Before you harp all over me with all kinds of invectives, please hear me out. There are two major types of devotees of communism who live in non-communist societies. One is composed of the pure-at-heart idealist who deeply feels the pain and privation of the poor. This type believes that the society should not allow great disparity of wealth, adhering to the famed banner cry, "From everyone according to his means, and to everyone according to his needs."
What a magnificent standard around which to organize human society! As ideals go, this one definitely belongs near the top with other lofty human principles. I would even make it the fourth commandment of our ancient Zoroastrian people's belief as well as the eleventh for the Ten Commandments.
A second type is not motivated by such empathetic human emotion. It feels that the scumbag rich should be fleeced of their ill-begotten wealth. This latter types want their slice of the pie without having they, themselves, earned it. Why so? They believe that the rich get rich by squeezing the very substance of the masses of the poor. So, they exploiting rich better part with their unjustly acquired wealth, they demand.
Philosophical and ethical considerations aside, this dog, communism, won't hunt. Meaning, no matter how you tweak it, it won't do the job that the devotees of communism wants it to do. It is absolutely the wrong dog for the hunt. Why?
This ideal of equitable sharing of wealth, as beautiful as it may be theoretically, fails to translate on the ground for at least one extremely potent obstacle that stands in its way: HUMAN NATURE. All said and done, humans have a powerful predisposition to do what serves them and secure what they need or want with the exertion of the least effort. This disposition is most powerful and in many ways is responsible for humanity's progress going back all the way to tool-making, the invention of the wheel, and even further back.
Fighting human nature is a losing battle. You've got to work around it. Me first, Me last, is a powerful inbuilt human disposition that can be somewhat harnessed over the long term by education in the broadest sense of the word. Belief systems, religious or secular are often the most effective means of moderating, harnessing, and even reversing, on occasions, the inborn disposition. Self nurturing, self serving, and self advancing are the person's engine. Note how an infant takes everything, edible or not, to his mouth. He wants to find out if he can ingest it and nurture himself by devouring it. See how young children push others and take their toys even when they have toys themselves? That's the potent drive of me first and everything for me that Mother Nature instills in us as a vital tool of survival.
Before you can be anything or do anything, you need to survive. And serving oneself without regard to any altruism has a jump on taking a higher ground that involves caring for others. And, in a way, it makes great sense. First, you must be able to take care of yourself. Once you can do that, then you may have some “leftover” to devote to others and other objectives. Charity begins at home, is also about the individual being charitable to himself. Once that’s taken care of, then the humanized human may become charitable to others even at huge costs to himself.
This driving disposition has also served the physically strong as well as the mentally cunning in securing advantages for themselves in the social order.
Without getting involved in a lengthy useless argument, I wish to applaud the admirable motivation of those who are pained by the material injustices of the world and aim to redress it. But translating the lofty ideal into action runs smack into the wall of human nature. If we remove or even significantly impede the rewards that attract exertion of effort by the individuals, then we end up, sooner or later, with a non-motivated non-exerting people that produce very little for all parties to the point that that society, per force, collapses. Think of the present Greece, for instance. They Greeks have gotten used to receiving all kinds of benefits that they collectively are unable to provide. They have become a basket case with a hat in hand begging the European Union for help.
No, this dog, communism, won't hunt and we have had ample instances of societies that tried it and failed. I do not believe that at this point in our human evolution we have what it takes to become pure altruists, exert our utmost efforts, bring the "hunt" to the village and share it with the rest of the villagers who may be sitting around smoking their pipes, figuratively speaking.
Facts on the ground clearly demonstrate the overpowering force of self-interest and self gain. We can see it operate in all societies at all levels. In the United States of America, for instance, there are hundreds of thousands of tax lawyers and tax accountants whose sole job is to find loopholes for their clients--be they individuals or companies--to pay less taxes and keep more for themselves.
There are people that are called thieves. Both the blue collar small time crooks as well as the white collar thieves major embezzlers. All individuals and groups that band together to maximize their own gain in any way they can, are operating in accord with the powerful disposition of self-gain with the least effort. Hordes of lobbyists, in addition to the tax lawyers and tax accountants, also do their utmost at securing the bigger pieces of the pie or privileges for their clients.
We need a more pragmatic yet equitable system that somehow retains the incentive for the individual and groups to exert themselves, yet provide a minimum of care for those members of our human family who, for whatever reason, are not able to personally meet their legitimate needs.
In short, communism is not the system. As a matter of fact even communism’s precursor, socialism, fails because it takes on the losing battle against self interest. Laws and force are, in the long run, ineffective in dealing with the underlying causes of social and economic disparities.
Do I have a solution? Not really. I have a hope that in due time humanity will develop a comprehensive program of living that more effectively addresses our many intractable ills of today. For that hope to materialize, we need our best of the species to put their heads and hearts together and device a plan that would harmonize personal self-interest with that of the collective.
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