Is Communism Really A Bad Thing?

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

No. You agreed that communism has never been truly implemented but then you listed some generalisations about communism which relate to its implementations, and conflated them with the theory. Before you say again that those things are part of the theory, your Marx quote says "The theory of Communism may be summed up in one sentence: Abolish all private property". Marx was anti-religion but communism does not require a society to be areligious, or have no love and family (I don't know where you got that from), or have no privacy, or have no personal property*, or have the right to choose your own path in life. Even the Bolsheviks allowed free association and free speech and suchlike for a while, but decided later to change it -- that it was not implemented or planned from the outset implies that it's not to do with theory but with implementation.

* As you said, communism is against personal wealth, not possessions. So you can't inherit wealth, but you can inherit family heirlooms and such.

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.

Marx created the interpretation of communism called Marxism. I think the essence of communism -- (to borrow your Marx quote) to "Abolish all private property" -- is compatible with a religious, pro-family, "self-deterministic" society. I'm thinking of Marxism as an extended communism, the extensions being Marx's personal beliefs that are unrelated to the core idea of abolishing private property.

Communism seeks to abolish individual wealth, not possessions.

I didn't say it sought to abolish possessions; you already said that it doesn't and I agree with that. I also agree that "communism seeks to abolish individual wealth", that's absolutely the essence of communism. Your use of the word "possessions" in the line "It just believes that your possessions are not yours alone -- and they can be re-appropriated as needed" confused me. If you had said wealth in the first place I would have understood.

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

That's not what I was criticising though. I was criticising the way you seem to be considering things as wholly good or wholly bad which is a common cognitive bias and logical fallacy. Things that, on the whole, are bad can have good parts and it seems like you're forgetting that. I think communism on the whole is bad, although I don't believe the things you listed are inherent to communism but rather totalitarianism, but it isn't wholly bad, and even its implementations have not been wholly bad, just bad overall. That's what I mean when I say you are being overly black-and-white about it.

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.

Can you prove that communism logically entails totalitarianism? This is what I really want to debate, all the other things are "side issues" to use your term. I don't think communism -- the abolishment of private property -- entails totalitarianism. Perhaps "communism with extensions" (i.e. Marxism), does. In practice, communism has always occurred alongside totalitarianism, but I believe that's because a communist government has never been democratically elected, instead forcing itself into power. I also think most communist governments historically were simply using communism as an excuse to get into power, perhaps to encourage the support of workers. I don't think that of the early Bolsheviks, though. Instead, I think they were so determined to execute communism that they didn't care who else they had to execute to do it. Stalin's not included in that group, though. I think Stalin was probably just a psychopath.

[edit] Just to be perfectly clear, I am not a communist so I don't believe that the actual, essential theory of communism is a good thing either. I simply think that you're arguing against a caricatured version of the theory rather than the theory itself. If you had replaced the word "communist" with "Marxist" in your previous post I wouldn't have given it a second glance.
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