Draft Afterword: Socialism

30 Nov

Hi, everyone

This is a draft afterword – it isn’t finalised yet.  Comments and thoughts would be welcome.

Afterword for BAC

Anybody else could have told me this in advance, but I was blinded by theory … I had allowed myself more of a creed than scientific intelligence can justify.

-Bertrand Russell

Why did Chernobyl explode?

I could give, if you like, a complex technical explanation of what people think went wrong, inside the reactor, on that fateful night.  The story of precisely what happened, from a scientific point of view, is quite interesting.  But, as a writer, I’ve always been more interested in the social-political explanations.  Why was the disaster – or something like it – practically inevitable?  And why did things go so badly wrong?

There were, as I see it, five interlocking factors that ensured there would be a disaster and, worse, that the system would be unable to handle it.

First, the reactor design was very poor.  The Russians skipped over better designs, both home-grown and stolen, in order to produce a beast of a reactor capable of provided unprecedented amounts of power for the Soviet grid.  This was at least partly a recognition of shortages within the Soviet system – they cut production costs wherever possible – and partly a belief they needed the reactor up and running as quickly as possible.  They failed to learn lessons from earlier accidents, even ones that had taken place outside the USSR, and ensured eventual disaster.

Second, the construction itself was very poor.  Components from the factories would arrive in very poor condition, forcing the construction crews to tear many of them down and put them back together again.  Specialised equipment was lacking at all levels, ensuring the operators couldn’t react quickly when placed under stress; poor construction ensured that the early problems led rapidly and inevitably to a string of failures that caused disaster.

Third, the operators themselves were poorly trained – they barely knew how to control the reactor, let alone the underlying rational behind their instructions – and not encouraged to learn anything outside their fields.  There was no comprehensive attempt to learn lessons from earlier accidents, even ones that had happened to comparable reactor designs.  This was pervasive at all levels.  Even Anatoly Dyatlov, who was supervising the fateful test, admitted there were things he didn’t understand about the reactor (although that might have been in hindsight).  When faced with an unprecedented situation, the operators made a string of mistakes that led to disaster.

Fourth, the plant and crew were under immense pressure to deliver the goods – i.e. power – to the local grid.  Production quotas were high, with too many workers being heavily overworked and the test itself delayed repeatedly until the operators on duty were tired and unable to think straight.  To make this worse, the managers were also under pressure and forced their subordinates to press ahead even though events were already spiralling out of control.  (The real-life Dyatlov wasn’t as bad as his HBO counterpart, but he did force the operators to continue with the test or risk losing their jobs.)  And so they plunged down the road to disaster.

Fifth – and perhaps the most dangerous of all – there was a culture of lies woven into the very roots of soviet culture.  Head Offices would set impossible quotas, which managers would claim to meet; Head Offices wouldn’t look too closely for fear of uncovering problems that would make them look bad.  Everyone lied, to the point the KGB had to use its spy satellites to monitor crop production right across the USSR.  People who tried to tell the truth were ignored or silenced.  Indeed, after the first explosion, there were government officials who honestly believed the whole disaster was a minor hiccup and that Reactor Number Four would be back in action at any moment.  Given that Reactor Number Four was in pieces, with the remains of the core burning with a radioactive fire, this appears unbelievable.  But it remained true for far too long.  Without proper information, the government couldn’t make proper judgements and thus couldn’t cope with the disaster.

Even after the true scale of the disaster had been recognised, the soviets kept lying.  They tried to cover up the disaster, then minimised it even after the first traces of radioactivity had been detected outside the USSR.  It rapidly became impossible to take their word for anything.  Their own people were convinced – rightly – that they were being lied to, that the disaster had been far greater than they’d been told.  And, when things had finally calmed down, the soviets kept lying.  The story they told about how a simple test had gone so badly wrong was, at best, dangerously incomplete.  It wasn’t until after the Cold War had finally come to an end that the world realised how close the Russians had come to total disaster.

It’s easy to say that these factors were inevitable themselves, and the Russians simply got very unlucky.  But what made these factors inevitable was communism itself.  The system was steadily strangling the life out of the Russian people.  Living in an environment where honesty was punished and lying was rewarded, there was no incentive to rock the boat by raising concerns … indeed, even trying to alert the authorities to the potential for disaster, or discuss the problems with communism itself, could be fatal.  The bureaucracy had taken on a life of its own.   Unaccountable, practically uncontrollable, it ensured disaster would strike and, when it did, that the system would be unable to cope with it.

And all of these problems were rooted in a single factor: communism itself.

***

There is a saying, attributed to various different people, that goes like this.  “He who is not a socialist at twenty has no heart, but he who is still a socialist at thirty has no brain.”  There is a great deal of truth to this.  On paper, socialism (which leads to communism) appears a great idea.  A more equal distribution of production seems idyllic.  And yet, every attempt to impose a socialistic system on anything other than a very small scale – where everyone can verify for themselves that the system is indeed equal – has failed spectacularly.  Where people can, they walk away; when they can’t escape, they grow bitter and disillusioned and effectively stop doing more than the bare minimum to survive.

This is perhaps unsurprising.  The basic building blocks of socialistic thought were devised by intellectuals – Karl Marx was a university professor as well as a radical – who had relatively little experience of the outside world.  Their theories took everything into account, apart from human nature itself.  They had no laboratory to test their work – or chose to ignore examples from earlier eras – and thus were unable to grasp the problems, let alone deal with them.  And, as later socialists tried to put theory into practice, they discovered the only way to get vast numbers of people to cooperate in their own destruction was through force.  It isn’t a coincidence that building socialism in Russia and China required mass murder on a scale that made Hitler look like an amateur. 

The core of the problem with socialism/communism lies in human nature.  People are not selfish, by and large, but they are self-interested.  They work for reward and they expect, when they work at a higher level, that they will receive a higher level of reward.  A farmer who grows extra crops, for example, wants to sell them for a little extra profit.  If that incentive is taken away – and it is, under communism – the farmer has no reason to grow more than he needs to satisfy his family.  This problem pervades socialistic and communistic societies.  When there is no link between hard work and reward, workers stop working.  Worse, if it looks like a lazy worker gets the exact same reward as someone who works overtime five days a week, it starts wearing down the social contract.  The lazy worker doesn’t work, while the overtime worker loses any desire to continue.  And so production steadily starts to drop.

This leads to further problems that are not immediately apparent.  An engineer who comes up with a new widget expects recognition and reward.  He loses all incentive to continue innovating when his company steals the patent (and the credit).  The Soviet Union lagged behind the United States, at least in part, because innovation was not always rewarded.  This ensured that Soviet engineering would always be primitive, thus the joke about the only truly brilliant product of the Soviet Union being the AK-47 (which is a remarkably simple weapon, which is why it sells so well).  Like most such jokes, it’s funny because there’s a great deal of truth in it.

Worse, the development of socialism requires a massive bureaucracy.  Bureaucrats rarely know anything like enough about industries to govern them effectively … and the USSR bureaucracy was trying to govern an entire country!  The planners couldn’t have hoped to rationalise the entire economy, even if their subordinates hadn’t been lying to them.  They set targets, rather than giving the producers their heads and allowing them to compete openly; they rewarded mythical successes and punished what failures came to their attention.  The net result was massive shortages of just about everything, from food and housing to computers and vital components, and a pervasive corruption that was summed up by a truly cynical saying: “they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work.”

If all of this wasn’t bad enough, bureaucracies are very bad at admitting their mistakes, even as they try to expand their power.  As Mike Williamson put it “any government-supported system is by definition government controlled and therefore authoritative and subject to abuse without possibility of objection.”  The idea that someone might object to becoming part of a socialistic society is unthinkable to them, at least in part because an example of a working non-socialist society will lure away the people the socialist society desperately needs (even as it brutalises them).  Socialists, faced with the choice between accepting dissent and crushing it, inevitably move to crush it.  Independent businesses and farms will be forcibly collectivised, state-run unions will control the workers, the media will be censored, ordinary people will be disarmed and the net result is utter devastation.  The famines that killed millions in Russia and China occurred because the government bureaucracy destroyed all incentive to produce food.  It’s quite notable – at least to those who care to see – that Chinese production skyrocketed when they made genuine reforms.  The Soviet Union, which had enough farmland to become a net exporter of food, was forced instead to import grain from the class enemy (i.e. America.)

Put bluntly, socialists injure the golden goose – and communists kill it – and then wonder why gold production has fallen or stopped completely.

But this isn’t the worst of it.  A socialist party may start with good intentions.  However, the methods they may have to use to get into power – and then implement changes that are obviously destructive and therefore resisted – will lead to corruption.  The temptation to use force will get stronger and stronger – and, once that line is crossed, it will become easier to cross it again.  The party will need security forces to secure its rule, spies and counterintelligence agents to deploy against enemies foreign and domestic.  This puts incredible power in the hands of the enforcers, power that an ambitious man can use to make himself unquestioned ruler of the state.  Stalin became a dictator because he worked his way up, carefully manoeuvring until all real power rested in his hands; others, too, have taken advantage of socialist weaknesses – and the urgent need to build enforcement arms – to make themselves masters of all they surveyed.  It is no coincidence that the true believers tend to be the first ones purged, when the dictator takes control. They’re the ones who might be able to challenge him on a legalistic level, threatening to turn the party against him.  But most of them don’t realise what they’ve unleashed until it’s too late. 

It is often argued that communism simply wasn’t done right.  This is, in one sense, true.  But it is also true to say that communism cannot be done right.  Human nature precludes it from working on anything other than a very small scale.  The bigger the system, the greater the chance of the rulers forgetting what’s important and thus corruption eventually bringing the entire structure crashing down.

It’s often alleged that socialism and communism are morally superior to nationalism and fascism.  But, in truth, the only real difference between communism and fascism is the lies told to maintain the system.

And when people stop believing those lies, they stop believing in the system too.

***

With all of this in mind, it seems incredible that anyone could believe in a socialist system, let alone work to impose one.  In the early days of the USSR, western intellectuals could – perhaps – be forgiven for not realising the truth behind the Potemkin Villages they were shown.  One might also accept that the US government needed to convince the population to support the USSR during World War Two, thus the acceptance of blatantly-false misrepresentations of life in Soviet Russia in Song of Russia and other motion pictures.  The Soviet Union was not a common tourist destination – and tourists were often carefully steered so they only saw what their minders wanted them to see – and there was no shortage of apologists ready to explain or gloss over things that might have unsettled people (the invasion of Finland in 1939, for example, or the brutal suppression of freedom in Eastern Europe).  And yet, now the Cold War is over, socialism appears to be on the rise?  Why?

One possible answer, of course, lies in intellectualism.  The loudest proponents of socialism – the ones who see themselves as the natural leaders, although they don’t put it that way – have little experience of life outside a university campus.  They see socialism as an ideal system and don’t see the downsides, ironically using the fruits of capitalism – the internet, smartphones, etc – to spread the word.  The older ones veer between being true believers and cynics who exploit their followers.  It’s often fairly easy to see they don’t believe their words.  On one hand, many of them are immensely rich; on the other, they insist the government is inherently racist and sexist (etc), but want to give the ‘evil’ government more power.  And a handful of them see socialism as the key to power.  They’ll mouth support for socialism as long as it is politically convenient.

In short, supporters of socialism and communism are either power-hungry, intellectual or desperate.  The first will kill the second and lord it over the third when they take power, making things worse for them.  (And also making it even harder to rebel, as – on paper – the workers have all the rights they want.)

Another answer, of course, is that socialism often looks good.  There are strong intellectual arguments in favour of it, deliberately weighted to make anyone who disagrees look bad.  A person who argues against giving money to beggars may be quite right to say it doesn’t really help them, but he’ll come across as a heartless bastard even if he’s telling the truth!  The socialists are good at arguing, right up to the point they get their hands on real power.  And then they start killing dissenters instead.  It can be quite hard to find one’s way out of an intellectual web, even if one feels – emotionally – that the web is gossamer-thin.  As 1984 put it:

The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command. His heart sank as he thought of the enormous power arrayed against him, the ease with which any Party intellectual would overthrow him in debate, the subtle arguments which he would not be able to understand, much less answer. And yet he was in the right! They were wrong and he was right. The obvious, the silly, and the true had got to be defended.”

It’s easy enough to spot a problem and call attention to it.  And it’s easy to say ‘the government will fix it if we just give it the power.’  But – at best – the more you ask your government to do for you, the less it can do for you.  It will rapidly develop layers upon layers of bureaucracy as it loses touch with reality, trying to apply a ‘one size fits all’ solution to everything from education to the military and welfare payments.  The answer to the question of why Jonnie can’t read is that the important thing – kids having good teachers – has been replaced by bureaucratic bovine faecal matter.  Bureaucrats cannot make individual judgements.  Centralising decision-making leads to endless problems and eventual disaster.

And, at worst, you open the door to dictatorship.

I don’t pretend that capitalism is perfect.  Unrestrained capitalism can and does lead to problems, particularly when successful companies start warping the law and manipulating the government to make life harder for newer competitors … something that also kills the golden goose.  But the results of capitalism are so far superior to communism that there’s simply no contrast.  The only thing communists are better at is telling lies.  Their system gives them a great deal of practice.

But – eventually – the tide goes out.  Economic reality hits.  And, as Warren Buffett said, you discover the emperor is really naked. 

And by then, it is often too late.

42 Responses to “Draft Afterword: Socialism”

  1. PhilippeO November 30, 2019 at 12:13 pm #

    These has very 80s point of view.

    – all fault which happen inside Chernobyl could also happen inside large bureaucratic organization, from large company to democratic government
    – Socialist involve large variety of government, from USA Social Security, Scandinavia Democratic Socialist, to USSR Communist
    – Human do engage in numerous activities with suppress self- interest, from family raising children, soldier fighting in armies, to various act of citizenship itself (jury duty, voting, volunteer)
    – Internet itself is produced by join cooperation of government and academia, from CERN to DARPA
    – Intellectualism is confused with Academism
    – Academism itself arose because need of permanent class of teachers, in itself it no worse than officer class, judicial class and other group who sometime distanced from ‘real’ world experience.
    – You ignore the main problem that cause Marx/socialism/etc to raise : ‘Inheritance!’, it is fact that inherited wealth/status exist that Marxism/socialism attempt to answer.

    In the end detail don’t matter very much. at very basic your view shared by many, even Sanders or Corbyn supporters is annoyed by bureaucracy, resent academy obliviousness, and had same basic value with you. The difference is in life experience and worldview, you stay at Reagan/Thatcherite view, while other who had different life experience might support different worldview.

    • Robert Lee November 30, 2019 at 3:35 pm #

      Another problem with “progressivism” or let’s just say it, leftism, is that history doesn’t matter and everything worth knowing started with my birth or just before my birth. Regardless of whether these were the views held in the “‘80’s” is irrelevant. The relevant question is whether Chris’ logic and analysis is sound. It appears to me that the logic and analysis is sound.

      I agree that any bureaucracy is apt to make larger mistakes on a scale that can cause mass human destruction, and had a hand in Chernobyl, but also – communist USSR, China, Cuba, Vietnam, and socialist Venezuela.

      Finally, the problem with leftism, socialism, communism is that it’s like the analysis in Chris’ other post on affluence and how it shapes the behaviors of those who are affluent. And, in that analysis, I partially agree with Chris. It’s the entire society that’s affluent and begins the trek towards self-destruction by being entitled and searching for first-world problems to agonize over. It’s that “feeling” (not logical reasoning) of entitlement. Like my generation in college right now, many feel entitled to things other generations had to work to obtain. Amongst those things that you and many leftist like you feel entitled to is other people’s money.

      Inheritance is what my father and mother worked for and have already paid taxes upon. Now leftist want more taxes on that wealth that my mother and father worked hard to leave to me and my siblings. We shouldn’t feel entitled to that wealth because the government needs it more. LOL. It doesn’t matter that inherited wealth is tied up in a business or farm land or other commodity. The family business or land should be liquidated to pay for schemes to buy votes from people that feel entitled to free stuff, thus ensuring the reelection and power base of those politicians that promise free stuff to the proletariat that they look down their noses upon.

      • Robert Kaliski December 14, 2019 at 7:29 pm #

        Your mother and father may have worked hard, but the only thing you did was win at the birth lottery. It is not your money it is your parents. Why do you deserve it all?

        If I win the Mega Bucks lottery in the US I pay a good chunk of taxes to the government. How am I any different?

        The founding fathers set up the inheritance tax. It was designed to prevent what they felt was a failing of England ‘s society concentrating more and more wealth to those lucky to be born to the right family. I suppose it was only a matter of time before America set up its own version of landed nobility.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard December 14, 2019 at 7:34 pm #

        What The Heck!

        What “Inheritance Tax” was set up by the Founders?

      • BobPM December 16, 2019 at 10:40 pm #

        There were minor inheritance taxes as early as 1797, but they were relatively small. The modern inheritance tax was not adopted until the progressive period of 1916. (Its important to keep in mind that the US had a de-populated continent at the time that let the populace move out when capital accumulation became oppressive.) In the early 20th century, the land was mostly locked up and the tax started in the 20 to 20% range. The tax was increased to over 70% from about the 1930’s to early 70’s. Without saying if this had anything to do with it, it coincided with the first majority middle class in the world and one the the lowest Gini coefficients ever in the US. I would also argue, it also led to more robust innovation and productivity growth.

    • BobPM December 16, 2019 at 10:59 pm #

      Couldn’t agree more. I am very much in the Picketty camp and believe that unregulated capitalism collects wealth at the top and eventually leads to feudalism (see Russian oligarchs). Conflating socialism with communism is simplistic. In Texas where I live, we had a recent Republican complaining that public schools were socialist, and indeed she is right, but public school in the US mostly pre-dates Marx and used to refer to the common good, just as building roads, other infrastructure, parks and defense are also.

      While these are all “socialism” by some definition, there are no countries I would really care to live in that do not have a fairly large and robust state. I firmly believe in the post industrial mixed economy, the Roosevelt model in the US. Capital is regulated to protect against externalities and to enforce fairness by the EPA, FDA, SEC,OSHA etc., the country is taxed sufficiently to provide a safety net, and resources to succeed such as schools, roads, research, social security and medical insurance, and the tax system is modestly progressive to address the wealth accumulation at the top. In other words, like most modern western countries.

      What is unproductive is the using ridiculous labels and calling things communism. If you read any of Warren’s programs, she is very centrist by EU standards and hardly a radical. The issues raised by Thomas Picketty, however, are real and modern travel and financial systems have created avenues for mass cheating of the tax systems of most countries, and we likely will need a more global agreement on how to insure that the elite don’t avoid taxes. After all, it has been argued that Rome fell when it could no longer constrain and tax its wealthy.

      • Robert Kaliski December 17, 2019 at 11:31 pm #

        The rich and capitalists are quick to involve government when it suits them. The Railway Labor Act exempts trucking firms, railroads and airlines from the overtime and 40 hour week. It also removes labor’s biggest gun the strike. Those tax breaks for business and the rich are a form of socialism. It takes money from programs designed to help the needy and puts it in the pocket of the businessman. During the ” Golden Age” private armies hired by factory owners would break strikes when the local police department declined to bust heads.

        Even when their are “socialist” laws on the books politicians do their best to give every break to the capitalist. Look no further than the enforcement of the laws concerning getting paid for your hard work. Wage theft is out of control and the result has been the growth of the underground economy. Hey if the rich can arrange ways to avoid taxes why shouldn’t the guy earning minimum wage have a way to beat them?

  2. James Jeffery November 30, 2019 at 12:45 pm #

    And, so you Chris, are one of the few (with a reasonable sized platform) who try to point out the mistakes going on in Western society today. Socialists as a general rule are bullies, not open to debate. If you don’t agree with them, you are; a racist, sexist, homophobic, a fascist. They will shout you down, vilify or no platform you. The reason they can get away with it is because the majority say nothing, it’s easier to keep your head down and hope it goes away. Only with people like you opposing the so called intellectuals, making the common man take notice, can we make the country question where we are being led. Keep up the good work and I hope you’re health improves.

    • JBird4049 December 24, 2019 at 6:43 am #

      I think the remarks are conflating the neoliberal Democratic Party with its useful idiot fringe of social and cultural extremists with actual socialist and communists. Honestly, the current Democratic Party is economical at the rightwing fringes of the Republican Party of the 1960s.

      Also, much of the attacks are really part of what is called identity politics, which is used to divide people into smaller, more controllable groups. And some of it, like the mob like screams of the charge of antisemitism against Corbyn and now Sanders is used to just destroy the political opposition.

  3. Scott Osmond November 30, 2019 at 1:32 pm #

    I also wondered why socialism was on the rise. It helps to notice that we aren’t really living in a capitalist system. By capitalism I mean the profit motive with creative distruction where failures are allowed to clear away bad ideas and allow smaller companies to rise. Too big to fail? 2008/9 and all the baleouts and bale-ins was a real wake-up call to me. We are living in the corporate system where these businesses take the profits and hand the losses off to the taxpayer. As long as the corporation plays the globalist game they are protected. Both people of the left and right know the system is busted. Just what each side will do is still to be decided. Traditional parties may be crushed in the process. In Australia both the Labor and Conservatives have been losing voter shares over the last couple of electoral cycles.

  4. jklangford November 30, 2019 at 2:08 pm #

    Very well written. I did not see issues jump out at me. Thank you.

  5. Robert Lee November 30, 2019 at 3:46 pm #

    It’s quite apropos that you post this after Thanksgiving as one of the things I irritate my friends with during this time of year is the following account from the leader of the Pilgrims, Governor William Bradford. Many don’t know, and it appears is no longer taught in school that the Pilgrims founded the first socialist republic in the Americas. Professor Paul Rahe wrote the following column for a conservative blog in 2009:

    “ On Thanksgiving, it is customary that Americans recall to mind the experience of the Pilgrim Fathers. We have much to learn from the history of the Plymouth Plantation. For, in their first year in the New World, the Pilgrims conducted an experiment in social engineering akin to what is now contemplated; and, after an abortive attempt at cultivating the land in common, their leaders reflected on the results in a manner that Americans today should find instructive.

    William Bradford, Governor of the Plymouth Colony, reports that, at that time, he and his advisers considered “how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery.” And “after much debate of things,” he then adds, they chose to abandon communal property, deciding that “they should set corn every man for his own particular” and assign “to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end.”

    The results, he tells us, were gratifying in the extreme, “for it made all hands very industrious” and “much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been.” Even “the women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.”

    Moreover, he observes, “the experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years . . . amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato’s and other ancients applauded by some of later times . . . that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing.” In practice, America’s first socialist experiment “was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort.”

    In practice, “the young men, that were most able and fit for labor and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense. The strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to be ranked and equalized in labors and victuals, clothes etc., with the meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignity and disrespect unto them. And for men’s wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it.”

    Naturally enough, quarrels ensued. “If it did not cut off those relations that God hath set amongst men,” Bradford notes, “yet it did at least much diminish and take off the mutual respects that should be preserved amongst them. And [it] would have been worse if they had been men of another condition” less given to the fear of God. “Let none object,” he concludes, that “this is men’s corruption, and nothing to the course itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God in His wisdom saw another course fitter for them.”

    The moral is perfectly clear. Self-interest cannot be expunged. Where there is private property and its possession and acquisition are protected and treated with respect, self-interest and jealousy can be deployed against laziness and the desire for that which is not one’s own, and there tends to be plenty as a consequence.

    But where one takes from those who join talent with industry to provide for those lacking either or both, where the fruits of one man’s labor are appropriated to benefit another who is less productive, self-interest reinforces laziness, jealousy engenders covetousness, and these combine in a bitter stew to produce both conflict and dearth.”

    Hope this provided some enjoyment as much as your books have provided to me.

  6. LovesArt November 30, 2019 at 3:57 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    I really enjoyed this analysis. You asked for comments, so I’m commenting. I hope you don’t get irritated with me! I’m not a writer, just someone who loves to read.

    In the paragraph beginning with “Third..” did you mean to use ‘rationale’ rather than ‘rational’? Farther down you used ‘manoeuvring’, ‘faecal’. Are these alternate spellings where you’re writing from? I noticed the use of ‘s’ rather than ‘z’ in some words like ‘collectivise’ so I’m assuming you’re not writing in the US.

    The last section differs a bit from the tone of the rest of the piece. It’s more opinionated and has less ‘proof’ for its assertions. Almost feels like it was written after a long break from the earlier part.

    And I noticed many sentences beginning with ‘And’. Some are effective. I’m just not sure they’re all necessary.

    I really enjoyed this! It’s so well-thought out and presented. I just tried to give you my raw reaction, whatever it’s worth.

    Regards, Carmen Nestor >

    >

  7. Billy November 30, 2019 at 4:08 pm #

    I will always remember when I was first out of high school (Years ago)

    I wanted to work for the Post Office delivering mail.
    (A very high paying job with super benefits and unlikely to be fired also early retirement)

    Here in the USA you have to take a test, score high on the test you are more likely to be hired. (They pretty much go with the test)

    As soon as I got to the test site they told everyone this:
    (I don’t remember if it was 10 or 20 points each category – at least 10)

    If you are a minority , you get a extra 20 points on the test

    If you are a woman, you get a extra 10 or 20 points on the test

    If you are a Veteran, you get a extra 10 or 20 points on the test

    They may have added more catagories

    and those points could make the grade well over 100

    If you were not in any of those categories – A white male, unless
    you were a veteran, then the most you could possibly make was 100

    With the number of people taking the test, there would be some people who made
    much much more than 100

    The test was only for 1 or 2 open jobs

    So all those that made 100 were simply out classed no matter what happened

    Which is why that Presidential Candidate here in the USA lied that she is a Indian

    I think she had to lie and say * I am a Indian to get into College
    (Because saying I am a white woman would mean no college for you !!!! )

    I never thought about making up a bunch of lies – IE : saying I
    am a Indian
    (Everyone in my family says we are such and such a percentage Cherokee Indian )

    Might have got me the job

    I suppose that is the logical outcome of quotas – Lies

  8. Joseph P Costa November 30, 2019 at 5:55 pm #

    Chris Chernobyl exploded because the idiots did not realize that shutting off cooling water would cause a core meltdown without it, IDIOTS!!!
    Thanks for the term bovine faecal matter, because living in Texas I have been exposed to the real thing as well as metaphorical too much. I wish to use it often in polite company. Thank you. Joe

  9. Billy November 30, 2019 at 6:41 pm #

    The Super Rich point communism/socialism as a distraction
    so as to say :
    * You want money then the government will give you money !

    Kind of like the old story of the bridge where someone crosses the bridge

    And under the bridge the troll wants to eat the person crossing

    The person crossing says don’t eat me, the the next person crossing the bridge is bigger and better to eat

    And so on

    Super Rich point to communism/ socialism so that people don’t look at them

    If someone wins the Billion Dollar Lottery they would be pointing every which way
    to people and saying
    Don’t look at my money ! Look at the governments money !

    And saying see how I support your efforts to get government money !

    Then privately hidding thier winnings under thier bed 🙂

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard November 30, 2019 at 7:07 pm #

      IMO You missed the point of the story about the bridge and its Troll.

      The goats who were saying “don’t eat me” were wanting Big Brother Goat to deal with the Troll. 😉

  10. Hanno Frerichs December 1, 2019 at 1:04 am #

    Inheritance is what will make ~50% of people not earn anything as they get unusable as workforce if AI manages it to automate the 30 most common jobs, that don’t rely primary on a human interactions. Would you prefer it if the daughter of Sergej Brin is basically earning 10% of the US BIP as income because her daddy helped to found google?

    You will generally have a more even income distribution if the inheritance tax is higher as it levels the playing field regularly,

    And why it’s already taxed one could also always make it more bureaucratic and say, we increase the income tax a lot, but give a tax delay until death it could be just a technical problem so to speak, but it would make it a lot more bureaucratic to raise the tax.

    Also in regards to the story.

    Fukushima Daiichi exploded as well and japan isn’t socalistic or communistic last I checked, and while it was an external factor, it was a known external factor so it can happen in capitalistic states as well.
    Hell I actually work in quality control in some form, and it’s usually a cycle in modern western companies, some bureaucracy came up with often (not always reasonable standards for safety. or quality control), companies do good for a while and then somebody thinks it’s a good idea to do a bit to little, or as little as they can get away with to focus more on doing the real wok and earning profit . Afterwards everybody still knows what they have to do, and it goes well for a few years, Then depending on how many new workers the area or the company got or how forgetful the old ones get , things get bad somebody screws up, authorities internal or external give them a lashing or fine. Afterwards quality control is followed for a while to the letter before people again start to increase the profit margin while doing less for safety or quality.

    Also there is a difference, and many people will not want socalism of the old type, the most extreme leftist want that, But many just want, to even the distribution of resources a bit, more, make some of the most unjust things about current free market capitalism, less serious problems.

    Also both the left and the right have one problem and it’s globalization the left want globalization, but finding some of their goals hard to archive without strong national rules and feel painful when enforcing them .

    While the right ( or conservative or nationals) have the problems that a globalized world global problems can not be faced nationally therefore they try to ignore them and the science involved.. like climate change.

    and there will be historic differences communist of the old soviets, were not nearly as well educated when it started and it was a violent revolution, committed by very much hardened people, and without a social majority,
    if a majority in a democratic country thinks that some form of socialism is the best way forward it might be unbloody, and without the loss o democracy after all it will already be a majority hopefully a tamed form of socialsm if it ever comes to it. (we after all also have regulated capitalism with many rules and not the truly free capitalism of the early 1850’s.) .

    Also i don’t think it will come to that, it will likely be more of a leftist reform to the current system of capitalism.

    Likely something along the lines of more distribution from the top to the middle and the bottom. while also given the state more power again.

    Bureaucracy will always in some form exist without them you have total chaos, damning bureaucracy is like damning a fire to be hot while cooking tea. You have no tea without the heat.

  11. emily61 December 1, 2019 at 2:14 am #

    I have never been attracted to socialism because it takes from those who earn and gives it to who haven’t. It is self defeating and unfair on the face of it. I have never been a socialist.

  12. William Ameling December 1, 2019 at 2:21 am #

    And WHAT is REALLY SCARY is that the Ultra Liberal Wing of the (USA) Democratic Party thinks that SOCIALISM is the ONLY TRUE WAY to the future for the USA, and they essentially control the Democratic Party.

    • Joseph Costa December 1, 2019 at 5:49 pm #

      William, you need to cease spreading lies created by Republicans. No Democrat ever stated they wanted socialism. Stay off Christophers blog with political hate speech.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard December 1, 2019 at 6:08 pm #

        Mr. Costa, the only person with the right to tell somebody to “stay off Christophers blog with political hate speech” is Christopher Nuttall himself.

        Since Chris hasn’t said against any poster here concerning “hate speech”, Left wing or Right wing, you are IMO out of line.

        You can disagree with people without saying “get out”.

        As for “Democrats not wanting socialism”, you might want to take a hard look at the Democrats running for the Presidency.

      • Joseph P Costa December 1, 2019 at 9:49 pm #

        Paul, I don’t know what IMO stands for, but when hate speech is being spouted, I become very irritated since they don’t know what they are talking about. Since you seem to tolerate hate speech, but not me telling them to stop doing it on Christopher’s site, will you please show me the courtesy of what is the best way of conveying my distain for their actions without drawing your ire. By the way, most of the time I don’t say anything
        Joseph Costa

      • Joseph P Costa December 1, 2019 at 9:49 pm #

        Paul, I don’t know what IMO stands for, but when hate speech is being spouted, I become very irritated since they don’t know what they are talking about. Since you seem to tolerate hate speech, but not me telling them to stop doing it on Christopher’s site, will you please show me the courtesy of what is the best way of conveying my distain for their actions without drawing your ire. By the way, most of the time I don’t say anything
        Joseph Costa

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard December 1, 2019 at 9:56 pm #

        IMO equals “In My Opinion”.

        As for “Hate Speech”, it exists mainly in the “mind” of the listener and I’ve found that too many people who hate “Hate Speech” are willing to spew hateful speech against people who think differently than them.

        IE: If “you” say it, it’s not “Hate Speech” but if somebody disagrees with “you” then it’s “Hate Speech”.

      • Joseph Costa December 2, 2019 at 1:01 am #

        Thanks for the clarification, I will endeavor to not step on Christopher and your domain in the future.
        Christopher was talking about socialism. William used the forum to attack Democrats with statements that were pure fiction and had nothing to do with socialism. It is not a difference of opinion when what he stated never actually happened.
        Again, thanks for your reply
        Joe

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard December 2, 2019 at 1:28 am #

        Mr. Costa, “mistakes of fact” should be corrected not dismissed as “Hate Speech”.

        Of course, I think that there is plenty of evidence that the Democratic Party is moving Leftward toward Socialism.

      • Jorge Luis Rodriguez Perez December 3, 2019 at 8:16 pm #

        Eff whathever name they call it or not call it by. Sander’s economic package reads as a Communist Economic Bill, with the letters of “Communist” filed off.

        Take this from a Cuban.

  13. Doc Sithicus December 2, 2019 at 12:30 am #

    Hello Chris.

    I’ve had first-hand experience of living in a communist country, as I was born in Poland in the 70s. Everything you’re saying about communism/socialism, I can confirm as me and 2 generations of my family have lived through it.

    My Grandfather fought both against Nazis and communists and in the end, he always said communists were worse than Nazis. My uncle had to flee the country in the 80s during Martial law to avoid getting arrested/killed.

    I remember empty stores, queuing for hours for a chance to buy any goods, ration cards for flour, sweets, detergent, cigarettes, alcohol, soap, oil/lard, meat, milk and gasoline.
    I remember my grandparents buying meat from a farmer on a black market and everybody in my primary school class was a good head shorter due to poor nutrition.

    I remember my parents speaking in hushed voices that someone they knew was arrested and that person simply disappeared.

    I remember many things. We have long memories in Poland. I teach my son so he will remember as well. I teach him that the only good communist/socialist is a dead one.

    • Joseph Costa December 2, 2019 at 8:10 am #

      Paul, we have a disagreement! What I remember well is that first one and then 2 democratic presidential candidates were looking for a solution to healthcare alternatives and then proposed a Medicare for all potential canidate to solve that problem. Nothing has been detailed out even now regarding this alternative. This was immediately decried by republicans as Socialism. I cannot remember any Democrat who stated we need to move to socialism. No Please present your plenty of evidence that the Democratic Party wants to move to Socialism. I have not seen any mention of it in the democratic newsletters.
      By the way, are you a registered Democrat or Republican?? Or are you from the U.K. Nothing wrong in my eyes of any of those 3 choices as I am trying to establish the background of who you are and where you are getting your information from. Some of the things you are saying are strange to me.
      By the way I did not tell anyone to get out. I said to stay off Christopher’s blog with Hate Speech. Perhaps I could have worded it better by only saying he should not be posting words of total fiction regarding a political party he know nothing about.

      • Jorge Luis Rodriguez Perez December 3, 2019 at 8:21 pm #

        It is decried as Socialism because that particular form of heathcare administration is a hallmark of Socialism.

        There’s a design approach in computer engineering called “duckism”, that essentially means “if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck… it’s almost certainly NOT an eagle”

  14. Jürgen Peter December 2, 2019 at 5:20 pm #

    Hi,

    you use an example of an industrial havary to send your central message: ” I don’t like communism!” Well that’s your right of free expression :-).
    But one could take a similar example from capitalistic states, for instance the Bhopal accident in India, to say “I don’t like capitalism”. I dispute not the facts about the accident, but any “global” facts in your message.
    For instance I don’t believe “Hitler looked like an amateur in mass killing” compared with China and Russia.
    I also would comment, that the overall count of dead people due to capitalism is factors higher then communist atrocities. The wars alone waged by capitalist states sacrificed millions of lifes. And there have been many socalled “communists” killed wordwide for their often only suspected political views. One example for this Indonesia at the end of the last century.
    I’ve read a lot of your books and liked them, especiall SIM. But I believe you would be a better writer if you didn’t hold such narrow political views. For example I like Bujolds works much more, because she has a much broader spectrum of political entities in her books than you. In fact your science fiction ist like “star wars”, medieval societies prejected in the future, fantasy in disguise of science fiction. No matter I liked “star wars” and Iiked a lot of your books.

    Best wishes
    Jurgen

  15. Warren The Ape December 3, 2019 at 1:19 am #

    This is why they clamped down on the Anarchists. Yes, there were two functioning Anarchist societies that the Communists came down hard on. One was Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War. It functioned pretty well as a decentralized Anarcho-Collectivist entity, considering all the supply disruptions that occurred during that time. So the Spanish Communists with Soviet material support got together with Franco’s forces and came down hard on the Anarchists.

    The other was in Russia itself. During the Russian Civil War, parts of White Russia operated along Anarcho-Communist lines and did so quite well, too. They died when the White Russians did.

    Would both budding Anarchist communities have made it in the long run and especially after the civil wars ended? Who knows…we’ll never know.

    Not saying that Anarchism would definitely work. But as it is addresses a lot of the short-comings of state communism by design and even philosophy, it would be something I would like to see tried.

  16. dspring December 3, 2019 at 7:13 pm #

    From my perspective, you gave a binary choice (socialism vs capitalism) to a question that does not have a binary answer. It has a spectrum. Either extreme (total socialism and total capitalism) delivers a system and society that is very broken. Extreme socialism as you point out delivers gross inefficiency, stifles enthusiasm and the command based economy just makes bad decisions. Extreme capitalism delivers a winner take all society where a few rich dominate and everybody else suffers a miserable existence of economic slavery.

    As a society, we try and balance both ideals against each other as that balance delivers the best results. We are neither a pure capitalist or pure socialist country. We like to keep a lot of elements of capitalism as it delivers productivity, decentralizes decision making and and rewards many types of socially good behavior. However, we includes elements of socialism to mitigate the bad outcomes capitalism would otherwise create. We enforce public laws and contracts, we provide basic education, we regulate pollution, we limit bad (but profitable) behavior such as monopolies or overly restricted employment agreements, control fraud, insure safe food, provide social safety nets and engage in city planning to create better communities.

    All the political fights we have related to socialism or capitalism are efforts to push our spot on the spectrum in one direction (more capitalism or more socialism). Sometimes the main people pushing are primarily trying to do the right thing. Sometimes the people pushing are primarily trying to benefit themselves. Sometimes either group is pushing something likely to work as intended and sometimes they are pushing something that will not work as they intend. And many people are not completely honest about what they are pushing and why – because honestly speaking of winners and losers can make support difficult to get.

    I find the labels of socialist or capitalist rarely tell you anything useful about a change someone is proposing. The labels are simply too general to allow you to easily determine if the idea is a good idea.

    • pkohonenPekka December 4, 2019 at 2:18 pm #

      A good point! Extreme Communism was borne out of Extreme Capitalism of the 19th and early 20th century. Karl Marx (1818-1883) lived in the time of exploitative and unregulated capitalism in London. So his critique of Capitalism is pretty spot on. However, as you say, in response he invented a system which is equally bad if not worse. Capitalism in the post-WWII Europe and especially the Anglo-Saxon countries has become more and more extreme since the 1980’s Reaganomics. Brexit and Trump are responses to that, albeit making things even worse… but this is also common and part of human nature. Responses to crises are often wrong-headed at the level of entire societies when they are based on feelings and instincts (even though same responses may work individually). History repeats itself cyclically, we have to hope that Western democracies “do the right thing” when they have done all the wrong things first – and can pull themselves from the brink in time to tackle the real problems like inequality (global and local), climate change, etc… [hopefully this is not a repeat comment as not sure how the system works]

    • Reader December 5, 2019 at 12:00 pm #

      > From my perspective, you gave a binary choice (socialism vs capitalism) to a question that does not have a binary answer. It has a spectrum. Either extreme (total socialism and total capitalism) delivers a system and society that is very broken.

      ^^^ This!

      As for the afterword itself:

      Let’s look at the reasons why Chernobyl blew up. I’m not going to argue about facts (all of the stated five reasons are grounded in reality – they seem to be exaggerated here and there, for dramatic effect, but none of them can be easily disproved; I do not know enough about the accident to seriously nitpick your analysis – I haven’t even watched the HBO series!). I’m just going to put a different spin on this:

      1) Poor design decisions (prioritizing output)
      2) Poor construction (parts not up to specs)
      3) Poor training (no one was encouraged to know more than strictly necessary for doing their work)
      4) Pressure to get results
      5) Culture of dishonesty

      Now, does that look familiar? It should. Remember Boeing in 2019? Killed a total of 346 people in two crashed planes? How did they do that?

      1) Poor design decisions (prioritizing rolling out the plane sooner – they just touched up an old design instead of doing it from scratch or at least completely re-certifying the touched-up design)
      2) Poor construction (specs not up to parts – engineers reviewing the design found various faults, Boeing never fixed these, so the parts were up to specs, but the specs themselves weren’t good)
      3) Poor training (Boeing insisted that pilots don’t need to be re-trained for new planes, because they handle exactly like the old ones; Turns out, they very much did need re-training; confusing sensor output didn’t make finding the source of the problem any easier, and it was at times physically impossible to do what the pilots were expected to do – and no one told them about that in advance)
      4) Pressure to get results (Boeing needed to sell new planes to get ahead of its competitors)
      5) Culture of dishonesty (Boeing kept lying to everyone about everything).

      (I am fudging the explanation a bit, to make the parallels with the Chernobyl analysis explicit; don’t nitpick this too much)

      The moral of the story is that a large, opaque, self-regulating organization, be it a government or an airplane manufacturer, can easily create a disaster.

      The solutions are obvious: don’t be large (for governments that means being more diffused and local – better feedback, easier to manage at a local level), be transparent, don’t self-regulate too much. This has little to do with economic models or ideology. “How to do big things without becoming a big mess” is a problem that humanity’s been struggling with for ages now.

      Now, moving on. Human nature-related problem of the communism. No argument there.

      Bureaucracy. On one hand, I would agree that bureaucrats don’t seem to be doing very well. On the other hand, who else would? Lawmakers? Laws have the same one-size-fits-all problem that bureaucratic decisions have, and increasingly intricate laws in the US are proof that this doesn’t work very well either. And we already know how well self-regulation ends. The most realistic solution I can come up with is, again, more transparency and accountability, better data (to make better decision), and more emphasis on regulating the fields where one-size-fits-all approach does work (or where that kind of regulation is better than no regulation).

      Moving on. Abuse of power. I don’t see how this is specific to socialism or communism, so while this is not untrue, it doesn’t really mean much. Temptation to use force – no argument there. But very rapid social change (i.e. revolution) in any direction (left or right) always requires the use of force. Solution: don’t do revolutions, do reforms instead.

      Moving on. “Communism can’t be done right”. That’s not a falsifiable statement. Also, see the post above. “Communism” is a label, it means little by itself. A more socialistic society that accounts for human nature better than previous attempts might very well work. Would it be “socialism” or “communism” or “capitalism”? Hell if I know. Probably “no” on all three counts.

      As pointed by the post above, capitalism has some very, very ugly failures, and unregulated market is no better than extreme communism. Some things simply don’t map well to market economy. Education (who’s the consumer, who’s the producer, who pays for the service, and who gets to benefit?) and healthcare (who’s the consumer? You, because you stay alive? Or your employer, because it doesn’t lose a worker? Or the government, because it doesn’t lose human resources and doesn’t have sweeping epidemics of plagues that devastate the country? And who pays for this? When?) being the best known examples. Look up “market failures” on your favourite search engine.

      Also, not everything can be solved with the private property model. “Commons” exist for a reason. You can’t own the air, but you can pollute it. And everybody breathes it.
      Also, consider the building where you live. Who owns it? Does that entity have your interests at heart? If not, can you move to a building owned by a different entity? Would that new entity have your interests at heart? What if all buildings close enough to your place of work are owned by one entity?
      Who owns the public transport that you use? Who decides how much it costs and how it works (and what is being done to make it safe to use)? Are there alternative public transportation networks that you can use?

      Some things are difficult to “own”. Some things can be owned, but produce natural monopolies as a result. Full or partial state ownership might not be the best answer, but it’s way better than fully-private ownership, for these cases. And private property concentration is obviously super-bad (that much should be self-evident to everyone by now).

      Coming back to the human nature, a more realistic scenario is a society where you get some basic socialized support: food (you’ll never starve), clothing (you’re never cold or naked), shelter (you’re never homeless), Internet access (you’re never cut off from information) and healthcare (you won’t die or lose your ability to work due to a preventable or curable disease; and you won’t kill the people around you because of such disease). To get anything more (anything – booze, cars, private mansions, newest stuff, tasty food, zero-lag Internet channel) you have to work for it. On account that it doesn’t matter how much merit you have: if you’re a wage slave at McDonald’s, one paycheck away from being evicted, there’s no chance for you to express your potential and get your hard-earned reward. You’re acting in self-interest. Your self-interest is to not to die, which requires you to keep being a wage slave, because trying for something else means death (or, at best, even worse slavery, you have have to take a loan that you can never repay in your lifetime), if you try and fail.

      • dspring December 5, 2019 at 4:26 pm #

        I ran across a book years back that proposed a social safety net like you suggest. The government provided free food to everybody (badly tasting ration bars), shelter (coffin hotel like accommodations with hard mats as beds) and clothing (ugly jumpers). All three were perfectly functional and met the needs of the person, but were otherwise as undesirable as the government could make them. Everything else had to be earned through work.

        Interesting idea, but hard to sustain over the long haul in any society. Government action over the long haul is always a combination of culture, attitudes and law. That is why the same laws produce different outcomes in different countries or regions. Culture and attitude is always evolving, so even the best laws have to change as well to keep up.

      • Stuart the Viking December 5, 2019 at 9:01 pm #

        Many of the supposed problems with Capitalism aren’t endemic to Capitalism itself, and stem more from cronyism/favoritism by government allowing large companies to get away with human rights violations, and/or considering them “Too big to fail”. Sure, it isn’t perfect, nothing is, but Capitalism has brought far more people out of poverty, and sent FAR fewer INTO poverty (and far far FAR fewer into their graves) than Communism or Socialism. Perfect it is not, and yes, even in the US it could be done better, but it is lightyears better than any alternative.

        Of note is that China’s economy didn’t turn around and start growing under Communism until they started to inject Capitalism into the mix. At the same time, that’s when quality of life started increasing.

      • dspring December 6, 2019 at 6:44 pm #

        Nobody is disputing that capitalism is a good system. But like any system, it has flaws. Mixing some socialism into rules of the game fixes the worst flaws at fairly minimal cost.

        Mixing too much socialism (aka -shorthand for government action for collective good) eventually makes things worse overall, but what exactly constitutes “too much” is always the question that drives many political debates.

  17. Ken December 6, 2019 at 9:11 am #

    Capitalism is the best system for overall freedom and prosperity. It is imperfect but better than other systems. The main problems are with monopolies and as stated, large companies bribing and using their influence to make it very hard for others to compete.

  18. Nemo December 6, 2019 at 3:35 pm #

    Here is a short story about the poor slob in charge of Death Star II:

    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11685932/1/Instruments-of-Destruction

    Very interesting reviews.

    • Wyley Foster December 16, 2019 at 9:54 pm #

      It seems to me that you are exploring governments, Communism, Socialism, etc. and with government you have to cover economy, and religion. Religion really messes with government, and economy as it either wants to place morality, or it does place morality in the way of government. The most successful government, is “The Church,” now called monotheism, what a third of all people on earth follow this, governing body, and note it has extreme amounts of power, and almost no power at all. Not exactly what the government of Religion wants but that is what it has.
      To aside religion, as it rarely is allowed to do more than history, and morality. The Morality of religion can create strife with all of its little variations, and make the actions of evil a good thing to do with fanaticism. What makes each of us, or what is social training, from potty training, to our schools, the information parted, to the socializing while at school? Society is vital, but hardly something that has to be learned, single cells, as little as we think of them, as little as they are, have societies, or rather the most primitive of gatherings. All that animals are is a collection of specialized cells that work together, same as plants but the cell specialization is different. Now to put government into strands of DNA, it is the goal of the single cell, and all the plants and animals to reproduce, and as strange as it sounds that is the goal of government, to allow those that create and live within it to reproduce. Economy is only a side effect of gathering for reproduction, that and hunger.
      Religion can be broken down to the attempt, the second attempt to create a large society, with the religion being the government. The first is always going to be banding together as animals would for protection, access to sexual reproduction, and raising of their young. Religion fails quite simply one it tries to wear too many hats, prophecy, sin, morality, stories, history, laws and so on. It is strange Communism is so much against personal reproduction, Socialism too, as well as capitalism, theocracy; as you can imagine how could all these invented systems work against personal reproduction. Well the answers are sometimes flawed, and disbelieved, but for the most part it is the selfishness of self, with a strong dose of economy thrown into this crazy idea mix.
      What makes our governing systems anti reproduction is simple, we value the resources we collect about us, such as grain. It would be wonderful to not have to plant after a hard winter because you had so much grain left over. This is a pipe dream because you cannot store grains forever. There are pests and rodents that would eat such extra with abandon, too, what of having children to eat all that extra grain as well?
      In a primitive society where the child when old enough can be a vital source of labor, labor that lets you plant and collect this extra grain, this is a real bonus. When in say a modern society that no longer has many farmers, like ours, children consume the resource we usually call money with abandon. They have become a burden, and it is not that we do not want children, but we want less of them than our ancient ancestors. This creates governments that let us not have as many children, this creates abortion, and the morality from religion against it. And, in the same breath we can say this is all bunk, but explain it more simply. When did Socialism first start, Communism, Theocracy, Empires, Kings, and so on? Communism is a late bloomer.
      This comes to the great concept that I have been thinking about, this is what form of government could last a couple of billion years?

      The religion would be factual and simple, the mysticism, the stories, etc. would be regulated to only being stories, allegories, and whatnot, no miracles. What we call dead their technology and training could bring back to life, so what is the miracle in that? They would not tolerate someone messing with their religion either. There would be many meditated rituals, that are followed only by some not all, this would be more of a family thing than a society thing.
      The economy is based upon your family, what they do, i.e.. farming, tradesman, etc., what the family does for society, government, and religion, Then you the individual, what you do for work, and what you do for society government, and religion. There is no money per se, but your value, you work to provide for yourself, your family, your society, culture, and government. The seeming errors that would creep in this system is covered a number of ways. One, self reliance, one does not expect a bureaucracy to come to your aid, but your neighbors, one gets extra value if one comes to the aid of others. Two, hereditary, what your family already has, join the farm pick up extra land to work with, or join the family craft. A person is guaranteed a safe warm place to sleep, food, and medical, and you do not have to do anything. This is the third reason to be productive, you do not have a right to reproduce, society, the police watch you, and you get mental checkups free and mandatory. Yes they can have a nasty police state when they need one. There are others I have not thought of, but the major issues should be covered in economy.
      What is valued is not gold, but soil, is the working of soil, and husbanding of animals, what is gained from hard work, honesty, and family.
      This would wet the lips of any conqueror, seem to leave them open to conquest. These people value freedom as well, and they have armed themselves to the point of insanity. Yet even the most studious observations would easily miss how they did this self arming. An example is they build a military craft, an interstellar shuttle, their civilization is very rural by design, and the citizens use this craft to move about. And, they both openly show this, and make it seemingly invisible within their culture that they are armed to the teeth. They have a billion plus years to figure out how to defend themselves. The first thing they did is get rid of the military as we understand it. In getting rid of the military they spread it out to the citizenry, and they create Hero’s rather than soldiers.
      Hero’s they are not renamed soldiers, they are more like the Hero’s of the Greeks till you get to motivation. They protect the civilians, they protect the society, not individuals, not from being sponsored by individuals, not from loyalty to individuals. They are loyal to the needs of the citizen to be protected. By far most of the hero’s are not active, by far the bulk of them are usually inactive, and with a little luck will never be called. They live as citizens.
      The active hero’s would be equivalent to special forces, tough beyond any sane measure, violent beyond normal bounds, and often looking at the raggedy edges of territory looking for trouble. Probably up to twenty percent of a population, remember they have to train the replacements, and form management of the hero’s. They though are not the only thing managing them, there are the courts, and the diplomats, and even the citizens themselves. There is a special kind of hell where the Hero, once made, can never be a citizen again, at least not as free as a normal citizen.
      The government itself is comprised of various ritual religious groups, such as the Fire Dancers, they only have power during certain rituals such as marriage, burial, and so on. They do not get to go further. they cannot pass the line of what the ritual represents, and command a citizen past what the ritual symbolizes. and certain rituals do not exist anymore.
      The next part of Government is the courts, they manage crime, and the police. The police provide the direct protection of the society, and the courts protect against police abuse, and uphold all the various laws of the citizenry, hero’s and Diplomats. The courts cannot make new law, but are directly involved in creating the body of government that would make a new law. This means there are no active lawmakers, no congress, or parliament. There is also an absence of a primary executive body, such as King or President. In the event that they need such a body, this can be created by the citizens, by the Hero’s and by the courts, and yes all three bodies must agree to its creation, and its termination, as this is not to be a normal thing, to have an executive body to run their lives. An example is the emergency evacuation of a world, this is best described a utter chaos, and oversight at a planetary level would be needed.
      I call this government, “A Failed Utopia.” Its requirement is it has to last for billions of years, against all evil – those without, and those within. It has to provide people with freedom, not all farm, some adventure, some trade in the farthest of places, and through it all everyone has a home. That is the goal of their government, and they are the not without their demons, and failings, but what in the end justifies the means? One has to choose, and the devil is not the worst choice, though God is a better choice. They choose what gives them to right to be free, and be themselves, that which promotes their culture, and their ability to endure.
      The citizen is not a body in a government, but the body of the government, and that is a line that is fine, that is final, and for them, those called citizen, “It is what they live.”

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