Saturday, December 27, 2008

What is Communism?

I have to hand it to BadTux: he's shown me the error of my ways:
You can define all you want, but reality simply is, and doesn't care about your attempts to change it by changing the definitions of common words [i.e. "communism"] to be what you want them to mean.
He's right, you know. If you're going to call yourself a communist, you have to do exactly what Stalin did, including wearing ill-fitting western business suits. Actually, to call yourself a communist, you have to do exactly what three generations of capitalist propagandists say that communists do; if you don't immediately start producing Soylent Green and replacing humans with emotionless pod-people, you're not a true communist.

In just the same sense, our American democracy is exactly the same as that proposed and practiced by the founders. If you're not saying and doing exactly the same as Isacc Newton, then you're not doing physics. Medicine without leeches is a fraud.

Thank you BadTux, for showing me that labels, especially political and social labels, have an objective meaning that it is dishonest to deny or change in the slightest bit.


  1. Uhm, I do not confuse Stalinism with Communism. Thank you for putting words in my mouth. If you wish an honest discussion of power, equality, and biology, and their implications for systems of organizing societies, I am quite willing to have one, and indeed have the start of one on my blog where I go into some details that are difficult to do in the comment form of a blog. But this is getting silly.

    - Badtux the Serious Penguin

  2. I'll leave your comments up, but it's a waste of time to discuss any issue with someone who isn't a honest seeker after the truth.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. david mabus: did you ever hear of the 1st amendment? or will you censor me like everyone you disagree with...

    I have no problem censoring you here, David. If you want to exercise your First Amendment rights, you're free to start your own blog.

  5. If you can pull "true Communism" off, more power to you. Hasn't been done yet; and don't experiment on me.

  6. God forbid, Mike, that you should have to give up your Lexus just so that some subhuman prole has enough to eat.

    We're all in this together; unless you want to move to the Moon, you're part of the great experiment called life.

    Deal with it, asshole.

  7. Dude, where do these "you censored me on your blog; the first amendment; blaarggh" dumbfucks come from?

    Say, if you do pull off a revolution, what's gonna happen to the medical school professors? You're still gonna have to do biomedical research and train physicians, right? Right!?

  8. Dude, where do these "you censored me on your blog; the first amendment; blaarggh" dumbfucks come from?

    Google "David Mabus". I feel sorry for him, he seems to have a serious mental illness.

    Say, if you do pull off a revolution, what's gonna happen to the medical school professors? You're still gonna have to do biomedical research and train physicians, right? Right!?

    Of course. According to socialist economics, medicine and medical is one of the most efficient uses of productive labor, having an enormously high use-value compared to hours spent.

    Medical personnel would not, however, be able to use their expertise to remain in "labor aristocracy" and obtain economic privilege.

    In short, there would be a lot more doctors (and those to train them), and the artificial scarcity of medical expertise — and the attendant economic privilege — would be substantially reduced.

  9. I'm back from my imprisonment in an aluminum tube.

    All you have to do is look south -- Cuba -- to see that a Communist system with plenty of medical doctors is quite easy to attain. Plenty of medical *supplies* -- drugs, diagnostic instruments, etc. -- seems to be a bigger problem with every experiment in Communism thus far. Communist systems seem good at creating plenty of teachers and doctors, resulting in a population that is well educated and has good "core" health care, not so good at creating actual "stuff" like medical drugs and microchips. But as the Philosopher Bum is sure to tell us, these experiments weren't "real" Communism so they don't count. (Sarcasm intended).

    Regarding honest seekers of truth, anybody who claims to have Truth is a deluded fool, regardless of whether he calls himself a Communist, a Capitalist, or a Philosopher. The moment you believe you have the truth and the whole truth, you cease being a seeker of truth and become an ideologue.


  10. I'm afraid to tell you BadTux, but Cuba, China and USSR are not Communism. Don't you think you need to look beyond propaganda at some point?

    Jeebus, you're starting to become tiring even for me...

  11. Someone needs to tell Cuba, China, and the former leaders of the USSR that they weren't Communists, because they certainly claimed to be. Do note that I differentiate between authoritarian dictatorship (the form of government in those countries) and communism (the system of economic organization). Stalinism (or Maoism) != Communism.

    Hand waving that "real communism has never been tried" to excuse the failures of communism is as silly as hand waving that "real capitalism has never been tried" to excuse the failures of capitalism. Both communist and capitalist hypothesize that there is a "pure" form of each system of economic organization, and that the failure of the economy under each respective system is due to the fact that an "impure" form of the system is in place, rather than due to inherent flaws in the system of economic organization. Given that we are dealing with real life, real people, where hypothetical purity of form shall never be arrived at, this is an ironic and fundamentally intellectually dishonest argument.

    And yes, I'm happy to laugh at the right-tards who use the "real capitalism has never been tried" nonsense too. So don't feel special :-).

    - Badtux the Economics Penguin

  12. It's profoundly unproductive to talk with you, BadTux, because you seem to simply refuse to examine these cases in any detail; you act as obtuse as any creationist.

    Cuba was bad, Cuba was communist, therefore everything labeled communist is bad. This analysis is valid if and only if modern communists wish to replicate in every detail what happened in the USSR, the PRC or Cuba.

    It's pointless to talk about whether Cuba, the USSR or the PRC is or is not "true" communism. We do want to learn from previous communist governments, but we have no intention of repeating their mistakes especially the mistakes of excessive authoritarianism.

    And keep in mind too that all self-described communist regimes had to resist the crushing weight of US military and economic hostility, not because they were authoritarian but because they were socialist, and were resisting US imperialism.

    Seriously, BadTux, if your contribution to this discussion cannot rise above shouting "Cuba" and burning the occasional straw-man, I'm going to start deleting your comments. Go shout "Cuba" on your own blog.

  13. Someone needs to tell Cuba, China, and the former leaders of the USSR that they weren't Communists, because they certainly claimed to be.

    Right, because self-labeling is the only way to do it.

    In that case I guess North Korea is a Republic and a Democracy. After all, they claim to be...

  14. I can kind of see where BadTux is coming from. It might be different if communists spent more time actually talking about what communism is instead of talking about how evil capitalists are, but they don't. It doesn't help that the more I hear and read about communism, the less I feel like there's going to be any real difference between capitalism and communism.

    Part of it is that I get strong "No True Scotsmen" vibes, as anything bad is often attributed to capitalism, when from where I'm standing the causes usually seem to be orthogonal to capitalism or communism. It's the same vibes I get from a lot of rabid capitalists, too. (The current economic crisis is actually because the market isn't free enough? Sure ...)

  15. People often mistake simply changing a definition as a "No True Scotsman" fallacy. If that were so, we'd have to convict Einstein of the fallacy, since he changed the definition of time and distance.

    The No True Scotsman fallacy is more specific: it is changing a derivative (deduced or empirical) claim to a definitional claim.

    Also, there's ambiguity between self-description and ideological definition. The Chinese Communist Party self-describes as "communism", but they have less connection than the US government to the ideological definition of communism according to Mao. If Hans was born and raised in Hamburg but presently resides in Edinburgh, it's not a fallacy to label Hans No True Scotsman.

    It's kind of frustrating, though, Yoo, because you complain that nobody writes about what communism is when I've written on directly on that topic: structural elimination of relations of exploitation (embodied in surplus value), true democracy, and lack of abstract ownership by individuals.

    Also, there's a considerable amount of primary literature (Marx, Lenin, Mao) as well as an enormous amount of secondary literature on the subject.

  16. non of you really get it
    mabey you should stop talking about it a start reading about it

  17. Anonymous: You apparently do not "get it" regarding grammar, spelling, or my commenting standards.

    If you have something of substance to contribute, then contribute it. Otherwise take your illiterate assholiness somewhere else.


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