Sunday 22 August 2021

Communism and Liberalism

There is a rather strange idea that political philosophies are so distinct that they do not interact with each other. But of course they do, that does not mean that they are all the same thing. It does however mean that they can swap ideas and practices. 

Communism and Liberalism have a long history of conflict, the Cold War was fought between these two ideologies. But that hides the fact that for an even longer period, including during the Cold War, they have been linked. Passing ideas and members back and forth between each other. If you read about different Western personalities in the 20th Century, it is not unusual to find them moving between these two ideas. Often a biography will say something like 'they had a brief foray into Communism, but left after a short time' or that they knew prominent Communists. It is so common that it goes without comment. But it does demonstrate that these two rivals were not as far apart as they are often portrayed.

Both believe in changing the current world, that a better world awaits, that only they are capable of creating that better world, that what they believe is inevitable and that the end goal is not only to create a new and better world, but a new and better man. They share a radical view of the future. Certainly they have differences, things that they disagree about, but that should not hide the things that they have in common.

I have often noticed that former Communists keep more of their 'former' beliefs than they might realise. I recently read an article where the author said that there was no such thing as a former Communist. I wouldn't go that far, but the idea that we can just discard our old beliefs is harder then we think.

But also at work was an attempt by bother Communists and Liberals to subvert and recruit each other. To bring them to the 'true faith'. Which has meant over the past century that the two have exchanged ideas, the two have influenced each other. The Interwar years saw the two interact, the post war world saw Communist ideas move into Liberalism. Class warfare went from one to the other, the words were changed but the ideas are the same. Critical Race Theory was named in the 1980's but in reality it was a part of Liberalism from the 1950's. 

Race replaced Class, the idea that an exploiter class was replaced with the idea of an exploiter race, hence 'White privilege'. The exploited class is the future, just as today we are told that non-Whites are the future. These are all Communist ideas, but now firmly a part of Liberalism.

In turn meeting a real Communist is harder and harder, because they have been absorbed into Liberalism. Meeting someone who believes in the central control of the means of production is not common. Sure you might meet someone who tells you that they believe in Socialism, but then they go off about transgender rights. Because that is what they are really interested in, in other words they are interested in Liberalism. You also meet people who talk about 'The Revolution', the Communist revolution or the Liberal revolution?

 Communism certainly isn't dead, but it ain't in good health either.

Liberalism in turn now includes much of what was once Communism.


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1 comment:

  1. A good case study is Jean Paul Sartre who initially incorporated Marxism into his existentialism and became a member of the communist party in France. He was later to renounce his membership based upon the curtailment of freedom as was emerging in Russia, But Sartre thought that Marxism had been corrupted so he then opted for a deconstructed form in opposition to his perception of the failings of capitalism. He thought the interests of workers must be alienated by capitalism whose greed and materialistic money centred driving force was not in the best interests of society at large. He was arrested by the authorities but such was his popularity and standing pardoned. The then president said you can’t put Voltaire in prison,