might work in Russia today'
By Vin Suprynowicz
posted December 1998
Having stumbled onto one of my old columns (the Internet is
life eternal, isn't it?) asserting that the current gang in Russia has
never really renounced state collectivism, whereupon I urged that we
stop beating around the bush and arm the Chechens and anyone else who
wants to fight for liberty over there, a student I shall identify only
as L.H. wrote in recently under the sprightly subject header: "can
i get some more info."
I don't wish to discourage inquiries -- I spend a lot of time answering
them -- but I'll admit I did find that of L.H. -- copied verbatim here
-- a tad discouraging:
"Dear Mr. Suprynowicz i was reading you artical on Russian expansion
is the risk, armed populace the cure, and i noticed and area that
stated 'now, our wire services dispatch dire warnings that, based
on ... return to economic security'
"it basicly said that the slavs were trying to get the communist
back in power, i was wondering if you had any more info on this topic
stating that communism might work in russia today, i would be gratly
appreciative because i need it for a class."
Does anyone else fear there are a few other things Mr. H. needs --
both "basicly" and "gratly" -- before he attempts
to write his own "artical"?
One might hope the writer will have a chance to brush up on his spelling
next year in the third grade. Why do I fear he is, instead, about to
be set loose on the world as a duly certified "college graduate"
... whether or not I agree to write his paper for him?
In fact, we let these poor puppies -- and the government educrats
who have looted our tax dollars to change their diapers and hand them
along, encouraging them to "write whatever you feel; don't worry
about any musty old rules of grammar and punctuation" -- off too
easily by merely focusing on a few "typos."
Instead, note the rambling, undifferentiated quality of the thought.
Does he actually propose to cobble together an essay "stating that
communism might work in russia today"? It certainly appears so.
What depth of historical and economic research must underlie this daring
And does he then expect the author of a syndicated column called "The
Libertarian" to help him demonstrate such a thesis?
Well, why not? Isn't that what grown-ups are for -- to reach over
and help us finish our model airplanes, if we kick our feet loudly enough
and whine "It's too hard!"?
And don't we all deserve gold stars on our projects, no matter how
sloppily they turn out, or how much of the actual work was done by dad
or mom ... lest we suffer damage to our self-esteem?
After some contemplation, I responded:
Hi, L. --
I'm a Libertarian. I don't believe Communism "might work"
in Russia today, or anywhere, ever.
Of course, we could debate the meaning of "work." As a
system for organizing the theft of the labor and property of a large
number of people, it has been demonstrated that communism can "work"
in supporting a dominant class of armed leeches for as long as it
takes to drive the disarmed and hopeless peasants into total debilitation
... providing the oppressors have the stomach for it.
Fair warning: you don't want to get into this field of endeavor
if you're squeamish about causing some slight distress and discomfort
to women and children in order to get their relatives to "comply"
with your edicts.
In Russia, this system "worked" for about three years,
from 1917 to 1920. After 1920, since large numbers of folks were quite
literally starving (having eaten all their shoes), Lenin abandoned
true Marxist "communism" (a fantasy under which factory
workers were free to "vote" themselves large raises along
with extra days off, irrespective of the quantity or quality of any
product delivered) replacing it with a kind of "mixed" command-and-control
fascism which, due to Russia's enormous natural resources and the
unbelievable bovine stupidity and endurance of large numbers of the
Slavic peasant classes (I can say that, being directly descended)
continued to "work," more or less, for another 60 years.
Since the Russian people have not yet filled the streets to knee-depth
with the blood of their "former" oppressors, I suppose it's
possible they could let the thugs try it again. But I wouldn't
care to be the one who tries to re-fit the yoke on that particular
set of oxen. Would you?
For "more info," I heartily suggest you read Atlas
Shrugged, a novel by a woman who escaped Mr. Lenin's workers'
paradise as a girl. It explains how communism "works," pretty
Best Wishes with your most interesting project, which I assume you
are undertaking at a university in the northeastern United States
... since I doubt it would be accepted today in any of the more right-wing
educational establishments, such as Patrice Lamumba University in
Vin Suprynowicz is the assistant editorial page editor of the Las
Vegas Review-Journal. Readers may contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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