Quote of the Day: Communists and Anti-Communists

 

“How do you tell a communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.” – Ronald Wilson Reagan

Communism only works on the household level. The traditional family is run as a communist society: from each according to his abilities and to each according to his needs. In a functional family, it succeeds and succeeds powerfully. Dad and Mom provide the resources and distribute them as needed. The children grow up to be productive adults.

But it stops at the family. It does not scale. Dad and mom save part of their surplus as a reserve against family emergencies. That reserve is invested to create greater reserves. It is not distributed to the general public according to their needs. And the parents use the ultimate fruit of investing that reserve to benefit themselves and their children. This is not selfish. It is prudent.

It is unsurprising the young, especially those raised in privileged families,  are seduced by socialism and communism. It was how their homes were run. They don’t understand why it should not work in the broader world, especially if they lack the introspection to step outside their personal life experiences.  A superficial reading of Marx and Lenin confirms their expectations, expectations based on prior experience. You have to be able to step back and play the Thomas Sowell game of “And Then What?”* to see the flaws inherent in communism and socialism. Or you have to have lived in a macro-socialist/communist society and experienced its true horrors. You have to understand it to hate it.

* Thomas Sowell had a professor who would, when Sowell proposed a simple solution to a complex question, would ask Sowell “And then what?” Sowell would be forced to explore the possible outcomes and explain those. Then the professor would again ask “And then what?” repeating to a conclusion. This exercise forced Sowell to follow a hypothesis to the end, which revealed its ultimate strengths and weaknesses. Sowell used the technique among his own students, calling it the “And Then What?” game.

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  1. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B
    @LillyB

    And how do you tell a conservative? It’s someone who has read Thomas Sowell. To read Thomas Sowell is to understand him.

    • #1
  2. American Abroad Thatcher
    American Abroad
    @AmericanAbroad

    I think the point that communism works within the family is an important one.  We all understand that family works on certain dynamics which don’t scale outside the family unit.  Its not like anti-communists are aginst cooperation and sharing; we just don’t think it makes sense to treat a total stranger as your own son or daughter.  

    • #2
  3. American Abroad Thatcher
    American Abroad
    @AmericanAbroad

    Lilly B (View Comment):

    And how do you tell a conservative? It’s someone who has read Thomas Sowell. To read Thomas Sowell is to understand him.

    Insightful comment.  Marx is virtually impenetrable.  Sowell writes clearly.  If only more people would read Sowell!

    • #3
  4. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Reagan and Sowell in one conversation starter? Now, that’s winning!


    This is the Quote of the Day, an ongoing project to help get more voices on the site. It can be the easiest way to start a conversation on Ricochet. (Some people do put in a lot more effort, of course.) Our sign-up sheet for December is here and still has six openings starting with the 23rd. We welcome new participants and new members to Ricochet to share their favorite quotations.

    Another ongoing project to encourage new voices is our Group Writing Project. December’s theme is ‘Tis the Season. If you’re looking to share your own thoughts rather than those of others and have some ideas about the holiday(s) season we are entering, why not sign up there?

    • #4
  5. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    The Left’s current answer to the “And Then What” game is to start accusing the questioner of being racist.

    If facts, reason, and logic keep kicking your ideology in the teeth, Sunshine, it is not the fault of facts, reason, and logic.

    • #5
  6. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    American Abroad (View Comment):

    I think the point that communism works within the family is an important one. We all understand that family works on certain dynamics which don’t scale outside the family unit. Its not like anti-communists are aginst cooperation and sharing; we just don’t think it makes sense to treat a total stranger as your own son or daughter.

    It’s just that anti-communists know that mandated sharing is not sharing at all.

    • #6
  7. Ole Summers Member
    Ole Summers
    @OleSummers

    I believe that another point is that in the best functioning families the “communist factor” decreases as the child gets older and takes on more and more for himself (opps, him/herself!) and is more able to work with responsibility on their own. As they grow their contribution is more and more a result of that learned responsibility.

    • #7
  8. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Ole Summers (View Comment):

    I believe that another point is that in the best functioning families the “communist factor” decreases as the child gets older and takes on more and more for himself (opps, him/herself!) and is more able to work with responsibility on their own. As they grow their contribution is more and more a result of that learned responsibility.

    I think that tends to be more true in working and middle-class families than in those of the rich or upper-middle class. Often, the children of privilege are discouraged from taking part-time jobs or earning their own money. The family has plenty, and doing more and more for one’s self tends to involve using family resources to take trips, indulge in extreme sports, or otherwise “discover” yourself. 

    (I fought this battle with my late wife. She would argue the kids did not need to work because they did not need the money. I counterargued they needed to work to learn working. It was one of the few arguments with her I won.)

    • #8
  9. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Percival (View Comment):

    The Left’s current answer to the “And Then What” game is to start accusing the questioner of being racist.

    If facts, reason, and logic keep kicking your ideology in the teeth, Sunshine, it is not the fault of facts, reason, and logic.

    There seems to be a particular problem that makes this process of discussion, argument, debate, and explanation using facts, reason, and logic practically unworkable in today’s world. I place the source in public education and academia supported by news, social and entertainment media. I don’t see this changing without taking back the education process. 

    • #9
  10. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Ole Summers (View Comment):

    I believe that another point is that in the best functioning families the “communist factor” decreases as the child gets older and takes on more and more for himself (opps, him/herself!) and is more able to work with responsibility on their own. As they grow their contribution is more and more a result of that learned responsibility.

    Which is why communists want to destroy the family. 

    • #10
  11. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    American Abroad (View Comment):

    I think the point that communism works within the family is an important one. We all understand that family works on certain dynamics which don’t scale outside the family unit. Its not like anti-communists are aginst cooperation and sharing; we just don’t think it makes sense to treat a total stranger as your own son or daughter.

    It seems the dynamic your describe are why “family farms” and other family businesses are rarely more than subsistence enterprises: if well run by knowledgeable farmer/owners they support the family, more or less comfortably, and a limited number of employees. They do not – generally  – accumulate capital. The “family farmers” in our family only began accumulating capital – and buying more land – when government subsidies made it advantageous for them. Boy have they done well under the ethanol regulations. But – confusing a good system for a family with one that works for all is crazed. And families are generally willing participants, whereas citizens under communism rarely are. The family system seems to break down when subsequent generations don’t want the slow knowledge accumulation and working hard with a passion for later benefit part.   

    • #11
  12. RyanFalcone Member
    RyanFalcone
    @RyanFalcone

    As I look at people who claim to be “anti-Fascist” and “anti-Racist” in 2020, I’m not sure what anti-Communist would be anymore?

    • #12
  13. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Seawriter: Or you have to have lived in a macro-socialist/communist society and experienced its true horrors. You have to understand it to hate it.

    Like Californians?

    • #13
  14. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Seawriter: Or you have to have lived in a macro-socialist/communist society and experienced its true horrors. You have to understand it to hate it.

    Like Californians?

    Pretty much.

    I like to tell people it is not the Californians coming to Texas that have the state trending blue. They tend to vote red. It is the native-born Texans who have never experienced the joys of Progressivism who are being seduced by the promises of the Blue side. This goes double for the younger voters.

    • #14
  15. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    This goes double for the younger voters.

    Who are indoctrinated with only this in the public schools and at UT-Austin.

    • #15
  16. CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Thread Hijacker
    @CarolJoy

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    Ole Summers (View Comment):

    I believe that another point is that in the best functioning families the “communist factor” decreases as the child gets older and takes on more and more for himself (opps, him/herself!) and is more able to work with responsibility on their own. As they grow their contribution is more and more a result of that learned responsibility.

    Which is why communists want to destroy the family.

    The COVID crisis is uniquely  geared to destroy the family structure.

    In Calif, state of Washington and Minnesota, CPS is already empowered to come into a family, and if the adults are testing COVID positive, while the children test negative, the children can be  be given to the state.

    On June 12th a Calif parent fought to have his children placed under the supervision of relatives he had selected, and whom his children were comfortable with. He insisted on this rather than letting Social Services take them. The judge was disinterested. The  new “law” on this  was the law for this judge, even though it wasn’t a law – just a dictate from public health officials.

    • #16
  17. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    This goes double for the younger voters.

    Who are indoctrinated with only this in the public schools and at UT-Austin.

    Blame the Republican’ts who have controlled state government for long enough to raise a better generation through imposed curricula and teacher selection/promotion rules.

    • #17
  18. Ansonia Member
    Ansonia
    @Ansonia

    Very engaging post, Seawriter, but I think I disagree: Often when young people raised in privileged families are genuinely seduced by socialism, it’s because they weren’t raised in families in which family members looked out for each other that way. I think, like the poor, they unconsciously want the government to do what their families haven’t done for a generation or two. 

    • #18
  19. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Ole Summers (View Comment):

    I believe that another point is that in the best functioning families the “communist factor” decreases as the child gets older and takes on more and more for himself (opps, him/herself!) and is more able to work with responsibility on their own. As they grow their contribution is more and more a result of that learned responsibility.

    I think that tends to be more true in working and middle-class families than in those of the rich or upper-middle class. Often, the children of privilege are discouraged from taking part-time jobs or earning their own money. The family has plenty, and doing more and more for one’s self tends to involve using family resources to take trips, indulge in extreme sports, or otherwise “discover” yourself.

    (I fought this battle with my late wife. She would argue the kids did not need to work because they did not need the money. I counterargued they needed to work to learn working. It was one of the few arguments with her I won.)

    If you have only breathed the rarefied air at the top of Maslow’s pyramid, you will be unprepared for the cold wind and high pressure towards the base in later life. 

    • #19
  20. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    TBA (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Ole Summers (View Comment):

    I believe that another point is that in the best functioning families the “communist factor” decreases as the child gets older and takes on more and more for himself (opps, him/herself!) and is more able to work with responsibility on their own. As they grow their contribution is more and more a result of that learned responsibility.

    I think that tends to be more true in working and middle-class families than in those of the rich or upper-middle class. Often, the children of privilege are discouraged from taking part-time jobs or earning their own money. The family has plenty, and doing more and more for one’s self tends to involve using family resources to take trips, indulge in extreme sports, or otherwise “discover” yourself.

    (I fought this battle with my late wife. She would argue the kids did not need to work because they did not need the money. I counterargued they needed to work to learn working. It was one of the few arguments with her I won.)

    If you have only breathed the rarefied air at the top of Maslow’s pyramid, you will be unprepared for the cold wind and high pressure towards the base in later life.

    Confucius?  Sun Tzu?  Kai Lung?

    • #20
  21. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Flicker (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Ole Summers (View Comment):

    I believe that another point is that in the best functioning families the “communist factor” decreases as the child gets older and takes on more and more for himself (opps, him/herself!) and is more able to work with responsibility on their own. As they grow their contribution is more and more a result of that learned responsibility.

    I think that tends to be more true in working and middle-class families than in those of the rich or upper-middle class. Often, the children of privilege are discouraged from taking part-time jobs or earning their own money. The family has plenty, and doing more and more for one’s self tends to involve using family resources to take trips, indulge in extreme sports, or otherwise “discover” yourself.

    (I fought this battle with my late wife. She would argue the kids did not need to work because they did not need the money. I counterargued they needed to work to learn working. It was one of the few arguments with her I won.)

    If you have only breathed the rarefied air at the top of Maslow’s pyramid, you will be unprepared for the cold wind and high pressure towards the base in later life.

    Confucius? Sun Tzu? Kai Lung?

    Robert G.

    • #21
  22. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Arahant (View Comment):
    Robert G

    Okay, you got me.  Which one?

    • #22
  23. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    Robert G

    Okay, you got me. Which one?

    TBA.

    • #23
  24. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    A family is not marxist.  Marxists, at best and when young enough to know nothing, think broader society is a family.  Small primitive tribes were extended families but that broke down quickly when they got big or settled and planted corn. 

    • #24
  25. KevinKrisher Coolidge
    KevinKrisher
    @KevinKrisher

    Some of the attraction of communism and socialism is based on a confusion of cause and effect: If a healthy family creates an environment that is mutually supportive, then a socialist erroneously concludes that forcing people to be mutually supportive will create a society that functions like a healthy family. Logicians call this fallacy “post hoc ergo propter hoc.”

    The most disconcerting thing that I have heard socialists say is that they want to use government to create love.

    • #25
  26. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Ole Summers (View Comment):

    I believe that another point is that in the best functioning families the “communist factor” decreases as the child gets older and takes on more and more for himself (opps, him/herself!) and is more able to work with responsibility on their own. As they grow their contribution is more and more a result of that learned responsibility.

    I think that tends to be more true in working and middle-class families than in those of the rich or upper-middle class. Often, the children of privilege are discouraged from taking part-time jobs or earning their own money. The family has plenty, and doing more and more for one’s self tends to involve using family resources to take trips, indulge in extreme sports, or otherwise “discover” yourself.

    (I fought this battle with my late wife. She would argue the kids did not need to work because they did not need the money. I counterargued they needed to work to learn working. It was one of the few arguments with her I won.)

    If you have only breathed the rarefied air at the top of Maslow’s pyramid, you will be unprepared for the cold wind and high pressure towards the base in later life.

    Confucius? Sun Tzu? Kai Lung?

    Robert G.

    Jackie Chan.

    • #26
  27. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    American Abroad (View Comment):

    I think the point that communism works within the family is an important one. We all understand that family works on certain dynamics which don’t scale outside the family unit. Its not like anti-communists are aginst cooperation and sharing; we just don’t think it makes sense to treat a total stranger as your own son or daughter.

    I also frequently point out to my kids that our family is not a democracy, it’s a totalitarian dictatorship.  Just like any Communist system.

     

    • #27
  28. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    American Abroad (View Comment):

    I think the point that communism works within the family is an important one. We all understand that family works on certain dynamics which don’t scale outside the family unit. Its not like anti-communists are aginst cooperation and sharing; we just don’t think it makes sense to treat a total stranger as your own son or daughter.

    I also frequently point out to my kids that our family is not a democracy, it’s a totalitarian dictatorship. Just like any Communist system.

    I think of socialism as a modernized feudalism. Just changing the selection process for being a lord of the manor. I prefer the feudal model of family over socialism, because like families feudalism ran on obligation, tradition and faith.

    It also sounds better, that I am the king of my domain, and not the commissar.

    • #28
  29. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    American Abroad (View Comment):

    I think the point that communism works within the family is an important one. We all understand that family works on certain dynamics which don’t scale outside the family unit. Its not like anti-communists are aginst cooperation and sharing; we just don’t think it makes sense to treat a total stranger as your own son or daughter.

    I also frequently point out to my kids that our family is not a democracy, it’s a totalitarian dictatorship. Just like any Communist system.

    A benevolent dictatorship with totalitarian tendencies.

    • #29
  30. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):
    we just don’t think it makes sense to treat a total stranger as your own son or daughter.

    Caveat: government should not force you to treat a stranger like family. 

    The power and value of such a decision flows from the heart of the giver of such love. 

    To mandate that, by force, is destructive. 

    Government mandates incentivize the minimums, not maximums. 

     

    • #30