Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Brad Delong hates communism, isn't clear on why

I'm still not posting much these days.  Not that anything is wrong, but recently I've found myself too angry at U.S. policy in the Middle East for it to be healthy for me to concentrate on it.

In the meantime, I've been leaving minor comments on other blogs, and I'm still putting here comments that blog owners decide they don't want their readers to see.

Here's one from Brad DeLong's blog.  DeLong republished a book review from years ago where he criticizes Eric Hobsbawm for not sharing his hatred of communism and writing a book that reflects Hobsbawm's admiration of communism's ideals rather than DeLong's animus.

I admit I don't have a good understanding of Brad DeLong's animosity against communism.

I'd define communism, or the common thread of DeLong's examples of communism, as redistributionist non-democracy.

DeLong makes the empirical observation that redistributionist non-democracies have led to bad outcomes.

The question still remains, what part of the bad outcomes results from flaws of redistributionism, what part results from non-democracy and what part results from the capitalist world's executing a conflict with them?

DeLong seems, but not explicitly, to assign all of the blame for the bad outcomes on redistributionism.

He doesn't assign the all of the blame explicitly because it would be silly to claim that none, none of the problems in Cuba or even North Korea are caused by the US' and its allies' efforts against those countries.

Also the US has paid to overthrow democracies, and has plenty of money to continue to do so.  DeLong seems to leave out of his story that at least part of the non-democratic tendencies of redistributionist governments has been a defensive reaction to the US and the capitalist world's tactic of funding and elevating opposition forces to destabilize their countries.

DeLong clearly thinks "communism" is evil.  But he isn't clear what part of it.  From DeLong we see that communist governments just so happen to have led to bad outcomes, but DeLong does not show that these bad outcomes are ultimately caused by a philosophical defect rather than circumstance.

In fact, what exactly is the philosophical defect, if there is one?

Beyond that, as an American, DeLong greatly benefits from the place the United States has in the hierarchy of nations.  There is something self-interested, and maybe sinister, about his claim that countries that challenge the hierarchy of nations he benefits from are engaging in unmitigated evil.