The Opposite of Communism - Part 1 of 2

My father used to leave a copy of "The Declaration of Independence" laying next to "The Communist Manifesto" in the middle of the dining room table. Just to see what people would say. In the manifesto he left a bookmark on page 94, where Marx and Engels laid out a ten point plan to transform advanced countries into communist utopias. Communist utopias are the greatest dystopias ever created, so let's see what happens when we reverse those ideas.


Marx and Engels precede this list by stating that, "These measures will of course be different in different countries. Nevertheless in the most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable." So that's where we'll start. If you want to be communist, here's your list.

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1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.

6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.

7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of wastelands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a general plan.

8. Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.

10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial population, etc., etc.

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Let's briefly look at why these things are bad, and then we'll make our own ten point list.

1. Having no private land is bad for a bunch of reasons. But let's just mention this one. If you don't own your land then you don't get to decide what happens to it, or on it, or with it. Government officials make all of those decisions. Is there any wonder that just this by itself would create a dystopia? And that's not to mention the economic reasons concerning the natural organization and coordination of resources according to prices as talked about by Friedrich Hayek and Thomas Sowell.

2. A graduated income tax produces at least three major and immediate problems. First, it disincentivizes people to make more money. Have you ever met someone that stopped working near the end of the year because it would put them in a higher income tax bracket, so it would just be a waste of time? I have.

Second, this causes money to run and hide. With higher taxes comes a higher incentive to avoid taxes, and that's exactly what happens. Ironically, it's the people with the most money who have the resources to figure out how to avoid taxes that end up paying the least proportional amount in a complex and corrupt tax system. Thomas Sowell explains this in "Trickle Down Theory and Tax Cuts for the Rich", and Andrew Mellon explained it in "Taxation".

Third, there is a huge incentive for corruption to develop between the politicians and the people with enough money to pay them off to pass laws allowing both of them special privileges. They like to make this complex to confuse people and hide what's going on, and it's all done in a perfectly legal fashion. Frederic Bastiat delves into that problem in "The Law".

3. Eliminating inheritance poses all of the problems that I mentioned in both items 1 and 2.

4. Being able to take everything that a person has away from them is a great way to force obedience in people. It's a powerful threat. That's exactly how it's used, and why it exists.

5. Not allowing private banks means the government controls all of the money. It's very hard to resist the government if you have no resources. Just like item 4, it makes it hard to even speak out against them. And, the fact that it's horrible for the economy is irrelevant. It's not about money, it's about money as a means to power.

6. If you can't move and you can't communicate without permission from the government then you have to say what they want, hear what they want, think what they want, go where they want. Items 4, 5, and 6 are about forcing compliance, and they work.

7. The government making all of the decisions about factories and farming can be viewed as bad from two perspectives. The first is the view of economics. Hayek, Sowell, and others explain why it just doesn't work. Decision making has to be done by the people involved, not centralized bureaucrats with no accountability. The Soviet Union was a great example of what happens in that system. You end up with shortages of what you need and surpluses of useless stuff, because an economy can't be coordinated by anything other than price signals. The more you distort those the more you distort what's produced. The second is the view of ethics. If you don't like slavery, then you won't like communism.

8. "Equal liability of all to labor." just means that you'll be forced to work. It's usually called forced labor instead of slavery, because apparently people don't think that sounds as bad. "All" people become the horse in "Animal Farm" by George Orwell. Spoiler alert, they work the horse to death in that story.

9. In the communist utopia/dystopia the government administrators get to decide where everyone lives and what everyone does. It's kind of like they get to play a video game, but they're controlling real people. For some reason Marx and Engels wanted everyone in their video game to be evenly spread out. It's more in accord with a feudal type of slave society. So it makes sense that that's what they would like.

10. Notice that governments love to control school systems. As Hitler said in a speech in 1935, "He alone who owns the Youth gains the Future!"

Now I think it's possible for us to make our own ten point plan, with the idea in mind of doing the opposite of Marx and Engels.

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1. Protection of private property in land.

2. A light flat income tax. Or, no income tax. Or, a reverse graduated income tax.

3. Protection of all right of inheritance.

4. No confiscation of property.

5. Decentralization of credit in the hands of individuals, with no national bank, no banks with state capital, and no bank monopolies.

6. Decentralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of individuals.

7. Reduction of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; no general plan for the soil.

8. Freedom of choice of all to labor.

9. Freedom of agriculture and manufacturing industries, town and country, and population.

10. Freedom of choice in education for all children.

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In comparing the Marxist list with the Martinist list the sharp contrasts between growing the government and limiting the government become clear. This has immense consequences that cannot be overstated.

I'll point out two final things.

One, the communists think of people in groups, the opposite of that is to think of people as individuals.

Two, there was an excellent phrase that came out of the Soviet Union that clearly illustrates one of the major problems in a communist system. "They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work." We could dive into why this happens psychologically, and the fallout economically. But, there's something even deeper. In a communist system pay and work become insincere. Interaction with people becomes insincere. When writers like Solzhenitsyn talk about how the communist system destroys the soul of a person, this is what they're talking about. The opposite is to really pay people and to really work. The opposite of losing your soul is to be sincere.

Outside of this ten point list there are quotes that are even more revealing in "The Communist Manifesto". In part 2 I will dig into the heart of communism, and we will emerge with its golden opposite.

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To read more from Jeff go to JeffThinks.com or JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com

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