There was a wonderful New Yorker cartoon a few years ago when the Soviet Union fell. It showed the devil in his office, speaking into his intercom. The caption read, “Miss Jones, find Joe Stalin. Tell him communism is dead.” The devil has, appropriately, a devilish grin.
We could bring that cartoon out again today, changing only the name of the sufferer. Karl Marx said that private property is the fundamental idea, the fundamental exploitation, on which capitalism rests. The owners expropriate the value created by the workers as the capitalists’ private property in exchange for mere wages. Ironically, though, the workers cherish the sanctity of “private property,” because they hope to have some someday. The very people who are most exploited, Marx said, preserve the stability of the system that exploits them by venerating its central dogma. BUT, says Marx, the capitalists sow the seeds of their own destruction this way. The workers become united in their misery. It only takes a genius to show them the truth of their condition – like Karl Marx, thought Karl Marx, or Stalin, thought Stalin, or Mao, thought Mao – to rally the people to overthrow capitalism. Communism does not merely take property from the owners for the workers. It takes the idea of property from the capitalists and gives it to the state, um, that is, er, the people. The foundation of communist dogma is the abolition of private property.
The Chinese Communist Party used all the muscle of tyranny to force through its captive legislator a law restoring private property, over the opposition of the remaining communists in the People’s Republic.
“Miss Jones, find Mao Zedong. Tell him communism is dead.”