On a card-carrying communist

My friend is a card-carrying Communist. He’s very vocal and deeply entrenched in the movement (Canada has a Communist Party you can vote for), and hyper critical of everything. The right, the left, democratic socialists, Bernie Sanders (using socialism in a capitalist system – how dare he) and even Gloria Steimhem (for being a CIA operative, apparently). And on and on.

To each his own, sure, but I’m not clear why it bothers me so much. Is it that he misses the irony of having the freedom to speak his mind about a system that would inevitably remove that freedom? Is it the contempt he has for everything? Or have I just been programmed to hate Red bastards? Help, Coquette. What’s a rational argument against Communism?


Your friend sounds like an insufferable asshole, but that’s not communism’s fault. Also, communism isn’t the system that inevitably removes your freedom of speech. You’re thinking of fascism. A lot of folks make that mistake, because people are always confusing communist state systems for communist systems theory. (Actual communist states tend to wind up as authoritarian shit shows. Again, that’s not communism’s fault.)

There are plenty of rational arguments against communism. Then again, there are plenty of rational arguments against capitalism and socialism, so who gives a fuck? Your friend just wants to argue for the sake of arguing. Besides, the best answer has never been the pure form of any one economic system. There is an ideal blend of private and public ownership. An economy needs just enough government regulation, but not too much. There is a healthy level of socioeconomic stratification that includes neither classless conformity nor grotesque wealth inequality. The trick is in getting the mix right.

That’s why I’m a Bernie fan. It’s not that I’m a socialist. It’s that I think our system needs a correction in the direction of more socialism. (You’ll find that stupid people can’t make that subtle distinction, so argue it at your own risk.)

As for your friend, let him have his weirdo opinions, but don’t let him act like an asshole. Start training him. For every hyper-critical remark, make him say something nice. That’s my personal trick for dealing with cranks.


6 thoughts on “On a card-carrying communist

    • The Coquette says:

      You literally interrupt her as she’s saying something negative and you sweetly but firmly use the phrase, “Okay, now say something nice.”

      She’ll look at you funny at first, but insist on it by following up with, “I’m serious. Say something nice. It can be about anything you want, as long as it’s positive.” After she says something nice, let her continue on with whatever she was talking about.

      It’s an exercise in behavioral conditioning, a useful little reinforcement technique. You’ll notice how it makes a difference, especially over time.

  1. Tom Reid says:

    That’s a more balanced, fair-minded analysis than almost anything I’ve been hearing from the allegedly professional broadcast media, who still seem afraid of saying anything negative about capitalism or anything positive about socialism, so they talk about Donald Trump or slight shifts in the polls or Hillary Clinton’s emails instead of actual ideas. Thanks!

  2. Pee-ew. says:

    You’re full of shit. This is a gently written persuasion piece to lend credibility to your support of bernie. You’re trying to seem moderate, but you’re not.

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