Communism and socialism are on the political left while capitalism and conservativism are on the political right. Socialism and capitalism are fundamentally at odds with one another, but so are communism and conservativism. Allow me to explain.
A socialist institution is owned and operated by the government for the benefit of the voters while a capitalist institution is owned and operated by the private sector for the benefit of its shareholders. For example, a public library is a socialist institution while a for-profit, publicly traded corporation is a capitalist institution. A given institution can’t be both socialist and capitalist – like there is no such thing as a for profit library that sells shares on the New York Stock Exchange. In addition, when a for-profit, publicly traded corporation does something good like for example planting trees, they tend to pick things that they can use to make their company look good in say advertisements – these sorts of charitable corporate things do not replace government services like public schools or hospitals. Socialism versus capitalism is fundamentally about government ownership versus private ownership.
Communism and conservativism are less about government and more about society (i.e. the comm-unity). For example, an extreme Communist in China might notice that the country is over-populated and install a one child policy while an extreme conservative might notice that the book of Genesis says “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth” and ban birth control because the Bible says for people to multiply. It is possible to be pro small government and also a social communist just like it is possible to be pro big government and also a social conservative. Communism and capitalism tend not to go together, but it’s not physically impossible for them to go together. For example, China appears to me to be Communist, but with openings for capitalism. I think communism tends to be more secular or atheist (see https://johnreedforpresident.home.blog/2019/05/23/my-atheist-god/ and Twitter thread https://twitter.com/JohnReedForPres/status/1103743994675322880 ) where as conservativism tends to be more religious, with things coming more from the Bible rather than from science. When secularism goes too far or is corrupted, it can potentially result in bad or cruel science (like https://twitter.com/JohnReedForPres/status/1102380374095732737 and https://twitter.com/JohnReedForPres/status/1107084076706598914), but hopefully it is based on truth and tempered with some sort of morality or moral judgement. Like I personally try to tell the truth, see good things in the Dali Lama, and am not against The Church (heck, I live in Charlotte, which has a church every two blocks). In my opinion, a church like the Catholic Church should provide moral guidance, and when I look at Pope Francis, I (at the very least) see an effort to provide that.
Going back to talking about government, communism and socialism historically have been associated with one another (ex. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels), but I believe that is possible to have anti-big government (or libertarian) communism, where as it is impossible to have anti-big government socialism. I’m not an expert and to be honest I am winging it, but I think it is possible to be communist and also against the state, or at the very least to try and provide freedoms. Maybe in a perfect world there could be a “stateless society”, but that’s not real. If all people were perfect and nobody ever did anything wrong, there would be no need for rules or laws, but that isn’t reality and there has to be rules and laws, but if that mentality is taken too far you end up with “tyranny in sheep’s clothing”, as Pete Buttigieg described communist China.
I think my notion of communism is more in line with modern China’s communism than with old Russia’s communism, but to be honest I don’t really know what I’m talking about because my specialization is in pre-medicine and computer programming, not in government. But I think Friedrich Engels (who worked with Karl Marx) had this notion of “utopian socialism”:
Although I see the need for some government services such as schools and healthcare (ex. public hospitals), I do not consider myself a Socialist. I see utopian socialism as pie-in-the-sky bullshit. I think that some proposals from communism can be taken without taking all of them, like for example some of these proposals: https://twitter.com/JohnReedForPres/status/1097144788674101251 . My knowledge of government is weak, but I think even the founding fathers were in favor of taxing inheritances to prevent the formation of an “aristocracy” that just sort of lives off their family’s inheritance and passes it down from one generation to the next (which I think was the case in Britain back when the US was a colony). The issue I see with the inheritance tax is that I think rich people will sort of try to get around it, but honestly I’m not an expert in money and wealth management, so I don’t exactly know the way they do that. If I am elected I will get and consult with really good advisors, a good running mate, and delegate to people with more knowledge and wisdom than me, because frankly I can’t be good everything and know everything. To be honest, I think the founding fathers must have had good ideas because if they didn’t their ideas wouldn’t still be the foundation of this country, so I think a sort of combination of ideas can be created, where good ideas are pulled from multiple different places and bad ideas are tossed. Pete Buttigieg graduated with honors in the subject of politics from a top-tier University, so I think he could provide his expertise in this subject if we were running on the same ticket one day.
Please take my opinion here with a grain of salt because government isn’t my area of expertise, but anyway, a Communist catchphrase is “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” So for example, each person needs to get enough food to survive, healthcare, and some education (in order to be able to get a job that pays). To each person, these needs (not cash handouts or welfare, but needs) are provided by their country, sort of like an investment into the people and their future well being. From each according to his [or her] ability I interpret as each person contributes to their society or to their country how they can. Different people can contribute in different ways because they have different abilities, strengths, and weaknesses, and each person can contribute to their society in the field where they have strength in. So for example I am strong in computer programming, so I can contribute by doing computer programming. Maybe someone else is really strong in criminal investigations, so they can contribute by doing that. Maybe one person is a really good mother and they do social work and volunteer, and that’s fine too. Each person contributes to their society, and their society forms a government which makes sure that they (its people) at least get the minimum that they need. No person goes hungry because they don’t have food or dies because they don’t have a doctor. I haven’t actually read The Communist Manifesto, so I am just kind of winging it, but my idea is basically that not everyone has parents that can afford to pay for private education all the way up through say medical school or who can afford to pay for that catastrophic medical, family, or mental health emergency, so the government needs to invest in its people and provide a “safety net”. I believe that there should be a “safety net” that actually works, and that can be proven to actually work in the case of a say a family emergency (like a medical emergency or a serious mental health problem) or an economic crash (like we had back in 2008). Note that government “safety net” does not mean “cash welfare checks from the government”. The USA isn’t Saudi Arabia or Alaska where people get “oil checks”. No cash checks – people waste handouts on stupid stuff and the government is in way too much debt. Former President George W Bush gave everybody a cash rebate check and in the process blew the budget surplus, and frankly I don’t think it actually helped with jobs very much. My mom just deposited her Bush “economic stimulus check” and forgot about it. George Bush was an idiot (just look at this moron announce that the War in Iraq is over back in year 2003) and he should never have been president. Seriously, we should have at least gotten the smart brother, Jeb Bush, instead.
Anyway, going back to the subject of government, I personally don’t believe that each and every person should work for the government. Like in 100% pure socialism, everyone works for the government and the government owns everything. In my opinion, this is literal insanity. There would be no private sector. How would wealth be generated? What about small (and growing) businesses?
Ultimately I consider myself a sort of libertarian communist, not a socialist communist. I like the idea of adding libertarianism to communism because the libertarianism can kind of combat tyranny and big, wasteful, expensive, and inefficient government. My ideology is fundamentally the opposite of old social conservatism, but it is not fundamentally anti-capitalist. Me personally, I am not big on money, but some people are, and good for them. I personally don’t want to step on you just because you want to build a small business, and I understand that we need good banks and good bankers (as opposed to people who build a portfolio of “toxic assets” and “Madoff” with money). Switzerland, which has the highest life expectancy of any country in the world, has a lot on money and is apparently very well run financially, and I don’t think that would be possible without their banking. Heck, I live in Charlotte, which is a banking center, and I have nothing against Bank of America (which bought Merrill Lynch after “toxic assets” bankrupted them and unfortunately produced the biggest economic crash since the Great Depression). Money making and science needs to be tempered with some source of morality or moral judgement, or else you end up with “Bernie Madoff” and human experimentation.
In terms of beliefs, I think what I am really pushing against is old social conservatism. For example, if you wanted to ban all birth control and overcrowd the Earth by having each person have ten babies, then I have a problem with you. The Earth simply can’t sustain each person on Earth having ten babies. If for every two people on Earth there were two children and everybody was taken care of, then the population of the Earth would be relatively flat, but that’s not how the population curve looks. The Earth isn’t getting any bigger, and if the population of the Earth multiplies that fast, people are going to kill each other, especially in poorer countries. Ultimately some problems like global warming and international tax havens cross national borders, and I believe there needs to be some sort of universal, Earth-wide governance. There is ultimately one Earth and everyone has to share it – we are not moving to Mars anytime soon.
Going back to my beliefs on people and government, I imagine a sort of classless, “flat” society. For example, I personally like power or status more than money, but I don’t consider myself above homeless people. Like regardless of whether you have a hundred billion dollars or zero dollars, to me everyone is sort of equal in terms of self-worth as a person. Like I sort of separate the person from what they have, and the self-worth of the person is based on the person (as a person), and not on what that person has. Nobody is God (regardless of how big they write their name on a building or how many portraits or statues of themselves they commission). I believe in a person-first or human-first approach (“all people are created equal”), where people are not the same, but their self-worth as a person is, and that’s what really matters. Unlike the way I see things, conservativism tends to be less “flat” socially. Like a conservative might see someone else as above them or below them. Like for example, they might look up to billionaire Donald Trump and down to homeless people. Conservatives also tend to be more religious than I am.
I think something about the notion that people are above you has something to do with it, like because God is traditionally thought of as above ☝️. There is this religious notion of choices that are made by and come down from God. I personally don’t see a God actively doing things on Earth, but that’s just me. Pope Francis may be very religious, but he apparently has no issue with an individual’s absence of religiosity, so I see no reason to have a problem with his plethora of it. I have a big tall ego, am not religious, am not particularly attracted to money (but am to power), and I like urban areas, and these things affect my political leaning. Ultimately, I am on the political left, and I am a registered Democrat, but I will cross party lines if and when I determine that it is necessary and right. I personally think there is too much groupthink or “lemming mentality” within groups of Democrats, and I will try to look for and borrow good ideas from everywhere rather than limit myself or my thinking. I don’t really know what the word is to describe my political beliefs, but at the time of writing I would describe it as “libertarian communism”, with a balance between socialism and capitalism.
- John Reed (named after the author of “Ten Days That Shook The World“)
p.s. I’m not the one who picked my name, but I think that political leanings do get passed down from parents to kids.