When I wish to study with the goal of confirming some important ideas and concepts, I have found that an effective technique can be to read authoritative literature in the opposite direction to determine if I can effectively rebut their important concepts.
As a committed libertarian, it occurs to me that the most startlingly glaring threats to individual liberty would come from the one internationally supported political philosophy most divergent from libertarianism. I believe that political philosophy has best been expressed by the most honoured treatise of the international Marxist-Socialist movement, “The Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx.
Within that text, on pages 55-56 of the “Gateway Edition” published by the “Henry Regnery Company”, Marx lays out the ten goals of the Communist movement. By examining whether society is moving toward those goals or away from them, we might determine if the opposite philosophy, that of libertarianism, is gaining or losing ground. Ergo, when Communism is advancing, it would appear libertarianism would be in retreat, and vice-versa. So, let us identify those ten identities and ask whether society has been moving toward their adoption – or their rejection.
1 – “Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.”
While we still retain the rights to purchase and own private property, governments have enacted so many laws and regulations regarding the disposition of property that they have, indeed, established growing control over property.
2 – “A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.”
Regarding this goal, the communists can take great satisfaction that it has been achieved in one nation after another around the globe.
3 – “Abolition of all rights of inheritance.”
We have a ’mixed bag’ in this category as to date only the estates of the wealthy have been subject to inheritance taxes’. However, it is interesting to note the relentless opposition of the Left to any attempt to reduce inheritance taxation which is already on the books.
4 – “Confiscation of all the property of emigrants and rebels.”
To date, in Western nations, it would appear there has been little actual progress toward this goal.
5 – “Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.”
Here we must note an almost total victory for communist/socialist forces as during the past century or more we note the establishment of the American Federal Reserve Bank, the European Central Bank, The Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and the Bank of the People’s Republic of China which, in combination, control virtually all currency on earth. Creation of actual currency (always ‘fiat’ or ’unbacked’) now rests in the hands of government bodies and private money backed by gold and silver has been officially banished from this Earth.
6 – “Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.”
This is another goal which has been almost totally fulfilled. Virtually all means of’ communication and transport’ are now owned outright by the State or are fully regulated.
7 – Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State…”
Here the success level is only partial. While many nations such as Venezuela, Cuba and Zimbabwe have adopted this concept and others such as post-war Britain have experimented with nationalization of industry, for the most part in major capitalist nations, private ownership of industry remains the norm.
8 – “Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.”
Although Communist nations such as USSR and China have periodically advanced the concept of government collective farms, and although the trade union movement – regulated by government – once enjoyed high popularity, the power of collective government organization of labour actually appears to be in retreat in this time period.
9 – “Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries…”
This concept, along with the idea of a forced redistribution of population between town and country is seldom discussed at present and therefore appears to be currently quite irrelevant.
10 – “Free education for all children in public schools…”
I believe that within this category, the world of international Communism/Socialism has achieved its greatest success. Not only has the idea of government-run public education attained almost total positive recognition, but that recognition has enabled the widespread promotion of Leftist/Socialist ideas to be imposed on impressionable young people – and has also allowed for the repression of truly free markets, capitalist concepts and philosophies related to individual liberty and individual responsibility.
Left unchecked, this success alone could prove to be THE major force in re-educating our total societies toward the acceptance of political philosophies which are anathema to the libertarian mind.
Overall, I believe the concepts expressed in “The Communist Manifesto” have enjoyed some major successes through the years, and given the strong influence over the education of our youth by organizations such as the BCTF (B.C. Teachers Federation), we may indeed see further movement in coming years toward the ‘Manifesto’s aims.
Unless, that is, we take to heart the words of Winston Churchill in his famous address following
Neville Chamberlain’s return from Munich in late 1938 when he – Chamberlain – held in his hands the document he described as “Peace in our times.” After thoroughly rebutting all of Chamberlain’s arguments, Churchill pointed out the savagely negative path Britain had adopted and how it was likely to lead to terrifying consequences, unless:
“…by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigor, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.”
My own view is simple enough. If we don’t take such stands in the most effective manner possible – and quickly – we may well live to see the day when there are few if any individual liberties remaining at all.