Essay:Let us have some equality among extremists
“”I don't like Communism. I don't like to think that anyone's my equal. Nobody is.
Winding up communists and then watching them spiel the party line is usually good for a cheap laugh, since (with the exception of TheoryOfPractice) they generally exhibit the rigid ideological conformity of that political philosophy by responding with the same shtick, waxing lyrical about justice and then calling me a fascist, or something similar, for being opposed to their views. This happens both in real life and online.
In this essay I will draw some comparisons between communism and other extremist philosophies that are held in much contempt here, in order to argue that communists be given equal treatment to adherents of those other extremist philosophies.
Communism and fundamentalism
It is interesting that people here on the Wiki should not view communism in the same harsh light as they view fundamentalist Christianity, given the following common ground shared between communists and religious whackjobs:
- They make messianic prophecies. Religionists are found making all sorts of apocalyptic prophecies; Marx insisted that society would unavoidably progress from capitalism to socialism to pure-communism. That none of these events have actually happened does not appear to faze either group.
- They deny reality. Creationists would have it that the laws of science are a pile of bunk developed by scheming atheists, while communists would have it that the laws of economics are a pile of bunk developed by scheming reactionaries.
- They disavow rationalism. Reason and observation play second fiddle in both philosophies; in Christianity, the Bible is taken as the first source of truth, while in communism all observations are analyzed according to Marx's theories (the so-called "Marxist analysis").
- They explain away dissent. A common explanation for atheism among Christians is that "atheists want to sin;" a common explanation for anti-communism among communists is that the anti-communists are (if not of the proletariat) "protecting their class interests," and (if of the proletariat) "class traitors."
- They have an arbitrarily defined enemy central to their philosophy. Christians go out against sinners, defining that term however is most convenient, communists against the "bourgeoisie," again, defining that term as convenient.
A communist (specifically, a cultural Marxist) named Herbert Marcuse was at one point whining about how "tolerance" of differing points of view was not helping the communist cause. Specifically, he said:
Or, to translate that sentence out of the curious communist jargon, "We'll only call it 'tolerance' if we can use it to make our enemies shut up."
In light of this statement, it is interesting to observe the differing degrees to which my political dislikes come to light here. I hate white-supremacism as much as communism, and for the same reason; they are collectivist beliefs that allow their respective untermenschen (non-whites, "class enemies") to be blurred into convenient categories, the better to dehumanize them, thus enabling such slaughter as is associated with both philosophies. Yet my opposition to white-supremacism goes largely unnoticed, while my opposition to communism is met with ridicule. This indicates that the unbalanced "tolerance" posited by Prof. Marcuse has been, to some extent, put into practice.
Communism and white-supremacism
To rectify this situation, I propose a policy of equality among extremists, specifically, equal treatment of communists and white-supremacists. Here is a list of specific inequalities that could be addressed.
- Some Nazis killed 6,000,000 people in the Holocaust. This is much talked about and endlessly used as an argument against a broad range of right-wing groups and white-supremacists, some of whom agree on but a single point with the Nazis who carried out the Holocaust.
- Some communists killed 10,000,000 people in the Holodomor. This is barely ever talked about, and rarely used as an argument except against a very narrow range of communists (specifically, Stalinists) without the claim being made that other communists have only the most tenuous connections to Stalin's policies.
Denial of body counts
- Holocaust denial is illegal in a large number of countries, and even in those countries where it is not illegal it will get you drummed out of civilized society.
- Holodomor denial is illegal in only one country and is practiced without penalty by such respectable figures as journalists and university professors.
The systems in practice
- In discussing white-supremacism, the one instance in which it was fully put into practice, in Nazi Germany, is frequently brought up. Even if any white-supremacist disavows connections with other parts of Hitler's ideology, such as the parts that caused the Holocaust, the prospect of another Holocaust is still brought up.
- In discussing communism, all of the great many instances in which it was fully put into practice, such being spectacular failures and many with seven-figure body counts, are sometimes brought up. Yet, strangely, the prospect of another failure occurring is rarely brought up, and some people still believe communists when they squawk on about justice and/or insist that their economic plans could work.
- Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party, who previously denied the Holocaust but has since repudiated those views, is unable to speak on any topic at most universities. Bringing him in to speak will get your university picketed and you labeled a "hate group."
- Communists are invited to universities for talks in which they openly defend Stalin and Mao, and no one even raises a finger to them.
- Use of the swastika, a symbol with a long history of religious use from before the Nazis flew it over the Holocaust, is banned in several countries and carries stigma in others, to the point where even its innocent use by Hindus and Odinists is being interfered with.
- Use of the hammer-and-sickle, a symbol made up by communists shortly before it was flown over the Holodomor, and used for no other purpose but as a communist symbol, is not banned.
- White-supremacists are, by and large, forbidden mass demonstrations. In the U.S., where holding mass demonstrations is a constitutional right, they have had to exercise more effort to get permission for their demonstrations than actually to hold them, thus drawing attention away from their actual arguments. More importantly, such proscription of demonstrations is justified by (correct) claims that various minorities will be slandered in the process.
- Communists are, by and large, permitted their demonstrations. Although obviously some left-wing demonstrations are interfered with, as with the pickets against the 2008 RNC around where I live, this interference is carried out in the shadows and not justified on ideological grounds, though communists are (as per their philosophy of class struggle) forever making slanders against various minorities or classes of people; financiers, scientists, and other groups are denounced as engaged in a conspiracy to keep the powers-that-be in power. These slanders are only noticed when they reach extreme levels, such as in Ward Churchill's On the Justice of Roosting Chickens.
Now I am generally in favor of freedom of speech, or freedom of debate, so I should like to see most of these inequalities rectified not by muzzling communists in equal manner to the white-supremacists, but by removing what restrictions are laid upon the latter, under the policies of "sunlight is the best disinfectant" and "trying to stop it only makes it worse."
But if white-supremacists must be restrained by law and by social reactions approaching moral panics, we ought to restrain communists in an equal fashion, so as to maintain a balance of extreme ideas. Communists played a crucial part in battling the Nazis, and various right-wingers have played a crucial part in battling communists as well; this balance is just as effective in the sphere of ideas.