Monday, March 14, 2005

The Farm Is Where Socialism Dies

Everyone is familiar with George Orwell's novel "Animal Farm" wherein the faults of Marxist-Leninism were explored using barn-yard animal characters. But there is little recognition of the extent to which it is on the farms of a nation that the practice of a centrally controlled economy and collectivism is shown to be unworkable.

From the very beginning of the socialist experiment in Russia the farms were problematic. Lenin personally felt it necessary to demand that peasant farmers be summarily executed because they were refusing to fall in line with the communist program. Stalin starved rural peoples to death in order to avoid the trouble they were causing with his control of the economy.

It's a phenomenon that illustrates the way in which leftist ideas have sprung not from the experience of ordinary country people, who have learned through experience the lessons of human nature, the necessity of private property, and the necessity of a free market, but from the elite urban intellectuals, who have been seperated from nature and rural life all of their lives, often for several generations.

It is, in fact, only from the minds of people who have no experience in practical matters, unavoidable in rural life, that ideas like collectivism and central economic control could possibly originate. Only from the mind of people like Marx, unable to do anything but research and write in a library, supported by rich fools like Engels, could the Communist Manifesto spring.

Every farmer knows the importance of establishing boundaries between his land and the land of his neighbors and enforcing those boundaries and knows what will happen if this is neglected, human nature being what it is. Every farmer knows what happens to land on which the flocks of several farmers graze, human nature being what it is. Every farmer knows and can deal in the market and knows the importance of being able to quickly sell his produce in a fair market and of having the flexibility to respond to changing conditions of the weather, the market, insect threats, and other factors. Every farmer knows what happens to people who are denied the benefits of their own production, who have no stake in their work on in the land.

Only the urban intellectual is unaware of the importance of these things or could possibly even imagine that command control of all of these things or collective property is possible. Only an intellectual completely ignorant of basic human nature could think a thing like the "new Soviet man", unconcerned about private property and working only for the common good, could ever arise.

It was only with the most brutal force that farmers in the Soviet Union were made to conform to central control. And the farmers never, ever gave up the market, which continued in an illicit form for seventy years. What little land they were able to call their own they used to the utmost, and it was said that the little gardens tended by farmers supposedly for their own use outproduced all the other land that was held in common.