Over the weekend I read The Communist Manifesto for the first time. I expected some sort of almost magical power to draw me into embracing the evil. I was surprised, disappointed, and finally I had a sinking feeling of emptiness as I thought about it more.
The book was like a synopsis of a poorly written alternate history novel. Assumptions critical to the reasoning which followed were unsupported and, at least to my present day perspective, either blatantly wrong or highly suspect. Even conceding the authors their assumptions without contest the conclusions reached with such confidence were as unstable as any house of cards.
And this is the book that convinced millions of people to murder hundreds of millions of others? Is this all that it takes to remove the thin veneer off of civilized behavior and enable the most evil empires human history as ever known? Self described intellectuals accept this book as a valid political philosophy? These “intellectuals” regard themselves as my betters? Wow!
The typical two year old child or even the family dog wouldn’t accept the conclusions unless they were forced into compliance. It’s no wonder the authors state, “The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can only be attained by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.”
But in talking to Ry about the book I got a new perspective. He said that he first read it when he was about 12 years old and it was like the scales had been removed from his eyes and he saw everything clearly for the first time. Furthermore he said it is no wonder Communists killed off older people with any education or even if they wore glasses. It’s no wonder they attack capitalist societies through the school system. We were and are in a war most people don’t even realize exists (see also The Handbook of 5GW). Ry went on to claim that the book was aimed at the young and “the people with guns, the muscle” who would do the “heavy lifting” of “forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.” These would be people without the intellectual rigor to challenge the assumptions, reasoning, or conclusions.
Okay… I can buy into that hypothesis for now.
The obvious question then becomes why do the people who claim to be the intellectuals of our society so much more likely to advocate for Communism?
I know a professor who admits he is a Marxist. He once insisted our family should not be allowed to own the home we do because we “don’t need such a big house.” The “government should let someone with a bigger family use that house.” This professor told me the previous dozens or hundreds failed attempts at implementing a Communist utopia failed because, “The right people weren’t in charge. We just need to have the right people.” I explained that concentrated power of that sort attracts the “wrong” people who would always succeed in the acquisition and control of that power. He insisted that “we just need to get the right people in power.” I then sent him a copy of The Road to Serfdom. I don’t know if he even read it but I do know his attitude has not changed. He believes he is an intellectual superior in our society. He is a professor. He knows what is best for our society. Of course you know he voted for Obama. But I could have given you 20 chances and you would not have guessed that he is a professor in a school of business.
So one answer to the obvious question is we are at war and most people don’t even know it.
Another possible answer is something Sarah once asked me, “Have you ever noticed that liberals are not very bright?” I was a bit shocked. Someone else noticed? I am a bit sensitive about challenging the intellectual capacity of others because I know there are many things that I don’t know and seem to be beyond my capacity to understand (such as the mass appeal of The Communist Manifesto). But here was someone else, without an engineer’s mind, who noticed it too. As I pondered the book and Ry’s observations I realized that was another plausible answer to the obvious question.
The Communist Manifesto tells its readers that supporters of Communism are the intelligent people. They deserve, are destined to, and the good of all human kind depends on them, being in charge. That they “understand” the benefits of Communism to the bafflement of others is probably proof to them that they are the intellectual superiors of those that think Communism is, at best, prone to abuse.
In other words the second plausible answer to the obvious question is that those that advocate Communism are not very bright people who want to believe they are the brightest of all people. And that The Communist Manifesto tells them they are the brightest enables them to then claim themselves as intellectuals.
Regardless of the plausible answers I have no choice but to view Communism as a cancer which has metastasized beyond the point which surgery or chemotherapy can do little more than delay the death of the host. And it can all be traced back to one little book. I’ve written thousands of blog posts on freedom related topics and thousands of others far smarter than me have written hundreds of times more than me with hundreds of examples of Communism evil and failure. Yet we are losing to a couple of guys who have been dead for 120 years who wrote something that was little more than a synopsis of a poorly written alternate history novel.
Man, that sure does suck.