The sweet poisonous idea that will never die 1

“Everything brought forward in favor of Socialism during the last hundred years, in thousands of writings and speeches, all the blood which has been spilt by the supporters of Socialism, cannot make Socialism workable.” – Ludwig von Mises, 1922.

Socialism/Communism is sweetly attractive to certain minds and temperaments. It is also fatally poisonous.

The quotation from the great Austrian School economist von Mises occurs in an article by Jean Kaufman at her website Neo-Neocon. Her article makes the point that Socialism/Communism can never be destroyed as a temptation to some people. But the arguments against it must be unremittingly pursued. Better that it be understood through reason than suffered in experience.

Communism/Socialism is an idea whose time has always come, ever-fresh and ever-new. It keeps rearing its ugly head wearing a new mask, like some vampire who keeps returning in a new guise. But can’t we finally drive a stake through its wretched heart? …

The rhetoric of Socialism/Communism has intrinsic appeal to certain groups of people and some members of each group are always likely to fall under its spell: the guilt-ridden wealthy and/or their even-more-guilt-ridden spawn, the poor who feel they’ve been screwed by society, the politically and economically naive intelligentsia who feel they know better than others, the religious and/or idealistic who want everyone to be loving and good and selfless, and those who just like the idea of power and control over others and plan to be the ones in charge.

Combine all that natural appeal with the undeniable propagandist skill of the left — including their willingness to lie in the most brazen manner — and you have an even greater effect. And then combine all of that with ignorance of history and economics, our culture’s reluctance to teach the young our good points and its eagerness to harp on our bad ones, and the fact that people only tend to really learn something through bitter and personal experience.

The wonder is that more people don’t believe that Socialism/Commmunism is the answer to the world’s prayers, not that so many succumb to it in the first place. Never imagine that the fight, especially in the intellectual and educational and propaganda spheres, can be over. It would be too bad if each generation had to learn the lesson through personal suffering rather than in the realm of ideas.


Post Script: In an earlier guise, the sweet poisonous idea was called Christianity. It has often been pointed out that Communism/Marxism is a Christian heresy.

Posted under Commentary, communism, Marxism, Socialism by Jillian Becker on Saturday, February 8, 2014

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