New socialist ethics

Socialism With Human Face

By Mark Andrew Dwyer—— Bio and Archives--November 12, 2007

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In 1968, two leaders of Czechoslovak Communist Party, Dubcek and Svoboda, attempted to introduce a new unorthodox twist to Soviet imposed model of socialism that they nick-named “socialism with a human face”.


The Soviets, unimpressed with their effort and with overwhelming support that Czechoslovak masses lent to the new initiative, sent their tanks (what else would you expect?) to Prague and other major cities and took the situation under control within just a few days. Some Western sympathizers of leftist “democracies” in Eastern Europe decried that military coup as a serious blow dealt to a real chance for creation of actually functional socialist society, and blamed it on the novelty of Czechoslovak approach to socialism that the Soviets did not understand.

Or didn’t they?

The very fundamental axiom of Marx’s theory of socialism that the Soviets quite scrupulously obeyed was the necessity of dictatorship of proletariat for a successful implementation of workers’ paradise. And this very axiom had rather fundamental consequences. Formerly the lower class in an industrial society, proletariat has been abruptly promoted to dominant position of power in a socialist “democracy” that used to be an exclusive domain of socio-political elite, and brought with it all the lower class’s standards and values that set the tone of society’s conscience and morality for years to come.

This new socialist ethics was, not quite surprisingly, a dramatic departure from “elitist” norms and principles that valued personal virtue and responsibility, individual success, and adherence to code of honor that imposed, among other things, self-restrain in exercising class privileges, none of which could be characterized as prevailing among the lower class. Because a mercy for the defeated, courtesy for adversaries, consideration of fragility of individual human being, and attachment to such abstract concepts as truth and right, were unnecessary luxuries that the lower classmen in their day to day survival struggle could not afford. And so they propagated the martial arts of strife they knew, for which the only criterion of acceptability was the extent to which they helped the class, perceived as consisting of a few model workers duplicated in millions copies, secured continuation of� their kind. (Soviet ethics articulated this criterion in a quite straightforward form: “moral” meant “good for the cause of socialism”.)

Hopes that with time the lower class, put in a driver’s seat of an industrial society, will develop the individual-centered, self-restraining conscience of the elite did not materialize. Dubcek and Svoboda must have understood that when they tried to inject elements of it, the “human face” as it was called then, to the mainstream theory of dictatorship of proletariat. But their attempt was doomed to fail, with or without Soviets’ involvement, as it was utterly irreconcilable with the very nature of socialism, which fact the Soviets must have been were well aware of, as they claimed then.


There is a lesson we can all learn from this story. Engineered upward mobility, the imposition of dictatorship of proletariat has been an extreme form of, may look good on a paper, particularly in the eyes of a limousine liberal, but, on a long run, goes against virtually all moral imperatives that our Western civilization developed and adopted as fundamental doctrines. Individualism, self-restraint, and civility, are elite’s ideas that have been mostly alien to the lower strata of an industrial society. And they became endangered species after the large-scale social engineering experiment begun some half century ago.

If you doubt it, just watch and see for yourself what most of domestic and imported “underprivileged minorities” (that, by the way, constitute the vast majority of population of today’s world) are doing right after being promoted to positions of affluence and political power, both in the U.S. and elsewhere. And if you still cannot, or refuse to, notice the striking similarity between their ethics that defines “moral” as “good for the cause of empowerment of the less fit” and the one adopted by the Soviets then, I am afraid, there is nothing I can do about it.


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Guest Column Mark Andrew Dwyer -- Bio and Archives | Comments

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