Alternatives to Free Markets… a Commentary by Michael Strong
Posted by andreasw on Oct 28, 2010 at 12:57 am
Michael Strong, Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of the Conscious Capital movement and a good friend of mine, wrote a great article on the Free Market and its alternatives a couple of years ago. It’s a wonderful article that I have read a few times since he first sent it to me. I just did that again as we approach the anniversary of the fall of the Wall:
As we approach November 9, 2009, the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is appropriate to reflect on the extraordinary human capacity for delusion. It is now widely conceded that communist nations murdered tens of millions of people; according to R.J. Rummel, one of the most careful students of democide, communist governments murdered more than 140 million human beings, far more than the 20 million murdered by the Nazis. Yet despite these atrocities, intellectuals celebrated the communists over and over again throughout the 20th century. The sociologist Paul Hollander, a Hungarian scholar who escaped from behind the Iron Curtain in 1956, subsequently built a career documenting these delusions.
A few choice Hollander quotations on the delusions of intellectuals, in memoriam for those who died, from Hollander’s article “Judgments and Misjudgments” in Lee Edwards, editor, The Collapse of Communism:
“It is noteworthy that the most favorable assessments of the Soviet Union prevailed during the early and mid-1930s, the period of the catastrophic collectivization, the famines, the Great Purge, the show trials, mass arrests and murders, and the consolidation of the compulsory cult of Stalin. . . . In a somewhat corresponding manner Western intellectuals’ admiration of communist China peaked during one of the most destructive and bloody chapters of its history: the Cultural Revolution of the late 1960s.” ”The Soviet system, according to Malcolm Cowley, the American writer, “was capable of supplying the moral qualities that writers missed in bourgeois society: comradeship in struggle, the self-imposed discipline, the ultimate purpose . . . the opportunity for heroism and human dignity.” Leon Feuchtwanger, the German writer, rejoiced in the “invigorating atmosphere” of the Soviet Union where he found “clarity and resolution.” John Dewey compared the ethos prevailing in the Soviet Union to “the moving spirit and force of primitive Christianity,” and Edmund Wilson confessed that “you feel in the Soviet Union that you are on the moral top of the world where the light never really goes out.” J.D. Bernal, the British scientist, found “sense of purpose and achievement” and was persuaded that “the cornerstone of the [Soviet] Marxist state was the utilization of human knowledge, science and technique, directly for human welfare.” Particular leaders were also often grotesquely misperceived, among them Stalin, Mao, Castro, Che Guevara, Ho Chi Minh, and the ‘commandantes’ of Nicaragua. Sidney and Beatrice Webb considered Stalin “the duly elected representative of one of the Moscow constituencies to the Supreme Soviet . . . accountable to the representative assembly for all his activities.” Anna Louise Strong was reminded by “Stalin’s method of running a committee . . . of Jane Addams . . . or Lillian D. Wald. . . . They had the same kind of democratically efficient technique, but they used more high pressure than Stalin did.” Ambassador Joseph Davies observed that Stalin’s eyes were exceedingly wise and gentle. A child would like to sit on his lap and a dog would sidle up to him.” Franklin D. Roosevelt, no starry-eyed intellectual, “after his return from Yalta . . . described Stalin to his cabinet as having ‘something else in his being besides this revolutionist, Bolshevik thing’ . . . this might have something to do with Stalin’s earlier training for the ‘priesthood.’ . . . ‘I think that something entered into his nature of the way in which a Christian gentleman should behave.’” Hewlett Johnson, the dean of Canterbury . . . discerned in Mao “an inexpressible look of kindness and sympathy, an obvious preoccupation with the needs of others.”
Rummel estimates that Stalin was responsible for roughly 60 million deaths and Mao for roughly 80 million deaths.
May we not be so deluded again, and may those who bring clarity to our sight be praised and not hounded.
Michael also wrote two interesting books that are worth checking out: