Monday, July 6, 2009

Feudalism all over again?

A few weeks okay I was struck by a thought and jotted it down in one of my many notebooks:

"It occurs to me that socialism in all it's forms (Communism, Marxism, Leninism, Maoism, [National Socialism,] etc.) is nothing more than a rejection of human progress and a digression to feudalism."

Now, a common critique of Capitalism is that wealth, and by default power, is concentrated into a small segment of the populations and that segment of the population will use their wealth and power to see that the gap between themselves and the rest of the population continues to increase for their own nefarious ends. Now, I'd point out that a real capitalist society has never existed, but that's another thought all together.

Now, there is a gap, and from all tell a growing one, between the wealthy and middle to working class in the United States. I don't deny it, and I don't feel it needs to be defended. Some of those people are crooks, some of them are moochers, but quite a few of them earned their wealth.

Anyway, I am forced to ask, where is wealth and power concentrated into the hands of the fewest number of people? And what is the, ahem, job title of these people?

Let's just think about the former Soviet Union, shall we? From top to bottom of the government wealth and power increased. The purpose of the government was to see to the 'best interest' of the proletariat (serfs). The prols did most of the work, made up the bulk of the military, and in turn were ruled over by political officers and the Politburo. The Politburo is in turn ruled by a small council whose most powerful member is the chairman (king), the other council members being those with many supporters in the general Politburo (liege lords and their retainers, anyone?) The more men loyal to you, the more power you had, etc. etc.

If you look at the feudal system its stated purpose was for militarily strong men to protect weaker men from other military strong men. You give me a little of your food or other product of your labors, and I'll keep this other guy from stealing the rest. A little time with your nose in a history book will show you that in most cases it was nothing more than extortion (one thug takes what he wants from you, he leaves you just enough to survive and produce more, and protects you from other thugs in order to ensure that he doesn't have to produce for himself).

Socialism is exactly the same. The leaders of a socialist society take what they want from the general population in the name of fairness and to 'spread the wealth.' But in the end, they are the only ones to benefit in any real way, for it is they who decide who 'needs' what. The people at the bottom get just enough to survive...for a while they may even get enough to survive comfortably. All of their 'needs' are met...just barely.

Oh, you might think, "Well, the United States is a capitalist country, and we're not much better off than that?"

You might be that ignorant. If so, do one thing for me: the next time you get a paystub, take a long look at it. Pay particular attention to the line that says "Social Security" and notice the deduction from your actual pay. Capitalism, my ass. Oh, and bear in mind what happens if you refuse to pay that. Why, the same things that happens when the serf refused to give up a portion of his crops: either prison, or death.

Who decides what can be produced? Who decides what can be sold, or bought? Who can tell a business that their prices are too high AND hold them criminally liable for those high prices (you, the individual can refuse to buy if you think the price is too high, but you can't put a shopkeeper in jail for it, can you?)

No comments: