The interesting thing about defenders of extreme socialism is how conveniently selective is their memory, and how tenacious is their idealism.
No one can dispute that socialism’s stated goals are indeed egalitarian; a belief in the fundamental rights of equality of social, political and economic privileges, along with a social philosophy advocating the removal of all inequalities among people. It sounds great in theory. All fair-minded people with compassion and a sense of justice would naturally be attracted to such an aspiration, especially, it would seem, in their youth.
Put into practice, however, it can be something very different, and there’s the rub. In place of a benign, caring system that delivers equality of opportunity, extreme socialism becomes an oppressive, heavy-handed dictatorial system that demands unquestioning conformity and oppresses all basic human rights.
A look in the rear view mirror reveals that extreme socialism, with all its talk about participatory collectivism, inevitably ends up actually being run by one central and all-powerful character who holds office for a lifetime. Seemingly more regal than egalitarian in nature, such regimes have even exhibited the royal traditions of inherited or familial lineage. Thus we see the natural assumption that Raul Castro will inherit the seat of power in Cuba when his brother passes.
Interesting. That such a grand ideal of collective self-determination would, in practice, copy the earliest forms of patriarchal rule by kingship is indeed a great irony.
Then there is the sobering track record of such regimes. Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union for so many decades, is now universally accepted as having been a true paranoid schizophrenic. His infamous “purges” and gulags condemned tens of millions of innocents to the cruelest forms of slave labor, degradation and violent death. In more recent times Pol Pot, with equal fervor for the extreme socialist model, cleaned out the cities in Cambodia and wiped out millions in his quest for the perfect socialist state.
Next, one simply must recognize the necessary level of repression and control to mold everyone into the model envisioned by extremist socialist planners. No one can dispute that Cuba, for example, is now a genuine police state. Anyone who has walked the streets of Cuba must acknowledge this fact: The more laws and regulations passed, the more criminals are created, the more repressive the state reaction. And one thing is for sure, extreme socialist states are very good at writing lots of laws. In fact, it is the one thing they seem to do very well; just ask the Russians, or former East Germans, or Romanians.
Those who would try and remake the world through their idealism for a society of total equality might take a moment to pause and reflect on the actual fruit of such unfettered utopianism in the past. It is a dose of reality that is bitter indeed.
Perhaps, such reflections would even be medicine enough to help them moderate their fevered zeal for creating the perfect utopia �of simply their own imaginations.
John R. Bomar