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SO-CALLED COMMUNIST “MORALITY”
Posted: 10 August 2011 04:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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I’d like to present Bertrand Russell’s take on the subject of this thread as contained in his book, The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism. As much as I hate to I shall be forced to quote him at length as what he had to say is very pertinent (he wrote it in 1920, at a time when Bolshevism still held sway) to the subject at hand.

  “...To understand Bolshevism it is not sufficient to know facts; it is necessary also to enter with sympathy or imagination into a new spirit. The chief thing that the Bolsheviks have done is to create a hope, or at any rate to make strong and widespread a hope which was formerly confined to a few. This aspect of the movement is as easy to grasp at a distance as it is in Russia - perhaps even easier, because in Russia present circumstances tend to obscure the view of the distant future. But the actual situation in Russia can only be understood superficially if we forget the hope which is the motive power of the whole. One might as well describe the Thebaid without mentioning that the hermits expected eternal bliss as the reward of their sacrifices here on earth.
  I cannot share the hopes of the Bolsheviks any more than those of the Egyptian anchorites; I regard both as tragic delusions, destined to bring upon the world centuries of darkness and futile violence. The principles of the Sermon on the Mount are admirable but different from what was intended. Those who followed Christ did not learn to love their enemies or to turn the other cheek. They learned instead to use the Inquisition and the stake, to subject the human intellect to the yoke of an ignorant and intolerant priesthood, to degrade art and extinguish science for a thousand years. These were the inevitable result, not of the teaching, but of fanatical beleif in the teaching.The hopes which inspire Communism are, in the main, as admirable as those instilled by the Sermon on the Mount, but they are held as fanatically and are likely to do as much harm. Cruely lurks in our Instincts, and fanaticism is a camouflage for cruelty. Fanatics are seldom genuinely humane, and those who sincerely dread cruelty will be slow to adopt a fanatical creed.”

    Further more:

“... I beleive that the West is capable of adopting less painful and more certain methods of reaching Socialism than those that have seemed necessary in Russia. And I beleive that while some forms of Socialism are immeasurably better than capitalism, others are even worse. Among those that are worse I reckon the form which is being adopted in Russia, not only in itself, but as a more insuperable barrier to further progress.”

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Posted: 10 August 2011 04:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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I’d like to present Bertrand Russell’s take on the subject of this thread as contained in his book, The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism. As much as I hate to I shall be forced to quote him at length as what he had to say is very pertinent (he wrote it in 1920, at a time when Bolshevism still held sway) to the subject at hand.

  “...To understand Bolshevism it is not sufficient to know facts; it is necessary also to enter with sympathy or imagination into a new spirit. The chief thing that the Bolsheviks have done is to create a hope, or at any rate to make strong and widespread a hope which was formerly confined to a few. This aspect of the movement is as easy to grasp at a distance as it is in Russia - perhaps even easier, because in Russia present circumstances tend to obscure the view of the distant future. But the actual situation in Russia can only be understood superficially if we forget the hope which is the motive power of the whole. One might as well describe the Thebaid without mentioning that the hermits expected eternal bliss as the reward of their sacrifices here on earth.
  I cannot share the hopes of the Bolsheviks any more than those of the Egyptian anchorites; I regard both as tragic delusions, destined to bring upon the world centuries of darkness and futile violence. The principles of the Sermon on the Mount are admirable but different from what was intended. Those who followed Christ did not learn to love their enemies or to turn the other cheek. They learned instead to use the Inquisition and the stake, to subject the human intellect to the yoke of an ignorant and intolerant priesthood, to degrade art and extinguish science for a thousand years. These were the inevitable result, not of the teaching, but of fanatical belief in the teaching.The hopes which inspire Communism are, in the main, as admirable as those instilled by the Sermon on the Mount, but they are held as fanatically and are likely to do as much harm. Cruelty lurks in our Instincts, and fanaticism is a camouflage for cruelty. Fanatics are seldom genuinely humane, and those who sincerely dread cruelty will be slow to adopt a fanatical creed.”

  Further more:

  “... I believe that the West is capable of adopting less painful and more certain methods of reaching Socialism than those that have seemed necessary in Russia. And I believe that while some forms of Socialism are immeasurably better than capitalism, others are even worse. Among those that are worse I reckon the form which is being adopted in Russia, not only in itself, but as a more insuperable barrier to further progress.”

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Posted: 10 August 2011 10:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Pambania - 10 August 2011 04:06 PM

Cruelty lurks in our Instincts, and fanaticism is a camouflage for cruelty. Fanatics are seldom genuinely humane, and those who sincerely dread cruelty will be slow to adopt a fanatical creed.”

Same for ideologically blinded free market capitalism.

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Posted: 20 August 2011 12:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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mid atlantic - 09 August 2011 11:29 PM
QuantumFrost - 09 August 2011 11:20 PM

Bah, the debate against Communism has always been one of populist rhetoric in a Capitalist globe. The truth is that TRUE Communism has never been practiced, and when Lenin died, so did the true Soviet Union.  ...

Lenin died in 1924. The country of proletarian dictatorship created by him was far from something to be desirable to live in. The post “General Party Secretary” was created by Lenin. And it was him who nominated Stalin for this post. According to a book I am reading, Lenin wanted to stop endless inner-party discussion at that time. His obedient pupil, Stalin, was chosen to administer the party. All Bolsheviks, Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, etc. supported the idea of proletarian dictatorship, both before and after 1924.

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It is an autobiography based on a diary kept between 1946 and 2004 (in the USSR, Poland, France and the USA).

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Posted: 21 August 2011 07:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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That is personal opinion, and it can’t be a definite fact on anything. Appealing to emotion and using already addressed fallacies in Communism’s past and present is just another method of beating a dead horse that can’t stand.

If by defining unpleasant as in the Cheka and the slaughter of the Romanov family, I’ll address them in my own personal opinion:

1. The Cheka was an organization, a branch of the Bolshevik Party. Not all segments of the Cheka are going to be properly monitored and regulated.
2. The Tsar and his family were a detriment to the future of Russia. The chance that the monarchy could be restored by a resurgence of populist extremism in monarch-governed area’s of Europe was too much of a threat for the newly-established government. It was necessary, and I feel no pity for Tsar Nicholas II or his family.

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Posted: 21 August 2011 07:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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QuantumFrost - 21 August 2011 07:14 PM

That is personal opinion, and it can’t be a definite fact on anything. Appealing to emotion and using already addressed fallacies in Communism’s past and present is just another method of beating a dead horse that can’t stand.

If by defining unpleasant as in the Cheka and the slaughter of the Romanov family, I’ll address them in my own personal opinion:

1. The Cheka was an organization, a branch of the Bolshevik Party. Not all segments of the Cheka are going to be properly monitored and regulated.
2. The Tsar and his family were a detriment to the future of Russia. The chance that the monarchy could be restored by a resurgence of populist extremism in monarch-governed area’s of Europe was too much of a threat for the newly-established government. It was necessary, and I feel no pity for Tsar Nicholas II or his family.

1) I wrote: “All Bolsheviks, Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, etc. supported the idea of proletarian dictatorship, both before and after 1924. That is not only my “personal opinion.”

2) Cheka was not “a branch of Bolshevik Party.” It was part of the government, controlled by the party.

3) Why are you referring to the story of “Romanov family”? I did not mention this topic.

[ Edited: 21 August 2011 07:31 PM by Ludwik Kowalski ]
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Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia), a retired nuclear physicist from New Jersey, USA. A am also the author of a FREE ONLINE book: “Diary of a Former Communist: Thoughts, Feelings, Reality.”

http://csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/life/intro.html

It is an autobiography based on a diary kept between 1946 and 2004 (in the USSR, Poland, France and the USA).

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Posted: 24 August 2011 06:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Ludwik Kowalski - 06 August 2011 04:15 PM

The justification was simple. The world is full of injustice and immorality. We want to replace it by a much better social structure—communism. That is why what we do is right, by definition. Here is a good illustration. An act of torture committed by our enemy should be exposed as unspeakable barbarism. We do this to gain sympathy and support of naive people believing in “bourgeois morality.” But an act of torture committed by us, to punish an enemy of revolution, is not immoral. It is a historical necessity. Likewise, slave labor and killings in German camps were considered immoral while slave labor and killings in Soviet gulag camps were considered moral. Stalin declared that the gulag camps served the interests of revolution and this made them moral.
.

There’s my morality. Whatever I feel correct and justified in doing. Then there is society’s morality. A kind of cultural code of acceptable behavior that a group holds it’s members accountable to. It’s seems pretty easy to overwhelm one’s personal sense of morality through peer pressure, threats, fear.

Interesting that one individual’s morality can so infect a group of individuals. Fanatics, really who reason out their own morality is so superior that everyone else should adhere to it. Kind of surprising that it works so well. Perhaps because so many, when it comes down to it can’t justify their own morality. They willingly listen to one who seems to present a rational argument and is further justified by an increasing number of supporters.

I know for me, what I feel is correct(moral) behavior. It may or may not be the same as that of my culture or the society I live in.

I don’t see where this makes my morality or that of another’s or society’s any superior. Just different. People act as they feel it is appropriate to act in the moment. Maybe after the fact they’ll look back and find a way to justify that action. Or maybe others will judge it immoral and that individual will later accept that judgement. I don’t think this post-judgement of behavior changes the fact that the individual felt at the time their actions were appropriate.

Morality is how we actually behave isn’t it? Not how we think we should behave.

If I were to torture someone, then I must have felt it was ok, justified to do so at the time. People will after the fact, maybe even the individual who committed the act look back and label the action immoral. So all my actions that I can justify to your satisfaction are moral and those I cannot justify to your satisfaction immoral?

A moral code becomes an arbitrary standard by which people justify their actions. And, I suppose justify their judgement of others.

I gave to the poor. I’m a “good” person. So do we give to the poor because we really want to help another fellow human being out? Or because we want to be judge as a “good” person.

And, does it make a difference. Acting as a good person to be judge as a good person, does that make me a good person or a liar?

[ Edited: 24 August 2011 06:21 PM by Gnostikosis ]
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Posted: 25 August 2011 05:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Gnostikosis, One of the ways science establishes objectivity in its ideas is by peer review.  One person can have an opinion, but if many others can be convinced that this opinion has merit then the opinion is viewed as less subjective and less personal.  The ways you point out I could see where others would not really be adding merit by agreeing in large numbers.  All they are really doing is acting like sheep.  If people thought critically and collaboratively about morals and THEN came to agree on some kind of moral system, I would think that kind of system would be superior to anyone’s individual system.  Using the right methods, a group would be able to come up with better ideas than an individual.  This could be true of moral ideas as well.  The Soviet system sounds like it took advantage of people’s desire to follow authority for mass acceptance.  Some individuals like Andrei Sakharov would still challenge that authority despite huge personal costs.

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Posted: 26 August 2011 10:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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brightfut - 25 August 2011 05:18 PM

Gnostikosis, One of the ways science establishes objectivity in its ideas is by peer review.  One person can have an opinion, but if many others can be convinced that this opinion has merit then the opinion is viewed as less subjective and less personal.  The ways you point out I could see where others would not really be adding merit by agreeing in large numbers.  All they are really doing is acting like sheep.  If people thought critically and collaboratively about morals and THEN came to agree on some kind of moral system, I would think that kind of system would be superior to anyone’s individual system.  Using the right methods, a group would be able to come up with better ideas than an individual.  This could be true of moral ideas as well.  The Soviet system sounds like it took advantage of people’s desire to follow authority for mass acceptance.  Some individuals like Andrei Sakharov would still challenge that authority despite huge personal costs.

Peer review is not free from peer pressure. Herd mentality? People adopt the thinking of others with less discernment, judgement then you would think. Peer review is less subjective to the individual. Does that mean it is more objective? However isn’t it a few individuals who question group thinking?

“The Sun revolves around the Earth”
“The Earth is flat”
“The Bible is a reliable historical document”

Yes, if as you say, people were to examine their own thinking critically. Most from what I can see don’t.

Here is Sakharov’s individual thinking…

Protesting against the persecution of himself, his wife Elena Bonner, and her children, Sakharov went on hunger strikes. For months he was totally isolated. Most of his friends in the human rights movement failed to appreciate the motivation for his hunger strikes and blamed Bonner for his sufferings. Sakharov was sorry to see such a gap in understanding but claimed his human right to make decisions that he felt to be morally necessary for him personally.
Link

Again not that his personal morality was superior only that he had a right to base his decisions on his personal morality.
Does everyone have that right. Or only those who’s morality you agree with?

Don’t think I’m accusing you of any special bias. Sometimes though people have to be critical of their own thinking. It’s just something to think about.

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Posted: 03 September 2011 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Ludwik Kowalski - 21 August 2011 07:28 PM
QuantumFrost - 21 August 2011 07:14 PM

That is personal opinion, and it can’t be a definite fact on anything. Appealing to emotion and using already addressed fallacies in Communism’s past and present is just another method of beating a dead horse that can’t stand.

If by defining unpleasant as in the Cheka and the slaughter of the Romanov family, I’ll address them in my own personal opinion:

1. The Cheka was an organization, a branch of the Bolshevik Party. Not all segments of the Cheka are going to be properly monitored and regulated.
2. The Tsar and his family were a detriment to the future of Russia. The chance that the monarchy could be restored by a resurgence of populist extremism in monarch-governed area’s of Europe was too much of a threat for the newly-established government. It was necessary, and I feel no pity for Tsar Nicholas II or his family.

1) I wrote: “All Bolsheviks, Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, etc. supported the idea of proletarian dictatorship, both before and after 1924. That is not only my “personal opinion.”

2) Cheka was not “a branch of Bolshevik Party.” It was part of the government, controlled by the party.

3) Why are you referring to the story of “Romanov family”? I did not mention this topic.

1.) What is wrong with that? The idea was simple, and just because Stalin conducted himself horrendously gives you no right to criticize all other Communists, many of whom are vehemently disgusted by the Holodomor.

2.) The Cheka was a branch, it was the muscle of the Bolshevik party. Figuratively, not officially. Of course they were a political independent organization, but it’s obvious they had their influences from the Bolshevik Party.

3.) I’m addressing “Crimes” during Lenin’s war against the Whites. It was meant to rationalize the detriment the Tsar family had on Russia, and the pathetic argument that their reign would have improved Russia. I’ll leave that out of the discussion from now on.

[ Edited: 03 September 2011 11:51 AM by QuantumFrost ]
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