The Injustice of Poverty
Chapter 11: Arguments Against the Theory
Section I: Introduction
In the previous sections of this book, when I produced an idea, I would defend it then and there. When I argued for certain mechanics in the Capitalist system, I offered arguments against my own theory and then refuted them. The same is true when I argued that productive labor is the creator of wealth, when I argued that public interest is necessary to prosperity, and when I argued about the mechanics of a Communist economy. In all of those sections, I would answer outright arguments then and there. It will be in this sole chapter that I answer anonymous arguments against the theory of Communism, what I call "Common Arguments."
Section II: Common Arguments
There is never a great theory proposed to world that does not meet some argument -- there has never been a revolutionary idea that did not first meet opposition of the majority, that has been criticized at least one thousand times. Whether it was the theory that all living organisms are made out of cells, or that the earth was in fact not the center of the universe, every theory came with opposition, and in some cases, with burning books and their authors. With that in mind, I wish to remind you that Communism is no different.
The first and most obvious argument against Communism is that if it is established, any region that it is established in will fall under the rule of a Totalitarian Dictatorship. It will establish a repressive organization, opposing individual liberty and personal freedoms. Though it may be historically true, that there is some link between collectively owned property and amelioration of the rights of the public, I do not believe that it has to be the case. In situations like the Soviet Union, or Red China, or Communist Vietnam, I do not believe that they have even managed to accomplish Communism -- as their factories violate their own labor laws. They are certainly not Communist. Also, aside from whether they are Communist or Capitalist, they do not have political autonomy. The people are not allowed to govern their lives. As I wrote before, we are fighting for our freedom, we are doing what we can to establish the principle that the people are the ones who must be granted control. The USSR did not have free elections. It was not so much a Communist state as it was a reversion back to the old monarchical ways. The people could not decide the laws and were completely isolated from the process of collective management. Capitalist nations that are under the rule of a monarch or king or dictator, they all are full of repressive and brutal tortures, vicious and heartless massacres. The American colonies were nothing but serfs without the right to represent themselves in government, and they were surely one of the greater, elevated forms of Capitalism: the Mercantile system. If a government is Capitalist, but allows no voice to the people, it fails -- but if a government is Communist, but allows no voice to the people, it also fails; should we fail to recognize the pattern here?
Another primary argument against Communism comes from a corner of intellectual thinkers known as Primitivists, who believe in Primitivism. The theory of Primitivism may be summed up as this: the idea that technology, in all its forms, works to oppress mankind and destroy the environment -- and that there is no exception to these rules. While it may be true that technology has in fact played a part in oppressing mankind and destroying the environment, to say that it can only play that role (when history proves otherwise) is in fact a statement of great arrogance, narrow-mindedness, fanaticism, and simple stupidity. To understand the great levels that technology can elevate us to, I refer the reader to the first chapter. The fact is, swords and knives have played their part in oppressing mankind, so why should we not conclude that they are intrinsically limited to oppressing mankind? That is the effectual argument of Primitivism: there are many instances of it happening, so it must be the only way it can happen. Such thinking is a sign of logical deductive disabilities. And, why should we admit swords and knives into the Primitivist world? They are forged by technology, just like factories and farms. Language, in fact, is a form of technology. Are we to do away with language, cooperation, and mutual aid, just because they are technological advancements? I suppose, then, all tools must be done away with. A hammer may be the first step, but then metallurgy and pottery would be the next, and so on, and so on, until we arrive at the factories and manufacturing plants. At what point is it "technology" to the Primitivist? Because surely every one of these steps has had some aid in oppression, as much as it has had some aid in liberation. Simply put, Primitivism is reactionary foolery, and I think little mind ought to be paid to it.
The final bunch of arguments against Communism are what I would refer to as misnomer arguments; that is, arguments that fail to properly identify Communism and what it stands for. For example, one person may say, "Capitalism is based on people being greedy," and "Communism is based on people being good." I hardly find this to be the case. In a Communist society, we would be able to obtain the necessities of life as well as luxuries in maybe one half to two hours of labor in a day -- I greatly desire this system to liberate my brethren, but what is to say that I don't want this system to liberate my own self? I seek ought to establish and realize Communism in the whole world, as a method of allowing every person the right to happiness and freedom from want and misery, so that I can know that not only are my friends free, but so am I. Another argument against Communism, or the Socialist doctrines, under this title of misnomer arguments is: "Communism, or Socialism, would work if we all were the same." I think this argument has its roots in the idea of, to each his ability, to each according his need. Or, in actual use as some Communist nations may have had it, that each person works 5 hours a day and receives the same food and luxury -- i.e. being based on each person being the same with the same desires or wants. Needless to say, everything I have said up to here would completely demolish this argument; a Communist nation must not tell its people how much to work and what to buy, for that's rather a sign of a police state rather than a free republic or democracy.
Finally, there is the argument that Communism "works in theory, but fails in practice." I hardly think that this argument can be recognized as having any merit or value to it at all. If something works well in theory, but fails in practice, then there are two deductions that can be made: a theorist's poor assumptions and lack of sources, or the failure of someone to adequately carry out such a theory. For a person to actually believe that anything "works in theory, but fails in practice," is simply an indictment against his own reasoning abilities. And, as many misnomer arguments would have it, both the deductions above seem to be had when dealing with the Communist ideology. It appears that, according to the previous paragraph, many Americans are ignorant about what Communism really means. It might be that Americans enjoy things that are simple, and would reduce the most complex algorithm to "2+2=4" if it helped them feel secure in knowing. And, also, it appears that there have been no noticeable success with any person trying to carry out a theory of Communism. All major experiments, including the USSR and Vietnam, seemed to have been riddled with the problem of brutal, vicious dictators.
With all this said, I hope the reader acknowledges that there are, in fact, few serious arguments against a theory of Communism.
1. "The Enslavement of American Labor," by George S. Boutwell. Address Delivered in Faneuil Hall, January 22, 1902, Under the Auspices of the Boston Central Labor Union, (Boston: New England Anti-Imperialist League, 1902).