Sunday, September 27, 2009

Investigating Communism

Whittaker Chambers was an American writer, Communist Party member and a spy for the Soviet Union. President Reagan awarded Chambers, posthumously, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Obviously, some things happened in between these two things. If you are interested, you may want to read more about Whittaker Chambers. However, this post is about Communism in general and why people become Communists. I learned much of this by reading about people who became Communists, like Whittaker Chambers.

Here are a few of the things I found out, or that Communists allege.

At the heart of Communism, and the very core of its appeal, is its credo: "Workers of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains. You have a world to gain."

Communism makes a profound appeal to the human mind [they say.] Communism is aimed at, and appeals most to, the working man who never seems to get ahead in life; who feels, finally, that he is being oppressed by the rich elite. He is angered at that thought and bitterly frustrated at his apparent hopeless situation. Before his government is "changed" he sees his government as simply another tool of those rich oppressors.

Communism also appeals to the liberal elite whose life-passion is the liberation of these downtrodden and abused working folk. The liberal elite nest frequently in academia: educated people become communists mostly for "moral" reasons. (So Chambers wrote, anyway.)

[Moving to other writers] In addition to Academia, there are many organizations (ACORN, TIDE, APOLLO and others) that are set up ostensibly for the purpose of relieving the plight of the downtrodden, but whose agenda is primarily political [though who are apparently not above making a buck or two in the process.]

Mostly these people do not think of themselves as Communists, though their aims seem often much the same.

I then tried to "codify" what it meant to be a Communist:

What do Communists believe in? What are the earmarks of a Communist? I hadn't given this much thought until I recently started reading the recent political literature in this country and comparing it to traditional Communist literature. Here are some of the things I gleaned from reading the earlier Communist Party literature. The following appear to be the hallmarks of a good Communist.

1. Communists believe in the supremacy of the State rather than of the individual. All good things come from and are "enforced" by the State. Therefore the State must be molded to reflect the agenda of the downtrodden worker-class.

2. Communists DEFINITELY do not believe in God. That stuff is for ignorant non-thinkers.

3. Communists believe in the redistribution of wealth. This doesn't just mean high taxation of the wealthy but, rather, confiscation of money and property to "equalize" citizens.

4. Communists believe in the inherent evil of what they call the ruling class: people who have created or inherited wealth.

5. Communists believe poor people are victims of that ruling class.

6. Communists believe all people are economic and social equals. (Oddly, in all existing and previous Communist governments, there is/were still a ruling class elite who have summer homes and are driven around in limousines.)

Communists believe a lot more than the above, but those are the things that are obvious from my reading so far.

Then, I asked myself, by reading contemporary political literature, whether any of these seemed to be congruent with the statements and philosophies of some of these current organizations and supporters. It seemed that this is so, but I need to do more research because it might be terrible if that were true.

Conclusions? I don't think it is a question of Communism vs. Capitalism. I think it is a question of Communism vs. Freedom. I suppose I am hardly unique in that observation.

There seems to be a great divide between the stated ideals of Communism and what actually seems to happen.


  1. I don't doubt that these items you list are included in communist beliefs (though I'm not sure atheism is mandatory).

    However, believing in part of some of these statements does not make one ipso facto a communist.

    And, reading over these statements reminds me of something I try philosophically to avoid - noting something and assuming a generalized "truth" from it. For instance, even a cursory look at history reveals that people in power have taken advantage of "regular people" repeatedly. However, making the assumption that (a) this always happens, (b) all rich people are oppressive, (c) that's the only way people have become rich, and (d) all rich people owe poor people all their wealth is wrong. Generalizations and broad characterizations are just as wrong when they happen from the bottom up as they are from the top down.

  2. @Stephanie B - Atheism is definitely mandatory. You could even call it Atheism vs. God instead of Communism vs Freedom. All you have to do is read the Communist Manifesto and all the statements of their leaders since the revolution. (Or read Chambers' "Witness". Communists believe in the self sufficiency of man and ridicule the very concept of God. This one you would not win. :) Obviously I don't believe the reverse is true; that an atheist is by definition a Communist. Not so.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with using evidence to point to reality or "truth". I don't personally think all rich people are oppressive, but I am saying that is how the "working class" who are ripe for the Communist line, PERCEIVE the rich, as a class.

    I have a lot more to say about "classes" that is decidedly non-Communist, but I will stop here. :)

    A lot of people out there are biting their tongues and not commenting, perhaps because this hits a little too close to home. But I didn't mean to accuse anybody of anything, only trying to dig up some facts.



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