Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bittersweet Equality

“A lot of people on wrecked planet were Communists. They had a theory that what was left of the planet should be shared more or less equally among all the people, who hadn’t asked to come to this wrecked planet in the first place…

Dwayne Hoover’s and Kilgore Trout’s country, where there was still plenty of everything, was opposed to Communism. It didn’t believe that earthlings who had a lot should share it with others unless they really wanted to, most of them didn’t want to.

So they didn’t have to.”

‘Breakfast of Champions’, 1973 By Kurt Vonnegut

Communists don’t like pie.

When I attended the High School I was often hushed by people like my guidance counselor because my views on Communism were ‘unpopular’. I saw the use of this system differently, not pictures of Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro, Josef Stalin, and even Hugo Chavez standing above huge military rallies while preaching a message of “Love the cause, fight for the cause, or else”. No, I saw a solution away from corruption, away from oppression, away from all that I despised about our spoiled-brat lifestyle. A theory where you work for the system to benefit from said system, nothing is given to you. The western perception of this system is flawed and that because now China essentially owns us, we hold a temper to those that have invaded us through an open wallet.

When someone argues that Communism is, in fact, ‘evil’ I don’t mind. Just do so with facts, when someone goes about it without facts then I lose my patience. Our perception of Communism is rarely without genocide.

But one must remember, Hitler was democratically elected. So that system is also not without error.

Something was, and still is, fundamentally wrong with Communism: Greed. Too much power in the hands of too few people and we see the same thing happening in the United States, not with Communism, but with a super-capitalist, corporate imperialist oligarchy. That was a mouthful.

Please share your views on this form of economic bliss.

(P.S. Though this is only a myth, Communists may in-fact like pie, contrary to the previous statement.)


Ziggy*Blu said...
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MHanson said...

I think you hit right on the head. If too few people have all the power, then corruption seems to follow. It doesn't necessarily have to, but most of the people who come to power have a deep longing for it. So when they can get more and more without any roadblocks, they spiral out of control.

I too can see some of the merits of socialism and communism. I think that the Native Americans may have had it even better: they had a tribal council that suggested what the tribe should do, but any individual was free to make their own decisions. This, of course, was not true for all of the tribes, but was a general theme for most.

I would love to see a time when our country, nay, our world, was not governed not by business or power-hungry people, but by people who made decisions on what was best for all. I'm tired of the rhetoric: "If it is not good for business, it's not good for the country." Economics should be only one of the considerations when making policy. Education, health-care for all, the environment, relationships with other countries, as well as social programs to feed, clothe and employ those who need it, are as important as "greenbacks".

Jake_L_974 said...

The Native Americans also had no system of ownership, so there was no such thing as 'mine'. Sort of euphoric, isn't it?

Mr. K said...

You've raised some interesting points here. I'd have to say that our country has had a much more checkered past than most Americans realize. Unfortunately, most of us only know American history from what we read in textbooks. That's a shame because they don't really tell the whole story of how our country can to be.

Money has been equated with power throughout history. Those who have it control. Those who don't are controlled. The founding of Jamestown is a great example of that. An essential part of democracy is a free economy. For me, that's been taken to an extreme. Company's look at the bottom line and make decisions based on how to maximize profits with little attention paid to the rank and file worker. That is frustrating. There doesn't seem to be any sense of loyalty or obligation except to making money.
The gap between the rich and the poor is growing and is higher than it was before the Great Depression. That's worrisome. Too many workers feel disenfranchised. They feel like the growth in the economy has passed them by. Too many can't afford health care and they worry about how to pay for college for their children and they worry that those we elect to represent us are more concerned about holding their office than they are about looking out for us. I'm worried about that too.

With all its faults, and it has a few, I still think a democratic form of government is the best we can do. The idea of a country where decisions are made based on the common good and where everyone is expected to contribute to the common good may be a noble one. The challenge is that someone has to decide what the common good is. And who does that? Who makes the decision about what's best for the citizens? Who decides what the rules of governemnt should be? Who decides is the contributions people make are enough? A few people in power. And we know what happens when a few people in power get control. They do all they can to stay in power and then they stop making decisions based on the common good and start making them based on how they can stay in power. It's a losing proposition on all fronts.

China is in turmoil right now. They want to grow their economy and they have little regard for human rights or the environment. Eventually, we're all going to pay the price for that.

Greed seems to be fashionable these days. When all that will change I'm not sure. It can't begin until we decide that it's important enough to begin. When that will happen, I'm not sure. Hopefully, sooner rather than later.