Catastrophe: from kata (down) and strefein (turn) i.e. a downturn – a self-defeating turn – a disaster…
Everybody starts off as equals but cannot progress as such. Equality is impossible, by default, because it gets morbidly confused with uniformity and throttles accomplishment.
The point is not equality. It is respect, drive, and the realization of potential. Everything else leads back to ground zero, in vicious spirals.
There is a lot of talk these days about injustice, corruption, greed, and avarice. People believe the time has come to reboot the system and redistribute the wealth, creating a fairer and better society, whereby everyone will be taken care of equally, eradicating social dis-ease.
Rebooting the system indeed sounds like a good thing. Redistributing the wealth at will and setting up a heavily regulated society does not. Neither does taking initiative away, shutting down the markets, punishing drive, curtailing competition, or taking away incentive, whereby equality becomes synonymous to rewarding everyone uniformly, regardless of aptitude and according to the instructions of some committee of moral regulators. It does not work in the long run. It has been tried before and it failed monumentally.
The name of the game was Bolshevism aka Communism.
The Major Savage
Bolshevism was one of the grandest, most aspiring causes to date. It was ideologically inspiring and very well placed, stemming from a self-styled majority movement (Bolshevik in Russian is derived from bol’shinstvo, meaning ’the majority‘), commanding the mandate of the people.
Carrying the banner of the cause and representing the people of Russia was the Bolshevik Party. They were a highly organized, shrewd and effective organization, who granted the oppressed masses a voice, muscle, and arms. Their initiative steadily grew in strength and numbers, eventually erupting into a revolution that swept the Czarist system away in favor of direct democracy.
The new political system was called soviet democracy (soviets were councils of employees), creating one of the most direct democracies on earth. But it didn’t last long. Soviet democracy was not in the Bolsheviks’ interests. They needed a system whereby no one would question their policies, letting them create their so-called paradise in the way they had envisioned it.
Thus began the dismantling of a democracy in the making in the name of a paradise to come
It was one of the most brutal periods in modern times. Russia got caught in the struggle between the Bolshevik Reds (communists) and the White Movement (anticommunists), a mobilization that involved around 5.5 million troops in total.
It also marked the beginning of War Communism, a system of governance through which the Red state sought to survive long enough to crush opposition across the board by any means necessary. Under it, the Russian people were forced to squeeze out every last resource they had, working their farms, mills and factories under the point of the Bolshevik gun to feed the terrorist, communist machine.
Most iconic of the resistance were the revolution’s initial standard bearers and champions, the sailors of Kronstadt. They had been the first to rise up in arms against the Czar, on their naval base, their mutiny against their officers consolidating the major revolutionary uprising that had erupted in nearby Petrograd (St. Petersburg). Earning a name for themselves for the tenacity, dedication and fearlessness they consistently exhibited, they soon became one of the most revered forces of the revolution. But with time they grew disillusioned with Red policy and began to question it. They feared that the revolution was losing its bearings. Eventually they rose up against the Bolsheviks, eager to uphold the principles of freedom and self-determination they had been fighting for all along.
They were targeted for extinction and crushed in an assault of the Red Army on Kronstadt Island, their historical headquarters.
The extermination didn’t stop there. Mensheviks (men’shinstvo, “minority” party) and other revolutionary forces were deemed ‘counter-revolutionary’ and systematically targeted by the Bolsheviks. They were persecuted with vicious force, along with all Whites, in a policy known as the Red Terror.
The Reds were successful. They soon became the ruling political and military force in the country, consolidating their power and making sure there would be no future dissent across revolutionary Russia. No ‘corrupt’ force, new or old, would be able to rise up and challenge the notion of Bolshevik justice.
Soon the Reds were in total charge of Russia and its satellite states. The old families and their representatives had been butchered or imprisoned, and so had most academics and intelligentsia. Everyone of some knowledge or experience contrary to Party Bolshevism had, in effect, been eliminated – the rich for having ravaged the people for so long (and because the Reds needed to destroy all future claims to what was being appropriated by them in the name of War Communism); and the knowledgeable because they were critical of the double-standards of Party communism. Thus, a new era began. Decentralized Soviet democracy gave way to the highly centralized Soviet regime, under which democracy and republicanism were mere window-dressing. Communist Russia emerged in the horizon.
The sub-par effects of its creed, infrastructure and leadership worked like a clamp on individual and social flow
It was the beginning of one of the most barbarous systems in the history of man, whereby idiots, thugs and fanatics were given control of an empire, presiding over millions of people by the power of a highly organized, insane party. It was a system bound for catastrophe.
Ash Heap Of History
The Bolshevik legacy can be seen to this day, in both the now free, post-Soviet countries, as well as in parts of the former Eastern Bloc, where the sub-par effects of its creed, infrastructure and leadership worked like a clamp on individual and social flow, resulting in multinational atrophy and gangrene, from Romania and East Germany to Georgia and the Ukraine, to Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and beyond.
This monstrous legacy can also be seen in Russia itself, where thuggery seems to have been institutionalized in a hybrid form of Czarist-Bolshevik approaches, ruling the country in what is euphemistically referred to as an Oligarchy. The plain word for it is tyranny.
It is a natural outcome, stemming from a most unfortunate whim of history. The survival and prevalence of the Reds in the Russian Civil War led to a century of deplorable crime and misery. Bolshevik communists are, in fact, responsible for a monumental atrocity. Their crime (against humanity) was that they rose up in rebellion to claim a repressed but kindling fire, promising to stoke its flames and help it surge on the world stage as the most glorious, benevolent society on earth. Instead they plundered and abused it, and then covered it up, until it went out, turning it into a heap of black, dead coal. All in the name of a system of camaraderie in which everyone was supposed to be equal, and which turned out to be a torture chamber for mind and soul, in which some comrades were more equal than others, telling everyone how to live righteous, moral lives.
(Where have I heard this before? Hmm..)
So we see that monsters still exist, breeding and roaming among us, waiting for the right time to take over and destroy what is good and noble in humanity. If only we could get rid of them, or spot them and keep them in check, we would finally be able to apply the sound principles of equality, where everyone will live free of poverty, crime, or any other kind of imbalance; where everyone will be happy-go-lucky, living out their lives in a world that progresses at will and experiences little dis-ease, if any at all.
Then again, isn’t this exactly what the Bolsheviks thought? Isn’t this what led them to the Red Terror and the annihilation of everyone not like them?
Clearly, the problem is not the monsters and thugs, nor the self-centered idiots; they just make things difficult, painting the world dramatic. There is another factor at play, more central and sinister – a fault in the premise of equality itself, which jades and weaponizes the noble causes in whose name we rise up. Call it catastrophic wishful thinking; a shortfall in logic that sets the stage for tragedy and corruption, and which enables thugs, idiots and fanatics to rise to power.
In the second part of this article, I will make a case for how this happens. I will do so by presenting how the premise of total and doctrinaire equality, from start to end and top to bottom, both as creed and value, is not only unsound, but also dangerous, stupid and catastrophic. Akin to social suicide, it hands over destiny to ruthless power brokers, sending the world spinning down self-righteous, moralist nightmares.
I will also argue that, given the imperfection of humanity, there are ways to move ahead and make life better without running the immediate risk of being bulldozed into vicious utopia. There are revolutionary paths out there that lead to groundbreaking and enduring progress, through which the wonder of human potential can be unleashed, not chained, leaving behind a trail of lasting and inspirational accomplishment.