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Thread: Communism: How Persistent Can a Failed Ideology Be?

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    Communism: How Persistent Can a Failed Ideology Be?

    Ninety percent of Swedish students aged 15-20 do not know what a gulag was, and some still insist that schools should not teach about the crimes of communism. How long will the elites continue defending a failed ideology, asks Nima Sanandaji of think-tank Captus.

    A recent study by polling company Demoskop, commissioned by the 'Upplysning om Kommunismen' (Knowledge about Communism) association, showed that Swedish students have a skewed view of the history of communism. Few are aware of the massive loss of life caused by followers of this ideology, and 90 percent of Swedish students aged 15-20 do not even know what a gulag was.

    A recent opinion piece in Biblioteksbladet magazine (a periodical for Swedish librarians) denounced the government's plan to spread knowledge to students about the horrors of communism.

    In the article, two school librarians write that informing students about the crimes of communism would be wrong as it would risk making the pupils' views more right-wing. [...]
    Read more here.

    This article pertains to the Swedish situation - see also the article Young Swedes lack knowledge about communism - but it would be interesting to discuss the status and view on communism and communist crimes in other countries as well. Are people familiar with/informed of the historical record and consequences of communist regimes? And lastly, is communism in your opinion a failed ideology?

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    Senior Member SineNomine's Avatar
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    I think the only reason it remains popular is an ignorance of what it actually entails, of its inherent inefficiencies and problems (especially calculational), of its historical application and also an unwillingness on part of the current intellectual elite to let it die off. Most of them do not possess a sound knowledge of economics (although I will say most economists who preach laissez-faire do not go far enough in showing the moral bases of the system, leaving the illusion that communism is somehow moral, and put very little effort into distinguishing the current system from the ideal.) Shallow comparisons between Cuba and Venezuela and the West also foment this stupidity. It appeals mostly to youths who are in a rebellion against everything. Marxism has some useful insights on the political method and such, but otherwise it's a mere historical curiosity. I am baffled that Swedes are not taught of what actually occured in the USSR. Is this a deliberate attempt at keeping them in the dark?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SineNomine View Post
    I am baffled that Swedes are not taught of what actually occured in the USSR. Is this a deliberate attempt at keeping them in the dark?
    Yep, exactly that reason. That is also the reason that Germany's actions in WWII are trumpeted up as much as possible.

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    Its the same here in Norway, with alot of youth being communists or sympathetic to communism, and not knowing what it really is about.

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    Senior Member SineNomine's Avatar
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    So they really teach you nothing about the ideology, save the basics? I can't imagine how that's possible. What were you taught on the subject at public school?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SineNomine View Post
    So they really teach you nothing about the ideology, save the basics? I can't imagine how that's possible. What were you taught on the subject at public school?
    If so, I also take it you can't imagine how isolated Sweden is intellectually. And a lot of Swedes can't either, because they are so chuck full of the propaganda that they are taught. Here's an international report about how the left-wing coalition recently (before they lost governmental power) used up half of the means dedicated to the Committée Of Educational Science for political propaganda:

    http://www.vr.se/download/18.303f532...ort+4+2007.pdf
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwordOfTheVistula View Post
    That is also the reason that Germany's actions in WWII are trumpeted up as much as possible.
    Leftism, not necessarily communism, has been hegemonic in post-WWII Europe and large parts of the Western world. The hegemonic Zeitgeist/world view defines good and evil. Since Nazism was defined as the ultimate evil on the leftist moral compass, and leftism was the antithesis of Nazi ideology, leftism (incl. communism) was good. "The good guys" also have concentration camps, extermination programs etc., but always in the service of the common good Since all "evil" energy in the post-WWII "moral economy" was concentrated and focused on Nazism, there is no moral pathos left to condemn communism.

    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesDexterWard View Post
    If so, I also take it you can't imagine how isolated Sweden is intellectually. And a lot of Swedes can't either, because they are so chuck full of the propaganda that they are taught.
    This doesn't make any sense to me. "Isolated" is probably one of the very few characteristics I would avoid regarding contemporary Sweden. Leftism is highly international. I fail to see any substantial difference between the development in countries like France, Britain, Holland, Germany and Sweden.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vingolf View Post
    This doesn't make any sense to me. "Isolated" is probably one of the very few characteristics I would avoid regarding contemporary Sweden. Leftism is highly international. I fail to see any substantial difference between the development in countries like France, Britain, Holland, Germany and Sweden.
    I said "intellectually". Do people even debate much? The last thing I can remember that people debated a lot was the smoking ban in night clubs, and that wasn't even recently. But surely it does seem those other countries have similar problems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlesDexterWard View Post
    I said "intellectually". Do people even debate much? The last thing I can remember that people debated a lot was the smoking ban in night clubs, and that wasn't even recently. But surely it does seem those other countries have similar problems.
    Exactly! This is not a Swedish problem, but rather an international development. I still fail to see what you mean by "intellectually isolated". Most of the PC-ideology in Sweden is rooted in the radical rhetoric of the highly international Frankfurt School, for example. In fact, claiming that Sweden is "too isolated" is part of that rhetoric ("Sweden needs to open up", "Sweden needs more internationalization, urbanization, immigration" etc. etc.).

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    I must confess than when I was a teenager, around the age of 15 or 16, I supported the left in politics, and was very sympathetic to communism and multiculturalism. But I put it down to ignorance and propaganda from the left - since then I've learnt more and grown up - and now my views are the polar opposite. Down with communism!

    Education is the key. One of my brothers is now the same age as I was then, and I will try and talk to him about the truth behind communism, multiculturalism, and the left who would destroy us.

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