Updated 2017 07 o2: To expand on the introduction.
Socialism is founded on slavery. Socialism cannot persist without slavery. Left to themselves, socialist regimes become totalitarian. That may take a short time, as in a revolution or through conquest by a socialist nation, or it may take centuries.
The outcome was virtually always the same, throughout human history. As explained farther down, Ancient Greece, long before the birth of Christ, had not only slaves but also a yearning for socialism. Ancient Greece and the Ancient Roman Empire were socialist regimes when they perished.
We admire those regimes, especially the Ancient Greek regime, which contributed so much to our yearning for democracy, freedom and equality (and for socialism), but very few people mention that both,, Ancient Greece, as well as Ancient Rome had slaves, massive numbers of slaves, to do the work that needed to be done.
Estimates of the ratio of free citizens to slaves vary (after all, accurate census data for those days is hard to find), but the ratio of free citizens to slaves in Ancient Greece, in Athens, could be said to have been roughly 1:1, or 3 to 4 per household, while that ratio was as high as 1:7 in Sparta.
In Ancient Rome,
Demography (of slavery)
Estimates for the prevalence of slavery in the Roman Empire vary. Estimates of the percentage of the population of Italy who were slaves range from 30 to 40 percent in the 1st century BC, upwards of two to three million slaves in Italy by the end of the 1st century BCE, about 35% to 40% of Italy’s population. For the Empire as a whole, the slave population has been estimated at just under five million, representing 10–15% of the total population of 50–60 million+ inhabitants. An estimated 49% of all slaves were owned by the elite, who made up less than 1.5% of the Empire’s population.
There was not much “freedom and equality” in those times, but many ideas of socialism, Utopia and Paradise on Earth were presented then in comedy and tragedy, and those then served to become the standards for what socialism in our times was to look like. It did not work out all that well, but here is a glimpse into what happened.
Totalitarian socialism was almost always ultimately the end-stage of socialist evolution wherever socialism evolved. Most countries in the history of humanity went down that road and perished, either because socialism ran out of other people’s money or perhaps it even ran out of people.
” under communism,” [wrote Daniel Amneus, in The Garbage Generation], “the state’s guarantee of economic security weakens the male’s commitment to work and undermines his productivity. “The other day,” writes Eric Hoffer,
“I happened to ask myself a routine question and stumbled on a surprising answer. The question was: What is the uppermost problem which confronts the leadership in a Communist regime? The answer: The chief preoccupation of every government between the Elbe and the China Sea is how to make people work — how to induce them to plow, sow, harvest, build, manufacture, work in the mines, and so forth. It is the most vital problem which confronts them day in day out, and it shapes not only their domestic policies but their relations with the outside world.”
Eric Hoffer expressed that observation during the height of the Cold War. We no longer have to worry about the Cold War. The inevitable end-stage of socialism, slavery – and people of the USSR and the whole communist block rebelling against it – put an end to the attempts of the USSR and the communist block to dominate the people and even to prevent them from escaping their slavery. The Iron Curtain came down, along with the collapse of the communist empire. Still, the attempts to promote socialism, even in the so-called Free West, and to put people under its domination did not end. They now proceed faster than ever before. Take just one example, the ramming-through and imposing of Obamacare in the U.S.
Socialism and Obamacare: The rich get richer!
Wendy McElroy provided a very valuable piece of information, in one of her blog posts.
HUGE PROFITS FOR OBAMACARE CRONIES
“A blog reader and friend, Bill, emails, My girlfriend is very liberal, and is irate over any attempt to dismantle Obamacare. I went out to my stock sites to get a picture of what Obamacare was really all about, so I could show her. Now, I knew that the stock prices had gone up, but I had no idea it was this much of a giveaway to Obama’s cronies.”
Here is one of the six stock charts she provided in that blog post. It is for one of six for shares-price trends of health-care corporations who are healthcare providers that will profit enormously from the rising prices for their shares. The astounding aspect of the rising trends in value of the shares of those six health-care providers is that there is not the least of a dent in the rising trends that indicates that Donald Trump’s threat to dismantle Obamacare had any noticeable impact.
That is the problem with socialism. Someone promotes an idea that will “benefit the people,” but the people will pay for having it made reality and to run it, and someone other than the people will rake in the money that people will pay to reap the benefits they imagined should have resulted. Obviously, it is a scheme that will make the people running it very rich.
Oh, what a lovely way to get rich! Do you understand, yet, why the big push to impose Obamacare is continuing?
One of the primary aspects of socialism is that corporations that have a relationship with the government in power will not have to worry about competition anymore, as soon as they become a designated provider of specific goods or services.
Once socialism is established, escape is no longer possible. It will not only be made compulsory to participate, the people in thrall or captured by it are detained and prevented from being able to escape, first by having their passports revoked or confiscated, and when that is not sufficient, walls and iron curtains will be erected. There is nothing new about that.
“The Socialist Phenomenon”
Igor Shafarevich described it well how that was supposed to be made to work in Ancient Greece and later, during the 16th century, in the introduction to his book, The Socialist Phenomenon, quoting from Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’, and stating:
This book was first published (in Latin) in 1516, and its complete title is: “A Truly Golden Handbook, No Less Beneficial than Entertaining, About the Best State of the Commonwealth and the New Island of Utopia.” At the time, its author was an influential English statesman with a brilliant career. In 1529, More became Lord Chancellor of England, the first office below the king. But in 1534 he emerged as a strong opponent of the Church reform that was being carried out by Henry VIII. He refused to swear allegiance to the king as head of the newly created Anglican Church, was accused of high treason and beheaded in 1535. Four centuries later, in 1935, he was canonized by the Catholic Church….
“As long as private property remains, the largest and by far the best part of mankind will be oppressed with an inescapable load of cares and anxieties.” (42: p. 74)
By way of an example, criminal behavior is discussed; it is attributed entirely to flaws in the social system. “What else is this, I ask, but first making them thieves and then punishing them for it?” (42: p. 57) The laws of the day which punished thieves with death are considered to be not only unjust but ineffective as well. Instead, Hythloday offers the customs he had observed among people living in the mountains of Persia, the Polylerites. “I can find no better system in any country.” (42: p. 59) The custom calls for a thief to be turned into a state slave. As a sign of his status, a thief’s ear lobes are notched. The lazy “are sooner prompted with blows than punishment with fetters.” (42: p. 60) Finally, as a measure against the escape of slaves, informing is encouraged–and rewarded by liberty (for slaves) or money (for a free man). A runaway slave who is caught is executed and any free man who helped him is turned into a slave. “You can easily see how humane and advantageous these laws are,” concludes the narrator. (42: p. 61)….
More: ‘The Socialist Phenomenon’ p. 82‘
Make sure to do a “find in page” search of the text, for the term “slave”, to find all of the instances of it used in the book by Igor Shafarevich, whereby one is able to take in the point Igor Shafarevich wishes to drive home, namely how important a role slavery plays in a socialist system.
It was not that, for which the Roman Catholic Church declared Thomas More to be a saint. It was to use his example, of giving his life for the defence of the Church, to encourage others who were being persecuted for upholding the Church in the totalitarian socialist systems of the day, such as in the USSR and in national-socialist Germany, where they were being punished by being turned into slaves and worked to death. After all, 60 percent of the victims of National-Socialism that died in the slave-camps were Christian, and a much larger proportion of slaves, yet, were the ten million killed by Stalin’s USSR in the Gulags and through execution, before Stalin even had a chance to be asked to become a member of the Allied to oppose and defeat the Nazi Regime, and long before the Hitler regime engaged on its killing spree that was by far not as deadly as that which obsessed Stalin.
Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn summarized that in his foreword to ‘The Socialist Phenomenon’, by stating:
It could probably be said that the majority of states in the history of mankind have been “socialist.” But it is also true that these were in no sense periods or places of human happiness or creativity.”
Igor Shafarevich explained that our obsession with socialism is solidly rooted in the morals and ethics of Ancient Greece, for instance, in the introduction he wrote for his book. An excerpt from that is quoted here to illustrate how big a role slavery played in the ancient Greek traditions that we in the West so much admire and do our best to bring into play now:
We shall begin with socialism understood as a doctrine, as an appeal.
All such doctrines (and as we shall see, there were many of them) have a common core–they are based on the complete rejection of the existing social structure. They call for its destruction and paint a picture of a more just and happy society in which the solution to all the fundamental problems of the times would be found. Furthermore, they propose concrete ways of achieving this goal. In religious literature such a system of views is referred to as belief in the thousand-year Kingdom of God on earth–chiliasm. Borrowing this terminology, we shall designate the socialist doctrines of this type as “chiliastic socialism.”
In order to give some sense of the scale of this phenomenon and of the place it occupies in the history of mankind, we shall examine two doctrines that fit the category of chiliastic socialism, as they are described by their contemporaries. In doing so, we shall attempt to extract a picture of the future society envisaged, leaving to one side for the moment the motivation as well as the concrete means recommended for achieving the ideal.
The first example takes us to Athens in 392 B.C. during the great urban Dionysia, when Aristophanes presented his comedy Ecclesiazusae or The Congresswomen. Here he depicts a teaching fashionable in the Athens of the time. The plot is as follows: The women of the city, wearing beards and dressed in men’s clothing, come to the assembly and by a majority vote pass a resolution transferring all power in the state to women. They use this power to introduce a series of measures, which are expounded in a dialogue between Praxagora, the leader of the women, and her husband, Blepyros. Here are several quotations.
- Compulsory Universal Community Property is what I propose to propose; across-the-board Economic Equality, to fill those fissures that scar our society’s face. No more the division between Rich and Poor. …
…We’ll wear the same clothes, and share the same food. …
…My initial move will be to communalize land, and money, and all other property, personal and real.
- But take the landless man who’s invisibly wealthy…because he hides his silver and gold in his pockets. What about him?
- He’ll deposit it all in the Fund. …
…I’ll knock out walls and remodel the City into one big happy household, where all can come and go as they choose. …
…I’m pooling the women, creating a public hoard for the use of every man who wishes to take them to bed and make babies.
- A system like this requires a pretty wise father to know his own children.
- But why does he need to? Age is the new criterion: Children will henceforth trace their descent from all men who might have begot them. …
- Who’s going to work the land and produce the food?
- The slaves. This leaves you just one civic function: When the shades of night draw on, slip sleekly down to dinner. …
…The State’s not going to stint. Its hand is full and open, its heart is large, it’ll stuff its menfolk free of charge, then issue them torches when dinner’s done and send them out to hunt for fun.
(2: pp. 43-51)
The reader will of course already have noticed many of the features of a familiar doctrine. Let us attempt to specify the associations that arise by considering a second example–the classic statement of the Marxist program contained in the Communist Manifesto. Here are some quotations characterizing the future society as the authors imagine it: “…the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property. …” (3: V: p. 496) ” Abolition of the family! Even the most radical Hare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists. …On what foundation is the present
family, the bourgeois family based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form, this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the family among the proletarians, and in public prostitution….
More at ‘The Socialist Phenomenon’ p. 5‘
Thanks for making it this far. Until next time. — Walter
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