Throughout the years there have been several theories and opinions about which principle of governance is the best. These governance principles are called ideologies. I will take a closer look at two of the perhaps most well-known and liked ideologies; communism and liberalism. Communism is based on the theory of Karl Marx, which says that all people are alike, and should have the same opportunities. Liberalism originates from the French revolution, and focuses on freedom for the individual, freedom to make your own choices and decisions.
In the cold war, we had the liberal country USA on one side and the communists of Soviet on the other. The ideological differences between the two countries became apparent at the time of the Russian revolution (1917). And this may be the root cause of the conflict that lasted until Bush (senior) and Gorbachov declared the end of it (1989/90/91). Therefore I have a question; would there have been a cold war if USA was communistic or Soviet was liberalistic?
My opinion about the communism is that the idea about it is good. I like the way Marx wanted to remove and reject all poverty (and prosperity) in the world. This is based on a classless society where everyone has a shared ownership in natural resources, factories and goods. Everyone is born equal and has equal rights in a communistic society, and this is perhaps the part of the ideology that most people, including myself, can agree upon.
But I do also see negative sides about this ideology. Individuals in a communistic society are not encouraged to do their best. They are not rewarded if they work harder than everyone else, and therefore they have little influence on their own lives. Based on this, I think that a communistic society will not encourage diversity, and will therefore be dull and extremely predictable. Without the diversity, would we not see a society where people’s creativity, needs, ideas and thoughts where not developed to their full potential? From what I know, people under a communistic regime are being controlled almost with an iron grip. Is this really necessary to make communism work? Or is it just a result of leaders with extreme needs and wishes of total control and superior power?
The ideal liberalistic society gives what the liberals themselves like to call freedom to each human being to shape their own life. It rewards the hardworking people, and people who do something for the society, but the lazy are getting punished. In my opinion, that’s fair enough. You have to pull yourself together and get a job to survive the hardness of life. You have to help society to regain resources. But again, on the other hand you have the innocent pre-judged-to-die people. Those people who have no chance to get themselves a job, or to earn money at all. Wouldn’t those people have a better life if their country had a communistic regime which worked? While liberalism covers the responsibility to make most out of your own capabilities, it does not cover the responsibility to take care of the weaker ones.
Since both communism and liberalism have their disadvantages, democratic countries often end up with a governing system somewhere between. But, what if we took the best sides from the communism and the best sides from the liberalism, and combined these? I think that would be the best solution. However, it wouldn’t turn out very practical or even possible at all. Could a political system that supports and promotes the development of the individuals at the same time distribute all goods equally?
The basic ideas of the two ideologies are so different, that individuals or societies with belief in one of these see the other as an enemy or threat to society. This was clearly demonstrated in the cold war. Neither the USA nor Soviet saw the positive sides of the other ideology; actually they were terribly afraid of influence from the other’s society. This fear has been the reason for governments to regulate media and information.
Doesn’t a society need freedom of speech, thoughts and opinions in order to develop? That’s maybe what Bush sr. and Gorbachov discovered. They accepted each other in a way, and stopped being idiots against the other one. If all communists and liberalists tried to see the positive sides of the other ideology, then everything would probably have been much better.
We’ll probably never get the ideal society, but we should continue to challenge each other, reflect and explore ideas and ideologies. A good society must be built on respect between individuals, even those with different opinions. Communism and liberalism can perhaps never function well together, but both ideas can contribute to build thoughts and opinions. This will hopefully bring us and the world forward.