Communism should take some of the blame

Brett Knowlton brettk at
Tue Jul 21 11:14:56 PDT 1998


I agree with the notion that people can falsly claim to be doing something in the name of a given ideology when they are really perverting it. But I think communism as the world has experienced it so far deserves to be criticised.

The vast majority of real world communist examples I can think of have been anti-democratic if not downright authoritarian. And authoritarian regimes invariably abuse their power in one way or another, ranging from limits on political expression to outright genocide. Soviet Russia and China are not examples I would like to see emulated. Shouldn't communism be held at least partly responsible for what has transpired in self-proclaimed communist countries?


>The problem is not with the ethical qualifications of what happened in
>backward Asian countries you mention, but with viewing those deeds as the
>essential effect of communism, which you seem to imply in your argument.
>My problem with that position is two-fold:
>1. The fact that someone claims doing something in the name of an ideology
>does not yet mean that there is a causal connection between that something
>and that particular ideology. Probably more people died as a result of
>various religious crusades, but few people would maintain in good faith
>that genocide is the essence of religion. Adolf Hitler claimed affinity to
>the works of Friedrich Nietzche, yetr few would call the later a
>proto-fascist. You get my drift, no?
>So I find it it disingenuous to give communism a differential treatment.
>2. To find the effect of the implementation communism in the said
>countries, we need to separate the effect of that implementation from the
>effect of other social and historical forces, such as backwardenss,
>feudalis, imperialism, development, political instability, geo-political
>factors, etc.
>That is the cherished ceteris paribus clause: first we find what would have
>happened if the condition were absent, and then we attribute the difference
>between the observed (condition present) and the hypothetical (conditions
>absent) outocome to the condition in question. Lumping everything we
>observe under the rubric 'effects of that condition' is witchcraft or
>demagoguery, not science.
>Wojtek Sokolowski

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