Author Topic: Why doesn't communism work?  (Read 148640 times)

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Constantinople

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #165 on: July 25, 2010, 01:38:17 PM »
He is not only alive but still broadcasting.  Among people he discovered are Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell.  Every Canadian my age knows his songs.  He was responsible for developing Sesame Street in its initial form and Oscar the Grouch was named for him.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #166 on: July 25, 2010, 08:34:15 PM »
having dealth with diagnosed sociopaths and psychopaths as part of a job i had a long time ago,  I can tell you that Stalin and Hitler both fit the bill as either socio or psychopaths.  Basically both feel absolutely no remorse for the dreadful things they do.

I would defer to your knowledge, Constantinople, except that I have read extensively on this subject. I don't find psychiatry at all scientific in its so-called findings, especially when it is applied to individuals of above-average intelligence. Ivan the Terrible certainly felt remorse for his crimes. Otherwise he wouldn't have prayed for his victims, as he frequently did, or had masses said for them. And yet Ivan was undoubtedly pathological and undoubtedly (well, at least to my mind) a serial killer. He not only initiated mass murders, he fully participated in them, and he seems to have derived great sadistic pleasure from the very act of torturing and murdering his subjects. Yet then he would have these bouts of remorse and prayer. Modern psychiatry can't account for this, at least, not the stuff I've read.

I also thought it was a hallmark of sociopaths and psychopaths that they are incapable of forming emotional attachments to others. Yet Hitler dearly loved his mother (to the extent that the Jewish doctor attending his mother during her illness and subsequent death said that he had never before seen a son so devastated by the loss of his mother). Stalin was deeply attached to his wife, however badly he might have treated her (she treated him badly as well), and there's no question but that he loved his daughter Svetlana, at least when she was a child.

No, the more I read about such people the more I realize that these psychiatric categorizations (which, by the way, change dramatically every 25 years or so, if not every year as is the case sometimes) fail to explain the most important aspect of human behavior, that is, psychiatry can't explain evil geniuses. Which is a major failing, of course, since evil geniuses were to blame for the horrific, unprecedented death toll of the twentieth century.
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Constantinople

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #167 on: July 26, 2010, 12:01:25 AM »
Psychiatry like all things makes mistakes and psychiatrists mis diagnnose some patients but on the whole it is better than no knowledge.  I worked with psychopaths for a while and had 3 on my case load.  All of them had some attachment to maybe one or two people, sometimes a daughter and some of them were intelligent enough to be able to feign affection so that they would be evaluated as more humane.  As for historical assessments, what are they using but usually written records or maybe interviews. And perhaps normative assessments based on these.  All the psychopaths that I dealt with were highly charismatic and this made them appear less dangerous than they actually were.

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #168 on: July 26, 2010, 08:24:10 AM »
Psychiatry like all things makes mistakes and psychiatrists mis diagnnose some patients but on the whole it is better than no knowledge.  I worked with psychopaths for a while and had 3 on my case load.  All of them had some attachment to maybe one or two people, sometimes a daughter and some of them were intelligent enough to be able to feign affection so that they would be evaluated as more humane.  As for historical assessments, what are they using but usually written records or maybe interviews. And perhaps normative assessments based on these.  All the psychopaths that I dealt with were highly charismatic and this made them appear less dangerous than they actually were.

I agree that Stalin, Hitler, and so on were "highly charismatic and this made them appear less dangerous than they actually were." Of course this is true, but that doesn't make all of them psychopaths. Whatever "psychopath" means. Because as far as I can make out, the official definition is constantly changing.

Furthermore, I don't believe Hitler was "feigning" affection for his mother when she lay dying or that Stalin was "feigning" affection for his wife when he wrote countless notes to her inquiring about her health and reassuring her of his love. He also felt obvious affection for many of his colleagues whom he later purged.

Much psychiatry like Freudian psychoanalysis is teleological, it looks at the result and then makes the existing facts fit that result. I simply don't agree with this version of reality. IMHO, the psychological profiles/biographies of twentieth-century dictators are far more complicated. Every individual is different and it's dangerous to generalize at this level.

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Constantinople

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #169 on: July 26, 2010, 11:21:02 AM »
I would agree about the complexity and also about a lot of psychiatry is fitting symptoms to a matrix.  As for the other things, we can agree to disagree.

Alixz

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #170 on: July 26, 2010, 01:20:57 PM »
Is this why communisim doesn't work?

Constantinople

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #171 on: July 26, 2010, 02:05:57 PM »
It is one of the reasons that communism has attracted dysfunctional leaders.

Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #172 on: July 26, 2010, 03:10:25 PM »



That may be true, Janet, but Stalin, Ceaucescu, Mao, Kim Il Sung, Pol Pot, and all the rest called themselves Communists and it was Communism that allowed them to come to power in the first place. 
 
 


I don't agree, Tim. None of these men came to power proclaiming themselves killers as if it were somehow an intrinsic part of what Communism represented. Most of them came to power as a result of economic and political melt-down in their countries, and one fundamental difference between what Marx taught and most countries which attempted to practice communism is that these countries were often largely rural, whereas his ideas were predicated on an urban proletariat. So, from the start, they had to deviate from his ideas. To argue that "Communism allowed them to come to power" is like condemning the idea of democracy just because Hitler was able to maneouvre himself into the Reichstag.

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Offline TimM

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #173 on: July 26, 2010, 03:37:20 PM »
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None of these men came to power proclaiming themselves killers


That's not what I said, Janet.  I said they called themselves Communists, but their actions were nothing Marx would have approved of.
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Offline Janet Ashton

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #174 on: July 26, 2010, 03:54:15 PM »
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None of these men came to power proclaiming themselves killers


That's not what I said, Janet.  I said they called themselves Communists, but their actions were nothing Marx would have approved of.

Hi Tim
  I apologise if I misunderstood what you said - I took your comment about "whatever ideals Marx had" he was associated forever with Stalin et. al to be rather a grudging suggestion that he may have had some, rather than an overt suggestion that he might have disapproved of those who claimed to follow his ideals. But that wasn't really the purpose of my post....I was trying to move the discussion away from the suggestion that Communism per se was responsible for these unpleasant men coming to power. In my opinion, it was not.
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many; they are few.

Constantinople

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #175 on: July 26, 2010, 04:26:29 PM »
Actually if you are citing Russia as an example, it wasn't the serfs and especially not Kulaks who supported Lenin and the Bosheviks, it was the urban proletariat who were the vanguard of revolution in places like St Petersburg and Moscow.  Most of the rural poor did not trust Lenin.

Alixz

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #176 on: July 26, 2010, 08:11:57 PM »
The burgeoning "middle class" workers were the ones who supported Lenin et al.  Suddenly Russia had become a manufacturing county and produced a class of working men and women who moved to the cities to find jobs and then lived in squalor and poverty even though they worked very hard.

The students also supported the Bolsheviks, but then students in most revolutions begin to strike and protest even though they are still young and still learning and may not yet have understood the entire picture.  I am not saying that student protests are wrong, only that many times their parents have worked very hard to get the money to send their children to get a better education and the students find more interesting things to do outside of the university.

Had the manufacturing jobs not brought the newly freed serfs to the cities perhaps they would have not trusted Lenin either.

Also a change in the military would have been a good thing.  When a person was "drafted" into military service it was for 25 years.  Most families never expected to see their military children again.  If the term of service had been shortened and there was any hope of ever returning to their homes and families before they were old men, the military might not have been so eager to support the Bolsheviks either.

Alixz

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #177 on: July 26, 2010, 08:17:25 PM »
But in the end, I think that communism doesn't work because it assumes that you are ready to give up your personal freedom and personal likes and dislikes to become one with the commune.

You must want to be told what to do and when to do it.  You must be ready to give up your individual dreams for the dreams of the commune.

And you must be able to ignore the fact that while you are giving up everything that you want, your leaders are living a life of luxury and have taken what you gave up for themselves.

You can no loner be an individual - only part of the "hive".

That is why the idea of bartering instead of using money didn't work.  You may have corn and you want my wheat, but if I don't want your corn then you are stuck.  Only something like money that we both would want will seal that deal.  Lenin found that out before he died and went back to the monetary system.

Marx and Engels had "pie in the sky" ideas of a perfect society, but people are not perfect and their leaders are the worst of the lot.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2010, 08:20:45 PM by Alixz »

Offline newfan

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #178 on: July 26, 2010, 10:47:39 PM »
Alixz
You hit the nail on the head!!:)

Constantinople

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Re: Why doesn't communism work?
« Reply #179 on: July 26, 2010, 10:50:10 PM »
I thought that after the Crimean war that Russian conscriptiion was 6 years of active duty with a period of 9 years of reserve.