought marx came up with socialism, the forerunner to communism, not communism itself?
Marx and Engels came up with both, AFAIK.
Vladimir Lenin wrote:
The goal of socialism is communism


A common argument for communism is that no extant system has ever actually practiced it. While this is true, it is a logical fallacy to apply it to the merits of communism.

Many of communism's goals have been practiced, or at least vigorously attempted, with all the horrors that go with it.

People like to eulogize it's goals, but the goals are contrary to human need. No one can exist as a borg. But individuals can exist in a community.

Adlai E Stevenson II wrote:
Communism is the death of the soul. It is the organization of total conformity - in short, of tyranny - and it is committed to making tyranny universal.

Why is it tyranny?

Because it seeks to strip you of all moral underpinnings.

Believe in God? Not if you're a communist.
Believe in love and family? Not if you're a communist.
Believe in privacy rights and private communication? Not if you're a communist.
Believe you ought to be able to bequeath the products of your efforts and the possessions you have gained to your children? Not if you are a communist.*
Believe you ought to have a right to decide how you will live and behave? Not if you are a communist.

Communists take great care to promote themselves in a very favorable light. Even if it is bunk. They claim to be true democrats, but the idea is an oxymoron. You cannot do and believe and participate equally with others in a non-government around the whole world. It is impossible for everyone to have the same needs -- which leads to the problem: it is impossible for everyone to have perfect consensus on how to address those needs.

*Communism doesn't actually believe that possessions are abolished. It just believes that your possessions are not yours alone -- and they can be re-appropriated as needed.


It took a very long time for what we understand as communism to develop. While Marx and Engels and Lenin et. al. all agree on many of the central points, they all had their own spins on it. The idea isn't quite as fleshed-out as we take it to be in university courses.
Duoas wrote:
Believe in God? Not if you're a communist.
Believe in love and family? Not if you're a communist.
Believe in privacy rights and private communication? Not if you're a communist.
Believe you ought to be able to bequeath the products of your efforts and the possessions you have gained to your children? Not if you are a communist.
Believe you ought to have a right to decide how you will live and behave? Not if you are a communist.

This reads just like American cold war era propaganda. None of these things are inherent to a communist society. All that's necessary for a society to be considered communist is statelessness, classlessness and public ownership of the means of production. Those things don't at all logically entail godlessness or any of the other things listed above. Those things have always been the results of the implementers' attempts to subjugate and control the population. They are things inherent to totalitarianism, not to communism, and communism is not inherently totalitarian. Communism need not follow the beliefs or practices of any of its advocates so far; Marxism, Marxism-Leninism, Stalinism, Maoism, etc. -- these are merely interpretations of communism. Again, I'm not arguing for communism, but conflating the merits of a theory with those of its various interpretations and implementations is fallacious, as is the conflation of communism with totalitarianism. I'd also like to point out the fallacy of black-and-white thinking: considering things to be wholly good or wholly bad. The Soviet Union was not wholly bad. It had the first ever public healthcare system and revolutionary workers' rights. It was a bad thing overall, sure, but again, things are not wholly good or wholly bad, there is almost always some amount of grey area and it's a fallacy to think in purely black-and-white terms, as you are.

Communism doesn't actually believe that possessions are abolished. It just believes that your possessions are not yours alone -- and they can be re-appropriated as needed.

This is also wrong. It did happen in the USSR: on collective farms, they would redistribute equipment and livestock amongst peasants, but again, this isn't inherent to communism. Collectivisation was thought up by the Party a number of years after the seizure of power and AFAIK many contemporary historians believe it was mostly done, again, to subjugate them.
Chrisname, you clearly need to study communism much more, because you are arguing false points.

but conflating the merits of a theory with those of its various interpretations and implementations is fallacious

Hmm, it seems that is exactly what I said, no?

communism need not follow the believes or practices of any of its advocates so far

I think the people who invented communism, and the communist manifesto, are probably the best source, and the stated goals of communism are a godless, anti-family, anti-self-deterministic society.

What is fallacious is to take a very strict, "black-and-white" system, and treat it as reasonable because of the grey areas created by people endeavoring to implement or enforce it on other people.

This is also wrong

Read the source, dude, before you spout crap.

Communism seeks to abolish individual wealth, not possessions. Whatever soviet communists did to their peasants as a matter of subjugation does not change the fact at the heart of communism.

black-and-white

Communism is a black-and-white answer to things. For that matter, all truth is black and white. It is the nature of truth.

"The sky is blue"
--except when it is not

Okay, so that's not a black-and-white truth.

"The sky is usually blue during the day"
You can't argue against that. Black and white.

"The earth is round"
ah... so now we understand our weakness -- the words we use are not black and white. This statement is true. It would not be true to claim that the earth is a perfectly round sphere. But 'roundness' is often conflated with an idealized perfection in the minds of those who don't yet know how to generalize the ideal of 'roundness' over a non-ideal surface.

"The theory of Communism may be summed up in one sentence: Abolish all private property." - Karl Marx
He didn't care about your favorite pen, or your shoes, or your car.

He cared about the distribution of wealth among classes, and the way that personal wealth comes by the exploitation of those without wealth.

So he would probably have an issue with your Lexus, or your nice two-story home with grass and trees and one and a half baths.

"Public property" is property that everyone has access to.
"Private property" is not.

And the difference between the two is the exploitation of those without power ('wealth') by those with power ('wealth').

Were we to all live in a perfect society, where everyone was well-fed and safe and had access to Lexuses, Marx would be driving a Lexus.


By arguing that grey areas exist you are playing into the hands of people who seek to ameliorate the evils of communism with side issues. That a grey area exists means nothing. The not-grey area also exists, and the not-grey area is totalitarianism and depravity.

Not how someone with power thought it was best to implement upon the masses.

So watch it how you sling the word "fallacy".
closed account (z05DSL3A)
I can't help but think of "The Blind Men And The Elephant" whenever people start discussing communism.

You are all right and you are all wrong...at least some of you are, the others I'm not so sure about.
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