Skip to main content

Similar Illusions of Living Under Socialist and Capitalist Regime

Val offers his views on dogmatic aspects of cultural paradigm with its religious, political, and medical sterile indoctrinations and taboos.

At simple level of humanness, it makes no difference what political labels we attach to ourselves

At simple level of humanness, it makes no difference what political labels we attach to ourselves

People don't want other people to be people.

-- Gene Wolfe

Seeing Only People, Not Their "...ism" Labels

The title of this post is not to announce some scholarly analysis of this topic, but rather to share the views stemming from personal experience from living in both -- socialist and capitalist socio-political arrangement.

Now, with no time to waste on beating around the bush, let me get to the crux of it.

What I observed in my initial 23 years of life while living under socialism -- attending school, working, and serving in military there -- and over half century of living under capitalism, is basically the same variety of mentalities, with attitudes at both sides ranging from a downright pissed to the one of a relative satisfaction.

Contrary to some opinions, socialism is not a classless regime. We could easily see an elite there, not comparable to the billionaires of the capitalist regime, and yet enjoying luxuries which those at the bottom of the social scale could only dream about.

While they may not officially call themselves a "higher class", facts of their lifestyle are talking for themselves.

Thus, in a sense pertaining to this article, I saw something quite similar back in those old days, witnessing extremes of an elite and those homeless -- something that I am also witnessing here in this capitalist arrangement.

The main point to be made here is that in both regimes prosperity or luck of it was not per se indicative of either satisfaction or dissatisfaction in life. I've seen happier poor ones than rich ones. If there was no truth in it, those Hollywood celebrities would be all ecstatic over their fame and riches -- instead of so many living miserable between each two rehabs.

That's one thing that I found fascinating -- that no financial advantage, freedoms, or opportunities, were a decisive factor in that satisfaction or a lack of it.

Now, the mention of "opportunities" brings us to the first of those announced illusions.

Namely, in all those "less developed" countries you'll see just about any profession that's in existence in a "more developed" country. Which simply means that there would be no doctors, teachers, scholars, artists, scientists...and so on, in that socialist regime, if there were no opportunities for those who would qualify.

As a matter of fact, in socialist regime, as I remember it, education was free all the way to a doctorate, as well as a free full medical coverage, and one month of paid vacation. Now, if you would tell me that "we were paying it some other way" -- here in the west we are also paying taxes, don't we, but our tax money goes for military advancement, for bribing countries of some strategic position, and some other insane places.

In both regimes governments have shitloads of money -- it's only what they are spending it on, which makes the whole difference.

Demonstrations are not a phenomenon of "less free" regimes -- but anywhere where humans exist.

Demonstrations are not a phenomenon of "less free" regimes -- but anywhere where humans exist.

I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions.

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Which "...ism" Is More Satisfying

Now let's see from a little closer this question of "satisfaction" in one or another regime.

We are all so indoctrinated into one or another "...ism" that we are blind to the fact that there are politically unsatisfied people everywhere -- in New York, Moscow, Beijing, London, Paris, Tehran...anywhere.

When George W. Bush could not find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, he decided -- just the same -- to topple Saddam Hussein's regime, under the crazy idea that "those people deserved democracy".

Scroll to Continue

What democracy? His? -- as he wouldn't obey the will of his nation not to start that war, with all those massive demonstrations clearly expressing that will.

So what did he do? In the process of "liberating those poor oppressed people", he killed and traumatized more of them than Saddam Hussein would have done it in two of his lifetimes.

Just because some people are pissed in any regime, it doesn't call for naming the system "bad". Like, in a highly improbable and hypothetical scenario -- since at any time in the American history roughly half of the people were against their current administration -- would that be an invitation to a foreign country to "save these poor American people"?

We can't pin the responsibility on our government for something that we are failing to do in our lives.

It happens whenever we neglect matters over which we have some control in our lives, that we resort to looking for an outside cause of our problems. So we choose to live the life of the whole nation -- which is by any measure of normalcy a sheer bullshit, since there is nothing that we can do there but being pissed.

And being pissed feels so much better than feeling responsible.

It's those damn Republicans / Democrats / Whites / Blacks / Elite / Alien immigrants / Russians / Chinese / Iranians / North Koreans / Fake news... -- always somebody "out there" doing it to us.

As long as we can play a victim card, we don't have to look into what we are doing -- -or-not-doing for our prosperity, our happiness and peace of mind.

So we blame it all on those "damn socialists" -- while not knowing the first thing about socialism. Or we blame it on corporatism, while not seeing that it's those corporations which, at least, keep so many people employed.

Some "...ism" is always at fault.

At what age do we start seeing labels instead of fellow-humans?

At what age do we start seeing labels instead of fellow-humans?

Once you label me, you negate me.

-- Soren Kierkegaard

Could We Stop Seeing Labels -- and Just Be Humans?

During those first 23 years in socialist/communist ex-Yugoslavia, we, the people were short of forced to be involved in matters of "national" importance, which included much of some sterile patriotic crap.

When I moved to this "free, capitalist West", what I saw was the same thing -- people obsessing over "matters of national importance" -- with the only apparent difference that here people do it voluntarily.

It's what I, an out-of-box thinker, call "collective consciousness overwhelming individual consciousness". Just like back in the "old country" -- people here tend to live everybody else's life but their own, and they know better what has to be fixed in the White house than what has to be fixed in their own house.

People are same everywhere, brainwashed into their national "...ism" dictated by their government. They would never invent one on their own. They would never care if another nation prefers their own "...ism".

Every tourist is bound to come to the same conclusion -- as they see folks similar to their own in strange countries. So when these days you hear the word "Chinese", do you think of the "Chinese economy becoming a big rival on the world market -- meaning an enemy of your country's national interests" -- or you see people like yourself raising families, working, having their dreams and uncertainties, their ups and their downs -- so universally typical for our human race?

What are all those labels good for -- but for fragmenting our human spirit that has been crying for some harmony throughout our shameful history. War after war, one "...ism" against another, whether political or religious.

When you come out in the morning to join the rush hour, do you see some Democrats and Republicans, Catholics and Protestants, any Jews, any Muslims on that road -- or you just see people rushing to make a living.

Indeed, folks, we don't need a global warming for a threat -- we are enough of a threat with our dark passion to live others' lives, finding something wrong with them, blaming them, demonizing them.

Could we snap out of this brainwashing spell of those many imposed-on-us "...isms", and just be people?

© 2022 Val Karas

Related Articles