Communist Manifesto vs. Republicans

Yesterday, I said that someone ought to compare the 10 planks of communism from Karl Marx and compare to the Republican platform today.  Well, here it is (copied from Wikipedia):

10 Planks of the Communist Manifesto

    1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
    2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
    3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
    4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
    5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
    6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
    7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
    8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
    9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.
    10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c., &c.[4]

Let’s go through these one by one.

1. Republicans aren’t consistent about abolishing private property.  Certainly, the Republicans favor property taxes backed by government confiscation from owners who do not pay.  Then there is the case of Kelo v. City of New London.  Three of the five Supreme Court Justices who wrote the majority opinion upholding the town’s loot-grab of private property were appointed by Republican presidents (John Paul Stevens, Anthony Kennedy, and David Souter).

Republicans would never openly say that they oppose private property in land, but in their actions they clearly demonstrate their belief in state power.

2. Are there any Republicans that oppose a progressive income tax?  Even Steve “Gold Standard” Forbes campaigned for a “flatter” tax.

3. From what I can see, Republicans favor a small exemption from the estate tax, but believe that the state should take a large portion of what “rich” people leave to their children.  The current estate tax regime is bizarre.  While it does gradually reduce the estate tax each year from 2001 to zero tax in 2010, there is a “sunset” that restores the original tax rates with a $1M exemption.  This was passed with bipartisan support (as I recall) and signed by President Bush.

4. This one is more obscure.  While Congress does occasionally wax malevolent against expatriates, and propose truly confiscatory taxation on them, I don’t think this is a key issue in 2008.

5. Are there any Republicans so radical as to suggest eliminating the Federal Reserve, fiat money, and the Treasury Department?  The most radical prominent Republican that I can think of is Steve Forbes, who has suggested repealing the legal tender laws and fiat currency.  I don’t think he was consistent enough to advocate elimination of the Fed or Treasury.  No other prominent Republican even comes close.

6. The government today owns the post office and nearly all roads.  It increasingly owns light rail and other transportation assets.  It rigidly controls, but seldom owns, telecommunications networks.  Are there any Republicans who would repeal the FCC, sell off the post office (as opposed to “privatize” it, i.e. contract out the labor), and sell off all the roads?  The best they can do is quibble about billion-dollar light rail projects, and not all that convincingly.

7. Marx got this one wrong.  The government does not want to improve agriculture, mining, or manufacturing.  They want to control and reduce it.  They prohibit productive use of big swaths of land and moralize about how righteous wasteland is!  Some Republicans do support allowing oil drilling in Alaska and other places (particularly now that oil is over $100/barrel).  Do any support the idea that private property owners should not need to seek permission from the government?  Mainstream Republicans cater to the radical environmentalists like everyone else.

8. I think this issue is not current in 2008.  That said, how many Republicans would support repeal of all the special franchise laws that protect and enable unions to legally loot corporations?

9. This issue is coming back around.  Today, government does feel entitled to try to “plan” the population, “zone” the population, condemn “sprawl” and permit housing to be built in some places and not in others.  This is a totally mainstream view supported by both parties, with the only quibbling being over specific districts and zones.

10. All mainstream Republicans that I have ever met support state-run education including vocational schools, and child labor laws.  This one is so uncontroversial that I think it’s nearly universal.  Today the controversy is not over government-provided education, but over government-provided health care.  Marx could not even have conceived of this!

There are clearly some differences between Marx and the GOP in 2008.  But the differences are much smaller than you would think.


One Response to “Communist Manifesto vs. Republicans”

  1. […] schools?  Because marxism does not acknowledge that some workers are better than others.  As I said, public schools are one of the 10 planks from the Communist Manifesto that Republicans today […]

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