The State and Revolution Pt. 1 – by Amanda S. Green


The State and Revolution Pt. 1 – by Amanda S. Green

Class Society and the State

Reading Lenin, whether you’re doing it in the original Russian or in English, is like reading a mix of law school textbook and philosophic arguments. You have to pay a great deal of attention to not only what he says but how he says it. Worse, reading it today, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking how reasonable what he wrote more than a century ago seems. After all, we’ve heard so much of it as recently as the 2016 election cycle. That is what makes Lenin as dangerous today as he was in the early years of the 20th Century. It is also why it is so important that we study what he wrote and how he and his followers implemented his policies in the Soviet Union.

The first chapter of The State and Revolution is entitled “Class Society and the State”. Lenin spends the opening pages discussing how the “oppressing classes have constantly persecuted the great revolutionaries in their lifetime, reacted to their teaching with the most savage malice, the wildest hatred and the most shameless campaigns of lies and slander.” He goes on to write how the “bourgeoisie and the opportunists within the working-class movement at the moment co-operate in the elaboration of Marxism.” In other words, he accuses the middle class and the so-called opportunists of blunting the message of Marxism , “emasculating the essence of the revolutionary teaching. . . .” (-pg 7)

So, in other words, not only was the upper class the problem in Russia at the time of the revolution but, as far as Lenin was concerned, so was much – if not all – of the middle class. True, their “crimes” were the same. The upper class, the ruling class, wanted the status quo to remain. They had the power and did not want to give it up. The middle class, the opportunists of the time, stepped in as the Mensheviks and the Provisional Government took charge and perverted true Marxism, diluting it to their own purposes while giving lip service to the original.

Even as Lenin sets his Bolsheviks up to be the “true” believers, it becomes clear he was not above perverting and using Marxist doctrine to his own benefit. In fact, if there was ever an opportunist during 1917-1918 Russian history, it was Vladimir Lenin. Even as he wrote “our task is above all to re-establish Marx’s authentic doctrine on the state,” he meant to establish his own interpretation of it. (pg 7)

When it comes to the historical role and significance of the “the state”, Lenin writes:

The state is the product and the manifestation of the irreconcilability of class contradictions. The state arises where, when and to the extent that class contradictions objectively cannot be reconciled. And, conversely, the existence of the state demonstrates that the class contradictions are irreconcilable. (pg 8)

How many ways can he say basically the same thing in one sentence? If there weren’t irreconcilable class contradictions, there would be no state. At least according to the man whose great communist experiment led to one of the most oppressive “states” in human history.

In other words, Marx saw the state as “an organ of class rule, an organ for the oppression of one class by another; it is the creation of ‘order’, legalizing and perpetuating this oppression by moderating the clashes among the classes.” (pg 8) Now, let me ask you this: does the gist of this statement sound familiar? How often did you hear a variation of it being thrown out during the 2016 presidential race by first Bernie Sanders and then by Hilary Clinton? Keep this in mind as we continue the discussion.

Lenin spends several pages describing how the Mensheviks and others strayed from the true Marxist definition of the state and how the Bolsheviks, under his leadership would bring true freedom to Russia. “It is clear that the liberation of the oppressed class is impossible not only without a violent revolution but also without the destruction of the apparatus of state power which was created by the ruling class and which is the incarnation of this alienation.” (pg 9)

[Right here is both what allowed Marxist theory to infiltrate psychiatry in the west and give us the idea that capitalism caused madness.  Or that madness wasn’t real but an effect of capitalism.  Therefore the “mad” were actually dissenters and should be freed.  Hence closing our madhouses.  Also the excuse for putting political dissenters into mad houses in the Soviet Union.  Because they were rebelling against a “sane” state, after all.  And this confusion between politics and sanity is right here- SAH]

If this doesn’t bring to mind images of Antifa and certain BLM “protestors” or images of the so-called “concerned students” who shut down how many presentations by people like Ann Coulter or Milo simply because they didn’t espouse the “right” ideas, it should. Just as it should remind us of those politicians, both currently in office and those who didn’t find themselves sitting in the Oval Office, who encouraged the less than peaceful “protests” over the last few years.

In discussing the creation of a standing army and police, Lenin turns to Engels. Basically, a standing army and police are the creation of the state. It is there to keep the oppressed under control. That expanded to include the state’s use of these standing army and police to expand the state’s territory. How different it would be if we had a “self-motivating armed organization of the population” (pg 11) All those loving and giving and non-middle class oppressor would be so much less likely to use their weapons for anything but the “good” of the whole.

Pardon me while I laugh hysterically.

Of course, it doesn’t end there. You knew it couldn’t – or wouldn’t. Next up is the state as “an instrument for the exploitation of the oppressed class.” If that doesn’t sound like it came straight out of the Bernie Sanders playbook, I don’t know what does.

Lenin, being an expert at pushing the right buttons in a time of turmoil, boiled all of Engel’s writings on this particular question to this: what is it that places them [state officials or bureaucrats] above society? According to Lenin, this “theoretical question was resolved in practice by the Paris Commune in 1871”. (pg 13) A bit more about the Paris Commune shortly.

As the state arose from the need to hold class antagonisms in check and as it arose at the same time in the midst of conflicts among these classes, it is a rule the state of the most powerful, economically dominant class, which, with the assistance of the state, becomes also the politically dominant class, and thus acquires new means of suppressing and exploiting the oppressed class. (pg 13)

[This effed up idea, instead of the idea that the state arose to do the very few things that people can’t do individually is responsible for the insanity of socialism and communism.  They think the state needs to pick losers and oppress the “right” people.  It was never meant to be neutral.  There is no equal under the law. – SAH]

Does this mean the question is really “Which came first, the state or the rich, ruling class?” Or maybe it’s “What the hell is he talking about? Has he ever really paid attention to what people are really like?” [No. He knows what he wants them to be like.  As a sociopath, that’s all he needed – SAH]

Here is the money quote, one we need to always keep in the back of our minds:

A democratic republic is the best possible political shell for capitalism, and therefore, once capital has got control of this excellent shell, it establishes its power so securely, so firmly, that no change of individuals, of institutions or of parties in the bourgeois democratic republic can shake this power. (pg 14) Lenin goes on to note that Engels concluded universal suffrage was an instrument of bourgeois rule.

[Which also explains the Democratic congresswoman, wassherface saying the voters are ruining democracy.  I think we found the ink they drink. – SAH]

So where does the Paris Commune of 1871 come into all this?

The Paris Commune was the socialist – and radical – government that ruled Paris for a grand total of two months in the Spring of 1871. Napoleon III had been defeated the year before. The Second Empire ended and the Third Republic rose to power. France was at war with Prussia. In the upheaval that followed, the Paris Commune arose. For a brief look at the Commune, check out its Wikipedia page. Yes, it accomplished certain typical socialist goals. However, it is difficult to count anything it did as a success or an example of socialism in practice because of the short length of time the “state” once again took control. The very fact the Commune did not know any real time of peace, a time when they weren’t all fighting for a common goal, also casts doubt on how much of a real example of socialism in practice it could be.

I suggest that a more accurate representation of we what socialism in action can be is to look at the genesis of the Soviet Union. No matter how enticing some of the tenets of socialism might be, unless and until you accept that humans are flawed, they are selfish, some are lazy while others are driven, you will not be able to see the flaws of socialism. The underlying basis for it to be successful is for humanity to reach a point where each person puts the good of the many above the good of the one, NO MATTER WHAT. It means knowing that no matter how hard you work, the benefits of your labor go to all according to their needs. But who is it that determines that need? It certainly isn’t the person putting forth the effort.

It is important to remember that Engels preached that the State would “wither away”. In other words, “when the state finally becomes truly the representative of society as a whole, it makes itself superfluous. . .The government of persons is replaced by the administration of things and the direction of the processes of production.” (pg 16). This is the withering away. Of course, what Engels – and Lenin – doesn’t address is who directs and administers and 1) how they are chosen and 2) why they won’t fall into the same pit of oppression the current managers and administrators of the state have. [Neither of these men had ever run a business.  This is part of the reason they believe the state is therefor keep the classes in order or something.  They have no clue how much administration and how many decisions even a small business, let alone a big nation, take – SAH]

This withering away is, according to Lenin, the only “real legacy of socialist thought” in the socialist parties of 1917. He then goes into a perfect example of the game of twisting and reshaping what he said Engels wrote into what he says Engels meant. He changes the “withering away” to the state being “eradicated by the proletariat in the course of the revolution. It is the proletarian state or semi-state which withers away after the revolution.” (pg 17) In other words, we now have to look at the evolution from an oppressor state in at least three stages: revolution, the establishment of the proletarian state and, finally, the withering away of that semi-state into the socialist existence.

To accomplish the former, the proletariat must have its own “special repressive force” that will be used for the suppression of the bourgeoisie. Wait, what? Isn’t that just trading one oppressive government for another? Not at all, or at least not really, according to Lenin. It is necessary for the “eradication of the state as a state.” (pg 17)


But it continues. “Engels refers quite clearly and definitely to the period after ‘the state’s expropriation of the means of production in the name of the whole of society’, i.e. after the socialist revolution. We all know that the political form of the ‘state’ at that time is the fullest democracy . . .democracy is also a state and that, consequently, democracy will also disappear when the state disappears. Revolution alone can ‘eradicate’ the bourgeois state.” (pg 19)

Every state, according to Lenin, is unfree and non-popular. Even so, he favored a democratic republic as the “best form of the state for the proletariat under capitalism, but we have no right to forget that wage slavery is the lot of the people even in the most deomocratic bourgeois republic.” (pg 19)

Wage slavery. Hmmm, why am I reminded of calls for huge increases in the minimum wage without one politician in favor of it explaining to the population the economic realities such an increase would bring into play? Let’s increase pay to a “livable wage” as determined not by the circumstances and location of the particular worker – much less his or her abilities and education and time of the job – but by an arbitrarily determined number. Let’s not worry about the economic impact that will have on the employer or how said employer will pass along that hit to his customers who, in turn, will pass their hit on to others. Welcome to the People’s Republic or Commune where consequences don’t matter until we can no longer deny them.

Over and over again, Lenin returns to his refrain that the proletarian state cannot replace the bourgeois state except by way of violent revolution. The withering away of the proletarian state is the eradication of “the state” and is not something that will happen overnight.

Think about Lenin’s constant refrain of violent revolution and look at what has been happening in our country. Look at the rhetoric coming from certain politicians who encourage the “protestors” to violate the rule of law, to ignore the concept of private property. See the parallels with what is happening now with what happened in the early years of the Twentieth Century.

Then ask yourself this: if we have that violent revolution here, who has been putting themselves into position to take control. Are they the people you want to trust with not just your future but your children’s and their children’s?

Recognizing not only the rhetoric but the tactics is important in preventing history from repeating itself.

[For raising the tone of this blog — ATH is culture! — and helping me with the exposing of the roots of the current mess — in her case with more facts! — if you decide to  send the woman a drink–  And her Amazon author page is here -SAH]

226 thoughts on “The State and Revolution Pt. 1 – by Amanda S. Green

  1. he accuses the middle class and the so-called opportunists of blunting the message of Marxism , `emasculating the essence of the revolutionary teaching. . . .`

    Nyah – Marxist revolutionaries have no balls to begin with; they’re just a bunch of pointless dicks tearing things up with no hope pf any kind of productive result.

    1. That’s why they are so determined to cut them off of anyone who dares not believe in the “right think”. Hell, just look at what’s going on in sf/f right now. You don’t have to look far to find the commissars telling us what we should believe, how we should act and denouncing anyone who dares stray from the party line.

      1. But look at how badly that’s backfiring on them. Their leftgasm cons are getting less and less attendance, and more and more people are laughing at them. Their publishing houses keep whining about the decline of the industry, while all their former readers just snort and pick up the next indie (or Baen) book on their to-read list.

          1. They take their cue from Spinal Tap: diminished audience simply means “that the.. uh.. their appeal is becoming more selective.”

            1. Meanwhile, Michael Anderle’s fun monthly installments of good guy space vampire empire run by Mary Sue, her heavily armed friends, and their high tech toys, are eating their lunch.

              Yup, their appeal sure is selective.

              1. Ox slow. Atm, ox even had a perhaps more than healthy amount of decent whiskey. And ox still not falling for that ‘selective’ line. Same smell as when he need to flush.

                Meanwhile, in beautiful(?) downtown Goldport… a good time (or at least a damn good story) can be had.

              2. Did you notice where he is on the Author Earnings report (linked at Mad Genius)?!?! Holy carp!

                And, yes, I admit to reading them all. They are wonderfully fluffy reads – but yay! for Kindle Unlimited; I have no desire to own them.

            2. Ah, but are they now being managed by the astrologer girlfriend?

              Er…uh, scratch that question. On second thought, I’ve decided that I really don’t want to know.

            3. Oh gee. Now I can look forward to being accused of having discriminatory reading habits?
              Damn right I’m discriminatory about what I read. Away with your progressive trash! Leftists, get thee hence!

          1. “Progressives used to be able to handle dissent. The Democrats were the party of free speech and free thought. No more. Among far too many leftists, if you disagree, you are wrong. And if you are wrong, you are bad, and if you are bad, you are trash.”

            And to continue Ms. Herzog’s line of Progressive ‘reasoning’: If you are trash, then we are going to take you out, violently.

            Libertarians as Constitutional minimalists I can get along with fabulously. Those of anarchy bend have a distressing tendency to be progressive socialist cannon fodder. They get used, along with the other socialist minions/dupes, to commit the acts of violence while their handlers maintain deniability.

            1. Actually, Progressives were never able to handle dissent and only feigned support of free speech and free thought when they were demanding it for themselves. Once they imagine themselves in the high grounds of power they no longer feel any need to pay lip service to such virtues as dissent, free speech or free thinking.

      1. deprogramming will consist of Firefly episodes, Larry Correia audiobooks, and your preferred non-vodka adult beverage.

            1. It’s way too easy to type into the wrong reply box when you’re replying to a comment that’s (currently) at the bottom of the page. What WordPress needs is a bit of text above the reply box that says either “You are replying to the original article” or “You are replying to the #:## AM/PM comment by [name])”.

  2. > The very fact the Commune did not know any real time of peace, a time when they weren’t all fighting for a common goal, also casts doubt on how much of a real example of socialism in practice it could be.
    There is no doubt. The perpetual war is built in. It is there, in the “real socialism,” by design. The Dictatorship of the Proletariat must have an external enemy to unite the population against. If there is none, it will be invented. The names will change, and Eurasia will rotate with Eastasia, but the struggle (der kampf, to coin a phrase) must go on.

    > Neither of these men had ever run a business.
    Engels was a partner in his father’s business for a few years, thus oppressing the very workers he so cared about in abstract. But yes, the whole lot of them were basically leeches.

    1. We had to read tons of that stuff in school. Oh the prose of Lenin!
      The combination of flowery epithets, pseudo-scientific phraseology and lawyer’ish structure is something else, isn’t it?

      1. And this is the more readable of the two translations I’m working from. The other is closer to the original in word placement and syntax. Trust me, I’m saving your brain cells by not quoting from it.

        1. It’s too late for that, I’ve had my share of the Canon in the original Russian. 🙂
          I really think the translators could have done a service to their readers by modifying the styling from typical Russian page-long sentences to a more concise, chopped style of American English.

          1. The original Russian is much easier to read, imo. As for translations, some of them have done that. The issue is that they have taken other liberties with the text as well. By changing the syntax and structure, they add their own emphasis to points, lessening the impact of what Lenin wrote. In a way, those translations become very much what Lenin did to Marx and Engels: they are rephrasing and re-emphasizing what was written to spread their own version of “the word”.

            1. I generally find English translations of Russian texts to be doing disservice to the originals, so Lenin is no exception. However, I don’t read much of Russian literature that way (why would I?), so maybe I was just unlucky in my selection.
              On the other hand, in Russia there was a school of translation that consisted partially of literary giants in their own right. For instance, Pasternak’s version of Hamlet is simply delicious.
              But even “regular” professional translators often did a fantastic job, and in some instances I even heretically feel that their versions are as good or better than the originals.

        2. “I’m saving your brain cells by not quoting from it.”
          Considering what reading the English is doing to my brain cells, I thank you heartily for your generous effort, especially since I can’t read Russian anyway.
          After all, from each according to her ability, to each according to her need. 😉

    2. Yep and the gradual eroding of the “proletariat state” will be so gradual it never happens until the next revolution. Not that the new state has any plans of letting that happen.

      1. But it makes a great way to keep the “no true socialist” fallacy going. The USSR, China, Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea all have governments, so obviously they aren’t REAL socialism, and any failures of those systems should be blamed on capitalism instead.

        1. “…The USSR, China, Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea all have governments, so obviously they aren’t REAL socialism…”
          That’s a very acute, and prescient, observation!

          1. There’s kind of a fun arc- the western Marxist praise those places to the heavens, right until things come crashing down. Then, and only then it becomes “not real socialism”

    3. So Marx was your basic intellectual sponger, and Engels was the trust-fund kid that Marx sponged upon … and in addition, was a nasty and oppressive sexual exploiter of the poor woman who lived with his family as the bond-servant.
      Fun fact – the brother of Karl Marx’s wife was a resident in Texas for a good few years.
      One of those ineffectual Adelsverein recruits, not one of the more civically-useful ones.

  3. I have some difficulty in distinguishing between a state run by the ‘old’ upper class, who control the land and money,and one run th e’new’ upper class who happen to be party members. Both are run on the basis of ‘you WILL obey your betters’. But stopping to think about it, isn’t that what most modern Governments say too, with their laws and regulations made with little regard to what the ‘little people’ think?

    1. Except most modern governments are not quite as open about the active oppression of their citizens. Subtlety isn’t a strength of the socialist/communist government.

      1. Governments in general are bad at subtle. This is an argument l have used for decades whenever the subject of government funding of something like art or medical care is raised.

  4. we now have to look at the evolution from an oppressor state in at least three stages

    Found on Engels cubicle wall:

    In Engels’ mind, “profit” meant erosion of the state.

  5. The problem is that, like all the really good lies, there are elements of truth in what Lenin’s saying here.
    For example–yes, governments often end up functioning as a way to make sure that the guys on top stay on top, and to prevent anyone else from getting anywhere. Problem with Lenin’s theory is that people end up figuring out that the least expensive and risky way to protect their property is to protect everyone’s property–and to see to it that everyone with actual ambition has the opportunity to grab some. It’s no coincidence that those societies most vulnerable to Communist insurrections have either been feudal or semi-feudal rather than capitalist.

    1. Yes but he has an answer for that, couched in his interpretation of Engels. He claims capitalism is the interim step but that it will die in the “slow erosion” of the State because it is nothing but an extension of the evil state.

  6. Workers control the means of production? What else but shares of my employer’s stock purchased through ESOP? In fact, that was an interesting conversation with one of my managers when he came up with a spectacularly stupid idea (as opposed to his run-of-the-mill stupid ones):

    “I’m your manager, I don’t have to explain my reasoning to you.”

    “As your subordinate, no you don’t owe me an explanation. As a member of the public and one of your customers (this was a publicly regulated utility), you probably do. And as a stockholder in the company, you certainly do.”

    He never did, of course. Surprisingly, he didn’t last long with the company.

    1. Then you must raise your proletariat brethren into rebellion against your bourgeois managers, comrade. How else are you going to be in control of your life?

      Gah, I gagged even as I typed that. VBEG

      1. But, but, as an owner of the company (even if only partially so through ownership of stock) I am a bourgeois parasite. So do I win if I shoot myself in the head? Or, as being also a member of the lumpen proletariat working class, can I get away with just shooting myself in the leg and sending myself off to a camp somewhere?

    2. Notice that the Marx worshiping Left tends to get a bit of the vapors when regular people get a hold of the means of production? Like indy publishing, for instance.

      1. But of course. How dare we try to interfere with the means of getting the message out? We will only dilute the word and delay the inevitable. Bah!

  7. Ive long had impression that left wing people, wherever they are in world, have personality disorders and their oversized ego is to protect them from their flaws.

    Paul Johnson’s Intellectuals is chockfull of examples of marxists who are quite mean, angry people with deeply messy lives while claiming to be superior humans beings who should be in charge of society.

    Communist governments have failed numerous times over past century, on different continents and in various decades, and yet there are still lots of people who think it is winning ideology. Left wing ideologues refuse to see evidence before their eyes and ignore Bayes theorem, they are maladjusted who worship power over others.

      1. Thanks for link, had not read it yet.

        It turns out von Mises was noticing socialists were neurotic before I was even born. And I agree with author that left wing people are wallowing in their anger when they really should be doing something to improve their mental health.

        I am Canadian who remembers watching election night coverage of Trump v Clinton in 2016 and most of the left wing pundits on tv mentioned they were going to have to increase their dose of xanax when it was obvious that Trump was going to win.

        1. “going to have to increase their dose of xanax”
          Note the operative verb tense: not acquire (new, because now they’re depressed/anxious) but increase (they’re already taking it).

        2. It’s kind of ironic that “you’re angry!” is such a favored attack of the Left, isn’t it?

        3. Oh the angst that night. The pundits had spent years making sure the “right” message got out and the ignorant unwashed masses thwarted them. How dare we!

          Note it hasn’t slowed the media down much. If anything, they seem to be doubling down on the rhetoric and their attempts to frame, even create, the “news” instead of reporting it.

      2. Thanks for that link. Maybe y’all can help me out with something I sincerely am struggling to understand.

        1. I am just guessing, but there has been an adage amongst guys to the effect that “crazy chicks are great in bed.”

          Or so I’ve heard. A search on the phrase “crazy chicks great in bed” turned up >36M hits.

          Frankly, I think such gals are the kind who leave you to wake up in a bathtub full of ice.

          1. There is such an adage, but it is countered by the one piece of good relationship advice I ever heard in a rap song, loosely paraphrased as “Don’t get in bed with crazy.”
            Frankly, though the kind of weirdness Shadow just found is the type that I don’t want to share a county with.

            1. It’s a bit of a game with me to see how quickly I end up from ‘recipes/landscapes/neat DIY ideas/funny memes and anecdotes’ part of Pinterest to “Conspiracy Theory / Horror / WTF am I reading’ part of Pinterest. This was in the ‘WTF’, which was oddly enough, in the midst of several “Humans Are Space Orcs/ Humans are Awesome’ sci-fi posts. I clicked on it because it stood out as strange.

              1. [uses pointy stick to poke]

                Oh, just admit it… You’re like everyone else, and can’t not look at the train/car/plane/ship/planetary scale wrecks out there, and went looking for it…

                [backs away carefully]

                That said, it’s absolutely amazing what you can find just in passing, ain’t it? What’s even more amazing is the utter lack of self-awareness the folks posting it have to possess, which leads to the casual reader staring at their display in utter bewilderment as they try to figure out if it is some kind of depraved and debauched joke, or… Actually real. Every time I run into that sort of thing on the internet, that’s what I wind up doing: “…uhhhh… Really? Is this real…? How could it be…?”.

                Then, you run into these folks in real life, and you suddenly discover that, no, they really are real, and not a figment of someone’s fevered imagination. Which is really, really disturbing on a deep level.

                1. *bats at stick with hand* =P Looking for trainwrecks isn’t exactly conducive to relaxing. (On that note, neither is this !) – but if you want some head-tilt inducing strange, the James Damore suit against Google has a few gems being described in conservative media. The otherkin that self-describes as a wingless gold-scaled dragon that ALSO identifies as a building raised some valid questions (namely, when the person in question is currently identifying as a building… what does Google do? Let that person stand there like an inanimate object and pay for the time? Or forgive the days that this person does not work?)

                  I don’t have a problem with the people who are ‘furry’ or ‘otherkin’ – I’m the girl who walked around with a cat-ear headband before it was a cool and common fashion accessory – and despite what our detractors say about me, I have a pretty high tolerance for weird – really, the rest of the profile made me go ‘eh, not my thing, not my attraction, but whatever’; it’s the proud declaration of mental illness that caught my eye and got the reaction of ‘Why would anyone declare that as a ‘thing’ that’s supposed to be considered ‘attractive’? I’m well aware too, of the difference between the cutesy “Oh, I’m a little OC/Apsie/neurotic/weaponized autism/nuts/crazy” shorthand descriptions of personality quirks and actually suffering from those mental problems. Somewhere along the way, the line was erased between the cutesy quirk and the serious illness and now it’s seen more like an ‘acceptable lifestyle.’ I can see ‘I’m somewhat autistic, if I don’t understand what you say, please don’t think I’m being mean to you, I honestly don’t get it’ so people engaging in conversation with that person will keep that in mind.

                  Some of the folks like this I’ve run into real life I tend not to hang around, largely because we wouldn’t fit each other’s social circles or interests. If I were still dating, a description of “I’m seriously psycho, wanna bang?” would get a *nervous smile, back away slowly then flee* response.

                  Not. Sexy.

                  Those two seem sort of happy in the picture, so … *shrug*. It’s just a mindset I don’t understand, so I was hoping some folks could give me a clue.

        2. Nope I got nothing. About the only redeeming factor is they like cats. Of course it does make me wonder how low cat food slave requirements have gotten…

      3. On reading the zerohedge article, my own reaction is that the cure for socialism is Christianity: yes, you are responsible for your own actions (moral agency), but you can never be completely perfect, and Christ can help you get better.
        Of course, many professed Christians are also socialists, but they either don’t understand the end-point of socialism is tyranny (Hayek), or they don’t really accept the doctrines of agency and repentance.

        1. Or they think socialism is great because that’s what the first-century church was practicing (read the first few chapters of Acts and you’ll see “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” lived out CENTURIES before Marx), and they don’t understand that it takes a miraculous intervention of God in the human heart for that to work. And even then they had problems: c.f. Ananias and his wife Saphira, who tried to game the system to virtue-signal. While God can and does intervene in the human heart to make us better if we want Him to, he also still allows us the free will to choose evil, as those two did. Which is why even the first-century church couldn’t make socialism work, and a few decades later the apostle Paul was writing “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat” to the church in Thessalonica, to help them curb some of the abuses they were experiencing in their own church with freeloaders.

          1. Robin I’ve always thought that the early church’s failure to make a go of communal living was a strong counter example against communism. If the saints of the faith couldn’t make it work because of malingerers and cheats how are normal folks going to have a paper dog’s chance in hell?

            1. Bingo!

              Although looking at history, I have to admit that communal living CAN work in some situations, like monasteries. But there are some key points to realize about why it works for monasteries but wouldn’t work in other situations:

              1) They’re a small community, where everyone knows everyone else. If anyone shirks their work, it will be obvious to everybody else.
              2) There’s a structure in place to punish shirkers: the abbot / father / (whatever the head monk’s title is in this tradition) can hand out appropriate punishment.
              3) Everyone joined this community voluntarily and agreed to these rules (quite important).
              4) And MOST important of all, nobody in this community has children, assuming they’ve kept their vow of chastity. (And if they haven’t, they’ll be kicked out of the community, so the community itself remains a childless community). This means that nobody has to be supporting a family, and so they aren’t neglecting their duty to their family when they keep their vow of poverty.

              Take that last point away, and you get communities like Plymouth Rock, where communal living FAILED until the governor said, “Okay, will let people care for their own families first.” Then suddenly there was way more grain.

          2. My take is that the communal system of the early Church had less to do with an attempt to set up a new way of living, but more of a need to take care of a few thousand people from far away who thought they were only visiting for a feast, but needed to stay for a while to learn a new doctrine.

            A good number of the first converts were not locals, but Jewish pilgrims from around the Roman world, there to take part in the Passover & Pentecost feast. While there, they heard about how the Messiah had come, and joined this new Way. But, they were still very short on details, and there was a lot of teaching that needed to be done.

            So, what do you do if you have to teach a few thousand people who don’t have homes, jobs, or a lot of savings left? And knowing that the window for being able to teach is short, as it is fairly obvious that official persecution is not long in coming?
            Pretty much what they did- sell what you can to keep teaching while you can, because the clock was ticking.

    1. … marxists who are quite mean, angry people with deeply messy lives while claiming to be superior humans beings

      Ah, but their lives are only messy because they are surrounded by kulaks, reactionaries and counter-revolutionaries who refuse to recognize their genius are constantly thwarting their efforts.

      1. Indeed, it is always fault of wreckers when socialist’s cockamamie policies don’t work as planned.

    2. “Paul Johnson’s Intellectuals is chockfull of examples of marxists who are quite mean, ”
      When I was in graduate school in the seventies (FWIW my master’s degree is in Government, as Political Science was then quaintly known), we had only one avowed Marxist in the graduate assistants’s community, and even the other leftists couldn’t stand him.

    1. The problem with that is the comment threads we be very boring as we all wrote “yep, that.”

      1. So not a lengthy work, just something to rest with. And.. are you sure about that? With this bunch, “The sky is blue”is apt to have people pointing out evening and morning twilight, night, effects of cloud cover, and possibly even spectrographic measurements – just for starters.

        1. Some Hazlett perhaps? Mises? Old school Smith? If we’re going to stick with economics, that is. Some fun stuff there. Okay, okay, not everyone enjoys a good dive into the big E, but still. If the current public school system wouldn’t mangle it beyond all possible salvation, I’d suggest putting those on the syllabus post haste. Maybe read them in conjunction with Marx. *chuckle* Just for comparison’s sake. *grin*

              1. He’s also the funniest. If we’re taking requests, how about Simon Winchester or Paul Johnson?

            1. I do. *grin* I started with Hazlett (after classes tried to kill Smith for me, some decades ago), and picked up Hayek by mistake one day… and haven’t regretted it one bit!

  8. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

    Thinking that I might “play along”, since trying to wrap my brain around this during my lunch period can be asking for a head-ache, (I lost count of how many times I had to re-read certain lines before they made sense) I decided to see if our local library had a copy. Then check the next county over. There is no copy to be found w/in 20-25 miles The nearest is at Georgetown University Law Library. I do not have a card for GTU.

      1. They do. I’ll look into it tonight. It just caught me off guard that there are (apparently) no public copies to be found in the entire state.

        1. That’s probably by design.
          The Leftists no longer need to read it (or anything else, apparently), and they don’t dare let anyone else read it.
          The copies in the Universities don’t count because there is no one there who will read it on their own (see above) or by assignment, because even the professors can’t understand it now (and never did; they just used it as an excuse to jump on the bandwagon of socialism for their own personal reasons: because the someones needed to administer and direct would obviously be them).

          “(I lost count of how many times I had to re-read certain lines before they made sense)”

          1. Not sure I should confess this, but … re-read multiple times, still going “What the?” read on for Amanda’s take, then re-read again. Then read on. Some I’m still going “What the?” not because I don’t understand what was read, but more along the line of “how does this make logical sense for anyone to base anything off of?” or “OMG, Oh Good Lord!” take your pick.

            1. Now you understand why, by the time I finished writing the post, I had a raging headache. The leaps of logic — or complete lack of logic — in the text are bad enough. Worse is knowing there are people who actually believe what Lenin — not to mention Marx and Engels — wrote can work. What they need to do is consider the proposition with a critical mind and then look at historical fact. But they don’t. They love the promises and not once consider the consequences Idiots.

              1. I am sorry for your suffering. But, thank you. Without translation of the English translation, don’t think I would have gotten it. Still don’t in some respects. Or it is I can not believe someone can swallow this pile of steaming stinky stuff that needs to be shoveled.

    1. I wish i could say that surprises me, but it doesn’t. Down here in the buckle of the Bible Belt, a lot of libraries won’t carry it because it is “commie” or “anti-Christian”. Oh, that’s not the official reason, but it’s what it all comes down to. Then there’s the fact those who actually do follow the philosophy prefer to do their indoctrination through more modern prose.

      1. My sister, amusingly enough, said “Good” when I told her of the book’s absence. “Keep it out of the hands of the idiots.”

        I think I saw a Kindle copy that is cheaper than the fee for the intra-library loan. I’m going to look again later.

    1. Engels… Wasn’t that the girl in Little House?
      Kevin was okay with George, Ringo, and Paul, but some of his solo stuff left a lot to be desired

      1. Lenin did some pretty good solo stuff …

        It was when he was burdened by the Yoko of Oppression that his work truly suffered.

        1. There was thing years ago (when LiveJournal was still a popular thing) telling folks to see what they got when Google-d “$FIRSTNAME is” and to post some of the results. I understand it’s rather depressing if your first name happens to be ‘Paul’. ‘Orvan’ seems to be too rare for there to be much of anything, other than older notices and sharing a first name with the good Dr. Hess.

      1. IIRC, Gummo acted as agent for his brothers.

        Wiki confirms:
        Gummo, who in an interview said he never liked being on stage, left the group and joined the military during World War I. He wasn’t sent overseas because the armistice was signed shortly afterward. Gummo’s younger brother Zeppo took his place in the group. Gummo later went into the raincoat business. After his Army career he joined with Zeppo and operated a theatrical agency. After that collaboration ended, Gummo represented his brother Groucho and worked on the television show The Life of Riley, which he helped develop.

        He also represented other on-screen talent and a number of writers, and was well respected as a businessman. He rarely required contracts, believing that if the people he represented liked his work, they would stay with him; and if not, would seek representation elsewhere.

        Around the time he left his brothers’ Vaudeville act, Marx applied for a patent for a clothes packing rack. On October 28, 1919, Marx was granted patent US1320335A.

  9. What has always confused me with the Marxists is their delusion that they can rid society of Capitalism. Even in the most locked-down, oppressive societies, there is (at very least) a black market (sometimes that’s ALL that there is). What is a black market if not the very essence of Capitalism seeping in? Even the very best of Marxist governments are rarely able to provide the needs of the people for long never mind the WANTS of the people (which they try to denigrate as greed). In a Capitalist society, people’s unmet wants and needs are merely an opportunity for more Capitalism…

    The other thing that confuses me is this idea that the State would “whither away”. WHAT? Maybe the Marxists of Lenin’s day were different (probably not), but our current crop of Marxist a-holes never met an excuse to grow the size and scope of government that they didn’t just love love love… Let any one of them seize power and see if they ever give it up.

    1. One thing that’s always struck me is that the socialist/communist theorists created this huge straw man, and called it “Capitalism”. And, the rest of us acceded to that, which allowed them to frame the argument as they wanted to.

      The fact is, that straw man does not exist. Capitalism, as conceived by the socialist/communist “thinkers”, is a figment of their imagination. They’ve imbued the idea with all these massively negative characteristics, and paid limited or no attention to the question of whether or not they actually existed within the actual framework of what I think would be better termed “Traditional Transactional Economics”. They also frame the whole thing as being this class-based thing, leaving out the fact that most “capitalists” got their start as “workers”, and that the churn in who is running the game is massive. The three-generation rule ain’t no lie; today’s entrepreneurial success story is often the day after tomorrow’s Enquirer headline, when the third generation squanders all that “Evul Capital”.

      The geniuses of the Socialist/Communist world never conceived of the idea that the worker might own stock in their capitalist company, or be vested in the business for their retirement. All they saw was what was really the ravings of their own imaginations, which were entirely inaccurate even at the time.

      And, the other thing? Most of what socialism/communism has actually been implemented as was a huge con job, intended to rip off the existing wealthy, and transfer their wealth to the socialists and communists. That’s how it’s actually worked, in every single attempt at these pie-in-the-sky utopias, whether you’re talking Russia, the Nazis, or the latest incarnation, Venezuela. And, the rubes keep buying the bullshit, all the while ignoring things like the fact that the wealthiest woman in Venezuela right now just happens to be Chavez’s daughter. Funnily enough.

      1. ‘leaving out the fact that most “capitalists” got their start as “workers”, and that the churn in who is running the game is massive. ‘

        Of course. That mindset can only see society as static, as of the moment of their personal snapshot. So it can’t conceive of the flux and flow of natural churn, only of tearing up the picture.

        1. “That mindset can only see society as static,”
          This has been at the root of the failure of many Democratic economic and social programs, because they always “score” the consequences as static, and won’t accept that people react to stimuli (e.g., tax luxury boats and the rich quit buying them, thereby NOT increasing the government’s take, but also putting boat-builders out of business — but then, maybe that was the real goal).

          1. They don’t always score programs as static. For example, they often argue in support of “sin” taxes on cigarettes and sugary sodas that raising the price will encourage less sinning. And their arguments for “congestion pricing” in London and New York is predicated on reducing traffic during the hours the taxes are greatest.

            Maybe it is simply a case of declaring a zebra white with black stripes when that is convenient to their stance and black with white stripes when that better serves their purpose.

            Their only consistencies are increasing their power to determine our lives and their dishonesty.

            1. Yet while they argue that increasing the price via taxation will reduce use, they spend as if the tax would not affect usage. Isn’t there a saying, something about cakes and eating them?

                1. According to Pelosi and Wasserman-Shultz, $1,000 is a mere drop in the bucket, so that’s not a real worry.

                    1. for a good chunk of America, $1k is an extra paycheck. Pelousy has been in her high tower so long she doesn’t even realize that.

                2. Oh yeah, that would be California. Insane penalties for normal behavior.

                  For comparison, max fines for various offenses:

                  Felony assault: $1000
                  … on a police officer: $5000

                  Misdemeanor: displaying an animal as being potentially for sale in a location visible to the public (including your own yard): $10,000 fine; repeat offense is a felony.

                  And then there’s Oregon, where the fine for littering is $6,250. (And it’s about double that in some rust-belt state, I forget which.)

                  You can sure tell where their priorities lie…….

            2. “Their only consistencies are increasing their power to determine our lives and their dishonesty.”

              Which is why either the Left or Americans are leaving this country.

          2. Or tax gas beyond what they need to collect for road infrastructure, so we’ll drive less, but we get more efficient vehicles, including electric only cars, so they don’t get enough gas tax money. Now they’ve added new vehicle purchase luxury fee to make up the missing gas tax fee; because don’t you know only “wealthy can afford new cars”. Note, new fee is NOT “value added” or “sales tax” because both of those have to be put to the state voters, this could be enacted by the governor (someone is going to sue; hopefully it will go away. A fee to buy something = Sales Tax, period.)

            1. Last time they did something like this, they wound up “forced” to enact an additional fee for new vehicles brought in from out of state, and car sales boomed in Las Vegas.

              Calofirnizonia, where the laws of supply and demand are merely suggestions.

        2. Oh yes. They see society as static. To put it in publishing terms, back when Amazon first opened up to indie authors, the CEO of one of the then-Big 6 Publishers lashed out at those who dared break ranks. He had the audacity to compare authors to widgets that could be interchanged at any moment and without notice. Yep, that went over real well with many of his “widgets” — not. That was the beginning of when publishers should have started realizing they were operating under false assumptions. Unfortunately, too many still fail to understand that basic reality. No, society isn’t static and neither are workers.

          1. the CEO of one of the then-Big 6 Publishers lashed out at those who dared break ranks.

            After the war of Southern Secession many plantation owners were reportedly at a loss to understand why so many of their workers were no longer willing to perform their old tasks at the same wage.

            Many people get confused and imagine they are the dog wagging the tail.

      2. “The fact is, that straw man does not exist. Capitalism, as conceived by the socialist/communist “thinkers”, is a figment of their imagination.”
        It’s the same scam that Freud pulled.
        Apparently, he may have made up much of his “evidence” in addition to misinterpreting most of what actually did exist, very similar to Marx.
        They both ended up with worshippers who never put any of their concepts and observations to the test.

        1. It’s all made-up fraud, all the way down. Freud, Kinsey, all of it. You go looking at many of the “studies” and so forth that form the basis of our “modern understanding of the world”, and what you find is that the so-called “science” is more wishful thinking and outright fantastical reasoning performed by charlatans.

          Neil Borlaug did science. The assholes doing “anthropogenic global warming” are doing politics dressed up as science, and the average schmuck just doesn’t go looking at the evidence they’ve cooked up. They’ve been saying that every year is the warmest one, yet, and the evidence that just ain’t so keeps coming out of the glaciers as the ancient mining camps, farms, and other inconvenient relics pop up.

          What’s really mind-boggling is that you’ll read articles written by supposedly educated journalists decrying the latest evidence of glacial withdrawal, and they don’t manage to make the inference that a.) if they are finding mines and camps that were heretofore covered in ice, doesn’t that sort of imply that it was as warm back then as it is now, when the ancients were digging those mines…?

          Most journalists are idiots, easily cozened by charlatans like Mann. And, when you run into someone like Mann, and ask the questions that the journalists aren’t quite smart enough to even frame, the Manns of the world look at you as though you were some form of heretic, and demand that you be taken away from their august presence.

          1. It’s all made-up fraud, all the way down. Freud, Kinsey, all of it.

            You just reminded me of something from the Bible. When Jesus was teaching his disciples, he’d often refer to the devil as “the prince of this world” — and once, when he was rebuking some of the people who were opposing him, he said, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

            So what Jesus was saying is that the prince of this world is a liar and the father of lies. If he is right (and I believe he was), then it’s no surprise that fraudster after fraudster (Freud, Kinsey, Mann, et al.) will be celebrated, while those who speak the truth about their frauds will be largely ignored or jeered at.

          1. I think you have to at least consider the idea that many of the people running these social Ponzi schemes are fully aware of what they are doing. Take a look at Chavez of Venezuela, as an example: How the hell did his daughter wind up being worth billions? Was that some “accident of history”, or did he set the whole thing up as an enormous confidence swindle?

            If the people running these games wound up starving alongside everyone else in their country, I’d maybe consider the idea that they were cultists along with their victims, but everywhere we look, it’s dachas and Swiss bank accounts once the bust-out is completed. Some of them may be true believers who got lucky, but after a bit, you have to start to wonder.

            1. Out of the long list of socialist types, the only example I can think of who might have actually been a true believer was Julius Nyerere, who ran Tanzania after decolonization.

    2. But the gov’t can’t wither away until the people are adequately educated/propagandized/made into ubermensch. And that can’t happen without the gov’t growing until it’s large enough to control everyone’s lives (that’s the definition of “adequate” in the previous sentence). So, you have to grow gov’t to make it wither away.
      See how logical that all is? That’s the dialectic, baby!

    3. “The other thing that confuses me is this idea that the State would “whither away”. WHAT?”

      Essentially it’s Jefferson’s bit about how if men were angels, government would be unnecessary. The idea is that once you kill off the evil, greedy, upper-classes, the proletariat ARE angels, and will just do what needs to be done while sharing everything and singing kumbaya. If you’ve actually met a member of the proletariat and can’t say the preceding sentence with a straight face, just remember that the only reason that a worker might do something less than angelic is because the class struggle has distorted the pure nature of their humanity….

      At any rate, there are a bunch of explanations along these lines. The long and short of it is that Communists are convinced they can turn men into angels, and they’ll keep killing people until they prove it.

      1. When the State withers away, how are prices and production schedules set? Do various interest groups “bid” for them according to their anticipated ability to make optimum use of the products?

        1. There are no prices. Everyone just takes what they need. And no one takes more than they need, because they are all responsible adults who care about the community and wouldn’t want to hurt everyone by being greedy.

          1. I’ve done some thinking on the issue, and about the only way I can see the ideals of socialism or communism actually, y’know, working with real human beings is if there were some sort of artificial constraint placed on the society enacting those ideals such that they’d actually wind up making major biological and/or cultural modifications to the humans and their expressed society. And, to such a degree that the people espousing such pious beliefs today would be absolutely horrified at the resulting carried-out to reality implications.

            In other words, you’d basically have to breed out a lot of selfishness in the biology and culture, along with things like self-interest and self-centeredness. About the only way I could see that actually happening would be if there were an isolated human culture doing some sort of long-term project requiring them to operate under conditions where you’d actually have to breed in selflessness and what would have to amount to an instinctive prioritization for the greater community and mission. The anarchic, sloppy path we can get away with here on this planet because of the whole environment being both big enough and resilient enough to allow that, and make it both workable and efficient? You’d have to posit a situation that took that away, and drastically constrained things to go down a far different path.

            You want a human society with workable socialism/communism? It won’t be recognizably human, in other words. You’d almost have to have something of a religious order or military mission going, and even then, I bet money that some form of “capitalist” economy is still going to exist, if only for the purpose of trading in some form of luxury goods or personal favors internal to that society.

            I actually think that about what you’re going to see will be more a hybrid sort of thing–You’d have what amounted to socialism in terms of the larger picture, but down at the micro-level, in the realm of personal transactions? You’d probably still see a slight amount of capitalism going on.

            And, understand that what I’m talking about here is how we’d have to organize things for long-term deep space missions, like terraforming. Something like that is unlikely to be amenable to a truly capitalist approach, due to the long timelines involved before you’d receive a return on the investment. When you go to look at a project that could last for literally hundreds of thousands of years, and yet which still needs to be done…? Yeah; classical economic systems aren’t going to touch those. You’d almost have to posit something like a religious order, where the participants weren’t doing what they were doing for the money, but for ideological reasons.

            Of course, that’s assuming that your projects aren’t attainable in one or two of today’s lifetimes, and that we don’t have something akin to near-immortality to where the individual might see a return on their investment in their lifetime.

            Another realm where something like a socialist/communist social milieu could develop would be in a deep-space military environment, where you again were forced to spend long years in isolation doing something completely against selfish self-interest. Do that long enough, and you might see internalized changes to the people involved such that they wouldn’t automatically default to a capitalist traditional marketplace upon mission completion. Maybe.

            1. Pure Communism works when the people are under some sort of mind control and I can see Progressives wanting everybody else being mind controlled. 😦

              1. As Fidel and Hugo have demonstrated, pure communism doesn’t have to work, it merely has to work long enough.

                1. See, the thing is, neither one of them was really committed to the ideals, nor did they live them. Both Fidel and Hugo were using socialism as a scam, a con, in order to gain power. As soon as they got themselves there, they put in the secret police, and then the rest of the nomenklatura got their goodies, too. They basically replaced the “vampire capitalists” of their fantasies, and made those fantasies quite real.

                  You want a pure form of socialism or communism, you have to go take a look at things like monastic orders or the military, and even those have clear hierarchies in most cases. There have been damn few monastic orders where the abbot lived like one of the junior brothers, and even fewer military organizations where the officers lived like privates.

                  Strangely, some of the organizations that have come closest to implementing true socialism and communism are Japanese corporations where the CEO isn’t living like a king in France, as the saying goes. Even then, you have to wonder just how much of that is purely for the public eye…

              2. It also works as a subset of a traditional economy, like a monastic order living in/off such an economy via inputs like donations or doing business as a single social entity.

                Even then, such subsets have to pay attention to economic laws that govern the whole, and there’s no escaping that unless the monastic order were to be, say, rocketed off into space with an initial investment from that society that was written off…

                You want socialism/communism, you need the New Soviet Man, and you’d better figure out a realistic way to get him–Or, you’re going to be forced to acknowledge the basic lies and frauds you have to perpetuate to get your socialism.

                I just can’t see it ever working with people that are as they are today. Space-monks? Maybe whatever society they built after generations of communal living for some sort of mission might wind up looking a lot like socialism to us, and working, but… I doubt that the people living that life are going to look like us in either the hardware or the software wiring of their humanity…

            2. The closest thing to that, and perhaps the longest lasting, might have been the Amana Colonies in Iowa that were, originally, something that could be described as “Christian Communists.” They were, for some time, rather distant and separated from others, but there were no walls as such – if you were not a True Believer in their system, you were free to leave. Likewise, could one join. This lasted a surprisingly long time… until the Great Depression when there was an influx but the True Belief wasn’t there. In a matter of self-defense against an influx of moochers, they quite literally went free-market/private property overnight.

      2. if men were angels, government would be unnecessary
        And the progressives screw up by misunderstanding the first two letters of that bit. They think “if” = “we can make that happen!” Whereas Jefferson meant “if” = “ain’t never gonna happen, but if it did…”.

      3. If you’ve actually met a member of the proletariat …

        Time for the traditional quoting of Terry Pratchett on that subject. I’ve included the whole shebang because I couldn’t find anything in there that I wanted to trim.

        Down in the basement, there was a man who was talking about the government. At the top of his voice.
        “You can’t fight for a cause! A cause is just a thing!”
        “Then we are fighting for the peasants,” said Butterfly. She’d backed away. Rincewind’s anger was coming off him like steam.
        “Oh? Have you ever met them?”
        “I—have seen them.”
        “Oh, good! And what is it you want to achieve?”
        “A better life for the people,” said Butterfly coldly.
        “You think you having some uprising and hanging a few people will do it?
        Well, I come from Ankh-Morpork and we’ve had more rebellions and civil wars than you’ve had…lukewarm ducks’ feet, and you know what? The rulers are still in charge! They always are!”
        They smiled at him in polite and nervous incomprehension.
        “Look,” he said, rubbing his forehead. “All those people out in the fields, the water buffalo people…If you have a revolution it’ll all be better for them, will it?”
        “Of course,” said Butterfly. “They will no longer be subject to the cruel and capricious whims of the Forbidden City.”
        “Oh, that’s good,” said Rincewind. “So they’ll sort of be in charge of themselves, will they?”
        “Indeed,” said Lotus Blossom.
        “By means of the People’s Committee,” said Butterfly.
        Rincewind pressed both hands to his head.
        “My word,” he said. “I don’t know why, but I had this predictive flash!”
        They looked impressed.
        “I had this sudden feeling,” he went on, “that there won’t be all that many water buffalo string holders on the People’s Committee. In fact…I get this kind of…voice telling me that a lot of the People’s Committee, correct me if I’m wrong, are standing in front of me right now?”
        “Initially, of course,” said Butterfly. “The peasants can’t even read and write.”
        “I expect they don’t even know how to farm properly,” said Rincewind, gloomily. “Not after doing it for only three or four thousand years.”
        “We certainly believe that there are many improvements that could be made, yes,” said Butterfly. “If we act collectively.”
        “I bet they’ll be really glad when you show them,” said Rincewind.

          1. Sorry, meant to tag the end of the quote. It’s from Interesting Times, the 17th novel in Pratchett’s Discworld series.

      4. “The long and short of it is that Communists are convinced they can turn men into angels, and they’ll keep killing people until they prove it.”

        Well, depending on your theological leanings, it could be said that they are doing just that.

      5. Minor Nit.

        The “If Men Were Angels” bit is usually attributed to James Madison in the Federalist Papers.

        Jefferson wasn’t involved in the Federalist Papers. 😉

    4. True equality of the proletariat can only be achieved when everyone works for the government. Get with the program, komrade!!

      1. We seem to be getting closer, but maybe President Trump’s cabinet will cut back the kudzu far enough to stall off total assimilation for a while longer.

    5. “What is a black market if not the very essence of Capitalism seeping in?”
      If you strike me down, you will only make me stronger.

      1. There you have the germ of the truth. They accept, they like black markets because that increases state power by requiring people to commit crimes in order to survive. Dealing in the black market ensures they retain the option to threaten prosecuting you when that is useful.

        It isn’t as if the “leaders of the proletariat” suffer significant shortages; they always get what is necessary to best serve the people (it’s a cookbook!) and can even sell the excess to the black market confident of not being inconvenienced by law.

        1. And yet a Soviet leader was stunned at what The Common Man could buy in a (slightly higher end) grocery store in Texas… that even the Great Leaders could not in their own special stores.

        2. “Control via making everyone a criminal” may sound nice in theory. But, in practice, if you make everyone commit crimes to survive, you force your police to ignore a whole lot of crime because their families have to survive too. You force lower level officials into corruption, because their families also need to survive.
          If you force everyone to be a criminal, then you have a society where everyone is a criminal, and you weaken & undermine your government.
          And we see how successful the technique was in the Soviet Union.

            1. Guilt at being a criminal only last so long. Then, people being people, they get used to the feeling, and it doesn’t bother them so much.

    6. Ah, the black market. It was more vibrant than the actual market during the years of the USSR and, I have no doubt, continues to be in today’s Russia. But the good comrades ignored it and, because it wasn’t part of the “state”, it didn’t count as capitalism. It is just another form of the logic-twisting gymnastics all good socialists go through to ignore the realities of life.

      As for the growing of the government, it grew under Lenin and his successors just as it grew under Obama and those before him. Not that that is the exclusive province of the socialists. One of the things I like about Trump is he at least seems to be trying to rein in government growth in some areas.

      1. The black market was only the surface feature of the whole thing, and actually the least interesting.

        Where the Soviets and their other fellow running dogs got truly fascinating was with the way they had to essentially run a sub-rosa shadow economy underneath the surface economy of the various commissions and Five-year Plans.

        Every Soviet factory had a squad of “fixers”, guys who were actually officially “on the books”, who went out and actively massaged the system in order for it to work. Alexi, the fixer? He was the guy who went from People’s Widget Factory Number Five to People’s Ore Mine Number 200 to ensure that there would be sufficient ore taken to the People’s Steel Foundry Number 35 for the foundry to produce the steel, so that the Widget Factory could meet their quotas…

        I got to meet one of those guys, once, and it was fascinating to hear all the stories about the myriad dislocations and just plain screw-ups that existed in the Soviet system, along with what they had to do to make it all work down at the factory floor level. In essence, they recapitulated the entirety of a capitalist economy, just without money or formal organization. It wasn’t black-market in the sense that you were buying your iron ore on some hastily setup street corner table, either–This crap was formally recognized and acknowledged as necessary by the powers-that-were, and the guys who made it all happen were considered as essential personnel for the management. Sure, there were planners and senior managers who decried the practices, and who didn’t want to allow for them, but… They often failed at actually getting things done. The sacred “Plan” was sheerest fantasy, and they were actually getting everything done via Systeme “D”, even during the height of the Soviet belief system.

  10. No matter how enticing some of the tenets of socialism might be, unless and until you accept that humans are flawed, they are selfish, some are lazy while others are driven, you will not be able to see the flaws of socialism.
    The lack of understanding of human nature within the progressive movement (in the broadest sense) is appalling.

    I have to wonder… I’ve never seen this much editorializing by our hostess. Does she have a bandage on her forehead? Does she need her desk replaced?

    1. No. I just thought it added perspective. I pointed out to Amanda that unlike me most of you didn’t have to study Marxism by the name in three high school classes a year.
      She didn’t mind the editorializing…

      1. A few sounded … exasperated. Just concerned for your health. 😉
        (And, yes, I liked the interjections for their info.)

      2. “unlike me most of you didn’t have to study Marxism by the name in three high school classes a year.”
        Maybe we would be better educated if we had, but only if Hayek and Mises were read as well.
        Is that really 3 classes PER year, or 1 class in each of 3 years??

          1. And all in praise of it, or at best neutral, rather than the obvious thing that in any four-person group project, three people find out out what’s wrong with it. The fourth is the socialist.

      3. Well, we had to study it (at least superficially) in History and Civics, but at the time it was held up as a Bad Example.

        Sometimes I miss the Cold War….

        1. To the extent that Communism was at least labelled as Evil, and we took a bit of time looking at its appalling death tolls that justify that label, yes, I rather miss the Cold War.

        2. By the time my students esca, er, graduate my class, they are very well versed in the evils of involuntary communism, and Communism. The English Department is even more vehement.

    2. “The lack of understanding of human nature within the progressive movement (in the broadest sense) is appalling.”
      This cannot be emphasized enough.
      Now, I don’t think it applies to the top level of the Left, unless they are even more insane and/or stupid than they evidently are, because they probably sit around kvetching about their imperfect underlings as much as anyone else (and that doesn’t count the opposition at all, which is ipso facto imperfect).
      But I really can’t explain, psychologically, why anyone would be so clueless.

      1. The Leftist upper levels got this weird complex where they think they are aristocrats and upper crust, but feel like guilty sellouts because of it.
        So, radical Leftist virtue signaling & nostalgia de la boue is way to salve those feelings of liberal guilt.
        Plus, the web of connections at that level means that their cloudcoocooland policies won’t actually have an effect on their 1% lifestyle.

      2. AesopFan says
        “But I really can’t explain, psychologically, why anyone would be so clueless.”
        My own theory is this. They hate the message of “The world is fallen and all are sinners and we can’t rescue ourselves”. This is the U of TULIP in discussing Calvinist Theology, Utter Depravity, or the general christian concept of Original Sin. But simple observation shows that status to be true. So they cover their ears and scream “La La la” at the top of their voices. Given they can’t believe mankind is broken as that would mean agreeing with that which they hate the most they chose the opposite. The believe mankind can be perfected and proceed to base all their decisions on that. They have built their house on a foundation of sand or something worse.

        1. Skirting the edge of forbidden topics:
          The T in TULIP is for Total Depravity. The U is Unconditional Election. (At least that’s how I was taught it.)

        2. It’s part of the cult of progressivism. To reach a utopia, you have to keep advancing towards it. And, with Science!(TM), you can make *everything* better. And, after all, humans are just biological machines, right?

          It all flows together.

  11. Shorter Lenin:
    Persecution! Malice! LIES! They accuse me of being a violent revolutionary and trying to overthrow the entire social order! This is because the entire social order is evil and can’t be changed except by violent revolution!

    If you shout it loud enough and repeat it often enough that makes it the Truth, I suppose. And, if you wrap enough words around it, you can baffle and confuse the most learned into silence, if not actual agreement.

  12. Finally found a minute or more to read the essay. All I have to say is that I have to read this book now just to arm myself and my progeny. So much wrong that I can see now, and so many delusions. SMH.
    Thanks for bringing this to our attention again Amanda.

    1. This, so much this. The only way to combat the enemy is to know it and, when it comes to socialism, that means knowing the founding documents and how they have been implemented — and warped. We have to be able to recognize and understand what is happening to be able to counter it. Unfortunately, are children are no longer being taught the evils of socialism or communism in school. So that means we have to dig into it ourselves and make sure we give them the education they will need to survive. Damned liberal education systems.

      1. As Mr. Orwell so gently noted, a big part of their methodology hinges on denying us terminology to think unapproved thoughts.

  13. This is part of the reason they believe the state is therefor keep the classes in order or something.
    Well, it sort of is, sometimes. The state maintains order and perpetuates itself. So, if your society is class-ordered, and who governs is class-ordered, then the state will most certainly be involved with keeping the classes in order.
    Which, of course, isn’t supposed to be true in the US. So, naturally, the progs have to invent them.

    1. Even if a state isn’t class-ordered in the beginning, it very soon will be, because wealth and power accrue to the people who run the state, and they become an upper-class, and therefore the rest get ordered as well. Then the “haves” oppress the “have nots” in most states, the fighting against which was the whole point of having the Bill of Rights in the Constitution.
      Marx actually did have that part correct.
      It was his (a) reasons and (b) solutions that were absurd.

  14. Rez’s quick guide to communist theory:

    Marx: Give me your stuff, or I’ll hate you!

    Lenin: See that guy over there? Everything is his fault. Shoot him and take his stuff.

    Stalin: Never mind, I’ll shoot him myself.

  15. Slightly OT, but it *is* Burns Night, so…..

    Here’s a health to them that’s awa,
    Here’s a health to them that’s awa;
    Here’s a health to Tammie, the Norlan’ laddie,
    That lives at the lug o’ the law!
    Here’s freedom to them that wad read,
    Here’s freedom to them that wad write!

    There’s nane ever fear’d that the truth should be heard,
    But they whom the truth would indite.

    *lifts the last of my Glenlivet to freedom and all who love her*

  16. I need to learn more about concrete casting, so that I know how to make giant hands with extended middle fingers. Putting a bunch of those facing south is something regular citizens can do without need to involve the Federal government.

    1. Ah yes. We need Good Men to rule humanity. 😦

      We’ve seen this play out before and it doesn’t end good.

  17. Good Man Khan, Ruler of Earth.

    You will accept my rule because I am the superior man. Logically, you have only two choices, submit, or die.

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