On a trip to Russia just after the collapse of communism in 1991, I had a conversation with a Marxist scholar who was devastated by revelations about the horrors just then coming to light in his country. “I had no idea things like this were taking place,” he said. “I became a communist with the best of ideals, to fight racism and poverty, to bring about a just society. Now I learn that we created a monster. We saw evil in others—the capitalists, the rich, the exploisters—but not in ourselves. I have learned to distrust any utopian philosophy, especially one that sets ‘us’ against ‘them.’ The danger of evil is inside of all of us, rich or poor, socialist or capitalist.”
Fighting income inequality might seem like a worthy goal, however, the ability of people to profit from their labor or investment has always been a hallmark of a free society. Whenever politicians have conquered income inequality, the results have uniformly been the “income equality” of universal poverty . . .
When the Soviets collectivized the productive farms of Ukraine to institute income equality, the farmers felt like they had been returned to serfdom after they were forced to work land they did not own, receiving no rewards for their backbreaking work. Grain production fell precipitously leading to famine, with an estimated six million deaths from starvation. The same happened in China following Mao’s Great Leap Forward, with starvation death estimates between 18-42 million.
To those unfamiliar with history, redistributing money taken from the wealthy might seem like an easy path to prosperity… [I]n China, Russia, and North Korea they believed in income equality so fiercely they fought and died to implement it, and their descendants starved and died because of it.
There’s this ingrained belief in our culture that science will always progress, but we have no way of being sure that this will in fact happen. Civilizations collapse and disappear. Science is a unique phenomenon that really only appeared once in the history of the world—in Christian Europe. If its philosophical foundations are undercut, then it’s very possible that it will disappear. There’s also the danger that the misuse of science will become a tool for political tyranny. The two most tyrannical regimes of all time, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, both claimed to be scientifically based. Marxism/Leninism was promoted as scientific Socialism, while Hitler claimed that National Socialism was actually applied biology. It’s entirely possible that this sort of thing could happen again.