Last night I had an intriguing conversation about Communism. It’s been a long time since I had an intellectual conversation outside my family, so the sheer novelty of it was refreshing. It started when I mentioned something Angus Deaton wrote about universal health care and obesity.
The basic discussion was over the viability of the Communistic system as a whole. We are all fond of saying that Communism works in theory, I was told, but that’s not actually the case. I was told, also, that knowing how people work we should be aware that it will never work even as a theory.
We considered the Prisoner’s Dilemma and game theory, non-zero-sum realities, and the biological need for survival.
All things being equal, people will choose the best benefit with the least effort.
That is why, he said, even in theory Communism does not work.
I say that theories are things that exist apart from everything else. They live in little vacuums that are exempt from human flaws and socialogical restraints. Theories, I explained, can be just what you want them to be. People can be cooperative, good, and behave according to moral structures that exist empirically. Theories are pristine Utopias; places of perfection or nonexistence depending on who your philosophy professor was.
This of course brought us, then, to the question of how such a place would come to exist. It would require, I suggested, the legislation of morality. You would have to set into action policies which would cause people to act in a morally correct way. A Judeo-Christian way, he offered, since that’s how our forefathers intended it to be.
Which naturally would rule out the option of Pluralism. Or, if you’re an Aristotelian thinker, the morals existed already on their own for us to discover with these lovely brains God gave us, so Pluralism is a non-issue. If you are not a moral absolutist, however, then yes this system removes all hopes of having an all-encompassing Pluralistic, easy to embrace set of legislation.
…and since I have no nice way to wrap up my stream-of-conciousness ramblings on philosophy, I will take this time to tell you about my uber cool new shopping bags I got tonight at the grocery. I love objects that are made to look like other objects.
Like the Hendrix poster I have which is made of the titles of his songs but has the face of ol’ Jimi in it.
Or the photo that looks like a bunch of trees but is really tendrils of smoke.