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This Month's Scripture Verse:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Conservative Case Against Socialism Is Not Scientific

The Conservative case against Socialism (or what will be referred to here as Communism/Socialism/Marxism) comes in the form of a mantra. It says that Communism/Socialism/Marxism has not only failed wherever it has been tried, it will always fail. For Communism/Socialism/Marxism, according to its Conservative critics, always ends up with two results: totalitarianism and poverty. And to hedge bets, we should note that the West has waged economic and/or even military campaigns against nations that were leaning to the Left or were already there. To prove their claim about Communism/Socialism/Marxism, Conservatives provide a list of those nations that tried it and failed and thus they conclude that it can never succeed. Of course, the list starts with Russia and then includes China, Cuba, Cambodia, and sometimes Venezuela.

But here is a list of Communist/Socialist/Marxist nations that never seem to be included when Conservatives talk about failed Communist/Socialist/Marxist nations: the Paris Commune, the Spanish Revolution, Iran, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Chile. And these examples represent some different situations than what we've seen in Russia, China, Cuba, and Cambodia. For example, both the Paris Commune and the Spanish Revolution were working, though not without problems, until Frances' army and General Franco's Fascist forces overthrew their respective Leftist regimes. Nicaragua deserves speacial attention because its Communist/Socialist/Marxist government was voted out of power, but not before America waged a brutal terrorist and economic war on it. In fact, America was actually condemned by the World Court for its actions in Nicaragua. We should also note that its Leftist government was voted back into power too. And we should also know that Iran, Guatemala, and Chile saw Leftist leaders elected into office. However, America, and Great Britain in the case of Iran, worked first to destabilize and then to overthrow those elected leaders. Except for Guatemala where America simply overthrew the government, and Iran where Great Britain was the nation that worked to destabilized it.

But what of the examples of Russia, China, Cuba, Cambodia, and Venezuela? Here we should note that Venezuela's economic problems are in large part due to the drop in oil prices. And despite all of that, along with the alleged cconomic war waged by America, Venezuela is still a democracy where Chavez actually lost an election that would have extended his term as President.

But what about the examples of Russia, China, Cuba, and Cambodia where we've seen the some of the most brutal regimes in history? What we should note about those examples is this: in each case, the Communist/Socialist/Marxist revolutions were preceded by brutally harsh conditions from totalitarian rule and/or outside military action. Russia, for example, had the Tsars prior to their 1917 revolution. In addition, a civil war broke out after the Revolution by the anti-Communist White Movement that was assisted by Western nations. The Marxists remained united behind Lenin until after the war when he not only refused to relinquish the Tsarist powers he acquired during the conflicts, he purged his own party. 

In China, though there was a then current movement to install democracy, it was preceded by the rule of warlords and it suffered greatly from horrible atrocities perpetrated by the Japanese during WW II. In Cuba, Castro's revolution overthrew a corrupt American supported dictator and then was met with American attacks on civilian targets such as sugar fields and factories. What followed was an American economic war waged on the island nation while we pointed to the failures of their economy and attributed them solely to Communism/Socialism/Marxism. Finally, Cambodia was experiencing a growing authoritarian rule when its leader allowed Vietnamese Communist forces to hide there. America brutally carpet bombed the land resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands if not at least one hundred thousand civilians. The Khmer Rouge, the Communist Revolutionaries of Cambodia, saw a significant growth in numbers from the bombing. 

What does this all have to do with science? The Conservative case is basically a universal declaration stating that Communism/Socialism/Marxism, and there are real distinctions between these terms but for the sake argument all three will be mentioned together, always has and always will result in tyranny and poverty. To prove it, Conservatives list these a few examples. However, a scientific approach to the Conservative claim would not result in reaching the same conclusion. Why? First, the sample size of the nations Conservatives cite is too small. Four or five nations are not enough to say that Communism/Socialism/Marxism will always fail. Second, no control group has been established. Without any control group being established, there is no way to determine if Communism/Socialism/Marxism was the reaason why certain nations ended up with tyranny and poverty. Without a control group, there is no scientific way of isolating variables to determine whether Communism/Socialism/Marxism was solely to blame for the troubles experienced by nations like Russia, China, Cuba, and Cambodia. 

We should also note that the scientific method takes great care to rule out all other possible explanations and variables before concluding that what one has hypothesized is supported by the evidence. Thus, it should be easy to see here that the methodology used by Conservatives to conclude that Communism/Socialism/Marxism always fails is deeply flawed. And we might add that since Conservatives are strong supporters of Capitalism and that Capitalism is the economic system practiced and promoted by those nations that have waged war on left-leaning nations, the objsectivity of those Conservatives who claism that Communism/Socialism/Marxism always has and will fail comes into question.

In addition, left out of this discussion, but of equal importance, is our definition of terms. What is Communism? What is Socialism? What is Marxism? What do they have in common and how are they different? The answers those those questions shall be left as exercises for the reader. However, we should note that at least part of the Conservative mantra is false and this can be shown by counter example. That Communism/Socialism/Marxism always results in tyranny has already been disproven in Nicaragua and could very be proven false by Venezuela. Both nations have working democracies. As for the other possible examples where Communism/Socialism/Marxism may have not produced tyranny and poverty, we will never know. And we will never know because the powers that Conservatives support have overthrown those governments before they had a chance to prove themselves.

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