7 Huge Misconceptions About Communism (and Capitalism)
1. Only communist economies rely on state violence.
Obviously, no private equity baron worth his weight in leveraged buyouts will ever part willingly with his fortune, and any attempt to achieve economic justice (like taxation) will encounter stiff opposition from the ownership class. But state violence (like taxation) is inherent in every set of property rights a government can conceivably adopt – including those that allowed the aforementioned hypothetical baron to amass said fortune.
2. Capitalist economies are based on free exchange.
The mirror-image of the “oppressive communism” myth is the “liberatory capitalism” one. The idea that we’re all going around making free choices all the time in an abundant market where everyone’s needs get met is patently belied by the lived experience of hundreds of millions of people. Most find ourselves constantly stuck between competing pressures and therefore stressed out, exhausted, lonely, and in search of meaning. — as though we’re not in control of our lives.
3. Communism killed 110 million* people for resisting dispossession.
*The number cited is as consistent as it is rooted in sound research; i.e., not.
Greg Gutfeld, one of the hosts of Fox News’ “The Five” and a historical scholar of zero renown, recently advanced the position that “only the threat of death can prop up a left-wing dream, because no one in their right mind would volunteer for this crap. Hence, 110 million dead.” In declaring this, Gutfeld and his ilk insult the suffering of the millions of people who died under Stalin, Mao, and other 20th Century Communist dictators. Making up a big-sounding number of people and chalking their deaths up to some abstract “communism” is no way to enact a humanistic commitment to victims of human rights atrocities.
4. Capitalist governments don’t commit human rights atrocities.
Whatever one’s assessment of the crimes committed by Communist leaders, it is unwise for capitalism’s cheerleaders to play the body-count game, because if people like me have to account for the gulag and the Great Sparrow campaign, they’ll have to account for the slave trade, indigenous extermination, “ Late Victorian Holocausts” and every war, genocide andmassacre carried out by the US and its proxies in the effort to defeat communism. Since the pro-capitalist set cares so deeply for the suffering of the Russian and Chinese masses, perhaps they’ll even want to account for the millions of deaths resulting from those countries’ transitions to capitalism.