Hey, Millennials

“Communism sucks. I know, because I lived it.”

That half of a generation would prefer to live under socialism or communism to a free-market economy is an appalling failure of our educational system. Though, from the point of view of those who have been running it (into the ground), perhaps they consider it a success.

20 comments on this post.
  1. Bill Hensley:

    Garry Kasparov had a similar message last year.

  2. Doctor Mist:

    I don’t want to be a Pollyanna, and I know the danger of believing in Magic Dirt. But I still sort of believe that if the USA comes up with something on its own hook that it calls communism, it will bear very little resemblance to what Ryszard experienced.

    Mind you, I don’t say it will necessarily be better. But the horrors will be different, and excessive focus on cases like Poland — where Communism’s main effect was to prevent recovery from being the battleground of WWII — could paradoxically blunt the force of the warning.

  3. Godzilla:

    There were a lot of issues in Poland after WWII. To a large degree, any resistance to the Germans which was loyal to the prior Polish government was eliminated by the Germans and Soviets, a lot of Polish soldiers escaped Poland after the start of WWII and migrated to continue the fight against Germany outside Poland. So Poland lost a large section of both their working and their elite class in one generation. Added to that, the environment in the Soviet Union was also one of reconstruction, no doubt not as many resources were devoted to rebuilding in former Warsaw Pact countries, unlike in the USA, which otherwise had its infrastructure still intact after the war. I don’t know how much of that you can attribute to communism specifically.

    A lot of what can be said about living in the economic conditions in the late Soviet period can also be said of other countries living in similar plan economics/ration economics, like Great Britain after WWII, even when they had democracies in power. In the case for Great Britain, they had a huge debt to pay to the USA. The conditions in Great Britain were bad enough that Orwell jokes about it in 1984 (that’s the situation he’s into when he describes Oceania, not the Soviet Union, which is Eurasia in the novel). Orwell’s wife worked in the Ministry of Food at one point. What we can attribute to the power of democracy though was that, once the debt was serviced, those economic restrictions were lifted once more. To do the same in the Soviet Union involved both a coup attempt by the military and eventually a revolution, which thankfully did not involve a civil war, but was a de facto bankruptcy of their government structure regime along with communism as an economic system.

  4. Dick Eagleson:

    The reason the Brits kept their rationing in place for nearly a decade after WW2 ended had to do with the socialist ideology of the ruling Labor Party, not debt to the U.S.

    Britain “owed” both the U.S. and Canada for Lend-Lease (and the comparable Canadian program) after the war. The payments were to total about 3% of the value of armaments provided to the U.K. during WW2 and were payable over a period of 60 years. The U.K. made its last token payment in 2006.

    Socialist bloody-mindedness kept Brits poverty-stricken by law until the early 50’s when the Conservatives returned to power and did away with the whole rationing mess. Another extended period of Labor and trades union bloody-mindedness, and general penury in Old Blighty, under Harold Wilson, “Sunny Jim” Callahan and Arthur Scargill paved the way for the ascension of Margaret Thatcher.

  5. Pug Sanchez:

    I think millennials reading that article will see a lot of features, not bugs.

  6. Edward M. Grant:

    It will give them the opportunity to silence or murder everyone they disagree with, for example.

  7. Pug Sanchez:

    Yeah, getting rid of freedom of speech would check a big box for them.

  8. V-Man:

    Everyone think they will be part of the firing squad.

    In practice, more often than not, these persons are surprised to find themselves kneeling next to the ditch.

  9. Karl Hallowell:

    Unfortunately, that is not a learning experience.

  10. ken anthony:

    People that have learned are abdicating their responsibility by not passing along that knowledge. People have the right to be stupid. They don’t have the right to kill the rest of us because they are stupid.

    This is not the fault of the stupid people. Allowing ‘educators’ to enshrine communist stupidity is criminal and should be punished… but there are no publishers. Instead destruction will punish everybody (see Venezuela.)

  11. AO1:

    Yes, they seem to not understand that it also ‘allows’ other to silence or murder them.
    They always believe they will be the ones on the ‘Kremlin’ and not the ones in the streets.
    Then again, the letters many Kremlin occupants wrote to ‘Dear Stalin’ as the KGB escorted them one way into the Lubyanka prison should be compulsory reading for all who want Communism.

  12. ken anthony:

    Identifying such an obvious problem without corrective actions does nothing and it will get worse.

  13. Godzilla:

    While communism is indeed a failure, I still think there’s a role for government to play in the regular economy, in the United States you have the US Postal Service, and the municipal water resources are managed by local governments. In addition to the policy on water resources, hydropower generation is also typically controlled by the government. These sorts of economic activities, which involve right of way and natural monopolies are, I think, best serviced by a state controlled public corporation, even though in my opinion as many as possible of the tasks that corporation does need (like construction) should be delegated to the private sector.

    Making these sorts of companies, which control natural monopolies, private results in all sorts of economic inefficiencies and stifle the rest of the economy as a result. You guys had the Bell system, even today you have companies like Comcast, as you can see a private company can manage to be provide pretty terrible service and horrible prices as well when granted a monopoly.

  14. David Spain:

    The cable “industry” is a prime example of what happens when governments “get it wrong”. The de-facto monopolies arose from a grass roots degree of ignorance among those elected to municipal boards who bought the fallacy hook, line and sinker that in order for a cable company to provide services to the community they must be granted *exclusive* access to that market if they wanted them (the cable company) to wire them. In fact, wiring is a totally separate issue from service provisioning. Most communities, staffed with board members not especially technologically savvy, acquiesced to this con. You could easily see that it was in fact a con, once you realized that once an exclusive contract had been let, lo and behold it was often *independent* third-party contractors, working at the behest of the cable company granted the market monopoly, that hung or laid the cable. That the community could have contracted directly with these people with absolutely no obligation to the service providing cable co. was totally missed. IN MOST CASES. There were a few exceptions, and for those communities fortunate enough to have had such savvy boards, in national surveys, they were often shown to lead the “market” with the best possible services for their communities and the lowest prices. The community CAN own the cable and let multiple cable co’s have access to the common wire. Today with just a handful of cable providers providing “content” it is much harder to do, but like broadcasting, it didn’t have to be that way.

  15. Godzilla:

    Oh but it is much worse than that! Some local councils actually want to make their own service in some places, but they are forbidden from doing it because Comcast “bribed” people at the State level, in some states, to pass laws to forbid it. Because it’s considered government competition against a private activity. Which they don’t actually provide, at least not with the level of service people need, anyway.

  16. ken anthony:

    Monopolies only exist by govt. force. When barriers to competition are removed monopolies can’t be maintained for long. Just because you can point to government operations that can get something done is not in the slightest an argument that they are the one’s to do it.

    Govt. has exactly one purpose only… to restrict the jurisdiction of other governments. Anything more than that is a mistake (although somewhat forgivable that people reason otherwise. This is the falsehood of consent.)

    Any need can be filled better without govt. (unless thwarting the people IS the goal.) That secondary use of govt (overcoming the objections of some, whether majority or minority, is why some think govt. is needed when it isn’t.)

  17. David Spain:

    In the case of common carriage such as things like roads, utilities, etc. government is often compelled into the process. If not directly through zoning ordinances, then through the courts. Because of the disruption caused if say 10 private companies decided to pave over land for toll roads that all service the same destinations. Great for private enterprise and good quality roads but not so great for the people who have to live next to them. And the greater the population density the more severe the government intervention becomes. Not a big advocate for that, but it is what it is. If you don’t like it no one forces you to live in a city for example.

  18. Bilwick:

    “While communism is indeed a failure, I still think there‚Äôs a role for government to play in the regular economy . . .” Sure. You believe in freedom–just not THAT much freedom. In other words, people should be free, unless they’re doing something you don’t think they should be doing, or not doing something you think they should be doing. Then out comes the Mailed Fist.

  19. Godzilla:

    Well, I’m Catholic, we believe in forgiveness and remission of sins, but there are sins, and there are punishments as well.

    As a Catholic I’m not a fan of large Atheist movements like Communism. Regardless of that, you can read about a failed attempt at communal living in the Acts of the Apostles. Even with God himself enacting heavy punishment it didn’t work that well. But I guess the Communists forgot to read that little cautionary tale.

  20. peterh:

    Seems to me half of millennials don’t understand how a free market is supposed to work, exchange of value being governed chiefly by mutual consent. How most of the failures pointed to in criticism of markets are the result of government interference. On that point I’m not sure they have a proper understanding of consent.

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