Author Topic: Why doesn't communism work?  (Read 147341 times)

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Offline AGRBear

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #435 on: August 30, 2011, 04:31:30 PM »
 ...[in part]...
I'm sitting here in CT waiting for hurricane Irene to hit and that just makes me realize how really puny and self-inflated we truly are. To think that we (like Marx) could really believe that we can control nature, create the perfect society and change the genetic imperatives that drive us. How arrogant.

Petr                        

Petr,

I hope all is well with you because the news is showing Irene making a real mess your way!

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #436 on: August 30, 2011, 04:40:29 PM »
Let's hope it stays that way, Janet.. I enjoy the balanced discussion as well.  I know I am not always right and  willingly accept, when others posit views I might initially disagree with but come to see their point. As most must know by now, I am unabashedly "LEFT" but even we can admit when we are mistaken at times.
 However, my main point remains- Communism does work, if given the chance, but just has not seen it's  full potential. The best so far, that has come about is state socialism as in Scandinavia or Benelux.

Surly you are pointing at the socialist and small "c" communism, not the Soviet's big "C"  Communism where the end justifies the means with knocks on the doors in the middle of the night followed by   innocent people  ending up in camps....or, worst,  in mass graves....

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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #437 on: September 10, 2011, 03:44:25 AM »
I think Marx and Engels were the products of their time and like many in the 19th Century were enamoured with the "scientific method", thinking they could apply it to human behavior and create an economic system that explained all. A sort of unified field theory for the proper way to organize society. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) humankind is much more unpredictable. Here is where I believe lies the dividing line between the left and the right. I think the left believes in the fundamental perfectability of man, that by eliminating poverty and hunger with the heavy intervention of government mankind will evolve into what the soviets labeled the "new soviet man".  I think the right takes a more dismal view of mankind (a view that I believe was shared by many of the Founding Fathers which led to their creation of a political system of checks and balances).  I must say my family's history in the 20th and 21st Centuries (right up to the present) would seem to support this view (and certainly affects my view). When you think about it: the Russo Japanese War, WWI, Russian Civil War, the Revolution, the Armenian Holocaust, the Great Depression, the Ukrainian Holomor, Soviet purges,  WWII, the Holocaust, the Indian Pakistani partition, the Arab Israel war, the Korean war, the Suez conflict, the Vietnam War, the various Arab Israel conflicts, the Chinese "Great Leap Forward",  Uganda, Aparthied, El Salvador, Chile, Colombia, The Falklands war, the Serbian war, the Iraq War (1 & 2), the Afghanistan War), Al Quaeda, and various skirmishes world wide, an incomplete litany of cruelty, ignorance, thirst for power, and evil which does not argue in favor of mankind's progress from the days when cavemen hit each other over the head with rocks. While I long to be wrong reality always seems to intrude.

I'm sitting here in CT waiting for hurricane Irene to hit and that just makes me realize how really puny and self-inflated we truly are. To think that we (like Marx) could really believe that we can control nature, create the perfect society and change the genetic imperatives that drive us. How arrogant.

Petr

Dear Petr, I've been away, traveling, for quite a while but I have to respond to your post because I so completely agree with it. The conservative mindset as you describe it is the most agreeable to me, and I think, to anyone who has studied the course of human history and paid any attention whatsoever to all its many murderous "details." I know that the conservative (some would describe him as reactionary) French philosopher Joseph de Maistre was influential in Russia after the French Revolution and well into the 19th century -- his ideas, about the incorrigible "badness" of mankind and its essential "fallen" nature (in the Biblical sense), its insane bloodlust and love of war -- had an impact on writers as diverse in temperament and world view as Leo Tolstoy and Charles Baudelaire.

That said, the fact of the matter is that the Republican party, thanks to the Tea Party ideologues, has become the Stupid Party in this country. In other words, I am probably a Republican by temperament and world view -- but I can't find it in my conscience to be a Republican at the present time, what with that party's present makeup: nuts like Michelle Bachman (probably quite intelligent but certifiable nonetheless) and Perry (thanks to him, in his home state of Texas, George W. Bush is now referred to as "the smart one"). The Republican party as it stands today is anti-intellectual, anti-science, and anti-progress. It is catering to the least intelligent, least educated, and most isolationist section of the population. It is in short a populist movement in the very worst sense of the term.

So it would seem I don't agree with you entirely, after all... For that matter, I don't believe that the 20th century, for all its murderous rampages, was quite such a write-off in terms of human progress, compared to say, the 14th century and its massive die-offs due to wars, famines, and last but not least the Black Death (an estimated one third of the entire population of Europe -- East and West -- perished in this epidemic, which was infinitely worse than anything that transpired on that continent in the 20th century, as hard as that is to believe). After all, in the 20th century we saw women wrest the vote from unwilling male-run governments, in the UK and the US and elsewhere in the West, and with this, the inevitable powerful rise of the women's rights movement; we saw the civil rights movement make tremendous strides for people of color all over the globe; we saw the founding of the welfare state -- which all in all is not such a bad thing, you must admit, because it guaranteed the stability and growth of the middle class in innumerable countries, not just the United States... Yes, the 20th century was horrible, but to some extent its level of horror was a consequence of major technological advances. Auschwitz would not have been possible without such technological "improvements" as mass railroad transport and the invention of the assembly line. I guarantee you, if Genghis Khan had had railroads and assembly lines at his disposal, he probably would have used them, too, in punishing the many peoples who resisted him and his armies of conquest.


 
« Last Edit: September 10, 2011, 04:13:46 AM by Elisabeth »
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Offline Petr

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #438 on: September 11, 2011, 09:03:34 AM »
 Dear Elizabeth,
Good to hear from you again. Well, of course, my post was a sweeping generalization (perhaps I'm as guilty as Marx) and of course the 20th Century was not totally a horrific waste. But much like Janus the technological advances that you cited (and perhaps the greatest one being the invention of the computer) are two faced, because along with the computer, the automobile, telephone, radio and television came nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and Glen Beck and Keith Olbermann. I guess at heart I'm a pessimist (probably the Russian in me) but I've always thought that as a pessimist you are either never disappointed when the worst occurs or are pleasantly surprised when things turn out better than you expected.

It's interesting how life proceeds in opposites: the young and the old, the beautiful and the ugly, the cruel and the compassionate, the evil and the saintly. The question is whether all these opposites cancel each other out or whether mankind is inching forward (i.e., two steps forward and one step back) to some more enlightened state. Again the difference between the optimistic left and the pessimistic right. Obviously, all the great religions seek to present a path to mankind's improvement while recognizing its failings and perhaps what really counts is making the effort regardless of the outcome.

As for the tea party well it's nothing new in American history. I view them in the same boat as the "know nothings" and other nativist groups. Likewise it's not peculiar to the US. Other countries have experienced similar movements at different times.  Generally these movements all arise out of one or more societal conditions and prompted by fear they adopt hardened cloistered positions with the need to exhibit ideological purity driving members to ever extreme positions. Sadly there will always be people who take advantage of these movements for their own selfish purposes.  In our case the facts are that we are burdened with an unsustainable level of debt and high unemployment in an economy which is now principally based on the consumer.  Unfortunately, our ability to spend our way out of the problem is limited.  Raising taxes to raise revenues in a global economy has limits as well. People structure their business and lives to minimize taxes (something Judge Learned Hand once wrote was perfectly acceptable, i.e., the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion) and those with the capital to invest in our economy are the most able shift resources away from high tax jurisdictions to low tax jurisdictions or structure their investments in a manner which limits taxes but is not optimal for generating jobs in the US.  So in a sense we are trapped.  But despite my inherent pessimism I believe the real genius of America is in its ability to change and adapt so eventually we will reinvent ourselves and escape from this economic cul de sac. But it will be a long hard slog with many innocent victims along the way.  Finally, despite all the noise from the right and the left the fact is the bulk of the American population is in the middle and there still is a bedrock of common sense that drives this country. All we need is someone who can articulate this position and give it expression in our political life.

Petr
   
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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #439 on: September 11, 2011, 03:16:09 PM »
Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions.
Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right

This is usually misquoted as "religion is the opiate of the masses".  So I will go with the misquote and say that I think it is TV.  Give the average man or woman a TV to sit in front of and they will buy or accept anything that is presented on it.  Those very wise and saintly "father figures" that deliver the news to us could not be lying or presenting an agenda that has been bought and paid for by someone else, now could they?

TV is probably the one thing with a Janus face that everyone accepts as the "holy grail" on information and entertainment.  Yet, TV can be used for both good and evil.  If something is repeated enough on every news channel night after night the general public will then accept it as gospel and it enters our consciousness as "proven" fact. (Like the necessity for the Patriot Act)

I don't think that there is hope for anyone until TV and those who use it to sell not only their material things, but their ideology is shut down.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #440 on: September 21, 2011, 07:12:25 PM »
Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions.
Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right

This is usually misquoted as "religion is the opiate of the masses".  So I will go with the misquote and say that I think it is TV.  Give the average man or woman a TV to sit in front of and they will buy or accept anything that is presented on it.  Those very wise and saintly "father figures" that deliver the news to us could not be lying or presenting an agenda that has been bought and paid for by someone else, now could they?

TV is probably the one thing with a Janus face that everyone accepts as the "holy grail" on information and entertainment.  Yet, TV can be used for both good and evil.  If something is repeated enough on every news channel night after night the general public will then accept it as gospel and it enters our consciousness as "proven" fact. (Like the necessity for the Patriot Act)

I don't think that there is hope for anyone until TV and those who use it to sell not only their material things, but their ideology is shut down.

Hi, Alixz. It's somewhat of a surprise to me to read your quote from Karl Marx and realize that I agree with it. I also agree with you that television has no doubt taken the place of religion in today's popular culture -- although I'm not sure everyone who watches it "believes" in what they're seeing/hearing. Nevertheless, at least most everyone who watches TV nowadays experiences some escape from his/her dreadful daily routine as a result of it. I myself quite like Bravo TV's Real Housewives of New York series. It is an opiate, it must be said, --not for suffering, Marx apparently never anticipated that the majority of the Western population in the 21st century would not be struggling working class but struggling middle class -- but an opiate for the occasional hardship and what's worse, the overriding boredom of life. I mean, what I most take away from this "Reality TV" series about rich New York women is that they are on a neverending quest to conquer boredom. The more material goods and more importantly, the more pointless melodrama the better, hence their enduring popularity with viewers. Of course, if you're rich it's easier to be entertained (and consequently jaded, and consequently very bored and looking to stir up the pot) than if you're merely middle class. And that's not even talking about the truly poor, who only dream about being rich or middle class and bored, as opposed to being impoverished and suffering all the time.

I'm sorry to say it (sounding very pessimistic like Petr at the moment, but most of the time I do agree with you Petr, as in your last post), but this televised mass escapism is not going away any time soon. It's a very effective opiate, in other words. It does tend to dull one not only to the boredom of being bored, but also to the pain and suffering of others -- say, the homeless seeking shelter next door.
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Offline Petr

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #441 on: September 22, 2011, 03:55:37 PM »
Good to hear from you again Elizabeth. Frankly ladies I must disagree with both of you regarding the “religion is the opiate of the masses” quote from Marx on a number of levels. Before I start in the interest of full and fair disclosure I should say that I am a 65 year old Orthodox believer and have been all my life. Accordingly, one might consider my views tempered by my background and by my slow descent into my final resting place (with my fervent hope to meet my maker).

There is a wonderful prayer in the Orthodox liturgy (in the Litany of Supplication) asking for “A Christian ending to our life, painless, blameless, peaceful and with a good defense before the dread judgment of Christ.” To my mind religions seek to accomplish much more than what Marx attributes to them as somehow deluding the masses into accepting mindlessly their lot. Most religions try to deal with those most fundamental questions facing mankind, including: how did we get here, why are we here, ultimately what will happen to us, what's our purpose in life, how do we achieve self-realization to permit us to lead a full and productive life, what are our responsibilities to ourselves and to our fellow humans traveling on this speck of dust in the infinite cosmos, and how do we face death, that ultimate and unknowable of all human experiences. Some might label religion a crutch but I prefer to consider it a comfort. Furthermore, the need to believe in religion (in the broadest sense) I believe is ingrained in humans and is perhaps what makes us human. I'm currently listening to a series of lectures on ancient Egypt and have been struck how much the myth of Osiris and his resurrection resembles other religions and their attempt to deal with death.         

Marx saw religions as an impediment to the creation of a perfect society but again this was through the prism of the 19th century and its faith in science. But as we continually find out, science never has all the answers. Witness the “Big Bang” a cosmological answer to where do we come from. But not to put a fine point on it “who pressed the button?” For every answer science seems to provide other questions are raised. So I, at least, come down to the conclusion that at heart certain things must be accepted on faith and cannot be rationally explained.

Finally, whether or not one believes in the actual dogmatic tenets of a religion, most religions provide a systematic code for ethical behavior which, apart from some more unacceptable aberrant expressions (viz., human sacrifice, the inquisition, etc.), generally involve a construct which permits humans to live together in harmony. As I remind my wife, one must always distinguish between organized religion (always an imperfect human attempt to reflect the divine) with the tenets and beliefs of a religion which are often at odds with their human expression. But that does not mean we should throw the baby out with the bath water and stop striving to improve that expression and trying to achieve that state of grace (in Christian terms) or Nirvana (in Buddhist terms) which touches us with the divine (or at least that better part of all of us) and which, as a goal, far exceeds the benefits of Marx's paradise on earth.

Ah well, so much for my philosophical ramblings in defense of religion.

Petr                                                                                                       
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #442 on: September 22, 2011, 10:04:13 PM »
Good to hear from you again Elizabeth. Frankly ladies I must disagree with both of you regarding the “religion is the opiate of the masses” quote from Marx on a number of levels. Before I start in the interest of full and fair disclosure I should say that I am a 65 year old Orthodox believer and have been all my life. Accordingly, one might consider my views tempered by my background and by my slow descent into my final resting place (with my fervent hope to meet my maker).

There is a wonderful prayer in the Orthodox liturgy (in the Litany of Supplication) asking for “A Christian ending to our life, painless, blameless, peaceful and with a good defense before the dread judgment of Christ.” To my mind religions seek to accomplish much more than what Marx attributes to them as somehow deluding the masses into accepting mindlessly their lot. Most religions try to deal with those most fundamental questions facing mankind, including: how did we get here, why are we here, ultimately what will happen to us, what's our purpose in life, how do we achieve self-realization to permit us to lead a full and productive life, what are our responsibilities to ourselves and to our fellow humans traveling on this speck of dust in the infinite cosmos, and how do we face death, that ultimate and unknowable of all human experiences. Some might label religion a crutch but I prefer to consider it a comfort. Furthermore, the need to believe in religion (in the broadest sense) I believe is ingrained in humans and is perhaps what makes us human. I'm currently listening to a series of lectures on ancient Egypt and have been struck how much the myth of Osiris and his resurrection resembles other religions and their attempt to deal with death.        

Marx saw religions as an impediment to the creation of a perfect society but again this was through the prism of the 19th century and its faith in science. But as we continually find out, science never has all the answers. Witness the “Big Bang” a cosmological answer to where do we come from. But not to put a fine point on it “who pressed the button?” For every answer science seems to provide other questions are raised. So I, at least, come down to the conclusion that at heart certain things must be accepted on faith and cannot be rationally explained.

Finally, whether or not one believes in the actual dogmatic tenets of a religion, most religions provide a systematic code for ethical behavior which, apart from some more unacceptable aberrant expressions (viz., human sacrifice, the inquisition, etc.), generally involve a construct which permits humans to live together in harmony. As I remind my wife, one must always distinguish between organized religion (always an imperfect human attempt to reflect the divine) with the tenets and beliefs of a religion which are often at odds with their human expression. But that does not mean we should throw the baby out with the bath water and stop striving to improve that expression and trying to achieve that state of grace (in Christian terms) or Nirvana (in Buddhist terms) which touches us with the divine (or at least that better part of all of us) and which, as a goal, far exceeds the benefits of Marx's paradise on earth.

Ah well, so much for my philosophical ramblings in defense of religion.

Petr

Dear Petr, you don't have to defend religion to me. I am of two minds about it myself -- viewing it, rightly or wrongly, as a wellspring of good as much as it is of evil (generally evil in its organized formations, but not always).

The 19th-century poet Baudelaire wrote in his journal My Heart Laid Bare that "there are questions which should trouble everyone and apparently don't, such as, what happens to us when we die?" (I can't find the precise quote because I am traveling and separated from my books).

He also wrote:  

'Alas, human vices, however horrible one might imagine them to be, contain the proof (were it only in their infinite expansion) of man's longing for the infinite; but it is a longing that often takes the wrong route.... It is my belief that the reason behind all culpable excesses lies in this deprivation of the sense of the infinite." -- "The Poem of Hashish," chapter 1, "Les Paradis Artificiels" (1860).

I think probably it is modern popular culture's implicit denial of the very existence of a human "sense of the infinite"-- its favoring of the material over everything spiritual -- which condemns those of us who partake of it without judgment or imagination to a life of real emptiness. In the case of the very young, it's simply ignorance of anything better.
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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #443 on: September 23, 2011, 10:07:30 AM »
Yesterday my son asked me "Why do we believe in a life after death when we don't remember a life before birth?"

I think it is a very good question.  He is 25 and had never had a structured religious training.  My husband and I left him to discover and decide for himself what he would or would not believe.

I thought that his question was valid as most religions talk of a soul being in the infant from the time of conception and try to define when life begins. 

He was also very ill when he was younger and he believes that he had a "near death" experience.  He says he knows he was dead, but that there was no white light or black light or angles or demons.  Simply nothing.

I am sorry, I just realized that this has nothing to do with why communism works or doesn't work.  I am so off topic.

Offline TimM

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #444 on: September 23, 2011, 10:35:15 AM »
I guess it depends whether you believe in reincarnation or not.  There are reports of people supposedly remembering past lives.  Whether they really are or not is up to the individual.  I think most people put this in a kind of open file, neither believing or disbelieving, rather being somewhere in the middle.  Reincarnation, life after death, open file.  It's unlikely that we'll have answers for any of these mysteries anytime soon.

As for what happened to you son, well, you said he believes he was dead, from what you said he's not sure.  I'm glad for you that he recovered.

As I said, open file.  However, when ten people show up and say "I was Anastasia", then I don't buy it.  The main reason is because they can't ALL be Anastasia at the same time!


Quote
I am sorry, I just realized that this has nothing to do with why communism works or doesn't work.  I am so off topic

Don't worry about it, Alixz.  As far as this thread is concerned, that ship has long since sailed.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 10:38:20 AM by TimM »
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #445 on: September 23, 2011, 12:47:20 PM »
I guess it depends whether you believe in reincarnation or not.  There are reports of people supposedly remembering past lives.  Whether they really are or not is up to the individual.  I think most people put this in a kind of open file, neither believing or disbelieving, rather being somewhere in the middle.  Reincarnation, life after death, open file.  It's unlikely that we'll have answers for any of these mysteries anytime soon.

As for what happened to you son, well, you said he believes he was dead, from what you said he's not sure.  I'm glad for you that he recovered.

As I said, open file.  However, when ten people show up and say "I was Anastasia", then I don't buy it.  The main reason is because they can't ALL be Anastasia at the same time!


Quote
I am sorry, I just realized that this has nothing to do with why communism works or doesn't work.  I am so off topic

Don't worry about it, Alixz.  As far as this thread is concerned, that ship has long since sailed.

We're all hopelessly off topic here, but by now we all should also have realized that sooner or later, we somehow or other always land back on topic.

Tim, I myself have always found it difficult to believe in reincarnation because so many people who say they remember past lives claim that in those past lives they were Cleopatra or Alexander the Great or Napoleon or Josephine. No one remembers being some poor farmer in the Soviet Union in the early 1930s being deported to Siberia for the class sin of owning a cow. Face it, people only want to believe they were reincarnated because in a past life they were so much more "glamorous" than they are now. It's just another example of wishful thinking.

It's also a way of blaming victims because you can think, oh, this person had a very tragic life, it must be because they were evil in a past life (who? Stalin? Hitler? notice no one ever claims to have been them in their past lives!!!)

However, whether or not we believe in an afterlife, Alixz, or in the soul, or whatever, there is a spiritual side to life which does not necessarily translate into being religious, and which is sorely neglected in modern-day culture.
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Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #446 on: September 23, 2011, 01:36:09 PM »
I had a go at regression therapy years ago and it didn't do a thing for me.  I just was curious as to what it entailed.  So, my commitment to  it was very shallow to begin with.
I also forget what the Church's position was on  this treatment.
 I had just imagined I was a  clerk somewhere, anywhere, anytime, just watching events go by and recording them. Nothing happened to lead me in that direction though. One can get card readers or  such folks to tell you anything you want, so  do not  think  past life  memories hold much water, personally.
 One can certainly feel related to a certain era or person through reading, fascination  and or obsession.  But it proves nothing but imagination, as far as I can tell.
  Tim is  correct, the original topic sailed away  some time ago, but in an attempt to return to shore for a bit, I was recently having a chat with my Russian friend, who was raised under Communism and believed in it, more or less, until the end [he was in the Red Army at the time] and asked him frankly if he thought that system worked.  He said, yes, in ways. Today,  some things are better, but others were better the old way. We have had these discussions before but they were  about specifics [ housing, health, education, employment, etc.]. I am awaiting  a response from a friend in China who was young  but aware of the Cultoral Revolution which he described as "chaos" but "exciting". He still knows every word of Mao's Little Red Book.
  And yet another connection is trying to get a response from a mutual friend in North Korea, who obviously still lives under a  "purist" communist state.  That is tricky and takes  time, but can be achieved.
 So, whether it works or not is in the eyes of those who live[d] under it. As another example, my friend in Bulgaria, a doctor is searching ex-patria for a decent job. When under the Soviet regime, he was secure and well paid [for Bulgaria]. Yet, life is much better now in other ways.
 I admit to having a positive image of Communism when I was younger, and read all the polemics, but  I never experienced it. So, for me,  the reality comes from people I know and trust who did.
 All of these friends were raised atheists, even though my Bulgarian doctor is also a mohel,. That is about as Jewish as he gets. So religion played not much of a role in their lives. I guess the next question to put out to them is  past lives. My Russian friend once told me that there are  scores of people running around Russia claiming to me  descendants of  the IF, not all necessarily   the N&A branch.  Some apparently are pretty obscure and  hard to prove wrong, but no one seems to take any of them seriously.
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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #447 on: September 23, 2011, 03:52:03 PM »
I agree with Elizabeth that most people who think they are reincarnated always go for Napoleon or Marie Antoinette or Elizabeth I or someone else famous..  No one ever claims to have been Napoleon's washer woman or stable boy.

As for my son's question, it came not from believing or thinking about reincarnation, but the thought that many believe that the soul is in the embryo almost at conception.  He then asked if the soul is said to survive death to go onto another life (life after death not reincarnation but life in "heaven" or "hell"), then why don't we remember what the soul knew or lived before birth.  It makes sense to look for a continuation as perhaps this life is the life after a previous death.  He then said that is why he doesn't believe in life after death as he doesn't believe that we are more than our physical parts and when they stop working, so do we.  Nothing passes on because it is like a computer with a dead mother board or CPU (brain).  We just chuck it out and buy a new one.  We don't bury it and expect to meet it in a "next life".

Only religion instructs us to believe that we are superior to those things that grow around us - trees and dogs and rats, etc - and also superior to anything that we might create.  Without that "opiate" we are just things that live and die and death is the end not the beginning.

Alixz

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #448 on: September 23, 2011, 03:55:04 PM »
Robert - for all of those who wander around saying that they are descendants of Romanovs - I myself have often wondered at the number of mistresses and illegitimate children that some of the tsars and their families have left behind.  Any number of people could be descendants of royalty.  Just not descendants of N&A.

Offline TimM

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #449 on: September 23, 2011, 07:33:26 PM »
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As for my son's question, it came not from believing or thinking about reincarnation, but the thought that many believe that the soul is in the embryo almost at conception.  He then asked if the soul is said to survive death to go onto another life (life after death not reincarnation but life in "heaven" or "hell"), then why don't we remember what the soul knew or lived before birth.  It makes sense to look for a continuation as perhaps this life is the life after a previous death.  He then said that is why he doesn't believe in life after death as he doesn't believe that we are more than our physical parts and when they stop working, so do we.  Nothing passes on because it is like a computer with a dead mother board or CPU (brain).  We just chuck it out and buy a new one.  We don't bury it and expect to meet it in a "next life".

In a way, that's the definition of reincarnation, you chuck out the old body and get a new one.  You are right that no one goes around saying he was Joe Shmoe from Bug Tussell, Tennessee. 

Of course, this means trying to define what a soul is, which, of course, I don't think we can.  However, there have been reports of ghosts and such for thousands of years, so one never know.  Science has answered a lot of questions yes, but if we think we know EVERYTHING that goes on out there, that is arrogant to say the least.
Cats: You just gotta love them!