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Communism: Possible?

April 11, 2011

Communism, as simple as I can put it, is a classless and stateless sociopolitical entity in which there is no private property. However, can this be possible? Though many argue the feasibility of communism through political theories and social concepts, I want to demonstrate communism’s impossibility through genetics and human nature. We tend to lose sight of the fact that we are animals and as such, still retain primitive primal behaviors from long ago, though much is dormant in our genes. As part of the hominid family however, we are likely to create hierarchies, whether it is within families, or even in larger groups. The earliest humans who banded together into clans elected chiefs who governed over the entire clan. Later on, as humans merged into larger groups, we elected officials to lead us. Fast forward into history, we’ve had nobility, peasantry, untouchables, priests, kings. Though humans span different cultures, all early humans have some type of hierarchy. Even in modern-day America there is a class system, though not as pronounced as more ancient times. We divide people into the lower class, the middle class and the upper class. Depending on income, living standards, education, etc., we’ve given each person an identity. Thus, is classlessness ever truly feasible. If we rid the world of class immediately, but everyone continued doing what they did, would classes not immediately start resurfacing again? Wouldn’t people value the doctor and leader more than the beggar and thief? How can one truly eliminate class differences in human culture when it has, from our evolution into homo sapiens, been a way for us to see who is useful and who isn’t. Can we ever respect a homeless man who begs for change just as much as the doctor who saves lives? Can we ever stop seeing wealth and power as tiers and see everyone as equals? Perhaps, and perhaps then communism might work. Most likely not, however, making communism a utopian ideal. After all, utopia means in Greek, no place.

14 Comments
  1. rgrossca permalink
    April 11, 2011 11:05 PM

    You are wrong on two accounts. First, in communism, there is no wealth difference between a doctor and a beggar. In a communist society that beggar and doctor would be making the same amount, thus either both would be begging (which would be dumb considering everyone would make the same) or both would be “satisfied.” Also, who is to say communism is not working in China? It is one of the two strongest economies in the world right now, is it not? It has some of the most educated, best athletes, best musicians, etc.

    Second, many people do not believe man and animal are one. First off, animals don’t have souls, they are there for our benefit, for us to rule over: “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness,and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26), “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:28-29) Secondly, humans have the capability to reason, unlike animals. ( 2Peter 2:12 ) Third, humans will have a resurrection, animals do not ( acts 24:15, John 5:28,29 ).

    • chrisshu permalink
      April 13, 2011 4:14 PM

      Rgrossca, firstly I did not say doctors would make more or less, but rather the inherent value of a doctor. A doctor saves lives while a beggar begs and complains. I used beggar as an example of someone who takes away from society. This demonstrates their different “value”, not money. One contributes to society and the other does not. Secondly, according to my definition of communism, as well as Marx, China is NOT a communist government, but rather a complex melange of capitalism, socialism, authoritarianism and “Mao-esque” communism.

      I understand different people have different arguments, but from a biological standpoint, which was the point I was arguing, humans are animals as we are made up of genes, alleles, cells, etc that we share with other organisms. Since we also have a lot in common with these animals, behavioral traits such as pack/hierarchy mentality can be applied to us as well.

      I am not saying I believe communism can work and I am not saying it can’t. I’m purely stating how biologically, it doesn’t seem feasible to rid us of hierarchy and “class” which is the essence of communism.

  2. alexqhe permalink
    April 11, 2011 11:29 PM

    I think that communism – like any other form of government – is fully possible so long as it is well enforced (even if it has to be through the use of violence and terror). Whether communism is the most efficient method, however, is debatable, and I think that it could be argued under utilitarian grounds that communism should not exist, despite the fact that many proponents of communism identify as utilitarians.

    rgrossca points out a good point in stating that communism would seek to eliminate the role of beggar as well as the wealth difference between that of doctor and the impossible beggar. I don’t think the usage of China as an illustration is an appropriate one, however, as China’s economic model today has deviated so far away from Marx’s original proposition that it could hardly be considered a true representation of socialism anymore. The socialist state in its purest form and original ideologies did not work out in China; the blossoming juggernaut you witness right now is an amalgamation of socialist roots and democratic concessions.

    • chrisshu permalink
      April 13, 2011 4:18 PM

      Again Alex, I didn’t mean to imply doctors would make more, but their inherent value. We can look at it another way. Instead of the doctor and beggar, we can compare the paramedic and plumber. We tend to see more value in the paramedic because he saves people though the plumber makes the same amount of money because the paramedic saves people. Also, enforcing communism by using violence and terror already contradicts communism. Communism is stateless. How can you be stateless and yet enforce it using a state. Therein is a paradox.

  3. Ad maiorem Dei gloriam permalink
    April 11, 2011 11:41 PM

    I concur with rgrossa that animals and human beings are often not seen as one. However, instead of relying on the Bible (which I believe offers a way to distinguish animal from man), I’d like to suggest that even if we are indeed animals, it does not undermine the feasibility of creating a communist society – more specifically, creating a classless society (which is what your post discussed). I would like to add a caveat: I am not arguing about the economic feasibility of creating a communist society, rather, I am focusing on your point that we cannot remove social class.

    Your explanatory model fails to clarify why having primate instincts does not permit one to break down social class. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that I am an animal and therefore am prone to create hierarchies, this does NOTHING to undermine the fact that social hierarchies can be broken down. Your logic and model is also one of stasis since it overlooks the fact that we can learn and that we are constantly learning and adapting. In fact, have you considered the fact that almost everything in this world is constructed – the concept of beauty is a construction, the meaning behind numbers are constructions etc. Hence, it is not far fetched that social classes can be constructed.

    In fact, I’d like to challenge your point that animals are prone to create hierarchies. First off, it is arguable that this idea of animals creating hierarchies is very much a human-created one. Yes, it may seem that there is a distinct head of the herd, but can we be certain that this hierarchy is exactly the same as the notion of human hierarchy?

    Furthermore, I don’t think that there are so many layers of hierarchies within a particular animal species as there are various hierarchical layers existing in human society today. Are animals organized according to monarchs, nobles, bourgeoisie, peasants and all the various subdivisions? It’s arguable, that in the animal kingdom, there’s a head and there’s the herd. If this is the case, then it’s even arguable that communism is in someways similar to the hierarchy in the animal kingdom. This is so because Lenin created a Bolshevik Party (the head of the animal herd) and argued that they needed a vanguard elite to help lead the masses (from what I know, the rest of the animal herd are pretty much equal status). The vanguard elite was established on the principles of democratic centralism whereby the vanguard elites were supposed to unite the masses and assemble their ideas and propagate it back to the masses.

    Rgrossa, I’d like to clarify a point you’ve made. I don’t think China is a representative case of a successful communist society (economically) because it adopts Communism as a unifying ideology, an ideology used to unify the masses and give the CCP (political party in China) legitimacy. Hence, it’s, in theory, a communist society, but a neoliberal society in practice.

    However, China can serve as a representative case study in which the masses were pretty much classless from the 50s through to the 70s. Hence, though China is not a representative case study for its economic success (because it does not adhere to communist model of collectivism etc), it was a good case study that social class could be eradicated, just as they are created.

    My point: SOCIAL CLASS IS A CREATION, not, innate, as what you’ve suggested.

    • chrisshu permalink
      April 13, 2011 4:29 PM

      I think you are misunderstanding your own argument. Yes, the words “social class” is a human creation. There are no “social classes” or hierarchies in nature because nature doesn’t see things as labeled ideas. However, that doesn’t mean humans aren’t prone to that type of behavior. Also, you stated that “I don’t think that there are so many layers of hierarchies within a particular animal species as there are various hierarchical layers existing in human society today. Are animals organized according to monarchs, nobles, bourgeoisie, peasants and all the various subdivisions?” Firstly, you can’t compare the two because we have millions of humans in one state and perhaps 10 wolves in one pack. However, if you look at other populations with more animals in a collective group, such as bees, we see there is a queen, a worker bee, a drone, etc., and this resembles humans very similarly.

      You also state, “communism is in someways similar to the hierarchy in the animal kingdom. This is so because Lenin created a Bolshevik Party (the head of the animal herd) and argued that they needed a vanguard elite to help lead the masses (from what I know, the rest of the animal herd are pretty much equal status).” By definition communism cannot be hierarchical so it cannot be compared to the animal kingdom. Lenin’s communism again was not pure communism, at least not according to the pure Marxian definition. Again, communism could work, but it would be extremely unlikely.

      • Ad maiorem Dei gloriam permalink
        April 13, 2011 4:45 PM

        I think the onus on you, who are advancing the argument that ‘How can one truly eliminate class differences in human culture when it has, from our evolution into homo sapiens, been a way for us to see who is useful and who isn’t.’

        My point is that even if we are indeed wired similarly to ‘animals’ and are therefore prone to creating social hierarchies, it DOES NOT undermine the fact that social class can be deconstructed, broken down. So what if animals have social classes and that human beings are ‘animals’? It doesn’t undermine the fact that those social classes can be deconstructed.

        Next, you introduced the example of comparing humans with animals, hence, why do you state that ‘Firstly, you can’t compare the two because we have millions of humans in one state and perhaps 10 wolves in one pack’?

        You write: ‘As part of the hominid family however, we are likely to create hierarchies …’

        Next, you introduce bees in your response. Are bees hominid?

        Finally, I think you’re being ironical, you say ‘by definition communism cannot be hierarchical so it cannot be compared to the animal kingdom’. Then why do you compare communism with animals in your original argument?

        And finally, I think you should check whether the notion of ‘vanguard elite’ is present in Marxist literature.🙂

      • Ad maiorem Dei gloriam permalink
        April 13, 2011 4:48 PM

        Oh, and I don’t think I said that human being do not see things in ‘labels’ or constructions. If you read carefully, I am arguing that by virtue of the fact that humans can see things in terms of labels and how they view the world is ‘constructed’. This means that they can be ‘de-constructed’.

      • chrisshu permalink
        April 16, 2011 3:33 PM

        I don’t think you understand my argument if you state, “Finally, I think you’re being ironical, you say ‘by definition communism cannot be hierarchical so it cannot be compared to the animal kingdom’. Then why do you compare communism with animals in your original argument?”

        I do not compare communism to animals. Rather, I state communism cannot occur because it is not hierarchical unlike the animal kingdom. Thus, your statement is a non-sequitor. I never compared the two but rather explained how one cannot occur because of the other.

        “My point is that even if we are indeed wired similarly to ‘animals’ and are therefore prone to creating social hierarchies, it DOES NOT undermine the fact that social class can be deconstructed, broken down. So what if animals have social classes and that human beings are ‘animals’? It doesn’t undermine the fact that those social classes can be deconstructed.”

        Please tell me how social hierarchies can be deconstructed. If Marx and Stalin and Mao weren’t able to deconstruct hierarchies, I’m curious as to how you would go about it. If we could have deconstructed class don’t you think we would have done it already?

        I don’t think you understand the point of my examples of bess and wolves. I use wolves as an example to show how they cannot have as deep of a hierarchical structure as we do due to population restrictions. Then I show that bees are similar to humans. They don’t have to be hominids. They are animals like us. And that is beside the point because in my original argument, I stated that other hominids are like us.

        “Oh, and I don’t think I said that human being do not see things in ‘labels’ or constructions. If you read carefully, I am arguing that by virtue of the fact that humans can see things in terms of labels and how they view the world is ‘constructed’. This means that they can be ‘de-constructed’.”

        It’s fine to disagree with my argument but if all you can do is disagree but not give any insight on how communism can work but only state over and over again the vague notion that we can be deconstructed, then there is nothing more I can say to you. You attack me on my apparent “contradictions” and “irony” when in fact they aren’t, and then state nothing, no examples to back up your claim.

        Vanguard elite does appear in the communist manifesto. I don’t understand your point… Also, there are other books an communism that support my claim that communism cannot work. My arguments might not sway you but theirs might.😀

  4. lexifader permalink
    April 12, 2011 1:27 AM

    I agree with a lot of what your saying but I’m going to go ahead and make more of a bold statement-communism in America would not work. I think it would be impossible for Americans to eliminate the class system after already having it. I also think that if doctors made the same amount of money as a real estate agent, there would be little incentive for people to spend the money and the years on becoming a Doctor. I think the class system pushes people to work hard and strive for greatness-if it was eliminated I don’t think there would be any drive to succeed.

  5. jamescimina permalink
    April 12, 2011 1:37 AM

    I think you are incorrect with your assumption that communism can never exist. I think that any government can exist and as rgrossca explained China represents this. Although it may not be the best example, nonetheless it does show an economically successful example. Also some of your assumptions in terms of societal equalities are hard to understand I feel, in that there would be no difference between a beggar and a doctor. This is the whole point of communism, in order to foster a utopian-like society. There wouldn’t be any wealth difference amongst the social sphere in a true Marxist communist state. I think that we can in fact break down social classes, a point that you disagree with. As we adapt to society over the years I think we realize that most things are constructed, thus why not social hierarchies? I agree in conclusion with ad maiorem in that classes and hierarchies are created, over time and with adaption to certain events in society, these reactions, stigmas and such evolve into hierarchies societal differences.

  6. Ad maiorem Dei gloriam permalink
    April 16, 2011 4:05 PM

    ‘I do not compare communism to animals. Rather, I state communism cannot occur because it is not hierarchical unlike the animal kingdom. Thus, your statement is a non-sequitor. I never compared the two but rather explained how one cannot occur because of the other.’

    By drawing on evidence from the animal kingdom and then contrasting it with communism on the basis of evidence drawn from the animal kingdom, you’re essentially comparing the animal kingdom with communism – because you draw your evidence from the animal kingdom by explaining ‘how ONE cannot happen BECAUSE of the OTHER’. I think you already made my point clear.

    For something to be able to be constructed, theoretically, it should be able to be deconstructed. Keyword: Theoretically. Just like when you fold a paper, you can unfold it. You pick up a chair, you put it down. Almost everything is relative to another. As for class, I’m not certain that if we could indeed deconstruct class, we would do so because there are many other variables and power-dynamics at play. We live in a 3D world, not a 2D world in which the construction/deconstruction of class is the only variable.

    Oh, just as a note, in China and Russia, class status WAS abolished. Just like in a classroom of high school kids, all of you are equals within that class. If you read what I’m saying carefully, I’m not arguing about the economic feasibility of removing social class, I’m saying that it social class can be removed, and has been done.

    ‘I don’t think you understand the point of my examples of bess and wolves. I use wolves as an example to show how they cannot have as deep of a hierarchical structure as we do due to population restrictions. Then I show that bees are similar to humans. They don’t have to be hominids. They are animals like us. And that is beside the point because in my original argument, I stated that other hominids are like us.’

    I totally understand why you did that. I’m just saying, you’re plucking different sorts of evidence from all over the place that is detracting from your original post whereby you compared human beings and hominids. Here’s what you said: ‘As part of the hominid family however, we are likely to create hierarchies …’

    Now, you bring in animals that ARE NOT hominids, and not even in the class of mammals such as bees? What else do you want to compare us to? Why should you even bring in wolves and bees as examples when they’re not even linked to us? If you want to support your argument on ‘deep hierarchal structure’, then very obviously you have to draw evidence from examples from the hominid classification, or draw parallels with ‘animals that are scientifically argued to be similar to humans’. By comparing wolves and bees, with human beings is illogical because you’re just plucking evidence that is irrelevant to fit the argument?

    ‘It’s fine to disagree with my argument but if all you can do is disagree but not give any insight on how communism can work but only state over and over again the vague notion that we can be deconstructed, then there is nothing more I can say to you. You attack me on my apparent “contradictions” and “irony” when in fact they aren’t, and then state nothing, no examples to back up your claim.’

    Dude, I’m not ‘attacking’ you. I think you’ve become vested your personal emotions in your work that you refuse to see its contradictions. Take a step back and re-read whatever I wrote and, hopefully, you’ll see what I mean. Frankly, if you can’t take criticisms, your work will never improve. I actually enjoy it because I get to re-work and refine my stuff, but if you think that your work is at the pinnacle of ‘beyond reproach’, fine by me.

    And btw, did I say that communism can work? I separated communism from social class because I never argued that communism is economically feasible. The breaking down of social class is a prerequisite of communism but is NOT synonymous with communism. Furthermore, what your post does is analyze the ‘inability for social class to be deconstructed because animals have social classes’. It is not about whether ‘communism can work’.

    Finally, I would highly suggest that you take a step back and read my responses in light of YOUR responses, perhaps, you won’t miss my point.

    Here’s what you said: ‘By definition communism cannot be hierarchical so it cannot be compared to the animal kingdom. Lenin’s communism again was not pure communism, at least not according to the pure Marxian definition’

    Here’s the contradiction, you compared human beings and animals by saying that human beings have hierarchies like hominids and animals. And then you say in your response that ‘communism cannot be hierarchical so it cannot be compared to the animal kingdom.’ Isn’t that a contradiction?

    Let me know if you need more clarification.

  7. Ad maiorem Dei gloriam permalink
    April 16, 2011 4:33 PM

    Finally, do check out this link:

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/compare

  8. chrisshu permalink
    April 18, 2011 5:18 PM

    Good job. You really proved your point and demonstrated a comprehensive argument! I really appreciate you devoting your time and effort and have deep insight into communism. Keep up the awesome work you’ve done!

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