Ltte: In response to “The crimes of communism”


In response to “The crimes of communism”:

I’ll be the first to admit that I have a bias against conservative viewpoints. Regardless of this, I think it’s important to distinguish between personal biases and factual inaccuracies.

I would still have the same moral issue with the piece if it were well-informed. I’m going to disagree with the premise that communism is the evil of all evils, simply because in the social sciences we’re taught that absolutisms are the true evil. Yet the issue that I want to raise with the piece “The crimes of communism” is not that I disagree with it, but that it is ill-informed.

Communism is an economic ideology that does, in fact, require a great deal of governmental intervention and management. There are definitely political aspects to this economic system, as there are with socialism and capitalism. In order for capitalism to exist in its pure form, it requires that government not regulate the market. Communism is the inverse, requiring complete governmental control of the market so as to prevent inequality and exploitation.

The communist ideology is based off of Karl Marx’s theories surrounding class struggle and inequality. Marx saw the abolition of capitalism as the only way in which equality could be reached. This is a greatly simplified description and while my opinion is informed, I will not present myself as an expert on the topic.

As a sociologist I’ve studied Marx and read “Das Kapital,” and I can tell you that there is nothing in there calling for violent dictatorship or autocracy. A true communist society would be a direct democracy; the word itself comes from the Latin word “communis” meaning “common universal,” and the ideology emphasizes egalitarian ideals. This is not to excuse the evils of those who have pursued communism. Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong were cruel dictators who actively killed and harmed their people, and their legacies are still felt in current administrations.

However, capitalism itself has resulted in horrific exploitation of workers (child laborers, sweatshops, abject poverty) and the subjugation of other nations and peoples for economic profit (slavery, imperialism, the Iraq War). Communism is an economic system, not a political system. Feel free to demonize dictatorships and autocracies and oligarchies. But please do your research.

While I appreciate the need to express an opinion, we need to move away from the notion that every opinion is valid, especially when it’s based on factual inaccuracies.