David Thompson
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July 11, 2017

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Rafi

We’ve seen a great example of that in Venezuela, where they put everybody on a kind of weight-loss plan that’s made the average citizen lose 20 lbs.

As Instapundit would say, "unexpectedly".

David

I suppose it’s not unlike when people say, in an offhand way, “Oh, communism is a good idea; it just doesn’t work in practice.” In fact, communism, in all its iterations, is a monstrous idea, a nasty moocher’s fever dream, the psychology of which is pathological - hence the number of narcissists and sociopaths attracted to it - and the practical implications of which are obscene.

Now seems a good time to quote a bit of an earlier post, from the last four paragraphs here:

There are of course those who read Marx and Engels while somehow ignoring the salacious references to “revolutionary terror,” the “murderous death agonies of the old society” and the “complete extirpation” of “reactionary peoples” – i.e., thee and me - as if the horrors that followed had nothing at all to do with the urges to which they give intellectual license. An abstracted, sanitised belief in Marxism – detached from its consequences - isn’t just an oversight. It requires colossal bad faith, especially among the intelligent.

To read Marx and Engels - to say nothing of Trotsky and his enthusiasm for guillotines and the prospect of beheading people who didn’t wish to be communists – to read such material and somehow not grasp where that thinking goes isn’t just a failure of critical wherewithal. It’s a contrivance. Just as some contrive an indifference when faced with Engels’ eagerness to see “the disappearance from the face of the earth not only of reactionary classes and dynasties, but also of entire reactionary peoples.” A global class genocide that would be, in his words, “a step forward.”

The Dalrymple piece on Eric Hobsbawm, via the link above, is also worth a squint.

Corsair

Jordan Peterson is the most interesting man in the world.

decnine

Any political system that can't work unless the initial conditions are exactly right will inevitably fail; not least because nobody knows what the right initial conditions for tomorrow morning will be.

David

Incidentally, there’s an excellent chapter on Marx’s appalling behaviour and personality in Paul Johnson’s Intellectuals. And there’s an essay by Thomas Sowell, Marx the Man, which I think is collected in the Thomas Sowell Reader. Both are quite revealing, and you can’t help but wonder just how much of Marx’s output was an attempt to excuse and rationalise his own nasty urges and dysfunctional behaviour. If nothing else, it’s amusing to see the prototype of so many subsequent middle class Marxists.

pst314

"...Marx’s appalling behaviour and personality in Paul Johnson’s Intellectuals. And there’s an essay by Thomas Sowell, Marx the Man, which I think is collected in the Thomas Sowell Reader."

Yes indeed. Both are excellent sources.

R. Sherman

What's interesting is that the young Maolings infesting college campuses seem to understand precisely what "real Communism" entails and if given a chance would implement it quite ferociously. See, e.g. Evergreen State College or any of the numerous other locales discussed on these pages.

(I've been away in the wilds for three weeks deliberately ignoring the internet. I trust I didn't miss anything.)

David

I trust I didn’t miss anything.

Act casual. Say nothing.

Sporkatus

Approximately a year and a half ago, I was chastised by someone at work that Chavez was actually a good leader, Venezuela was a successful country, and that I shouldn't get all my information from Fox News. I'd known the guy was leftist, but I was a bit... surprised. The unreality was stark.

Addendum - I have not heard anything about Venezuela from him since. Impossible to imagine why. No doubt the truth I was presented with is no longer operative.

David

One more time.

Because it’s probably wise to remember these things.

R. Sherman

Act casual. Say nothing.

I see my bar tab has increased by a factor of five in my absence. And what's this reference to the "Champagne Room" and associated "entertainment!?!"

David

And what’s this reference to the “Champagne Room” and associated “entertainment!?!”

Ah yes, the two-hour lingerie and tickling package.

WTP

Bajeebus are you people ignernt, always hatin'...The obvious counter is that humans can give their loyalty to ever larger groups. We did, after all, go from small tribes, to small nations, to big nations, to large empires.* What's wrong with a little world wide communism to make EVERYONE happy and good? I mean it's obvious.


* Stolen from an PhD professor guy who knows thinkin' and stuff.

Sporkatus
humans can give their loyalty to ever larger groups
. Yep, I've heard that one. Always mouthed by people who (in actual practice) reject loyalty to anything but "cause"; as cover for the fact that they're fundamentally disloyal, down to the ground. "Oh, I have a loyalty, but she's in Canada. You haven't met her".

And of course those larger loyalties require some middling level of mutual trust (even loyalty!) on the local level to actually function, otherwise Rome...

PiperPaul

"The truth I was presented with is no longer operative"

Well said, comrade.

Killer Marmot

I've spent many an hour on the Grauniad website quarreling with Marxists. Three observations:

1. They will quibble endlessly over definitions.
2. They are the world's biggest excuse makers.
3. Evidence means nothing to them. They are the polar opposite of empiricists.

I sometimes take the approach of asking them "Given the catastrophic history of attempts at socialism, how many more millions must die before we get it right? We deserve an answer to that before trying again." That cuts through at least some of their B.S.

Squires

Loyalty to self-flattering ideas to the exclusion of loyalty to actual human beings is definitely a key... feature.

See: denouncements.

See: honor killings.

David

Loyalty to self-flattering ideas

Vanity trumps all else. It’s the egalitarian way.

Clam

There are of course those who read Marx and Engels while somehow ignoring the salacious references to “revolutionary terror,” the “murderous death agonies of the old society” and the “complete extirpation” of “reactionary peoples” – i.e., thee and me... An abstracted, sanitised belief in Marxism – detached from its consequences - isn’t just an oversight. It requires colossal bad faith, especially among the intelligent.

That.

David

That.

Advocates of communism – usually as an absurdly sanitised ideal, and from a position of safety in a rich, liberal society – often count on the rest of us not having read the biographies and correspondence of its originators.

Hopp Singg

you can’t help but wonder just how much of Marx’s output was an attempt to excuse and rationalise his own nasty urges and dysfunctional behaviour.

So, angry drunk, then....

Clifford

"Within a week of Kaplan's attack on Lenin the Petrograd Cheka shot 512 hostages, many of them former high ranking tsarist officials. In Kronstadt, soldiers killed 400 hostages in one night. Soon the killings spread to the provinces. No regard was made to personal guilt or responsibility; the victims were selected on the basis of their class or profession. "Never had a modern society killed its people so readily" the historian W. Bruce Lincoln observed of the Red Terror. To the Bolsheviks, believers in Marx's notion that the death of the bourgeoisie was a historical inevitability, doing away with the ruling class was simply an act of Euthanasia. "There is nothing immoral" Trotsky coldly affirmed, "in the proletariat finishing off a class that is collapsing: that is its right"

Former People by Douglas Smith

Richard Rostrom

Venezuela is evidence that there is no ideological program so bad it cannot be made worse by corruption and incompetence. Some of the disastrous results of chavismo have been paralleled elsewhere. For instance, Cuban adults lost 5% to 20% of body weight due to food shortages in the 1990s; other Latin American countries have murder rates comparable to Venezuela; and Zimbabwe had even more ruinous inflation. But only Venezuela has managed all three, and collapsing national infrastructure, while receiving over a trillion $ in oil revenue.

Bolivia's government is nearly as bad as Venezuela's, ideologically, but has maintained public order and avoided national bankruptcy.

David

And let’s not forget this:

A couple of years ago, the then minister of education admitted that the aim of the regime’s policies was “not to take the people out of poverty so they become middle class and then turn into escuálidos” (a derogatory term to denote opposition members). In other words, the government wanted grateful, dependent voters, not prosperous Venezuelans.

As noted previously, the left’s self-imagined radicals have little to gain from successful, independent people. Because success and independence – independence of them – makes you the enemy.

[+]

the then minister of education admitted that the aim of the regime’s policies was “not to take the people out of poverty so they become middle class and then turn into escuálidos” (a derogatory term to denote opposition members). In other words, the government wanted grateful, dependent voters, not prosperous Venezuelans.

So much that.

David

So much that.

And this is framed as altruism, as caring, the measure of virtue. To me, heathen that I am, it looks more like a desire for mastery over livestock.

Tom
"There is nothing immoral" Trotsky coldly affirmed, "in the proletariat finishing off a class that is collapsing: that is its right"

I think I'm a fairly cynical person and even I'm surprised by the sheer... inhumanity of this statement. Trotsky's talking about wiping out an entire section of society, that would be useful to any country which didn't want to collapse in economic and ideological decline after about, oh, seventy years or so, as though he were clearing a house of ants, or rats.

How did Russia manage to wind up under the control of so many blood-soaked sociopaths? Honestly, most countries manage to wind up with the occasional lunatic who's eventually ousted and replaced by at least a minimally competent demi-sociopath but Russia's had a long and storied history of real winners.

R. Sherman

Let us not forget Bill Ayers, friend of former President Obama:

In No Place to Hide, Grathwohl explains that the Weathermen actually believed that they would be successful in overthrowing the U.S. government and that, with the help of the Cubans, Chinese, Russians, and North Vietnamese, they would occupy America. Americans would have to be "re-educated" in camps, similar to what the communists did in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and other countries they had taken over. Here is one of the chilling revelations Larry Grathwohl made in the film:

I asked, "Well what is going to happen to those people we can't reeducate, that are diehard capitalists?" And the reply was that they'd have to be eliminated.

And when I pursued this further, they estimated they would have to eliminate 25 million people in these reeducation centers.

And when I say "eliminate," I mean "kill."

Twenty-five million people.

I want you to imagine sitting in a room with 25 people, most of which have graduate degrees, from Columbia and other well-known educational centers, and hear them figuring out the logistics for the elimination of 25 million people and they were dead serious.

Source.

Jon Powers

OT, but the Shia Lebeouf arrest video is now public and I, for one, am outraged. Doesn't this black police officer understand how much he cares? Shia is setting aside his privilege TO HELP HIM!! I'm literally shaking. #hewillnotdivideus

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOw7xqUehBs

Lancastrian Oik

Slightly off topic, but here is Ronan Deasy on Ken Loach's cognitive dissonance. Thurston Moore and Roger Waters also get a bit of a shoeing from Mr. Deasy, who comes across as a splendid chap.

David

#hewillnotdivideus

#HeWillEventuallyShootUpAPostOffice

WTP

"I got more millionaire lawyers than you know what to do with you stupid bitch."

And yet he can't afford his own cigarettes? Not sure what the lead in to all that was but I've only been to Savannah a couple times. Never did it occur to me that police officers there would gladly dispense cigarettes to those who ask. But then again, I don't smoke cigarettes so how should I know? Never mind...

David

As Instapundit would say, “unexpectedly”.

Related. And if you haven’t seen it, do click through for the video of a Moscow supermarket, circa 1990.

Michael Stone

After viewing The Truth About Karl Marx I've come to the conclusion that the whole rotten history of communism is an attempt at justifying terrible behavior.

Spiny Norman

#HeWillEventuallyShootUpAPostOffice

#4ChanMadeHimDoIt

Sporkatus

Here's something making the rounds, originally from Reddit and posted by "Bob the Cheesemaker":

I won't be repeating it. My wife and I sold our wedding and engagement rings to buy guns and gun training courses. We won't let Trump take our ethnic neighbors. Some day we all need to train ourselves to protect our democracy before it's too late. It sucks that I wake up crying every day now because this is our world. I wasn't meant to be a soldier I was a cheese maker. I made fucking cheese but now I'm a soldier thrown into some Hitler remake god it's awful.

9.4/10, needs more "genderqueer siblings of color". Still, this is a very ripe and well aged hysteria that will only get better with time in the pantry.

Hal

And all hail Lennon, too!!

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