Wednesday, February 16, 2011


"When talking about Ronald Reagan, I have to be personal. We in Poland took him so personally. Why? Because we owe him our liberty."
-Lech Walesa

Communism, as I've written about before, is responsible for far more misery, murder, and evil than Nazis ever were able to accomplish. Yet Fascism is rightly reviled and considered horrible while Communism never quite gets that criticism except from the right.

Consider the recent blog post by Brian Leiter, who apparently misses Communism:
Certainly everyone (except the despots) welcomes the end of totalitarian regimes, though some of the former Soviet republics have remained thoroughly undemocratic, and Russia itself has moved strongly back in that direction. Then, of course, there was the enormous human cost to the collapse (increased mortality, a decline in longevity, and massive economic and thus human dislocation and suffering). Finally, certain other world-historic crimes, such as the U.S. war of aggression against Iraq, are unlikely to have occurred if the Soviet Union had remained intact.
Like most academics and leftists during the cold war, Leiter apparently dislikes the tyranny that Communist countries always end up with but loves the system and how the USSR was a counter against US activities. Notice, he considers the collapse of the USSR worse than its existence, that the tyranny and human rights violations of Communism were better than the economic uncertainty and difficulty of liberty.

This post reveals a great deal about Leiter's ideology as well as that of other leftists. It isn't that they're Communists, nor that they'd prefer the USSR be back in business. Its that they distrust the US and its economic system. They trusted the USSR's judgment about the world and what actions to take more than they do the United States. And they prefer a controlled, centrally planned economic system (with people like them in charge) over liberty.

Something leftists cannot stand is a system where people are free to fail. They dislike that even more than they do a system which allows people to become fabulously successful, because they're perfectly fine with immensely rich people who are of the proper mindset. Robert Redford, Barbara Streisand, Steven Spielberg, George Soros; those folks are fine because they're sufficiently leftist.

What the left dislikes is that with economic liberty comes the possibility that some will "fall through the cracks" or not find comfort, ease, and earthly happiness. Like me, they don't care for a world in which some have less than others and are in want and need. But they extend that thought to desire a world in which no one can find themselves in this situation, no matter what it costs others.

So the Soviet Union's alleged equality of economic outcome (always a massive lie) seems more attractive than the US' alleged equality of opportunity (flawed, but more real than the former). The dream of this system working is enough to feel sad that the Soviet Union failed, and the ideal of this system is enough to consider the difficulties of transition out of it to greater liberty worse than the tyranny before it.

This is, as I've said before, an inevitable result of thinking that this world is all there is. If all you have and ever get is what you have and get here and now, then what you get here and now becomes of ultimate importance. If there is no ultimate moral authority or anything to strive for outside personal gain and happiness, then personal gain and happiness becomes that ultimate authority. So any system which hinders happiness and personal ownership is a system which is effectively evil. And so the left believes that taking from others by force and giving to those who have not earned it is good, while some earning and enjoying more because of their efforts is bad.

And the Soviet Union for all its flaws represented the dream of that good, while the US represented its evil. For a fuller examination of the evils of the Soviet Union and why we're all better off without it, check out the Volokh Conspiracy where Ilya Somin (who escaped the Iron Curtain) goes into great detail. Note: Leiter's entire post was an attempt to attack Ronald Reagan's legacy of bringing about the collapse of the Iron Curtain and liberating hundreds of millions of people. The folks who lived under that understand and appreciate what Reagan achieved. The left isn't so happy about it.

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