Why does the Left still think it’s acceptable to be a communist?

Ben Ramanauskas

July 18, 2018

“I’m literally a communist, you idiot.” These words were shouted by Ash Sarkar at Piers Morgan, live on TV. It’s a clip that has now gone viral and has seen Sarkar lauded as a hero by the Left, and even being interviewed by Teen Vogue.

In a way, such a reaction is understandable. Piers Morgan is unlikely to ever win popularity prizes. What’s more, his badgering, straw man style of interviewing was irritating to say the very least.

However, what is surprising – and sickening – is why anyone in the UK would proudly declare themselves to be a communist or happily spend 20 pounds on a t-shirt sporting this phrase. Of course, most teenagers with a flimsy grasp of economics and zero understanding of history might wear one if they were feeling particularly desperate for attention one day. But surely anyone with even the most basic understanding of history over the past 100 years – not least someone who has been invited onto show watched by millions of people – would brush up on their facts.

Communist regimes have been the most bloodthirsty in all of human history. They have been responsible for the deaths of over one hundred million people from 1917 onwards. People have perished in gulags, starved to death or been brutally murdered in the name of communism since the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917.

As such, it is truly baffling as to why people can proudly proclaim themselves to be followers of such a murderous ideology. Communist regimes have killed far more people than even Adolf Hitler – one of the evilest men throughout history – managed. So why the adoration?

One response might be: “That wasn’t real Communism.” This is the refrain often heard when self-proclaimed communists and socialists are confronted with the body count of China, the USSR, and Cambodia (to name just a few). Things were going well with Lenin and Trotsky, but then things went wrong under Stalin, they claim.

However, this is arrant nonsense. Lenin and Trotsky seized the means of production, abolished private property and introduced councils of workers, all of which were called for by Marx. What’s more, they murdered anyone who stood in the way of their attempts to usher in a communist utopia.

It was only after countless of their own people had starved to death in the resulting famine that Lenin introduced his ‘New Economic Policy’, which allowed for some degree of trade. Lenin insisted that this was true communism as the state, on behalf of the workers, still controlled the commanding heights of the economy. Stalin simply continued down the path established by Lenin and Trotsky, and other communist countries also followed this model.

Of course, it did not work. Indeed, whenever countries have pursued communism, they have ended up with mass graves and economic ruin.

But there are also countries which, although they could not be described as communist, have embraced many of Marx’s ideas, such as state control of industry. One such example is the UK. Following the Second World War, politicians from all parties subscribed to the post-war consensus which meant that wages and prices were set by the government and almost all industries were owned by the state.

The result was that the UK found itself on the road to economic ruin. It had gone from one of the wealthiest nations on Earth to the sick man of Europe. Shortages, blackouts, unburied corpses, failing industries, rampant inflation and stagnation: this was Britain under socialism.

And the same has been true wherever it has been tried. Communist policies always lead to countries ending up as economic basket cases. Venezuela serves as a tragic modern day example of this. It is oil-rich and, therefore, should be prosperous, but years of communist policies have taken their toll. Hyperinflation, food shortages and brutal government coercion are what the poor people of Venezuela are forced to endure.

The evidence from history is overwhelming and the conclusion is unavoidable: communism is an evil system. Even when the policies are watered down and not enforced by brutal dictators, economic chaos and misery reign.

However, let’s pretend for a moment that none of this ever happened. How should communism be viewed solely as an ideology, without thinking of practical examples? The answer doesn’t change. For all the talk among communists of equality and freedom, the ideology itself is evil. It does not treat human beings as free moral agents who are capable of making choices for themselves, rather it robs individual freedom and responsibility, with all decisions made by the state. Therefore, there is always the presence of government coercion and force – contrast that with capitalism, which is based on voluntary cooperation between free individuals, and then you truly see the inhumane principles on which communism is based.

In criminal law, there exists a defence of diminished responsibility, which reduces a defendant’s level of culpability, as they are deemed by the state to be incapable of truly understanding the consequences of their actions. Communism offers the opposite diminished responsibility: diminished humanity. To be human is to make choices. Communism, rooted in its belief of compliance at all costs, does not allow for this.

It also reduces the value of human life. Human beings are important and valuable in and of themselves. Regardless of their value to others or to ‘society’, they should be treated with dignity and have their rights respected. Under communism, the individual is not important. Their rights do not matter and their only worth comes from what they can do for the state. They are, ultimately, of no importance within a system that relies on the ends justifying the means. It is, therefore, unsurprising that communists find it so easy to commit atrocities in order to bring about their disturbing dream.

It is often said that communism works in theory but not in practice. This is wrong. It works neither in theory nor practice. What’s more, it is evil in theory and evil in practice. So the next time you see Ash Sarkar on television, spare a thought for the millions of innocent people murdered at the hands of the evil ideology she represents.


Written by Ben Ramanauskas

Ben Ramanauskas is a research economist at Oxford University and a former adviser to the International Trade Secretary.


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