Written by Knofear
A greetings to all my readers!
This week begins my practice of adressing a larger issue each month with a larger debate. This month’s big issue, after much pressuring, is my ideology of communism. I have been consistently asked to explain why I believe in communism. The reason I can’t give an answer for that question on the spot is because it is a ridiculously long answer, which takes a while to say and would bore the common listener. As such, it is both easier to compose and read here on my deviantart account. By the way, this week’s quote is by Leon Trotsky, a famous Russian communist advocate back in the days of Lenin. After Lenin died, Trotsky could have taken over, but through mischevious ways and unethical moves, Stalin was able to ensure his exile and eventual assassination, making Stalin leader of Russia at the time. This is why I don’t like Stalin. But more on that soon.
We begin my explanation with my history with political ideology and theories of government. It all starts in 7th grade history class. On one particular day, my teacher had described to my class the three kinds of economies a country can pursue. They were the traditional kind, which generally depended on bartering and the trade of traditional goods alone. There was free market type, which allowed the economy to rest solely on the free market without government interference, and the state-run economy, which had government deciding every move a country made in the economy, and controlled everything. I rejected the traditional one, thinking that it seemed like a stupid move for any country. Why limit trade to only a few things, and why no money? It just seemed bad at the time. The free market one sounded nice at first, but then I became aware that the economy would be open to all fluctuations of the free market, including drops. I thought that would make a country unsafe, and as such was a bad option. I also didn’t like the state-run option because I thought total control might be bad (I had not particular reasoning at the time). My teacher noted that the USA mixed free market and state-run models, but leaned more towards the former. However, I still felt that having portions of the economy open to fluctuations was a bad idea, what I like to see as a symbol of what was to come. While I didn’t become politically active for a few more years, I like to see this as the genesis of my interest with so called “big government.”
Fast forward to the period of 8th to 9th grade. During these two years, my county teaches students US history in two halves, one each year. Very easy and somewhat slowpaced, this is where my background with our history came about. So for these two years, my political ideology began to take shape. At each major issue outlined in the classes, I generally sided with the proponents of big government and change throughout American history. I took notice that liberalism generally represented my values, while conservatism threw my values in the trash. It is obvious which I sided with. However, I didn’t feel like siding with either party in particular, because I saw that the ideological base of them fluctuated through history. As such, loyalty to my ideology surpassed fealty to any party. I hold this value still today. Democrats do good most of the time, but not all of the time. By the end of 9th grade, I had a solid grasp of what I considered to be my beliefs. I was a liberal, although I did have differing opinions on a few issues. I did not want marijuana legalized, and I did not care for the minimum wage. I still hold these values as well. But if I’m communist now, then why, you ask? As for the marijuana thing, it’s not because I think it will necessarily make our country’s drug problems worse (we’re already number one for use/consumption of weed, cocaine, meth, and some other things like ecstasy). It’s because I believe that if we legalize one drug, soon the masses will call for more, and we will be legalizing increasingly dangerous drugs left and right. Soon, nothing will be illegal, and our drug dependency will riddle our people with problems. Truthfully, I believe that marijuana should be banned for all non-medical purposes. I also believe alcohol and cigarettes should go, too. Why make an industry of something that poisons us in more ways than one (they’re unhealthy, cause rises in health insurance coverage and lower average life expectancy, etc.)? But, I still believed in democracy as the absolute best option for any country. I had much to learn.
Now we go through 10th grade and the summer after it. 10th grade I took AP NSL, which was an AP course on American government. It taught me and my peers a comprehensive look at how we run things here in the US of A. I liked much of what I saw. At the same time, persistent flaws in our system would crop up, undermining how we run things. For example, we have an indirect democracy where the electoral college votes for candidates over the people. This promotes a 2 party, winner take all system that further degrades the efficiency of our system. I also noticed that, throughout much of history, there were consistent groups operating in or through government to achieve not so good ends. For example, the Alien and Sedition Acts. These were not passed in favor of the American public. The south, during the civil war. The southern democrats during the civil rights movement. The Republicans during the depression. Nixon, Reagan, and both Bushes. Carter and LBJ (sort of). These groups/people and more would consistenly block progress or would force regression to occur in our country, sometimes with rather violent or horrible results. I identified them solely with how they affected us, not what party they were attributed to. Most often, I saw conservatism being the proponent of regression and attacks on change throughout history. It became obvious that they were consistently wrong on most cases, and therefore were not to be sided with. However, the problems with our government from the start troubled me the most. I questioned how we could have an effective democracy that was indirect and allowed for no third parties. I questioned how could we run the government correctly if only two main ideologies were allowed to have power. I questioned how we could favor the public if people and corporations with lots of money could simply buy influence in government. I truly wished to know how these problems could be resolved without destroying us from within.
Unknowingly at the time, these questions would release the forces and ideas that would eventually make me the communist I am today. By the end of the year, my understanding of the government and its history was complete, and I had become more leftist. However, months before the year ended, I began to think: “I wonder how other countries run things?” This search for knowledge had started all because of one particular gaming website: Sporcle.com. One day in some class that I can’t remember, we were working on the computers in the library and I finished early. I was told I could do as I please, as long as it was appropriate. So, I returned to my computer and saw whoever was sitting next to me playing the “countries of the world quiz” on Sporcle. I asked him (her? I don’t remember) what site it was he (she?) told me, and I went to Sporcle. I tried the quiz. I got 62 countries, flat. I thought this exact thought: “Wow! I sucked at this. I have to do better.” So I trained. I played that quiz every day at home several times, memorizing the country names. Until eventually, I got all 195 done (South Sudan was not a country at the time). I was very happy with my accomplishment. I went on to memorize all the capitals and all the flags on Sporcle as well. I can still do all three quizzes flawlessly (I hope). It was around then that I thought again how these countries ran their countries. I was taken to the CIA world factbook, the website that Sporcle users to be considered the least biased, most credible source for world info around. So I went on it. And so it began. Any country that seemed remotely interesting to me, I would open up its page and read every section on said country. I did this for almost all of them, and it took me a damn long time to do so. But by the end, I had wide knowledge of how countries ran things, along with their histories. I began to look at politics with a global perspective, and did the same with my understanding of history. This wildly changed how I saw things. I grew increasingly apart from my American system, which I viewed as repressive and ignorant, along with being proponents of hatred and strife for decades (I was right, OBVIOUSLY).
Then, the final change. I blame this one on Yahoo answers. At the beginning of 2011 I created an account on the site (I can’t remember why) and began answering whatever random questions came my way. I increasingly leaned towards answering politics section questions, along with religion and news. However, there was a distortion I noticed: at least 60% of all people answering these sections were conservative. At least 90% of these conservatives were completely hateful of anyone different than them, and also uninformed about most issues they sparked answers or questions on. Either way, it became clear that me and pretty much anyone more leftist than Reagan was not welcome on the site. I decided that I would not leave, that my voice would be heard. I would not be silenced. I noticed how easy it became to poke logical holes in all of their arguments. Truthfully, almost anyone can. Those guys rarely have any idea what they’re talking about. The ones that do are either imaginary, or they are this one white nationalist guy who is an advocate of the American Nazi Party whom I hate with all my being. And that one guy isn’t right much of the time, either (he said only 600 Jews died in the holocaust, and that all of them committed suicide. What a dick). Either way, my anger grew with each passing hateful question or answer I saw. How could these people think they are right? How could they ever believe that gay marriage would lead to polygamy and animal marriage? Were they just plain stupid? Or was someone manipulating their beliefs and knowledge? I received no true answers.
Then, summer came. The only difference this summer had for me was that I really had nothing to do. AZA had ended for the summer (a Jewish youth group), I was not going to be a CIT/LIT this summer (helps with camps for SSL hours necessary to graduate), and I had no job (not lacking an effort to find one, mind you). The answer was essentially this: I did what I wanted. I played videogames, I read books, I did stuff with friends, pretty much whatever I could do to stay not bored. I did go on vacation to Rochester and New York City, but those distractions were short-lived, no matter how fun they were. Often times, Yahoo Answers was a fun little haven I went to nightly over the summer to indulge in my political thoughts. However, all this free time allowed me to get more into it, and the patterns of the right-winged morons on the site angered me further and further. It reached a breaking point one night when I had answered a particularly hateful and misinformed question by a conservative (I think it was an attack on Obama). After putting in my response, I scrolled through the others. Most were other hateful conservatives agreeing with the person. Some were by liberals who decried the question and answers with logic and passion. However, one particular answer by a liberal of the site took my attention. While it did answer the question in a way I enjoyed, it reinforced the flaws I consistently saw with capitalism at the same time. And thus my “reformation” was complete. If attacks on the left cannot be answered with democracy alone, then how am I to back democracy?
This question plagued me for weeks. I did much research on the question through the CIA World Factbook, trying to find how other countries responded to this question. I noticed something. Much of Europe and Asia, along with some of South America and Oceania, had stronger, more effective systems than the USA. At the same time, all were far more leftist than us, and some were even communist. I thought that, perhaps, communism is something more than just what US history made it out to be. I looked into its history and the leaders who contributed to communist theory. With this, I became communist. I backed several of the leaders and their ideas, noting that they were right far more often than proponents of democracy would be. I took ideas from Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Guevara, Castro, Ho Chi Minh, the Pathet Lao, and a little of Mao (I didn’t like how many people he had to kill to achieve his ends, no matter how good). And so, my ideology was complete. I believed that, given a choice, any country should answer with communism over capitalism or democracy. Communism ensured that the proletariat would not be exploited for the benefit of the few, and ensured that the will of a country was the will of its people alone, rather than its businesses or wealth class. At the same time, I rejected absolute communism and its proponents, such as Stalin and Kim Jong-Il. I viewed both as particularly crappy leaders, not because they were communist, but because they were fools that put their own personal needs before that of the country far too often. It has gotten so bad in North Korea’s system nowadays that even China is slowly cutting ties with them. Stalin is the sole reason (or so I believe) that the USSR was not able to perservere and survive until today. Both countries suffered from poor leadership early on, wrecking their systems. This is a problem that affects all systems. They are dependent on not having shitty leaders, but should any system get one it is rarely prepared to deal with that. However, I do believe that communism is better suited to do so because it is meant to respond to the will of the people. Should the people reject a leader, a communist government can do the same and replace said leader. This often is a fault of democracy, forcing bloody coups and army involvement to take place for a simple regime change. This complicates the process, sometimes leading to poor leadership or military rule, exemplified in Burma or Egypt today.
The last aspect of my ideology is that I believe that any country has the right to choose the system it desires, whether I believe communism is better or not. It is not my right to decide what people should follow or make their own. And while I fully support almost any leftist movement worldwide, that does not mean I believe that absolutely everyone should become communist. You can believe as you like and countries can choose their governance as they like. However, don’t come crying to me when those systems and beliefs fail. The reason I follow this aspect is because I believe that all countries of the world have a “revolution clock.” This clock is a constant factor of that countries governance and lifestyle. It has portions including government rule and general satisfaction, public unrest and government failure, revolution, and installation of new government. Most countries have clock styled like this, with some exceptions. Those that do all have these sections, however each countries’ “clock” has sections that are different lenghts. Also, the hands of each clock move at different speeds for each country. This is why all countries are different. This is what allows some countries to have very long or short lasting governments, along with long or short periods of change.
Why do I believe this, you ask? Because I believe revolution and change are a natural part of humans. Because humans are not perfect, any system of governance we create will not be perfect. These systems will be plagued by imperfect leaders. Eventually, all things are forced to boil over in order to ensure a system of order among the masses. If revolution never occurs, the persistent flaws in place will almost always get worse, making life for those of said country deteriorate. And while I believe communism is the best system, it is not perfect. This is due to the state-market balance that it must achieve. In order for any communist system to run well, it must find a balance between control of the economy and liberalization practices to ensure that constriction of the economy doesn’t destroy it. This is why I don’t favor absolute communism or North Korea. Both are far too restrictive of the economy, and in a globalized world they are ineffective. However, I do see that government regulation of the market must be strong to prevent abuses inside it (like Goldman & Sachs and Wall Street performed). This is why I like modern China. It has found the best state-market balance of most any communist system so far. “But why not find that balance within democracy?” I have been asked this by a few people. The reason is because democracy automatically leans to the right on this one, and doesn’t allow any logic that goes any further right or left of what it is used to, especially in America. This is why I’m okay with democracy sometimes; done correctly (which many world governments do today), it does work out well enough to benefit the people. However, democracy still restricts ideals that it doesn’t like. We must be willing to hear all ideas to have an effective system, and communism can allow this. I know it may seem hypocritical to say this while modern day communist countries only have one political party most of the time, but the fact of the matter is that they don’t have to. I do not fully and absolutely back each and every decision of all communist countries. I back them when they make smart choices, which all but North Korea do often. Communism can allow for complete flow of ideals if it is run correctly, and this is my main reasoning for support of it, along with its capacity to protect the lower classes and prevent degradation/regression.
And so ends the shaping and explanation of my ideals. For those interested, beginning in 11th grade I joined a political/debate group at my school called the JSA (Junior Statesmen Association), a non-partisan group open to all ideals, in order to indulge my need to have political discourse in my life now that I have no time for Yahoo Answers any more (JSA website is JSA.org, for those interested). I stick to my beliefs, and keep up with news to ensure I am up to date. I refresh my memory of global history and politics often using the CIA World Factbook, and I always try to keep an open mind when people dispute my opinions on issues. If I’m not open to differing opinions, then how can I make a correct and just decision? Well, that is all for this time, and for those with questions comments, or whatever may post them in the comments section. If you’d prefer something else, I have a facebook and a twitter feed, and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next week, farewell comrades! (little communist joke there. But seriously, bye).