Perhaps the first reality of life can be summed up in the idea (exact origin unknown, suffice to say it was not me), “Ask ten people to respond to a single question, get at least twelve different answers.”
Put simply, it’s fair to say things are sufficiently irresolute in a number of folks’ heads, such that they’re unable to reply with a single, unfractured thought.
The result is, the likelihood of getting even a small group of folks, to come to accord on how they feel about any given interrogative, is even less likely, than is expecting such from a single individual.
Such is the World, when those in it operate on feelings rather than fact; and it doesn’t help that many spend much of their time in ongoing states of cognitive dissonance. Doing so makes it so you must compartmentalize your world, otherwise, ideas that cannot coexist will bump into each other—like matter and antimatter colliding—the result of which cannot be pretty.
Add to this, the tendency towards redefinition of language (particularly individual words), and a growing trend towards lingual imprecision—a vagueness in the pinpointing of the meaning of any give term, and you have an even headier mix.
This seems to be the modern state of man.
Perhaps it was always this way, but it seems to me to have become more commonplace as time has wended along its path.
Because of the aforementioned, it becomes daily more difficult to discuss things that ought not be all that complex. You can be absolutely certain this applies to theories of politics.
I recently witnessed (via the magic of the Internet) a debate between a man who believed that Socialism (these days, often conflated with Communism) was the only reasonable outcome where such ideologies are concerned.
The man in question made a couple of interesting contentions.
To begin with, he insisted that Socialism was pretty much always “born out of” Capitalism. At least that’s how it appeared to me.
In order to make such an assertion, he had to define Capitalism far more broadly than ever I would tend to do. In this, I don’t believe I’m alone.
In his mind, by way of example, Feudalism was and is Capitalism. Where I can agree there are traits of the two that may cause one to consider them to overlap, to say the one is the other may not be intentionally disingenuous, but it manages to at least be so accidentally in my view.
You might even argue that something like Feudalism is a sort of subset of Capitalism, but even if you choose so to do, implying their perfect equality is, in my opinion, not on.
You could say that one of the possible ways Capitalism manifests is Feudalism, I suppose. The two are not twins as a result.
Like it or not, the United States is not a Feudal entity, yet it can be described in part as employing a modified version of Capitalism.
This actually works nicely with one of the arguments of the proponent for Socialism in the aforementioned debate. One of the planks he used in support of Socialism was essentially, “You’re thinking of that old style, top-down concept, where the government is the arbiter, and the people act according to its will.”
Interestingly, this is the main distinction I draw between Socialism and Communism—that the “end of” Communism is (at least as I understand Mr Marx and Mr Engles to have couched things) a sort of educated anarchy, with little to no need for a state at all.
The problem? The pro Socialist then goes on to talk about government’s role in his brave new world. He speaks about the idea that in Britain, there’s a politician talking about giving workers the “right of first refusal” when the ownership of a company decides to divest itself thereof.
How would the common working man pay for such a thing? Well, the government would “lend” the banded together constituency such monies as were needed to seal the deal.
Putting aside the fact that government suddenly becomes the banker (an invariably bad idea), one comes to the even worse misconception; that the chickens can manage the coup. I’ve chosen not to elaborate on that at present, but I’m sure you get the idea.
His second point though, was that you can have a form of Socialism that’s non-governmental.
That the populace at large can “enact” a sort of Socialist utopia.
This brings us to the main thrust of this little article. That would be the question, “Why have Socialism and Communism routinely failed?”
Before I answer that question, I’d like to solidify an idea I posited earlier. The idea is that Socialism is by nature in my view, a top-down proposition.
Communism in its final stage, can be made to work as suggested, though having the government as financier puts somewhat of a dent in that. That’s because in reality Communism and Socialism are at odds on exactly that point, that one is top-down and the other is intended to finally be bottom-up.
The result is, you must invent a sort of hybrid that allows for the two to coexist. I should tell you, I think it more than a little improbable this will ever happen.
But it appears to be possible to sum up the answer to the previously asked question in just two words, “Human Nature.”
It looks, on observation, like the thing that’s caused the dissolution of so many attempts at Communism and Socialism is one of those concepts that’s simple to put out there, but hard to explain.
It turns out that humankind is not built for these two forms of governance.
You can argue that the problem is the form—that just the right ingredients have yet to be thrown into the mix—but the reality appears to be, that people largely want to be left alone to enjoy their time.
Put another way, most folks would rather go to work for someone or someones else, collect a paycheck, and walk way clean at the end of the day. There may be a dream of owning an endeavor, but most are really not inclined to make that happen—even when you make it a comparatively easy thing to do. As such, you can argue for some sort of Frankenstein’s monster constructed of a mix of Communism and Socialism all you desire, the chances are very strong such a thing will fail miserably.
Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.