Battlepanda: Mayday Mayday


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Mayday Mayday

Yesterday was Mayday, and Catallarchy took the occasion to point out how spectacularly the communists fucked up.
How can we understand all this killing by communists? It is the marriage of an absolutist ideology with the absolute power. Communists believed that they knew the truth, absolutely. They believed that they knew through Marxism what would bring about the greatest human welfare and happiness. And they believed that power, the dictatorship of the proletariat, must be used to tear down the old feudal or capitalist order and rebuild society and culture to realize this utopia. Nothing must stand in the way of its achievement. Government–the Communist Party–was thus above any law. All institutions, cultural norms, traditions, and sentiments were expendable. And the people were as though lumber and bricks, to be used in building the new world.
I agree with everything he has to say about communism, but I just don't think it applies uniquely to communism. Communism developed as a result to the grinding oppression of the lower classes by a dysfunctional and decadent society. This is to say, the peasants had a legitimate beef. I don't think Communism became such a damaging ideology because of its initial assumptions, which were a reaction to the previous paradigm, but its stubborn inability to change and adapt when many of those assumptions proved to be spectacularly false.

Whether it is religious fundamentalism, communism, facism, or unqualified and rampant free-marketism, bad thing happen when people allow ideology to overcome their humanity. Maybe that is the deepest lesson we can take from the terrible tragedy that was authoritarian communism.