Conservative Communism

My Favorite Son called to discuss a discussion that he had with a friend, Leroy*. Leroy has some atypical, but otherwise unoriginal ideas. He seems to have assimilated a considerable amount of conservative (or, more accurately, pseudo-conservative) and libertarian rhetoric. That assimilation has been in the form of absorption, and not comprehension.

*The name is changed to protect the vacuous.

Leroy advocates keeping the government out of almost everything. Nothing new there. An example that he pushed on My Favorite Son was that it would be better for My Favorite Son, who is a Type 1 diabetic, to make his own insulin instead of depending on the government for a supply.

This is a provocative statement. My Favorite Son doesn’t get his insulin from the government, and private industry has been prominent in the development of sources of insulin. Federal and state governmental involvement in the production and supply of insulin must be generally very small – and zero for My Favorite Son.

Leroy’s statement goes beyond big-business Republican Libertarianism. Leroy thinks that individuals, instead of corporations, should manufacture sophisticated products. Wow. This is Luddite territory. I offered My Favorite Son an historical precedent, for Leroy’s statement is deeply Communist.

The best historical example of Communism may be the People’s Republic of China of Mao Zedong. The U.S.S.R. wasn’t ever really Communist – they were clearly behind China in that competition.

One of Mao’s brilliant attempts to advance Chinese Civilization was The Great Leap Forward. An essential element of The Great Leap Forward was the True Standard that government is not the solution – The Worker is the solution. This ideology was applied to steel-making, which had been the exclusive domain of the government-run industries. Mao decreed that villages would construct and operate their own steel smelters, and that China would consequently surpass the world in the production of steel.

Thousands of Chinese villages, which largely lacked industrial infrastructure, devoted all their resources to the new assignment. Smelters were constructed of stone, clay, and brick. Fuel for this energy-intensive process was, if a village were fairly wealthy, coal. For most villages, the fuel was wood. Villages which lacked woodlands for a harvest found a supply of wood in the structure of their homes.

Most of the steel produced during The Great Leap Forward was crap. Wood does not burn as hot as coal, and small manually-tended furnaces are difficult to regulate. Millions of people died during the resulting economic collapse.

Leroy would not see, or at least not acknowledge, this similarity between his private-insulin-production idea and Mao’s Great Leap Forward. Leroy wrote at length, and with narcissistic embellishment and condescension, on-line about his views of the world. While he advocates that a Type 1 diabetic should fend for himself, Leroy chooses to be dependent on wealthy parents. There is a certain consistency in his hypocrisy.


3 Responses to “Conservative Communism”

  1. January 29, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Sorry to be late to the party, here, but I tend to get distracted easily these days. I’m glad I saved your post for dessert because it is a good one, Jim.

    I have posted my own opinion several times in the past that government is essential to numerous processes, and particularly so in the case of medicine. Your Sino-example of steel is excellent also, and one I had not heard of.

    Steel, it occurs to me, is also a good historical example of the massive collision of opposing economic forces. I am speaking here of management and labor in a technically-complex industry that is highly reliant on economies of scale and sources of raw materials, thus making serious competition problematic once a corporate entity gains a foothold, and thus highly deserving of regulation. The experience and success of Andrew Carnegie comes to mind. This is a prime example, IMO, of the yin and yang of capitalism that will always be an unresolved and unruly dynamic.

    Jim W.

  2. January 14, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Sound like Leroy is advocating autarky to me, that is make everything yourself. We live much better lives for being interdependent. Leroy not so much a conservative, or libertarian in this view I think. He’s just stupid and hypocritical.

  3. January 8, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    Isn’t not being able to make you own insulin kinda what diabetes is in the first place?


    I think the biggest priority for liberals shouldn’t be going after teabaggers, but glibertarians such as Leroy. They have youth, popularity and slightly more seductive idealogies. “You can still hate women and minorities, by saying they simply don’t work hard enough! Plus you can smoke pot!”

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