“It wasn’t real communism.”
This is the argument communists and their sympathizers use as a last line of defense whenever a society that lives by communist principles inevitably collapses. And it’s correct, technically. Real communism has not been tried because it cannot be tried. Communism, as defined by Wikipedia, “is a social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money and the state.” This definition is riddled with numerous contradictions that make it impossible to implement such a system. Therefore, we can only analyze the principles of communism in so far as logical conclusions will allow, that being the implementation of an authoritarian state similar to a theocracy.
“Common ownership of the means of production”
The only way to have a “common ownership of the means of production” is to forcibly seize the property of individuals, regardless of whether or not said property was honestly earned. Force is necessitated because it is understandable that people who have justly earned their property would be reluctant to relinquish it outside of a voluntary exchange. While critical of the use of force in the exploitation of man, communism itself necessitates this practice if it is to have the means of controlling wealth distribution. I refrain from using the term “redistribution of wealth” as the “re” implies all wealth currently in an individual’s possession was merely given to him/her at one point, thus justifying the government seizing that which communists believe was not earned. This idea of collective ownership is founded in communists’ belief that private property is theft. On the other hand, the term theft itself implies private property. You cannot steal “common property” that belongs to everyone as you necessarily belong to the group “everyone” and therefore have a right to use the “common property”. You cannot steal that which belongs to everyone, as it necessarily belongs to you as well.
“The absence of social classes”
Social classes are typically recognized by modern communists in terms of economic status and race, but social classes are not so stringent, especially when observing the modern left. People of all races and economic status on this political spectrum have united in the promotion of communist principles under the guise of “democratic socialism.” If social classes were so strict and uncompromising in their societal hegemony, why would rich white celebrities stand side by side with poor black activists? How could rich black celebrities even exist alongside their poor white activist counterparts if society was divided along these lines? The communist perception of social classes cannot account for such an occurrence. Ultimately, it seems that socioeconomic classes can be formed between groups of people of all racial and economic status, making this concept contradictory as well. In a classically liberal society, the right to freedom of association seems more effective at eliminating oppressive social classes than communism has been or ever will be.
“The absence of money”
The absence of money at its foundation is the absence of our ability to form values. Money is a receipt of the value of your physical and/or mental labors, not solely determined by you, but by the individual who pays you. It is a voluntary agreement of value between two or more parties. Whereas every employer and employee can negotiate the value of one’s labor, communism dictates no one should be allowed to determine value ‘arbitrarily’…except for the government. You can’t refuse to work because in a communist society, everyone must work for the sake of everyone else. If even one person is allowed to shirk their duties, why wouldn’t anyone else do the same considering their rewards would be equal? You can’t refuse based on the fact that you believe your labor isn’t worth the “pay” you are receiving, because then you are necessarily using selfish values to override the “will of the people”. Negotiation indicates a conflict of values, and anyone who attempts to assert their own values is inherently a threat to the “common good.” Even a group of individuals acting in what they perceive to be their best interest, if it conflicts with the goals of “society” as determined by the state, are just as guilty as a single individual who undermines this “common good.” If individuals and even groups cannot resist the imposition of values upon themselves, what grants the state or the majority, which is simply another group, the right to impose their own values on others? In this society that seeks to eliminate the measure of values through money calculations, communists must replace this with the imposition through force of the values determined by the small group of state members.
“The absence of the state”
There cannot be an absence of the state, because the state is a necessity in controlling the means of production and the people in a communist society, as previously shown in our examination of money and values. Without the threat of force from the state, there is no impetus for producing value in a society that provides everything for you. Such promises of universal wealth and services inevitably require someone to produce wealth and provide services. In order to regulate such wealth distribution, the state leaders must serve as the moral, social, political, and economic authorities of the land who must arbitrarily decide, according to their own selfish values, which people must be the producers and which can be the sloth-like benefactors. In order for universal services to be provided, people must be forced to serve, which is slavery in essence if not in name. Any such measures are justified simply by appointing the state as representatives of the “greater good”. The greater good as determined by themselves—their good. Therefore, anything done in the name of their good, IS good, no matter whose rights are trampled upon. This implies that members of the state must have a will of their own. A communist world where people freely abdicate their free will is inherently contradictory, as such a world requires at least one or more leaders to retain their ability to make choices and guide the mindless masses. If everyone is equal, how do we determine who we should appoint as those anointed leaders?
Furthermore, such a precedent establishes the leader(s) as an individual(s) who cannot be questioned. His/Her will be done. This is the root of communism’s closet admiration of organized religion that they so fervently frame as resentment. Communism’s interpretation of religion as the “opiate of the masses” is exactly what it wishes to exploit in order to establish itself as the highest moral good. Communists want to kill God so that they can become God. Without an objective morality, the leader determines good and evil. If the leader is recognized as the ultimate good, then all who oppose him/her must inherently be evil. Unlike organized religions like Christianity, communism fails in this venture because it provides no reason for its morality. Priests, in my experience, make a point during sermons to explain WHY their morals are good. They do not simply throw out tangible threats of coercion by themselves or their constituents such as “go out and give to the poor or you’ll be sent to the Gulag!” A priest might claim God will judge you, but you will ultimately have the freedom to act as you see fit in your life. To an atheist, surely such promises of punishment in the afterlife are harmless if they do not believe in a god.
So now one must wonder, which society that preached communist principles sustained itself without using any of the means which have been previously mentioned? Furthermore, if one still believes that real communism hasn’t been tried, he/she must look at the core principles of communism and ask, how can these possibly be achieved WITHOUT infringing upon individual human rights? Their answer would almost certainly be “democratic socialism.” If individual rights are subject to a public vote, however, they would not be rights at all. Democratic socialism is simply a means to a communist end. It is the choice to give up the opportunity to choose ever again. In a “perfect world,” they say, everyone would work together toward the “common good.” A perfect world for who, you might ask? Why, for the false god who needs no wits, whips, or works to convince the rest of humanity to obey. A world that demands of this “god” no effort in maintaining his/her grand vision. A “god” that lays claim to omniscience and omnipotence, but can only safely and effectively rule if his/her followers are mindless and harmless. A perfect contradiction.
The heart and soul of communism is this: that you are owed everything in this world in exchange for nothing at all. After all, what god would give up omnipotence to live, work, and suffer through the life of an ordinary man? I know one off the top of my head, but that is beside the point. For a group of people so devoted to the notion of equality, it is ironic how resentful communists are to the idea that they should be considered equal to any other man.