Ideology: Yet Another Similarity between Communism and Democracy

May 25th, 2012
in Op Ed

by Frank Li

This is the thirteenth article of the series: “Towards An Ideal Form of Government”.

ideologyPreviously, I identified two similarities between communism and democracy:

  1. Destruction of capitalism (Democracy and Communism: Are They Really the Same?).
  2. Brainwashing (Brainwashing in Communism and in Democracy

In this article, I will point out that ideology is a third major similarity between communism and democracy.

Follow up:

1. What is ideology?

According to Wikipedia,

an Ideology is a set of ideas that constitute one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things (compare worldview), as in several philosophical tendencies (see Political ideologies), or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to all members of this society (a "received consciousness" or product of socialization). The main purpose behind an ideology is to offer either change in society, or adherence to a set of ideals where conformity already exists, through a normative thought process. Ideologies are systems of abstract thought applied to public matters and thus make this concept central to politics. Implicitly every political or economic tendency entails an ideology whether or not it is propounded as an explicit system of thought. It is how society sees things.

The two biggest opposing ideologies throughout the 20th century were communism and democracy. Democracy won decisively in 1989, when the Cold War ended.

The 21st century has been very different so far, with two world-shaking phenomena:

  1. The rise of China (America: What is China, Anyway?).
  2. The decline of the West, including America (What is America, Anyway?).

2. Ideology in communism

The two biggest communist countries were the Soviet Union and China under Mao (1949-1976). For an overview of how the communist ideology worked in the Soviet Union, click here: State Ideology of the Soviet Union. For a highlight of how it worked in Communist China, click here: Communist Ideology in China. Both countries failed miserably and engendered untold human misery and deprivation.

I grew up in Communist China, whose communist ideology had two core ideas:

  1. Domestically: Communism is the best form of government, as it is for the people, with everything belonging to the people.
  2. Internationally: The proletarians in China, or in any other country, will not be truly liberated until the entire human race is liberated. So wherever there was a communist movement (e.g. North Korea, Vietnam, or even Albania), China offered support.

What a tragedy! Communism eventually collapsed due to the economic devastation it caused! In short, when the proletarians were in charge, everybody became a proletarian!

3. Ideology in democracy

Here are two core ideas in the democratic ideology in America (corresponding to the two core ideas in the communist ideology):

  1. Domestically: Democracy is the best form of government, as it is of/by/for the people. So let’s do everything possible for the people (= votes), such as creating all kinds of socialistic entitlement programs, growing the government to add a massive number of government employees to the middle class, waging a class warfare against the rich (Class Warfare: Government Workers vs. The Taxpayers), and worst of all, initiating a frontal assault on capitalism (Watch: Obama campaign’s new ad paints Romney as a job-killing economic “vampire”)!
  2. democracy-bombingInternationally: Democracy is so good that President George W. Bush launched the Iraq War to “spread” it. Democracy is so necessary that the American government has been actively involved in subverting legitimate governments all over the world, especially in the Middle East (Top-10 American Misconceptions about The World).

Meanwhile, America’s economy is collapsing at home. As a matter of fact, today’s America looks more and more like yesterday’s China! Why and how? Because democracy is yielding the same results in America as communism did in China a few decades ago!

4. The U.S. vs. China

Two pictures below define the key difference between the U.S. and China today: capitalism!


History has provided two important lessons:

  1. The political system does not matter, as long as it embraces capitalism!
  2. Capitalism is not everything; Capitalism is the only thing! Because capitalism has proven to be the only way to prosperity, a political system without capitalism, be it communism or democracy, will fail.
  • China failed before (1949-1976) and the U.S. is failing now, both for the same reason: destruction of capitalism!
  • The U.S. thrived before because of unfettered capitalism (and rugged individualism), and China is thriving now by practically incorporating capitalism into communism (also known as “state capitalism”).

Is it coincidental that the democratic U.S. is declining as "communist" China rises?

Two photos below show the evolution of the U.S-China relationship from 1991 to 2009, in the eyes of Nancy Pelosi.


What a huge difference 18 years made (Tiananmen Square)! Ms. Pelosi should be totally embarrassed upon seeing these two photos side by side! More importantly, what does this say about democracy, American politics, and the future of America?

5. The West vs. China

The entire West is on the verge of bankruptcy. Several European countries are already there, with more to follow, including America!

In contrast, China, a non-democracy (but “a dictatorship without a dictator” or “state capitalism”), has been advancing so fast and so well over the past three decades that it is now the largest foreign creditor of both Europe and America! Furthermore, China is well on her way to becoming the largest economy on earth by 2030, dethroning America!

6. A moment of truth

It’s time to face the truth: Democracy, as we know it today, does not work any longer. It has failed in Europe and it is failing in America (Diagnosis for America: Cancer!)!

America’s problems are big and structural! Three examples:

  1. Gridlock has paralyzed our government for years.
  2. When the two parties finally manage to get something done together, it’s often a wrong thing (Bipartisanship Is Behind Government’s Worst Programs)!
  3. The launch of the Iraq War showed that there were neither checks nor balances within our government. Instead, it was, and still is, corrupted to its core. For more on U.S. government corruption, read: Blagojevich and Pearl Harbor: They Are Related!

7. The outlook of the West

The recent election results in Europe (e.g. France and Greece) made one thing clear: Europe is already too deeply into socialism to save itself! Electing socialists to fix the problems caused by socialism meets Einstein’s definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Italy is even worse: They abandoned democracy recently, as Mario Montiwas invited by President Giorgio Napolitano to form a new technocratic government,” without an election! Did the sky fall over Italy without democracy? No! Will Italy get better with Mr. Monti being the Prime Minister? Yes, most likely!

America must find its own way out of the trouble. Here is what’s certain:

  1. We must not follow Greece or France, as many left-wing extremists here are hoping (The loser In European Election Results? Austerity)!
  2. We can’t follow Italy, as we do not have a President who can appoint a Prime Minister (but a bunch of useless czaes).
  3. It’s time for America to change the course by, minimally, imposing some serious austerity (i.e. spending cuts) before it’s really too late!

More profoundly, America should subscribe to my diagnosis and prescription.

8. Closing

Like communism, democracy, as an ideology, has many merits in theory. But in practice, it looks more and more like communism. Consequently, unless it can adapt to the changing times, like the Chinese did with communism, democracy, as we know it today, will destroy the West as spectacularly and painfully as communism destroyed the East!



Related Articles

Previous articles by Frank Li

About the Author

Frank LiFrank Li is the Founder and President of W.E.I. (West-East International), a Chicago-based import & export company. Frank received his B.E. from Zhejiang University (China) in 1982, M.E. from the University of Tokyo in 1985, and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1988, all in Electrical Engineering. He worked for several companies until 2004, when he founded his own company W.E.I. Today, W.E.I. is a leader in the weighing industry not only in products & services, but also in thought and action.

Dr. Li writes extensively and uniquely on politics, for which he has been called "a modern-day Thomas Jefferson"(see page 31).

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