When selfishness is evil

The "GOING JOHN GALT" movement is catching on, and attracting a lot of media attention -- including Stephen Colbert's comedy show. As a general rule, I'd say that once comedians start working a topic into their routines, that's a sign that its time has come. So, the phenomenon of GOING JOHN GALT has "arrived."

In light of the Colbert routine, Dr. Helen (who has done more to publicize the movement than any blogger I can think of) asks an excellent question:

It strikes me as odd that if you work and make money, you're a selfish bastard and if you stop working hard and making money, you're a selfish bastard. Which is it?
To a socialist, the answer is both. Socialists believe in class war, and if you belong to the money-making class, you are greedy, exploitative, and evil.

This explains why for hardline Marxists like Stalin it wasn't enough to dispossess the Kulaks; they were still selfish, because they were selfish by birth -- as if selfishness was hard-wired into ther their genes. Killing them was thus the logical answer.

In 1928 Stalin began attacking kulaks for not supplying enough food for industrial workers. He also advocated the setting up of collective farms. The proposal involved small farmers joining forces to form large-scale units. In this way, it was argued, they would be in a position to afford the latest machinery. Stalin believed this policy would lead to increased production. However, the peasants liked farming their own land and were reluctant to form themselves into state collectives.

Stalin was furious that the peasants were putting their own welfare before that of the Soviet Union. Local communist officials were given instructions to confiscate kulaks property. This land was then used to form new collective farms. Thousands of kulaks were executed and an estimated five million were deported to Siberia or Central Asia. Of these, approximately twenty-five per cent perished by the time they reached their destination.

Hmmm... I realize the literary character had not yet been created, but all that foot-dragging by recalcitrant Kulaks sounds suspiciously John Galtish to me.

As to the kulaks who survived, they later faced new persecution as "ex-kulaks":

A new wave of persecution, this time against "ex-kulaks," was started in 1937. It was part of the Great Purge, after the NKVD Order no. 00447. Those deemed ex-kulaks had only two options: death sentence or labour camps.
Seen this way, the Ayers/Weather Underground proposal to kill 25 million Americans makes perfect sense.

Let's hope the government never declares war on selfishness.

MORE: A commenter caught me in a dreadful error. I called Stephen Colbert John Colbert. Error corrected.

posted by Eric on 03.15.09 at 12:26 PM


Well, it certainly appears that there is an ideological cold war against American kulaks already in place.

adagioforstrings   ·  March 15, 2009 12:49 PM

Of course, that would be _Stephen_ Colbert, but that requires research.

Lisa   ·  March 16, 2009 9:12 AM

Thanks for pointing out my error, Lisa.

Eric Scheie   ·  March 16, 2009 12:10 PM

Oh,but the war on selfishness has already begun. Why else make such a big deal of the AIG bonuses that were approved in the stimulus bil?

Class envy is all the rage now,don't ya know...

Besides it distracts from what they are really after...more power...

flicka47   ·  March 18, 2009 4:31 AM

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