When I was a kid, there were times when explanations were given that just didn’t make much sense. At that time I simply thought I was not smart enough to understand. However, as I have gotten older and traveled, I’ve found that many adults have an answer but really do not have a good understanding of the answer. They simply repeat what they have been told and take it as truth.
Today, I was thinking about discussions with Westerners on Communism and Capitalism and how most Westerners would have an innate fear of Communism. In an earlier post, I wrote about Communism as simply a word, then an economic theory and then the fear it instills in Westerners. I’ve come to the conclusion that the Communism of the Soviet Union and China were simply poor models of the Communism Marx was talking about. Throughout my childhood, I too was afraid of Communism. Then I met Europeans who have a much deeper understanding of this theory and most treat it as simply another economic model. Therefore, I had to ask myself, why did I fear it in the first place?
I now live in Vietnam and I feel very comfortable here. I do not feel like my rights are being trampled in any way or oppressed and feel that the natives do not feel this way either. I used to believe that most of the population could not leave a Communist country because of the government. But speaking with a Chinese person in Japan, I found that it is the other way around. Chinese (and Vietnamese) are free to leave the country but it is the rich nations that will not let them in!!!! The reason is that much of the population is poor and a big influx of people from poor countries would cause political problems for the rich countries governments in the form of these new immigrants taking jobs away from the rich county’s population since they would work for way less.
But back to why I feared communism. The only conclusion I can come to is a form of “brainwashing” or to put in a less negative way, those in the west simply believe that their form of government is better so that is what they teach. Yet, if we make comparisons there are a lot of similarities.
In Communist countries we often refer to “propaganda.” In the West the same thing is called “Public Relations,” or “Marketing.” The goal is to get the public to believe something and governments in both the West and Communist countries engage in this practice to a high degree.
In Communist countries we often refer to “corruption.” In the west we also have corruption but also an elevated form of corruption called “lobbying.” In both cases, groups influence the government and the ones with the most money usually have the biggest effect. If a Communist country’s groups paid officials to obtain something, Westerners would call it corruption. But in the west, these same groups influence their leaders by paying for their campaigns, giving them gifts, or free trips, etc.
Therefore, when I was young and I failed to see the difference between the two, I would have assumed that I was simply not smart enough. But now, through my studies of language and my travels, I’ve found that simply changing the name of a weed to a flower, does not change what it actually is. We have simply given the item, theory or practice a different name to make the public see it as we would like them to.