There is a gentleman out there for whom Mr. Webster, The Monarchist, and I hold in an esteem that few can match; and those that manage to usually need an oxygen tank and a sherpa. His name is Michael Hargis, and he has intimated to us that he has something to share with "you people" as our second guest writer. So, without further ado, here is Mr. Hargis to ... lay down some knowledge.
A few weeks ago I met a socialist. I don't mean an American-style liberal; I'm talking about a genuine, dyed-in-the-wool True Believer. This guy could quote Marx, Hegel, and Marcuse with the same facility which my hosts here quote the Founding Fathers. I was very excited and tried to engage him in debate about human nature and the moral superiority of liberty, but he was mostly interested in looking down his nose at me. I was unable to find any common ground with him whatsoever. My idea of liberty was nothing but a form of slavery to him; his notions of a scientifically planned society and economy were silliness and wishful thinking to me. I did gain some insight into how Marxism attracts followers, however, particularly the type of followers it attracts.
My socialist friend is an elitist, which may strike some as odd in light of the fact that Marxism is an anti-elitist philosophy, at least on its face. He isn't a social elite (Kennedy, Rockefeller), nor is he an economic elite (Gates, Soros), but rather an intellectual elite. To accept and believe in the idea that society can be "scientifically" planned in such a way as to benefit everyone, and even change human nature, requires a monstrous ego and an absolute faith in the human intellect. Marxism thus appeals to those who think they're smarter than the rest of us. Here's another little ray of light into Marxist thinking: My friend said (I paraphrase here) "Of course I think the evolution from feudalism to capitalism was a good thing. I just don't think the revolution is over." This was in response to my observation that socialist/communist societies in the 20th century have largely been economic failures, especially compared with countries that have been closer to the capitalism end of the economic spectrum. In other words, these actual failures aren't proof of any sort of theoretical failure. They are only imperfect first attempts. Think about that for a minute. If consistent failure can be dismissed by saying, "Oh, they just didn't do it right," then the socialist can never be proven wrong. Thomas Edison made thousands of unsuccessful attempts to create a light bulb before he hit upon the right combination of elements. Rather than consider these failures, he instead said that he'd learned thousands of different ways in which it wouldn't work. Marxists think exactly the same way. For these True Believers, hope always lies in the future.
In closing, allow me to direct your attention to Hong Kong. After World War II, Great Britain assigned John Cowperthwaite to direct Hong Kong's miserable financial affairs. He was so committed to a policy of non-interference that he refused to collect economic statistics for fear that they would provide incentive to meddle in private affairs. The result of this non-interference was that within a few decades Hong Kong was richer and freer by far than her colonizer, Great Britain. Hong Kong's current leader, Donald Tsang, has vowed to continue this policy, except in those areas where "there are obvious imperfections in the operation of the market mechanism."
Raise your glass to Hong Kong, because it will never be the same. There are True Believers everywhere, and for them the revolution is defintely not over.