TREVOR GRANT THOMAS.COM
Socialism Breeds Tyranny
January 14, 2012
After the fall of the Czarist
government in 1917, Vladimir Lenin, founder and leader of the Bolshevik Party,
returned to Russia
to seize power. The Marxists who would eventually rule Russia first met in 1898. Calling themselves the Russian Socialist Democratic Labour Party, the group would later split in 1903, and the Bolsheviks
were born. Bolshevik means “majority;” however, in spite of this, Lenin knew
that his party lacked the support of anywhere close to a majority (even after
chanting “we are the 99!”) to replace the provisional government that followed
the early days of the revolution.
By late 1917 the
Bolsheviks overthrew the provisional government in Petrograd (St.
Petersburg) and plunged Russia into a three-year civil war.
The Bolsheviks’ efforts were not just military. As noted in The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union,
“The Bolsheviks were also fighting a political and social war to convince the
people of Russia
that socialism was the best system for them.”
For centuries, Russia was
ruled by a Czarist autocracy (not to be confused with the Obama administration).
At the turn of the twentieth century, the vast majority of Russians—more than
90% by some accounts—lived as nothing more than peasants, while the Russian
elites—nobles, and so on—lived in extravagant luxury. Such inequality highly
motivated the revolutionaries and quickly made them quite popular.
Led by Lenin and motivated
by Marx, the Bolsheviks envisioned a classless society, thus private property
was outlawed and confiscated. Land and industry was seized by the state or
socialized. Banks, railroads, farms, and factories were nationalized. The
Bolshevik Party soon became the Communist Party, and an all out propaganda
campaign continued to preach the benefits of socialism.
Early on, realizing that,
though the revolution had succeeded, they still had widespread enemies, the
Bolsheviks established a police force, the Cheka
(which later became the KGB), to combat their political opponents. Of course, Lenin
never believed in a fairly elected government. He felt that those who had the
best interests of the people at heart—he and his loyal supporters—should
govern. Thus, as he, himself, had forecasted, Lenin resorted to violent
suppression of those who opposed him.
Following Lenin, Stalin
only escalated the persecution. Thus, the Russian people traded one type of
tyranny and oppression for another. They traded one ruling class of elites—the
aristocracy—for another: the Communist Party elite. Stalin’s successor was
Leonid Brezhnev. Admiring her son’s massive vacation home, Brezhnev’s mother
nervously remarked, “Well, it’s good, Leonid…but what will happen if the
[Communists] come back?”
history and common sense, “Occupiers” rail against the wealthy in America.
“Ultimately, the bourgeoisie [capitalist ruling class] won’t go without violent
means,” declared a speaker at an Occupy Los Angeles rally. He continued,
“Revolution! Yes, revolution that is led by the working class. Long live
revolution! Long live socialism!”
What fools! Never has so
much wealth (and power) been concentrated in the hands of so few as there is
under socialist regimes. The Soviet Union is
the classic historical lesson. Occupiers decry capitalist “greed” yet ignore
the greed of those who would use the force and power of big government to
confiscate the wealth of one citizen to give it to another.
Never have so many lived
under abject poverty as those suffering under socialism. Never have so many
suffered and died as those who were subjected to socialist leaders claiming to
have their “best interests at heart.” On the other hand, never have so many
been lifted out of poverty and prospered as those with the economic freedom
that capitalism allows.
Consider some of the
richest Americans today. Bill Gates sprang from an upper-middle class family to
become the wealthiest man in the world. Steve Jobs was adopted by a machinist
and an accountant. Dropping out of college after only one semester, Jobs slept
on the floor of friends’ homes and returned Coke bottles for food money. At his
death, Forbes listed his net worth at $7 billion.
Sam Walton waited tables
and later worked for JC Penny, making $75 a month. He borrowed money from his
father-in-law to purchase his first store. His three surviving children each
have a net worth of over $20 billion.
Time and again, these
stories have played out in America.
Only under the economic freedom seen in America can someone experience such
a rise. These men (and women) have enriched not only themselves, but millions
of other Americans along with them. Jobs have been created and communities
built with the entrepreneurs that America empowers.
Now, of course, this is
not to say that becoming a wealthy person is the highest ideal under American
liberty. Also obviously, such liberty does not always mean that life is just
and fair for everyone. However, as I have said before, and as history teaches
us, the tyranny of big government is far worse than
the sins of free men.
Copyright 2012, Trevor
Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.