Today we continue our refutation of an older Salon article that can be found here. It asserts that communism/socialism is not all that bad or violent and that capitalism is actually more violent than communism. This is of course an unfounded and idiotic position. Let us continue.
So by this point in the article, the author seems a little confused. This point seems to make absolutely no sense. The author sites Fox News host Greg Gutfeld, so you know whatever argument they are about to “destroy” really isn’t an argument to begin with. Of course, the modern progressive liberal thinks that if you can “refute” what Fox News says, you have refuted capitalism and the free market for good. Unfortunately, Fox News is not the central hub or banner carrier of those who lean towards classical liberal and free market ideas no matter how much the left wishes it to be so.
To get to the point of their argument, the author cites Mr. Gutfeld for saying “‘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.” The author then seems to go on to say, essentially, that there were good communists and bad communists. The bad communists killed the good ones even though the good ones were working towards collectivizing the means of production as well.1 The author then makes mention of the Great Chinese Famine in which millions starved. The author blames some decisions made by Chairman Mao but refuses to acknowledge that central planning is really the root of it all. The hilarious bit is the end of this claim, that “famine is not only a left wing problem.”
I have to ask a question though. Just like in the last few refuted claims of this article, are not the goals of a central planner enforced by violence and men with guns? “Our freedom of choice in a competitive society rests on the fact that, if one person refuses to satisfy our wishes, we can turn to another. But if we face a monopolist we are at his mercy. And an authority directing the whole economic system would be the most powerful monopolist conceivable.”2 What is government if it is not the most powerful and dangerous type of monopoly on the initiation of force and violence ever conceived by mankind? The state, especially a large central planning one like a socialist or communist regime, accomplishes all that it needs through pointing guns at peaceful acting people that only want to engage in voluntary exchange to better their situation.
Sure, 110 million were probably not all dissenters but lets ask a simple question the author likes to ignore in their article. Would all of those people have died through violence and starvation if they were under a more capitalistic and private property respecting economic system? Probably not. If anyone and their ilk are insulting the victims of human rights atrocities, it’s the apologists of the communist and socialist systems that think another go at central planning (the system that created monsters like Stalin and Mao) and economic tyranny is worth another shot.
The last point to talk about is the idea of famine in a communist system. Why are they inevitable? Mises points out that it is because central planners distort the market with their limitations on economic choices and actions. These distortions mean that socialism is impossible. I said it. It’s impossible. Socialism lacks the needed calculations and information needed in order to run a sustainable economy. The only way to make these calculations is through true market prices. The only way to achieve true market prices is to allow economic freedom and respect private property. Only then will prices reflect what a product, commodity, or raw material is actually worth. Shortages occur in socialism because the central planners can never accurately price commodities and services in a true way.
It is foolish to think that systems that grant powerful monopolies to violent and power hungry men are desirable. Communism was the leading ideological cause of death from the years 1900 to 2000.4 This is a fact. To pretend that if we try it one more time everything will be great is both intellectually dishonest and maniacally devious.
1. Myerson, Jesse. “Why You’re Wrong about Communism: 7 Huge Misconceptions about It (and Capitalism).” Saloncom RSS. Salon, 02 Feb. 2014. Web. 27 Oct. 2014. <http://www.salon.com/2014/02/02/why_youre_wrong_about_communism_7_huge_misconceptions_about_it_and_capitalism/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialflow>.
2. Hayek, Friedrich A. Von, and Bruce Caldwell. The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents: The Definitive Edition. New York: Routledge, 2008. Print.
3. Mises, Ludwig Von. “Economic Calculation in a Socialist Commonwealth.” Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth Pocketbook.indb (n.d.): n. pag. 1920. Web.
4. Walters, John J. “Communism Killed 94M in 20th Century, Feels Need to Kill Again.” Reason.com. Reason, 13 Mar. 2013. Web. 27 Oct. 2014. <http://reason.com/blog/2013/03/13/communism-killed-94m-in-20th-century>.