October 8, 2011
Marie Lozito is a Registered Nurse, Licensed Massage Therapist, wife, mother, grandmother and life-long conservative. She wrote a text on medical massage and taught at New York College of Health Professions.
Interested in, and observing politics since 1960, she
ran for elected office in 2010.
Now I understand!
I have often wondered how come there has been so much violence in the socialist countries. The political system (any form of socialism or communism) allegedly is trying to improve the lives of the masses of people in the country. When you hear the idealistic dialogue, you think it should be a great
system, so why do the rulers and their henchmen in these countries all become so violent and inhumane? Stalin had over 4 million murdered, Lenin had over 8 million murdered, Mao had over 45 million murdered. All socialist countries have mass murders of “enemies” in their society. These counties routinely have re-education camps, political imprisonments, concentration camps, etc., etc. It never made any sense to me.
I finally understand it. In The Road to Serfdom, Friedrich Hayek explains how, despite the idealistic desires of the progressives, socialism is the gravest threat to individual freedom and requires the destruction
of any opposition or different views among the populace.
The statesman attempting to plan society's economic life is soon confronted with the choice between assuming dictatorial powers or abandoning his plans. The dictatorial (totalitarian) leader soon has to choose between disregard for ordinary morals or failure. The totalitarian leader must gather around him a group who are willing to impose the plan(s) by force. “This is why the unscrupulous are likely to be more successful in a society tending toward totalitarianism.” He gives three main reasons why this group is most likely formed from the worst elements of a society.
Hayek explains that usually the variety in tastes and preferences increases with more education and intelligence.
In order to find a more consistent outlook, one needs to go to the area of the society where more primitive instincts prevail, usually this is the people with lower moral and intellectual standards. This group is usually not large enough for the
leader's endeavors so he must increase this group by converting more to his “creed”.
“He must gain the support of the docile and gullible, who have no strong convictions of their own but are ready to accept a ready-made system of values if it is only drummed into their ears sufficiently loudly and frequently.” People who are “easily swayed and whose passions and emotions are readily aroused who will thus swell the ranks of the totalitarian party.” Then,
“to weld together a closely coherent body of supporters, the leader must appeal to a common human weakness. It seems to be easier for people to agree on a negative program – on the hatred of an enemy, on the envy of the better off – than on any positive task.” The contrast between the “we” and the “they” is always used by those who seek the devotion of large masses.
Advancement in a totalitarian group depends largely on a willingness to do immoral things.
“The principle that the end justifies the means, which in individualistic ethics is regarded as the denial of all morals, in collectivist ethics becomes necessarily the supreme rule. There is literally nothing which the consistent collectivist must not be prepared to do if it serves
'the good of the whole' because that is to him the only criterion of what ought to be done.”
“Once you admit that the individual is merely a means to serve the ends of the higher entity called
'society' or 'the nation', most of those features of totalitarianism which horrify us follow of necessity. From the collectivist standpoint intolerance and brutal suppression of dissent, deception and spying, the complete disregard of the life and happiness of the individual are essential and unavoidable.”
In order to rise above others in a totalitarian state, the person must be willing to break every moral rule in order to achieve the end. “In the totalitarian machine, there will be special opportunities for the ruthless and unscrupulous.”
Further, Hayek explains about the lack of truth in totalitarian/collectivist systems. Not only must the people be forced to work for the ends selected by those in control, “it is essential that the people should come to regard these ends as their own. This is brought about by propaganda and by complete control of all sources of information.” The most effective method of doing this is to persuade the people that these new values are really the same values as those they had before – they just didn't fully understand them before. The most effective method for this is to use the old words but to change their meaning. (This is one of the techniques in Saul Alinsky's
Rules for Radicals. Incidentally, Obama used to teach Alinsky's techniques to the people at ACORN.)
How does this work? A few examples: The concept of “freedom” - once meant to be free of coercion, being able to choose what you want to do, how you would spend your time and money. That has been
changed. The liberals speak about “freedom” meaning an economic freedom – being free from economic worries, that the government should provide for you so you don't need to fear not having enough. How about the word “equal”? Equal used to mean that different things had the same value. Liberals use it to mean that the results need to be the same. According to the liberals, the fact that the Declaration of Independence states “all men are created equal” no
longer means that each person's life has the same value from the time that life begins.
No, now it is supposed to mean that what you have in life must be the same.
Indeed, in any socialist state, everything a person has can be taken and redistributed in order for it to be “equal” – except that the rulers are more equal than the rest of us and therefore have more of what they stole from the people.
The collective freedom the progressives/socialists/liberals speak of is not the freedom of the individual members of the society but the freedom of the planners to do with that society what they wish. Every aspect of the society needs to be brought under control. Intolerance of opposing ideas is essential and encouraged. The American virtues of independence, self-reliance, individual initiative, local responsibility, reliance on voluntary activity, non-interference with one's neighbor, a healthy suspicion of power and authority are all discouraged, frequently violently. Independent thought and opposing ideas must be eliminated. The Rule of Law, the legal embodiment of freedom, must be eliminated also. The rulers must be able to make arbitrary decisions and enforce those decisions – laws get in the way of this. The Rule of Man must take precedence.
Thank you Hayek, at last I understand.