Introduction to Individualism
Kulak family leaving their home
Claude Frédéric Bastiat was a French economist, legislator, and writer who championed private property, free markets, and limited government. Perhaps the main underlying theme of Bastiat’s writings was that the free market was inherently a source of “economic harmony” among individuals, as long as government was restricted to the function of protecting the lives, liberties, and property of citizens from theft or aggression.
by Frédéric Bastiat, 1850
Law Is Force
Since the law organizes justice, the socialists ask why the law should not also organize labor, education, and religion. Why should not law be used for these purposes? Because it could not organize labor, education, and religion without destroying justice. We must remember that law is force, and that, consequently, the proper functions of the law cannot lawfully extend beyond the proper functions of force. When law and force keep a person within the bounds of justice, they impose nothing but a mere negation. They oblige him only to abstain from harming others. They violate neither his personality, his liberty, nor his property. They safeguard all of these. They are defensive; they defend equally the rights of all.
A Life of Meaning…
Henry David Thoreau was an American naturalist, essayist, poet, and philosopher. A leading transcendentalist, he is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay “Civil Disobedience” , an argument for disobedience to an unjust state.
by Henry David Thoreau
August 9, 1854
Be sure that you give the poor the aid they most need, though it be your example which leaves them far behind. If you give money, spend yourself with it, and do not merely abandon it to them. We make curious mistakes sometimes. Often the poor man is not so cold and hungry as he is dirty and ragged and gross. It is partly his taste, and not merely his misfortune. If you give him money, he will perhaps buy more rags with it. I was wont to pity the clumsy Irish laborers who cut ice on the pond, in such mean and ragged clothes, while I shivered in my more tidy and somewhat more fashionable garments, till, one bitter cold day, one who had slipped into the water came to my house to warm him, and I saw him strip off three pairs of pants and two pairs of stockings ere he got down to the skin, though they were dirty and ragged enough, it is true, and that he could afford to refuse the extra garments which I offered him, he had so many intra ones. This ducking was the very thing he needed. Then I began to pity myself, and I saw that it would be a greater charity to bestow on me a flannel shirt than a whole slop-shop on him. There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root, and it may be that he who bestows the largest amount of time and money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce that misery which he strives in vain to relieve. It is the pious slave-breeder devoting the proceeds of every tenth slave to buy a Sunday’s liberty for the rest. Some show their kindness to the poor by employing them in their kitchens. Would they not be kinder if they employed themselves there ? You boast of spending a tenth part of your income in char- ity ; maybe you should spend the nine tenths so, and done with it. Society recovers only a tenth part of the property then. Is this owing to the generosity of him in whose possession it is found, or to the remissness of the officers of justice?
Philanthropy is almost the only virtue which is sufficiently appreciated by mankind. Nay, it is greatly overrated; and it is our selfishness which overrates it.
Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher and cultural critic who published intensively in the 1870s and 1880s. He is famous for uncompromising criticisms of conventional philosophical ideas and social and political pieties associated with modernity. His work has exerted a profound influence on modern intellectual history.
Thus Spoke Zarathustra
by Friedrich Nietzsche, 1885
When power becomes gracious and descends into the visible- I call such condescension, beauty. And from no one do I want beauty so much as from you, you powerful one: let your goodness be your last self-conquest. All evil do I accredit to you: therefore do I desire of you the good. I have often laughed at the weaklings, who think themselves good because they have crippled paws! The virtue of the pillar shall you strive after: more beautiful does it ever become, and more graceful- but internally harder and more sustaining- the higher it rises. Yes, you sublime one, one day shall you also be beautiful, and hold up the mirror to your own beauty.
Carl Jung was an early 20th-century psychotherapist and psychiatrist who created the field of analytical psychology. He is widely considered one of the most important figures in the history of psychology. His contributions to the field of analytical psychology include anima and animus, archetypes, the collective unconscious, complexes, extraversion and introversion, individuation, the Self, the shadow and synchronicity.
Carl G. Jung – The Complete Works – Volume 10. Civilization in Transition
contains essays bearing on the contemporary scene during the 1920s–1930s
Only certain reflective minds have been enriched, and their moral and intellectual horizon has been considerably enlarged by the realization of the immense and overwhelming power of evil, and of the fact that mankind is capable of becoming merely its instrument. But the average man is still where he was at the end of the first World War. Therefore it is only too obvious that the vast majority are incapable of integrating the forces of order. On the contrary, it is even probable that these forces will encroach upon consciousness and take it by surprise and violence, against our will. We see the first symptoms everywhere: totalitarianism and State slavery. The value and importance of the individual are rapidly decreasing and the chances of his being heard will vanish more and more…[p451]
As I have said, the uprush of mass instincts was symptomatic of a compensatory move of the unconscious. Such a move was possible because the conscious state of the people had become estranged from the natural laws of human existence. Thanks to industrialization, large portions of the population were uprooted and were herded together in large centres. This new form of existence—with its mass psychology and social dependence on the fluctuation of markets and wages—produced an individual who was unstable, insecure, and suggestible. He was aware that his life depended on boards of directors and captains of industry, and he supposed, rightly or wrongly, that they were chiefly motivated by financial interests. He knew that, no matter how conscientiously he worked, he could still fall a victim at any moment to economic changes which were utterly beyond his control. And there was nothing else for him to rely on. Moreover, the system of moral and political education prevailing in Germany had already done its utmost to permeate everybody with a spirit of dull obedience, with the belief that every desirable thing must come from above, from those who by divine decree sat on top of the law-abiding citizen, whose feelings of personal responsibility were overruled by a rigid sense of duty. No wonder, therefore, that it was precisely Germany that fell a prey to mass psychology, though she is by no means the only nation threatened by this dangerous germ. The influence of mass psychology has spread far and wide. The individual’s feeling of weakness, indeed of non-existence, was thus compensated by the eruption of hitherto unknown desires for power. It was the revolt of the powerless, the insatiable greed of the “have-nots.”…[p453-454]
WWII Concentration Camp (Halocaust)
“Man’s Search for Meaning”, the chilling yet inspirational story of Viktor Frankl’s struggle to hold on to hope during his three years as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps, is a true classic. In 1959 Carl Rogers called Man’s Search for Meaning “one of the outstanding contributions to psychological thought in the last fifty years.” Frankl’s training as a psychiatrist informed every waking moment of his ordeal and allowed him a remarkable perspective on the psychology of survival. His assertion that “the will to meaning” is the basic motivation for human life has forever changed the way we understand our humanity in the face of suffering.
Man’s Search for Meaning
by Viktor Frankl, 1946
As we said before, any attempt to restore a man’s inner strength in the camp had first to succeed in showing him some future goal. Nietzsche’s words, “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how,” could be the guiding motto for all psychotherapeutic and pyschohygienic efforts regarding prisoners. Whenever there was an opportunity for it, one had to give them a way-an aim-for their lives, in order to strengthen them to bear the terrible how of their existence. Woe to him who saw no more sense in his life, no aim, no purpose, and therefore no point in carrying on. He was soon lost. The typical reply with which such a man rejected all encouraging arguments was, “I have nothing to expect from life anymore.” What sort of answer can one give to that?
What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude towards life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life-daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.
Written late in Jung’s life, reflect his responses to the shattering experience of World War II and the dawn of mass society. Among his most influential works, “The Undiscovered Self” is a plea for his generation–and those to come–to continue the individual work of self-discovery and not abandon needed psychological reflection for the easy ephemera of mass culture. Only individual awareness of both the conscious and unconscious aspects of the human psyche, Jung tells us, will allow the great work of human culture to continue and thrive.
The Undiscovered Self
The Plight of the Individual in Modern Society
By Carl G. Jung, 1957
Under the influence of scientific assumptions, not only the psyche but the individual man and, indeed, all individual events whatsoever suffer a leveling down and a process of blurring that distorts the picture of reality into a conceptual average. We ought not to underestimate the psychological effect of the statistical world-picture: it thrusts aside the individual in favour of anonymous units that pile up into mass formations. Instead of the concrete individual, you have the names of organizations and, at the highest point, the abstract idea of the State as the principle of political reality. The moral responsibility of the individual is then inevitably replaced by the policy of the State (raison d’etat}. Instead of moral and mental differentiation of the individual, you have public welfare and the raising of the living standard. The goal and meaning of individual life (which is the only real life) no longer lie in individual development but in the policy of the State, which is thrust upon the individual from outside and consists in the execution of an abstract idea which ultimately tends to attract all life to itself. The individual is increasingly deprived of the moral decision as to how he should live his own life, and instead is ruled, fed, clothed, and educated as a social unit, accommodated in the appropriate housing unit, and amused in accordance with the standards that give pleasure and satisfaction to the masses. The rulers, in their turn, are just as much social units as the ruled, and are distinguished only by the fact that they are specialized mouthpieces of the State doctrine. They do not need to be personalities capable of judgment, but thoroughgoing specialists who are unusable outside their line of business. State policy decides what shall be taught and studied.
Painting of a man reflecting deeply
Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist and philosopher best known for his self-actualization theory of psychology, which argued that the primary goal of psychotherapy should be the integration of the self. His theory “Hierarchy of Needs” predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualization. He was the head of the psychology department at Brandeis University (Waltham, Massachusetts), from 1951 to 1969. Maslow was the tenth most cited psychologist of the 20th century.
Toward a Psychology of Being
by Abraham Maslow, 1962
Every human being has both sets of forces within him. One set clings to safety and defensiveness out of fear, tending to regress backward, hanging on to the past, afraid to grow away from the primitive communication with the mother’s uterus and breast, afraid to take chances, afraid to jeopardize what he already has, afraid of independence, freedom and separateness. The other set of forces impels him forward toward wholeness of Self and uniqueness of Self, toward full functioning of all his capacities, toward confidence in the face of the external world at the same time that he can accept his deepest, real, unconscious Self.
Philosophy of Individualism
Thomas Aquinas was an immensely influential philosopher, theologian, and jurist in the tradition of scholasticism. He was the foremost classical proponent of natural theology and the father of Thomism; of which he argued that reason is found in God. His influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy developed or opposed his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law, metaphysics, and political theory.
by Saint Thomas Aquinas
written between 1265–1274
It is evident that all things partake somewhat of the eternal law, in so far as, namely, from its being imprinted on them… Wherefore it (human nature) has a share of the Eternal Reason, whereby it has a natural inclination to its proper act and end: and this participation of the eternal law in the rational creature is called the natural law.
John Locke was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers and commonly known as the “Father of Liberalism”. His writings influenced Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and many Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, as well as the American Revolutionaries. His contributions to classical republicanism and liberal theory are reflected in the United States Declaration of Independence.
Two Treatises of Government
John Locke, 1689
THE natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but to have only the law of nature for his rule. The liberty of man, in society, is to be under no other legislative power, but that established, by consent, in the commonwealth; nor under the dominion of any will, or restraint of any law, but what that legislative shall enact, according to the trust put in it. Freedom then is not what Sir Robert Filmer tells us, Observations, (A. 55.) a liberty for every one to do what he lists, to live as he pleases, and not to be tied by any laws: but freedom of men under government is, to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society, and made by the legislative power erected in it; a liberty to follow my own will in all things, where the rule prescribes not; and not to be subject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary will of another man: as freedom of nature is, to be under no other restraint but the law of nature.
This freedom from absolute, arbitrary power, is so necessary to, and closely joined with a man’s preservation, that he cannot part with it, but by what forfeits his preservation and life together: for a man, not having the power of his own life, cannot, by compact, or his own consent, enslave himself to any one, nor put himself under the absolute, arbitrary power of another, to take away his life, when he pleases. No body can give more power than he has himself; and he that cannot take away his own life, cannot give another power over it…
Of the Ends of Political Society and Government
If man in the state of Nature be so free as has been said, if he be absolute lord of his own person and possessions, equal to the greatest and subject to nobody, why will he part with his freedom, this empire, and subject himself to the dominion and control of any other power? To which it is obvious to answer, that though in the state of Nature he hath such a right, yet the enjoyment of it is very uncertain and constantly exposed to the invasion of others; for all being kings as much as he, every man his equal, and the greater part no strict observers of equity and justice, the enjoyment of the property he has in this state is very unsafe, very insecure. This makes him willing to quit this condition which, however free, is full of fears and continual dangers; and it is not without reason that he seeks out and is willing to join in society with others who. are already united, or have a mind to unite for the mutual preservation of their lives, liberties and estates, which I call by the general name property. The great and chief end, therefore, of men uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property
Thomas Paine was an English-born American political activist, philosopher, political theorist, and revolutionary. He authored Common Sense and The American Crisis, the two most influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, and helped inspire the patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Great Britain. His ideas reflected Enlightenment-era ideals of transnational human rights.
Rights of Man, 1791
“Hitherto we have spoken only (and that but in part) of the natural rights of man. We have now to consider the civil rights of man, and to show how the one originates from the other. Man did not enter into society to become worse than he was before, nor to have fewer rights than he had before, but to have those rights better secured. His natural rights are the foundation of all his civil rights.”
Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. The principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights, motivating American colonists to break from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation.
Thomas Jefferson to Francis W. Gilmer
June 7, 1816
“Our legislators are not sufficiently apprised of the rightful limits of their powers: that their true office is to declare and enforce only our natural rights and duties, & to take none of them from us. No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another; and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him.”
Thomas Jefferson to Isaac H. Tiffany
4 April 1819
“I will however essay the two definitions which you say are more particularly interesting at present: I mean those of the terms Liberty & Republic, aware however that they have been so multifariously applied as to convey no precise idea to the mind. of Liberty then I would say that, in the whole plenitude of it’s extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will: but rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within the limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’; because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.”
Lysander Spooner was a legal theorist, abolitionist, and radical individualist who started his own mail company in order to challenge the monopoly held by the US government. He wrote on the constitutionality of slavery, natural law, trial by jury, intellectual property, paper currency, and banking.
Natural Law; or The Science of Justice:
A Treatise on Natural Law, Natural Justice, Natural Rights, Natural Liberty, and Natural Society; Showing that All Legislation Whatsoever is an Absurdity, a Usurpation, and a Crime. Part First.
by Lysander Spooner (1882)
If justice be not a natural principle, it is no principle at all. If it be not a natural principle, there is no such thing as justice. If it be not a natural principle, all that men have ever said or written about it, from time immemorial, has been said and written about that which had no existence. If it be not a natural principle, all the appeals for justice that have ever been heard, and all the struggles for justice that have ever been witnessed, have been appeals and struggles for a mere fantasy, a vagary of the imagination, and not for a reality. If justice be not a natural principle, then there is no such thing as injustice; and all the crimes of which the world has been the scene, have been no crimes at all; but only simple events, like the falling of the rain, or the setting of the sun; events of which the victims had no more reason to complain than they had to complain of the running of the streams, or the growth of vegetation. If justice be not a natural principle, governments (so-called) have no more right or reason to take cognizance of it, or to pretend or profess to take cognizance of it, than they have to take cognizance, or to pretend or profess to take cognizance, of any other nonentity; and all their professions of establishing justice, or of maintaining justice, or of regarding justice, are simply the mere gibberish of fools, or the frauds of imposters. Uut if justice be a natural principle, then it is necessarily an immutable one; and can no more be changed — by any power inferior to that which established it —than can the law of gravitation, the laws of light, the principles of mathematics, or any o.ther natural law or principle whatever; and all attempts or assumptions, on the part of any man or body of men — whether calling themselves governments, or by any other name—to set up their own commands, wills, pleasure, or discretion, in the place of justice, as a rule of conduct for any human being, are as much an absurdity, an Usurpation, and a tyranny, as would be their attempts to set up their own commands, wills, pleasure, or discretion in the place of any and all the physical, mental, and moral laws of the universe.
If there be any such principle as justice, it is, of necessity, a natural principle; and, as such, it is a matter of science, to be learned and applied like any other science. And to talk of either adding to, or taking from, it, by legislation, is just as false, absurd, and ridiculous as it would be to talk of adding to, or taking from, mathematics, chemistry, or any other science, by legislation.
If there be in nature such a principle as justice, nothing can be added to, or taken from, its supreme authority by all the legislation of which the entire human race united are capable. And all the attempts of the human race, or of any portion of it, to add to, or take from, the supreme authority of justice, in any case whatever, is of no more obligation upon any single human being than is the idle wind.
If there be such a principle as justice, or natural law, it is the principle, or law, that tells us what rights were given to every human being at his birth; what rights are, therefore, inherent in him as a human being, necessarily remain with him during life; and, however capable of being trampled upon, are incapable of being blotted out, extinguished, annihilated, or separated or eliminated from his nature as a human being, or deprived of their inherent authority or obligation.
On the other hand, if there be no such principle as justice, or natural law, then every human being came into the world utterly destitute of rights; and coming into the world destitute of rights, he must necessarily forever remain so. For if no one brings any rights with him into the world, clearly no one can ever have any rights of his own or give any to another. And the consequence would be that mankind could never have any rights; and for them to talk of any such things as their rights, would be to talk of things that never had, never will have, and never can have an existence.
If there be such a natural principle as justice, it is necessarily the highest, and consequently the only and universal, law for all those matters to which it is naturally applicable. And, consequently, all human legislation is simply and always an assumption of authority and dominion, where no right of authority or dominion exists. It is, therefore, simply and always an intrusion, an absurdity, an usurpation, and a crime. On the other hand, if there be no such natural principle as justice, there can be no such thing as injustice. If there be no such natural principle as honesty, there can be no such thing as dishonesty; and no possible act of either force or fraud, com¬ mitted by one man against the person or property of another, can be said to be unjust or dishonest; or be complained & or prohibited, or punished as such. In short, if there be no such principle as justice, there can be no such acts as crimes; and all the professions of governments, so-called, that they exist, either in whole or in part, for the punishment or prevention of crimes, are professions that they exist for the punishment or prevention of what never existed, nor ever can exist Such professions are therefore confessions that, so far as crimes are concerned, governments have no occasion to exist; that there is nothing for them to do, and that there is nothing that they can do. They are confessions that the governments exist for the punishment and prevention of acts that are, in their nature, simple impossibilities
If there be in nature such a principle as justice, such a principle as honesty, such principles as we describe by the words mine and mine, such principles as men’s natural rights of person and property, then we have an immutable and universal law; a law that we can learn, as we learn any other science; a law that is paramount to, and excludes, everything that conflicts with it; a law that tells us what is just and what is unjust, what is honest and what is dishonest, what things are mine and what things are mine, what are my rights of person and property and what are your rights of person and property, and where is the boundary between each and all of my rights of person and property and each and all of your rights of person and property. And this law is the paramount law, and the same law, over all the world, at all times, and for all peoples; and will be the same paramount and only law, at all times, and for all peoples, so long as man shall live upon the earth. But ifj on the other hand, there be in nature no such principle as justice, no such principle as honesty, no such principle as men’s natural rights of person or property, then all such words as justice and injustice, honesty and dishonesty, all such words as mine and thine, all words that signify that one thing is one man’s property and that another thing is another man’s property, all words that are used to describe men’s natural rights of person or property, all such words as are used to describe injuries and crimes, should be struck out of all human languages as having no meanings; and it should be declared, at once and forever, that the greatest force and the greatest frauds, for the time being, are the supreme and only laws for governing the relations of men with each other; and that, from henceforth, all persons and combinations of persons — those that call themselves governments, as well as all others — are to be left free to practice upon each other all the force, and all the fraud, of which they are capable.
If there be no such science as justice, there can be no science of government; and all the rapacity and violence, by which, in all ages and nations, a few confederated villains have obtained the mastery over the rest of mankind, reduced them to poverty and slavery, and established what they called governments to keep them in subjection, have been as legitimate examples of government as any that the world is ever to see.
If there be in nature such a principle as justice, it is necessarily the only political principle there ever was, or ever will be. All the other so-called political principles, which men are in the habit of inventing, are not principles at all. They are either the mere conceits of simpletons, who imagine they have discovered something better than truth, and justice, and universal law; or they are mere devices and pretences, to which selfish and knavish mei resort as means to get fame, and power, and money
Murray Rothbard was an American economist of the Austrian School, economic historian and political theorist. Rothbard was the founder and leading theoretician of anarcho-capitalism, a staunch advocate of historical revisionism and a central figure in the 20th-century American libertarian movement.
War, Peace, and the State,
Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature, 1963
“The fundamental axiom of libertarian theory is that no one may threaten or commit violence (“aggress”) against another man’s person or property. Violence may be employed only against the man who commits such violence; that is, only defensively against the aggressive violence of another. In short, no violence may be employed against a non-aggressor. Here is the fundamental rule from which can be deduced the entire corpus of libertarian theory.”
Philosophy of Collectivism
Plato was an Athenian philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought, and the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Plato has also often been cited as one of the founders of Western religion and spirituality. Plato was the innovator of the written dialogue and dialectic forms in philosophy. He is also considered the founder of Western political philosophy. His most famous contribution is the theory of Forms known by pure reason, in which Plato presents a solution to the problem of universals known as Platonism.
“Next, it seems, we must try to point out what’s being done wrong in the cities now to keep them from being so governed, and what would be the smallest change that would bring a city to our kind of regime—preferably only one or two, but at any rate the fewest in number and smallest in effect.”
“Absolutely,” he said.
“I think we can point out one change,” I said, “that would transform everything. It isn’t small or very easy, but possible.”
“What is it?”
“Now I’m on top of what we compared to the biggest wave. Still I shall tell it, though it drown me in laughter and disrepute, like a cackling billow. So examine what I’m going to say.”
“Speak,” Glaucon said.
“Until either philosophers become kings or those now d called kings and regents become genuine philosophers, so that political power and philosophy coincide and the many natures that now enter exclusively on one or the other are constrained from so doing, there will be no end to the evils, dear Glaucon, for cities nor, I think, for the human race, and e this regime we’ve gone through in words will never grow into possibility and see the light of the sun. This is what made me hesitate so long—I knew what I’d say would be completely contrary to opinion. It’s not easy to see that nothing else will bring happiness to the individual or to the state.”
“Socrates,” he said, “you’ve tossed out a proposal that will incite a horde of respectable men to throw off their cloaks, grab the first weapon they find, and stampede you down intent on some horrible mischief. If you don’t have an argument to defend yourself with, your penalty will be hoots and scurrility.”
“Aren’t you responsible, Glaucon?”
“The more you talk like that, Socrates, the less chance you have of getting off. So quit stalling and speak.”
“Well, first we must recall that we got here because we were inquiring what justice and injustice are like.”
“What of it?”
“Nothing. Just that if we find out what justice is like, will we expect the just man to be exactly like it in every way, or will we be satisfied if he comes as dose to it as possible and c participates in it more than anyone else?”
“Yes, we’ll be satisfied with that.”
“So by inquiring what justice and injustice themselves are like and what a perfectly just or unjust man would be like if he came into being, we were seeking a model—so that by looking at the men and seeing what they’re like in regard to happiness and misery we can then look at ourselves and be forced to admit that whichever of us most resembles one of these men will also receive a life most resembling his. We d didn’t do it to prove that the models themselves can come into being.”
“That much is true,” he said.
“Do you think a painter who has painted an adequate model of what the most beautiful human being would look like would be a poorer painter for being unable to prove that such a man can be born?”
“Not at all, by Zeus.”
“Well, weren’t we making a model in words of a good city?”
“Do you think we’ll be poorer modelers if we can’t prove it possible to govern a city as we’ve said?”
“Not a bit.”
“Then that’s the truth of the matter, Glaucon. But if for your sake I must be eager to demonstrate how this might most nearly be possible, then to further the demonstration give me your agreement again on the same point.”
“Can anything be done exactly as said, or is it the nature of practice to catch less of the truth than does speech, contrary to what people may think?”
“You’ve got my agreement on that,” he said.
“Then don’t force me to show that everything we’ve described in words can be realized completely in practice. If we’re able to discover how a city may be governed as closely as possible to what we’ve said, we’ll say I’ve proved what you demand: that this is possible. Will you be satisfied with that? —I will.”
“So will I.”
“Next, it seems, we must try to point out what’s being done wrong in the cities now to keep them from being so governed, and what would be the smallest change that would bring a city to our kind of regime—preferably only one or two, but at any rate the fewest in number and smallest in effect.” “Absolutely,” he said.
“I think we can point out one change,” I said, “that would transform everything. It isn’t small or very easy, but possible.”
“What is it?”
“Now I’m on top of what we compared to the biggest wave. Still I shall teil it, though it drown me in laughter and disrepute, like a cackling billow. So examine what I’m going to say.”
“Speak,” Glaucon said.
“Until either philosophers become kings or those now called kings and regents become genuine philosophers, so that political power and philosophy coincide and the many natures that now enter exclusively on one or the other are constrained from so doing, there will be no end to the evils, dear Glaucon, for cities nor, I think, for the human race, and this regime we’ve gone through in words will never grow into possibility and see the light of the sun. This is what made me hesitate so long—I knew what I’d say would be completely contrary to opinion. It’s not easy to see that nothing else will bring happiness to the individual or to the state.”
“Socrates,” he said, “you’ve tossed out a proposal that will incite a horde of respectable men to throw off their cloaks, grab the first weapon they find, and stampede you down intent on some horrible mischief. If you don’t have an argument to defend yourself with, your penalty will be hoots and scurrility.”
“Aren’t you responsible, Glaucon?”
Henri de Saint-Simon was a French political, economic and socialist theorist and businessman whose thought had a substantial influence on politics, economics, sociology and the philosophy of science. Saint-Simon created a political and economic ideology known as Saint-Simonianism that claimed that the needs of an industrial class, which he also referred to as the working class, needed to be recognized and fulfilled to have an effective society and an efficient economy. Unlike conceptions within industrializing societies of a working class being manual labourers alone, Saint-Simon’s late-18th century conception of this class included all people engaged in productive work that contributed to society such as businesspeople, managers, scientists and bankers, along with manual labourers, amongst others.
He idealized the industriels out of respect not for their ownership of property but for their powers of production. Work was liberative; the beaver and not the lion should be the kind of beasts. In his “Letters to the Industriels” and other articles during this period, he envisaged an end to revolution through a new religion with a single commandment: “All men must work.” There were idlers (oisifs) and industrious ones (industriels) within all social groups. The new elite was thus to be drawn from whoever was industrious in agriculture, commerce, manufacturing, and banking regardless of social origins. Saint-Simon was the prophet of meritocracy, seeking to reorder society in the image of the new chessboard he had designed for revolutionary France, with a hierarchy in which the king was replaced by a figure called Talent.
Henri de Saint-Simon
Oeuvres choisies: précédées d’un essai sur sa doctrine, 1839 (published)
I have divided [the different sections of mankind] into three classes. The first, to which you and I have the honour to belong, marches under the banner of the progress of the human mind. It is composed of scientists, artists and all those who hold liberal ideas. On the banner of the second is written ‘No innovation!’ All proprietors who do not belong in the first category are part of the second. The third class, which rallies round the slogan of ‘Equality’ is made up of the rest of the people.
Henri de Saint-Simon
Science de l’homme: physiologie religieuse, 1858 (published)
The belief in several animate causes, continually at war with one another, acting without the knowledge of Jupiter, their supreme leader, by making niches for him, is absurd; if the world were thus ruled it would be in chaos. In order for the beautiful order that we see established to exist in the Universe, it must be governed by a single cause. The Greeks are proud of the knowledge they have; they have the right to be, by limiting themselves to comparing what they know with what the peoples who preceded them knew; but they would be very little satisfied with their knowledge if they compared what they know with what remains for them to learn. They let themselves be dominated by their imagination, their attention is almost entirely absorbed by the fine arts. They are so strong in this genre that I doubt their successors can match them. But is this genre the first? I don’t think so, I only watch it as a fun.
Philosophy seems to me to be the most important of all the sciences. The philosopher places himself at the summit of thought; from there he considers what the world has been and what is to become. He is not only an observer, he is an actor; he is an actor of the first kind in the moral world, for it is his opinions on what the world should become that govern human society.
The Communist Manifesto summarises Marx and Engels’ theories concerning the nature of society and politics, namely that in their own words “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles”. It also briefly features their ideas for how the capitalist society of the time would eventually be replaced by socialism. In the last paragraph of the Manifesto, the authors call for a “forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions”, which served as a call for communist revolutions around the world.
Karl Marx was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and socialist revolutionary. Born in Germany, Marx studied law and philosophy at university. Due to his political publications, Marx became stateless and lived in exile with his wife and children in London for decades, where he continued to develop his thought in collaboration with German thinker Friedrich Engels and publish his writings, researching in the reading room of the British Museum. His best-known titles are the 1848 pamphlet The Communist Manifesto and the three-volume Das Kapital. Marx’s political and philosophical thought had enormous influence on subsequent intellectual, economic and political history.
By Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, 1848
In bourgeois society, therefore, the past dominates the present; in Communist society, the present dominates the past. In bourgeois society capital is independent and has individuality, while the living person is dependent and has no individuality.
And the abolition of this state of things is called by the bourgeois, abolition of individuality and freedom! And rightly so. The abolition of bourgeois individuality, bourgeois independence, and bourgeois freedom is undoubtedly aimed at.
By freedom is meant, under the present bourgeois conditions of production, free trade, free selling and buying.
But if selling and buying disappears, free selling and buying disappears also. This talk about free selling and buying, and all the other “brave words” of our bourgeois about freedom in general, have a meaning, if any, only in contrast with restricted selling and buying, with the fettered traders of the Middle Ages, but have no meaning when opposed to the Communistic abolition of buying and selling, of the bourgeois conditions of production, and of the bourgeoisie itself.
You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths. You reproach us, therefore, with intending to do away with a form of property, the necessary condition for whose existence is the non-existence of any property for the immense majority of society.
In one word, you reproach us with intending to do away with your property. Precisely so; that is just what we intend.
From the moment when labour can no longer be converted into capital, money, or rent, into a social power capable of being monopolised, i.e., from the moment when individual property can no longer be transformed into bourgeois property, into capital, from that moment, you say, individuality vanishes.
You must, therefore, confess that by “individual” you mean no other person than the bourgeois, than the middle-class owner of property. This person must, indeed, be swept out of the way, and made impossible.
Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labour of others by means of such appropriations.
It has been objected that upon the abolition of private property, all work will cease, and universal laziness will overtake us.
According to this, bourgeois society ought long ago to have gone to the dogs through sheer idleness; for those of its members who work, acquire nothing, and those who acquire anything do not work. The whole of this objection is but another expression of the tautology: that there can no longer be any wage-labour when there is no longer any capital.
All objections urged against the Communistic mode of producing and appropriating material products, have, in the same way, been urged against the Communistic mode of producing and appropriating intellectual products. Just as, to the bourgeois, the disappearance of class property is the disappearance of production itself, so the disappearance of class culture is to him identical with the disappearance of all culture.
That culture, the loss of which he laments, is, for the enormous majority, a mere training to act as a machine.
But don’t wrangle with us so long as you apply, to our intended abolition of bourgeois property, the standard of your bourgeois notions of freedom, culture, law, &c. Your very ideas are but the outgrowth of the conditions of your bourgeois production and bourgeois property, just as your jurisprudence is but the will of your class made into a law for all, a will whose essential character and direction are determined by the economical conditions of existence of your class.
The selfish misconception that induces you to transform into eternal laws of nature and of reason, the social forms springing from your present mode of production and form of property – historical relations that rise and disappear in the progress of production – this misconception you share with every ruling class that has preceded you. What you see clearly in the case of ancient property, what you admit in the case of feudal property, you are of course forbidden to admit in the case of your own bourgeois form of property.
Abolition [Aufhebung] of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists.
On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form, this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the family among the proletarians, and in public prostitution.
The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital.
Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty.
But, you say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home education by social.
And your education! Is not that also social, and determined by the social conditions under which you educate, by the intervention direct or indirect, of society, by means of schools, &c.? The Communists have not invented the intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter the character of that intervention, and to rescue education from the influence of the ruling class.
The bourgeois clap-trap about the family and education, about the hallowed co-relation of parents and child, becomes all the more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern Industry, all the family ties among the proletarians are torn asunder, and their children transformed into simple articles of commerce and instruments of labour.
Auguste Comte was a French philosopher and writer who formulated the doctrine of positivism. He is often regarded as the first philosopher of science in the modern sense of the term. Influenced by the utopian socialist Henri de Saint-Simon, Comte developed positive philosophy in an attempt to remedy the social disorder caused by the French Revolution, which he believed indicated imminent transition to a new form of society. He sought to establish a new social doctrine based on science, which he labeled ‘positivism’.
Catéchisme positiviste, 1852
Positivism never admits more than duties, from everyone to everyone. For his always social point of view cannot include any notion of law, constantly based on individuality. We are born loaded with all kinds of obligations towards our. predecessors, our successors, and our contemporaries. They then only grow or accumulate before we can render any service. On what human basis could the idea of law be based, which would reasonably presuppose prior efficacy? No matter how hard we try, the longest life well spent will never allow us to return more than an imperceptible portion of what we have received. However, it would be only after a complete restitution that we would be worthily authorized to claim the reciprocity of new services. Any human right is therefore absurd as much as it is minimal. Since there are no longer any divine rights, this notion must be completely removed, as purely relating to the preliminary regime, and directly incompatible with the final state, which admits only duties, according to functions.
John Ruskin was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, as well as an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, philosopher, prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on subjects as varied as geology, architecture, myth, ornithology, literature, education, botany and political economy. He was hugely influential in the latter half of the 19th century and up to the First World War, and today, his ideas and concerns are widely recognised as having anticipated interest in environmentalism, sustainability and craft. Prime Minister Clement Attlee acknowledged their debt to Ruskin as they helped to found the British welfare state. More of the British Labour Party’s earliest MPs acknowledged Ruskin’s influence than mentioned Karl Marx or the Bible.
Unto this last, 1860
For us, at all events, her work must begin at the entry of the doors: all true economy is ” Law of the house.” Strive to make that law strict, simple, generous: waste nothing, and grudge nothing. Care in nowise to make more of money, but care to make much of it; remembering always .the great, palpable, inevitable fact — the rule and root of all economy — that what one person has, another cannot have; and that every atom of substance, of whatever kind, used or consumed, is so much human life spent; which, if it issue in the saving present life, or gaining more, is well spent, but if not, is either so much life pre- vented, or so much slain. In all buying, consider, first, what condition of existence you cause in the producers of what you buy; secondly, whether the sum you have paid is just to the producer, and in due proportion, lodged in his hands; thirdly, to how much clear use, for food, knowledge, or joy, this that you have bought can be put; and fourthly, to whom and in what way it can be most speedily and serviceably distributed: in all dealings whatsoever insisting on entire openness and stern fulfilment; and in all doings, on perfection and loveliness of accomplishment; especially on fineness and purity of all marketable commodity: watching at the same time for all ways of gaining, or teaching, powers of simple pleasure; and of showing the sum of enjoyment depending not on the quantity of things tasted, but on the vivacity and patience of taste. 85. And if, on due and honest thought over these things, it seems that the kind of existence to which men are now summoned by every plea of pity and claim of right, may, for some time at least, not be a luxurious one; — consider whether, even supposing it guiltless, luxury would be desired by any of us, if we saw clearly at our sides the suffering which accompanies it in the world. Luxury is indeed possible in the future — innocent and exquisite; luxury for all, and by the help of all;
The technocracy movement proposed replacing politicians and businesspeople with scientists and engineers who had the technical expertise to manage the economy.
Technocracy In Plain Terms, 1939
Away back in 1919, a body of scientists, engineers and technicians known as the ‘Technical Alliance,’ began a production and-distribution survey and analysis of the system in use on the North American Continent. This survey was known as the ‘Energy Survey of North America.’ They gathered a great mass of information regarding the use of energy and the physical equipment of this Continental area to ascertain the relationship of energy consumption to the amount of goods and services rendered. Technocracy is the direct result of the work of this body of scientists. The word itself stands for the findings and conclusions of this organization, and signifies a new and purely scientific form of social management which, as formulated by Technocracy Inc., is based solely on scientific principles and incontrovertible scientific facts, and can only be carried on along scientific lines.
Technocracy is not the result of deliberate scheming or Utopian day-dreaming; in this it differs, as it does in many other ways, from all other movements. It is a new method of governing society that inevitably suggested itself to the research body as its analysis and survey progressed. If the human race on this Continent is to survive the crash of the Price System, Technocracy will have to be put into practice. And this crash will inevitably occur within the next very few years as the result of the impact of the use of extraneous energy on the social fabric, a process which is steadily throwing millions of men on the industrial slag heap. If the people of North America—the rich as well as the poor, as none are immune— are to escape the stark horror of famine and barbarism which may follow this crash, Technocracy will have to save them. Only Technocracy can do it—Technocracy, the scientific control of all social functions. Can you visualize what such a chaotic period would mean? A nation-wide walk-out and panic would only be the start of things. There would be hunger, rioting, disease, and starvation—and deaths, probably by the million. This is Technocracy’s challenge and warning to the people of North America. Heed it or perish. Technocracy will not perish. After the inevitable collapse of our stupendous financial and political structure, after the many palliatives have been tried and have failed, it will still remain. Technocracy is the one workable answer to the frightening dilemma in which we find ourselves. You can kill a million men, but you cannot suspend the laws of nature.
The term Habitat I refers to the first United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada, 31 May – 11 June 1976, which was convened by the United Nations as governments began to recognize the magnitude and consequences of rapid urbanization.
The United Nations Conference on Human Settlements Vancouver Canada
31st May to 11th June, 1976
(Agenda item 10) (d)
Land, because of its unique nature and the crucial role it plays in human settlements, cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market Private and ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development’s schemes. Social justice, urban renewal, and development, the provision of decent dwellings, and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interests of society as a whole.
James Billington was a leading American academic and author who taught history at Harvard and Princeton before serving for 42 years as CEO of four federal cultural institutions. He served as the 13th Librarian of Congress after being nominated by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, and his appointment was approved unanimously by the U.S. Senate. Dr. Billington and his daughter Susan were the first father and daughter to both be awarded Rhodes Scholarships and to use them to earn Doctorates of Philosophy at Oxford University. Billington was also a longtime member of the editorial advisory boards of Foreign Affairs and of Theology Today, and a member of the Board of Foreign Scholarships, which has executive responsibility for academic exchanges worldwide under the Fulbright-Hays Act.
Fire in the Minds of Men
by Dr. James Billington, 1980
We shall deal repeatedly with the linguistic creativity of revolutionaries, who used old words (democracy, nation, revolution, and liberal) in new ways and invented altogether new words like socialist and communist. Their appealing new vocabulary was taken over for nonrevolutionary usage—as in the adoption of republican and democrat for competing political parties in postrevolutionary America, or in the conservative cooptation of nation, liberal, and even radical in late nineteenth century Europe. Revolutionaries also originated other key phrases used by nonrevolutionary social theorists in our own century: cybernetics, intelligentsia. Even speculation about “the year 2000” began not with the futurology of the 1960s, but with a dramatic work written in the 1780s by the same figure who invented the word communist.
The origins of revolutionary words and symbols is of more than antiquarian interest; for, in the contemporary world where constitutions and free elections are vanishing almost as rapidly as monarchs, revolutionary rhetoric provides the formal legitimation of most political authority.
Agenda 21 is a non-binding action plan of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development. It is a product of the Earth Summit (UN Conference on Environment and Development) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. It is an action agenda for the UN, other multilateral organizations, and individual governments around the world that can be executed at local, national, and global levels. Its aim initially was to achieve global sustainable development by 2000, with the “21” in Agenda 21 referring to the original target of the 21st century.
United Nations – UNCED – Rio Conference, 1992
Promoting sustainable development through trade Basis for action
2.5. An open, equitable, secure, non-discriminatory and predictable multilateral trading system that is consistent with the goals of sustainable development and leads to the optimal distribution of global production in accordance with comparative advantage is of benefit to all trading partners. Moreover, improved market access for developing countries’ exports in conjunction with sound macroeconomic and environmental policies would have a positive environmental impact and therefore make an important contribution towards sustainable development.
2.6. Experience has shown that sustainable development requires a commitment to sound economic policies and management, an effective and predictable public administration, the integration of environmental concerns into decision-making and progress towards democratic government, in the light of country-specific conditions, which allows for full participation of all parties concerned…
The Sustainable Development Goals or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. The sustainable development goals were set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030.
Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
United Nations, September 25, 2015
This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom. We recognize that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. All countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan. We are resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet. We are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path. As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets which we are announcing today demonstrate the scale and ambition of this new universal Agenda. They seek to build on the Millennium Development Goals and complete what these did not achieve. They seek to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental.
Klaus Schwab is a German engineer and economist best known as the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. Schwab holds a doctorate in Economics from the University of Fribourg, a doctorate in Engineering from the ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) and a Master of Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. While at Harvard, Schwab studied under and was influenced by Henry (Heinz) Kissinger. Schwab is also a former member of the steering committee of the Bilderberg Group.
The Great Reset
by Klaus Schwab (World Economic Forum WEF), July 9, 2020
“Over the coming months and years, the trade-off between public-health benefits and loss of privacy will be carefully weighed, becoming the topic of many animated conversations and heated debates. Most people, fearful of the danger posed by COVID-19, will ask: Isn’t it foolish not to leverage the power of technology to come to our rescue when we are victims of an outbreak and facing a life-or-death kind of situation? They will then be willing to give up a lot of privacy and will agree that in such circumstances public power can rightfully override individual rights. Then, when the crisis is over, some may realize that their country has suddenly been transformed into a place where they no longer wish to live. This thought process is nothing new. Over the last few years, both governments and firms have been using increasingly sophisticated technologies to monitor and sometimes manipulate citizens and employees; if we are not vigilant, warn the privacy advocates, the pandemic will mark an important watershed in the history of surveillance. The argument put forward by those who above all fear the grip of technology on personal freedom is plain and simple: in the name of public health, some elements of personal privacy will be abandoned for the benefit of containing an epidemic, just as the terrorist attacks of 9/11 triggered greater and permanent security in the name of protecting public safety…”
“Today the situation is fundamentally different; in the intervening decades (in the Western world) the role of the state has shrunk considerably. This is a situation that is set to change because it is hard to imagine how an exogenous shock of such magnitude as the one inflicted by COVID-19 could be addressed with purely market-based solutions. Already and almost overnight, the coronavirus succeeded in altering perceptions about the complex and delicate balance between the private and public realms in favour of the latter. It has revealed that social insurance is efficient and that offloading an ever-greater deal of responsibilities (like health and education) to individuals and the markets may not be in the best interest of society. In a surprising and sudden turnaround, the idea, which would have been an anathema just a few years ago, that governments can further the public good while run-away economies without supervision can wreak havoc on social welfare may now become the norm. On the dial that measures the continuum between the government and the markets, the needle has decisively moved towards the left. For the first time since Margaret Thatcher captured the zeitgeist of an era when declaring that “there is no such thing as society”, governments have the upper hand. Everything that comes in the post-pandemic era will lead us to rethink governments’ role. Rather than simply fixing market failures when they arise, they should, as suggested by the economist Mariana Mazzucato: “move towards actively shaping and creating markets that deliver sustainable and inclusive growth. They should also ensure that partnerships with business involving government funds are driven by public interest, not profit”. How will this expanded role of governments manifest itself? A significant element of new “bigger” government is already in place with the vastly increased and quasi-immediate government control of the economy…”
Introduction to Collectivist Philosophy in Practice
Zbigniew Brzezinski served as a counselor to President Lyndon B. Johnson from 1966 to 1968 and was President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor from 1977 to 1981. Brzezinski was the primary organizer of The Trilateral Commission with David Rockefeller.
Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era
by Zbigniew Brzezinski, 1970
…Because he finds himself living in a congested, overlapping, confusing, and impersonal environment, man seeks solace in restricted and familiar intimacy. The national community is the obvious one to turn to, and a definition of what a national community is may well become more restrictive as broader transnational cooperation develops. For many peoples the nationstate was a compromise dictated by economics, by security, and by other factors. An optimum balance was eventually struck, often after centuries of conflict. Today the balance is becoming unsettled, because newer and larger frameworks of cooperation are emerging, and the effective integration of much smaller, more cohesive units into much larger wholes is becoming increasingly possible because of computers, cybernetics, communications, and so on… Today a new concept of man and his world is challenging the concepts of the Renaissance which have guided man’s behavior for the past five hundred years.” The nationstate as a fundamental unit of man’s organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: “International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nationstate.” But as the nationstate is gradually yielding its sovereignty, the psychological importance of the national community is rising, and the attempt to establish an equilibrium between the imperatives of the new internationalism and the need for a more intimate national community is the source of frictions and conflicts…
Collectivist Philosophy in Practice
Khiev You – Survivor First-Person Testimony
Cambodian Genocide: Khmer Rouge under the leadership of Pol Pot resulting from policies of ultra-Maoism and influenced by the Cultural Revolution
In 1978, they separated my husband from me by sending him to work as a motorbike mechanic in Svay Sisophon district of that same province. During that period they cruelly killed a lot of people. Before killing people, they usually called them to attend meetings. During those meetings they announced that 60 to 70 people betrayed them and were to be killed. I attended such a meeting twice. One day, while I was carrying soil, I was called for a meeting. I was happy because I thought that it was a chance to relax. In that meeting were about 1000 people. Amongst them I noticed my husband who was tied up in three parts of the body: at the neck, the waist and with his hands behind his back. Only my husband was in the truck. They read my husband’s background and history out loud to the public. They accused him of betraying Angkar, of hiding his background and of not admitting to being a highly ranked soldier in Chan Raingsy’s group. I was completely overwhelmed by emotion and shocked. I ran to embrace him. The Khmer Rouge cadres held me back and threw me on the ground. I hit my head and was bleeding from my elbows and knees as well. After the reading [of his background and history to the public], they gashed my husband with a sharp knife and salted him as if he were a fish. Lying on the ground, his whole body was trembling, contracting and bleeding. I was not able to control myself and I lost consciousness…
Even though the Pol Pot regime has been gone for 34 years, the events I saw and experienced are forever engraved in my mind. My fear and sadness about the losses during that time, especially the loss of my family members, remain…
61,911,000 Victims: Utopianism Empowered
by R.J. Rummel
Rudolph Joseph Rummel was a political scientist and professor at the Indiana University, Yale University, and University of Hawaiʻi. He spent his career studying data on collective violence and war with a view toward helping their resolution or elimination. Contrasting genocide, Rummel coined the term democide for murder by government such as the Stalinist purges and Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution. Rummel estimated the total number of people killed by all governments during the 20th century at 212 million, and he estimated that 148 million were killed by Communist regimes from 1917 to 1987.
Probably 61,911,000 people, 54,769,000 of them citizens, have been murdered by the Communist Party–the government–of the Soviet Union. This is about 178 people for each letter, comma, period, digit, and other characters in this book.
Old and young, healthy and sick, men and women, and even infants and infirm, were killed in cold-blood. They were not combatants in civil war or rebellions, they were not criminals. Indeed, nearly all were guilty of … nothing.
Some were from the wrong class–bourgeoisie, land owners, aristocrats, kulaks. Some were from the wrong nation or race– Ukrainians, Black Sea Greeks, Kalmyks, Volga Germans. Some were from the wrong political faction–Trotskyites, Mensheviks, Social Revolutionaries. Or some were just their sons and daughters, wives and husbands, or mothers and fathers. And some were those occupied by the Red Army–Balts, Germans, Poles, Hungarians, Rumanians. Then some were simply in the way of social progress, like the mass of peasants or religious believers. Or some were eliminated because of their potential opposition, such as writers, teachers, churchmen; or the military high command; or even high and low Communist Party members themselves.
In fact, we have witnessed in the Soviet Union a true egalitarian social cleansing and flushing: no group or class escaped, for everyone and anyone could have had counter-revolutionary ancestors, class lineage, counter-revolutionary ideas or thought, or be susceptible to them. And thus, almost anyone was arrested, interrogated, tortured, and after a forced confession of a plot to blow up the Kremlin, or some such, shot or sentenced to the dry guillotine–slow death by exposure, malnutrition, and overwork in a forced labor camp.
Part of this mass killing was genocide, as in the wholesale murder of hundreds of thousands of Don Cossacks in 1919, the intentional starving of about 5,000,000 Ukrainian peasants to death in 1932-33, or the deportation to mass death of 50,000 to 60,000 Estonians in 1949. Part was mass murder, as of the wholesale extermination of perhaps 6,500,000 “kulaks” (in effect, the better off peasants and those resisting collectivization) from 1930 to 1937, the execution of perhaps a million Party members in the Great Terror of 1937-38, and the massacre of all Trotskyites in the forced labor camps.
And part of the killing was so random and idiosyncratic that journalists and social scientists have no concept for it, as in hundreds of thousands of people being executed according to preset, government, quotas. Says Vladimir Petrov (who in 1954 defected while a spy-chief in Australia and whose credibility and subsequent revelations were verified by a Royal–Australian– Commission on Espionage about his work during the years 1936 to 1938:
From time to time, in one period or another, quotas also were generally assigned for the numbers to be arrested throughout the length and breadth of Soviet territory. For example, Solzhenitsyn makes these quotas basic to the Great Terror of 1936 to 1938:
But murder and arrest quotas did not work well Where to find the “enemies of the people” to shoot was a particularly acute problem for these local NKVD who had been diligent in uncovering “plots”. They had to resort to shooting those arrested for the most minor civil crimes, those previously arrested and released, and even mothers and wives who appeared at NKVD headquarters for information about their arrested loved ones.
We lack a concept for murder by quotas because we, not the journalist, historian, nor political scientist, have ever before confronted the fact that a government can and has done this kind of thing. For the same reason, neither do we have a concept for the execution of starving peasants who fished in a stream without Party permission (trying to steal state property), nor pinning a ten-year sentence on the first one to stop clapping after Stalin’s name was mentioned at a public meeting. Nor for executing a fourteen-year-old because his father was purged; nor for the Red Army’s not only permitting but encouraging mass rape and murder of civilians in virtually every country it newly occupied during World War II.
I call all this kind of killing, whether genocide or mass murder, democide. Throughout this book, democide will mean a government’s concentrated, systematic, and serial murder of a large part of its population.
In sum, the Soviets have committed a democide of 61,911,000 people, 7,142,000 of them foreigners. This staggering total is beyond belief. But, as shown in Figure 1.1, it is only the prudent, most probable tally, in a range from an highly unlikely, low figure of 28,326,000 (4,263,000 foreigners); and an equally unlikely high of 126,891,000 (including 12,134,000 foreigners). This is a range of uncertainty in our democide estimates–an error range–of 97,808,000 human beings.
The Holocaust in Comparative and Historical Perspective
by R.J. Rummel
I have collected data on this century’s democide by all state regimes, quasi-state regimes (e.g., the communist soviet enclaves in Nationalist China or the White army territories in Russia during the civil war in 1920), and group regimes (such as the Palestine Liberation Organization). The largest of the resulting estimates, including that for genocide, are listed in Table 1 and graphed in Figure 1. These are for this century’s megamurderers–those states killing in cold blood, aside from warfare, 1,000,000 or more men, women, and children. These fifteen megamurderers alone have murdered over 151,000,000 people, almost four times the almost 38,500,000 war-dead for all this century’s international and civil wars up to 1987.13 The most totalitarian regimes, that is the communist U.S.S.R., China and preceding Mao guerrillas, Khmer Rouge Cambodia, Vietnam, North Korea, and Yugoslavia, as well as Nazi Germany, account for nearly 128,000,000 of them, or 84 percent. In addition to this democide by these megamurderers, 203 lesser murderers have killed near 17,700,000 more people.
These figures on democide are new to students of the Holocaust and genocide. They are based on almost 8,200 estimates of genocide, politicide, massacres, terrorism, extrajudicial executions, and other relevant types of killing. These estimates were recorded from over a thousand sources, which include general works, specialized studies, human rights reports, journal articles, and news sources.
How many Died? New Evidence Suggests Far Higher Numbers for the Victims of Mao Zedong’s Era
By Valerie Strauss and Daniel Southerl (1994)
“Mao launched more than a dozen campaigns during his rule, which began when he founded Communist China in 1949 and ended with his death in 1976. Some are well known while others, such as a bloody campaign to “purify class ranks” in the late 1960s, which involved army units, have received little publicity. While most scholars are reluctant to estimate a total number of “unnatural deaths” in China under Mao, evidence shows he was in some way responsible for at least 40 million deaths and perhaps 80 million or more. This includes deaths he was directly responsible for and deaths resulting from disastrous policies he refused to change. One government document that has been internally circulated and seen by a former Communist Party official now at Princeton University says that 80 million died unnatural deaths — most of them in the famine following the Great Leap Forward.”