Hatred of capitalism, and in particular hatred of America never seems to go out of fashion.
In some quarters, that is.
People who pretend to be serious intellectuals still run on about American hegemony, about commodification and about consumerism. Truth be told, they attract a legion of naïve and overeducated American graduate students.
Intellectuals like Alain Badiou and Slavoj Zizek wax nostalgic for Communism. They call for a return to Marx. They still express their love of Mao and his Cultural Revolution. Some like Judith Butler join movements calling for the severe punishment of the state of Israel.
The Berlin Wall fell over twenty-five years ago and the neo-Communist left is still railing about what’s wrong with capitalism. The Chinese government replaced Maoism with capitalism over three decades ago and succeeded in bring prosperity to hundreds of millions of people. And, yet supposedly serious thinkers continue to pine away for the Great Helmsman.
One might say that they are living their intellectual perversity, but still, isn’t it disgracefully irresponsible to continue to promote communism today?
Call them sore losers, but surely they testify to the truth of the statement that some people never learn. They cling (bitterly) to their religion and pay no heed to the human cost. Undoubtedly, they consider the destruction visited on people by communism a test of their faith.
Or else they feel that competing cultures should be judged in terms of body count. They do not believe in cultures that protect and provide for people. They believe that the more powerful regimes kill the most people.
As for the price of communism, Reason.com (via Maggie’s Farm) has some statistics. Yes, I understand that statistics are not as sexy as big ideas—especially ideas that no one understands-- but still, the lives that were destroyed by communism do deserve some acknowledgment.
Reason.com lays out the facts:
According to a disturbingly pleasant graphic from Information is Beautifulentitled simply 20th Century Death, communism was the leading ideological cause of death between 1900 and 2000. The 94 million that perished in China, the Soviet Union, North Korea, Afghanistan, and Eastern Europe easily (and tragically) trump the 28 million that died under fascist regimes during the same period.
During the century measured, more people died as a result of communism than from homicide (58 million) and genocide (30 million) put together. The combined death tolls of WWI (37 million) and WWII (66 million) exceed communism’s total by only 9 million.
It gets worse when you look at the lower right of the chart—The Natural World—which includes animals (7 million), natural disasters (24 million), and famine (101 million). Curiously, all of the world’s worst famines during the 20th century were in communist countries: China (twice!), the Soviet Union, and North Korea.
Whine all you like about the perils of consumerism, but you should also entertain a few thoughts for communism’s greatest achievement: starvationism.
While you are bemoaning Western commodification—which the French see in terms of merchandise-- you should recognize that communist regimes did not provide very many, if any commodities or merchandise.
To be fair, serious continental thinkers do not believe in facts. They believe in their own ideas... the facts be damned.
One might say that the destruction produced by communism needs to be balanced against its great achievements. The problem is, communism never had any great achievements. It never even had any achievements.
It’s destruction and deconstruction all the way down.