The Mechanisms of History

Explaining the mechanisms of history is not the same as justifying it.

We do have a good idea of how history would have looked different under different circumstances. I live in a living proof of that. Norway in the 1920s had large radical communists movements. The Norwegian labour party was part of Comintern and Norwegian labour party leaders went to Russia after the revolution to meet with like minded people.

So why did we not end up with Gulags, mass killing of wealthy peasants, re-education of the elite etc? Because unlike China and Russia Norway had strong democratic traditions. Sure there was flaws. But Norwegian communists realized they could work within the system. They won elections in 1920s and began to understand that working within the confines of democracy was possible. And as the horrors in the USSR became more apparent, Norwegian socialists transformed into democratic socialists.

That is the same patten we have seen again and again. Anywhere where there is democracy, large socialists movements will transform into democratic socialism, rather than revolutionary Marxism. You simple don’t notice because the non-revolution of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and others is not very exciting. Books get written about conflicts, not about conflict that never happened, and thus this history is not well covered or known.

And your attempt to justify those deaths by “strong man to counter all the threats internally and externally” means that you’re justifying, among other things, genocide against Ukrainians in 1932–1933 and deportation of Crimean Tatars in 1944.

It does no such thing, and I take offense at your suggestion. History is what it is. I am trying to give a dispassionate account of the mechanism of history. How societies and trends develop. That is not a moral judgement on those developments.

What I am saying is that the oppression of the Czar and the invasions of 18 other nations on Russia contributed to turning the revolution and its leaders into worse leaders than they otherwise would have been. No, I don’t have a Crystal ball but this is elementary human psychology. The well fed and respected generally don’t start large murderous revolutions.

The point here is not to excuse the actions of those who commit the atrocities, but to not let off the hook those forces, people and countries which contributed to creating these monsters in the first place. You place the blame on Stalin and Mao squarely at the feet of the communist ideology, when the oppressions of the Czar and the actions of imperialist countries had a large hand in producing monsters like Stalin and Mao as well.

Everyone is responsible for his own deeds.

Then why are you pinning the blame on the actions of Stalin and Mao on communism? Are we not to hold Stalin and Mao responsible for their actions? Is “communism made me do it,” a valid excuse?

You need a great number of other ingredients to get into Stalin and Mao territory. Ideology alone is not enough. It is reckless to imply that people who advocate communism within a liberal western democracy, are somehow advocating something that will lead to Stalinism. There is absolutely no proof of that.

And no matter what Britain did in India, this does not justify the crime committed by Stalin.

It is about giving a balanced story. You don’t get to put all the atrocities committed by socialists front and center while sweeping the atrocities of capitalism under the rug. One should have a balanced account of history. This is an all too common tactic to undermine democratic and fair minded people with socialist ideas, while excusing many of the horrible outcomes of capitalism.

And finally: you missed the main point of my previous comment: the bloody consequences are inherent to any attempt to implement communist ideology in real life,

I didn’t because I reject your whole premise. There is no proof that there are bloody consequences to pursuing a communist ideology within a liberal western democracy. Quite the contrary, empirical evidence suggest this will lead to social democracy, not Stalinism.

because the resource distribution problem has no reasonable solution within communist ideology bounds.

I totally agree it is not realistic. I just reject your claims that it will cause mass murder to even try. There is absolutely no proof of that. It simply comes across as a smear tactic by those who don’t like socialist ideas.

Geek dad, living in Oslo, Norway with passion for UX, Julia programming, science, teaching, reading and writing.

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