Browsing the internet the other day I stumbled across a video of Whoopi Goldberg proclaiming that Communism was “great on paper, it just goes wrong when you put humans in the system”. With all due respect to Ms. Goldberg, she is flatly wrong.
Perhaps I may be prickly on this issue, but having acquaintances and friends who either themselves or had family who escaped Castro, Kim IL Sung, and Chairman Mao, I believe I have a very unique perspective into the merits, or rather faults, of Communism, present at just “a paper reading”.
So why doesn’t Communism work? Or rather, more in tune with Ms. Goldberg’s statement, why isn’t Communism “good on paper”. The reasons, as outlined below, center around three pressing issues which must be asked when reading Marx’s Communist Manifesto or Mao’s Little Red Book.
1. The very nature of Communism demands the refusal to acknowledge the inalienable right to private property.
a. In calling on a sharing of all resources, Marx and Mao necessarily advocate the government sanctioned mugging of all individuals and entrepreneurs who have been successful. If you cannot own your property or the fruits of your labor, the inalienable right to private property is negated. In negating this right, Communism necessarily proves itself a theory which belongs on the ash heap of history, and undeserving of intellectual attention.
2. To enforce the nature of Communism requires the government described in Orwell’s 1984.
a. To force the individuals of society, who have been successful through their allocation of personal capital, requires a Big Brother Government as no rational entrepreneur will willingly or voluntarily forsake the profit motive. Just from a paper reading of Communist Manifesto, one quickly realizes the hope and unlimited power Marx places in a national government. Unrestrained in its refusal to reward success, only a fool, devoid of all historical experiences of mankind and to be most pitied, would believe an unrestrained State to be in their long-term best interest.
3. Economically, Communism cannot be successful.
a. Often we hear of the “income gap” from our friends on the left. What their argument fails to consider however, is the logically negative equivalent of their argument. By fanning the flames of class warfare through the “income gap” argument, our dear friends on the left are, albeit unknowingly, preferring that the poor be poorer, provided the rich were even less rich. By focusing on the “income gap” as opposed to strictly economic growth in general, communism allows either the achievement of its inhumane schemes by either making everyone rich or everyone poor.
In short, these are the problems which first appear upon a paper reading of Communist Manifesto. If Ms. Goldberg means, by paper reading, the profoundly irresponsible behavior of accepting what is in print at first glance, and giving no mental effort to dissect the read argument, then we have a debate and honest disagreement on the definition of what should constitute a paper reading.
But if Ms. Goldberg refers to a paper reading as the time honored tradition of personally mentally processing the arguments which are in print, then I must question with all due sincerity how she, or anyone for that matter, can legitimately believe Communism to be a good idea, even after just “a paper reading”.