The communist insurgency remains a festering problem of our country. One reason is that some of the ordinary people, “disente,” left-leaning, students and Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) support it. So they believe if socialism was enforced and rich people forced to give to the poor, world problems will be solved. There will be no more violence, greed or hatred. If all people have the same things, they would all have “enough.” With communal property, no one has less or more, no matter their difference in effort. And all will be well. Happy ending. And you need to do it by force, override other people’s rights to themselves, because, if they don’t agree with you, they are evil. Right?
No. Such ideals have been proven to fail, mainly because they ignore natural law and violate human rights.
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First, I believe that private ownership is a natural institution rather than a construct. Without private ownership, there would be no application of a law against stealing. There are things owned that are not meant to be shared. For example, toothbrushes and bath water should not be shared, or germs get spread, especially if one of you has colds. Private ownership is part of the basic needs of security and well-being.
To a point, there is something communal, basically public property. But private ownership is still a basic right, especially for land property and possessions they earn. It is a right to deny others access to one’s belongings. That is the essence of ownership. Because if people just keep having access without restrictions to someone else’s stuff, there will be no end to taking that stuff and depriving that person of their belongings. If everyone owned everything, then they can grab what they “own,” even if someone else needs it more. Forcing people to share is disrespect of another person’s security of person and ownership.
Redistributing property does not assure people becoming equal. Often, this redistribution is done in ignorance of the different needs of people. I believe that difference is the greater realism than sameness in nature. Ignoring it would mean wasting resources, and even giving people something they don’t need, or depriving people of what they need. For example, some people are lactose intolerant and others are not, so you can’t give everyone milk. If you do give that person milk, or force them to drink it, because it is their “entitlement,” you waste some milk and even give that person inconvenience from its effects. Then, what if the other person does not meet their nutritional needs because they’ve been deprived of the usual amount of milk they consume just to “give” to others. Such is the folly of forcing sameness without recognizing people’s different needs. That is another reality communism ignores; everybody is different.
Many believe equality to be the above, making everyone the same or have the same. But I disagree. Equality and sameness should be differentiated. For example, the lactose intolerant person doesn’t need milk, but could have something else. Or another case, similar to what I wrote about on my personal blog, is when one can be satisfied with a one-piece meal chicken, while another needs a two-piece meal chicken. One may be a naturally bigger or taller person than another, so he would eat more. Let’s say they both can afford their meal. So they both deserve satisfaction – that is the equality there. Not having the same amount of stuff, but being satisfied as a result of the stuff they have.
That is the problem with systems like communism and socialism. They assume that human behavior is completely predictable, and that “enough” can be arbitrarily determined without paying attention to individual cases. Even if you have a completely controlled, dictated distribution system to determine which is enough for people, people will not agree on how to define “enough.” It is based on theory that is divorced from reality, in this case the reality of human nature. We saw how this failure happened in countries such as the Soviet Union and Maoist China. Autocratic control often does not lead to sameness and equality. Also, the very encouragement of an armed takeover (revolution) to effect “change” is itself a red flag (pun not intended) that the ideology is likely to fail – because it is all based on trying to shoehorn something that doesn’t fit, no matter how hard you try, so violence comes out of the frustration that it won’t.
While it seems better if the availability of opportunities were the same to all, the results would not be the same. Some people make the right decisions, some don’t. People have to be accorded the rewards or consequences of what they do. One should not save people from the consequences of their actions, because that is interrupting the natural flow of things. The Bible itself says “he who does not work should not eat,” so if a person starves from refusal to work, it is best not to save them from this condition, but let them experience it. If they cannot be convinced by this experience to shape up, then they likely won’t shape up in the long run, and will continue to commit abuse.
Speaking of the Bible, I’ll talk a bit about it because many misuses of Christian doctrine have been used to justify coercion and force the wrong way throughout history. Some use Luke 3:11 (if one has two shirts, let him give one) and other verses to justify socialism and communism. But let’s note something here: real charity is voluntary (God loves a cheerful giver verse). The early Christian chuch was not an autocratic, centrally-planned government dictating what their members should do and give. They simply exhorted and advised members. If someone did not want to give away their extra shirt, they didn’t punish or attack that person. And the early church never abolished private property.
Another inspiration of communism is tribal life of old. Karl Marx saw that some tribes practiced communal property and likely assumed that this was the right state of human society. So he made this part of his ideal society. Local communists probably also looked at pre-Hispanic culture. I was told in history class in Ateneo that communal property was practiced at that time. Some who push that life in pre-Hispanic Philippines was better will cite this. However, if we go back to a tribal institution, it would be a step back, not forward. Thus, private ownership is today universally recognized as a human right because it contributed to society moving forward in the modern age.
Elimination of private ownership will not lead to equality or equitable treatment, because human nature prevents the guarantee that redistributed stuff will go to those who need them. Communal ownership does not instantly foster a sense of community; that sense has to be built up through other means. Human corruption and incompetence will always bust a system that works “in theory.” Often, theories are made without inclusion of all the factors about a certain phenomenon, because, simply, the human mind is unable to keep track of everything.
Speaking of “theory,” that is perhaps the flaws in 19th-century thought and academics. Many theories of old were written to try and explain everything, but this was before empirical studies became common. People like Marx thought they had all the answers, but they are far removed from the actual situation. Lately, I’ve read about middle-range theories and many articles that admit and discuss the gap between theory and practice. Perhaps it’s because Marx, like some members of the academe today (like college “activists”), are cozy in their “ivory towers,” so their knowledge is warped and they come to silly conclusions. Their theories sound grand and appealing to “intellectuals,” but they’re more like pulled out of someone’s arse. Some, so full of themselves, go to the mountains and believe they can apply their ideology there or join someone who can help them make their silly ideas into reality. But instead, they get burned or even killed.
Oh wait… perhaps being freeloaders is the reason some join the NPA. Instead of getting down to work, they want to take over government and then, being the head honchos, order people to give them what they want. Thus, they don’t bring justice, but become the dictators – which already happened in both the Soviet Union and China.
As our webmaster Benign0 said,
the only sustainable way to effect “social justice” is to ensure a governance framework where skill, talent, and hard work are rewarded whilst laziness, stupidity, and dishonesty are punished.
This is possible in a society where private ownership and the free market continue as the norm, and individual rights and responsibility are the basis of freedom.
People of the above persuasions, SJWs, left and all, perhaps have to do a reality check and question the mentality of “I want to change the world.” Perhaps people should stop trying to change the world, and start with themselves first. Besides, many people really live their lives without the rest of the world knowing or feeling anything from them. Let’s be satisfied with our own little spaces, although within those spaces, we can do some good that counts. And, perhaps, drop the attitude of claiming that you know better about another person than himself, so you have the right to dictate him about his life; that is perhaps what gave rise to all the dumb ideologies in the world.
I believe, as my cohorts here do, that what Filipinos embrace as their culture is what actually pulls the country down. And those who seem to be anti-dictators, who may also believe themselves to be “heroes,” are the real dictators.