Tuesday, November 7, 2017

'Land, Peace, Bread' - and Tragedy

'Land, peace and bread.' Sounds great, doesn't it?
Every day, countless people pass by this mural on 26th St. not far from the Universidad Nacional, but I bet few recognize the catastrophic significance of what the dove is advertising.

'Land, peace and bread,' such beautiful sentiments, was the slogan of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which introduced the world to communism and its famines, totalitarianism and mass-murder. Because the Nazis gave right-wing fascism such a bad name, communism's sins are less well known. But The Volokh Conspiracy, a libertarian blog, uses the commonly cited figure of 100 million communist murders, including the Ukranian famines, Mao's Great Leap Forward and Cambodia's Killing Fields.

Nevertheless, the dream lives on, to a greater or lesser extent, in places like the nearby Universidad
The communist 'Voz' magazine celebrates
the Russian Revolution.
Nacional, whose marchers often carry images of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara. But one doesn't have to look any further than Venezuela to see the impacts of a sort of socialism and a planned economy: People there are hungry, medicines are unavailable, crime has skyrocketed and Venezuela just entered hyperinflation. Meanwhile, its incompetent government is turning more and more authoritarian. Many thousands of Venezuelans have fled to Spain, Florida and Colombia - depriving the country of its most talented and educated young people. (Which why communist nations had a habit of building walls around themselves to keep their people in.)

It also provides a hint of what might have happened here in Colombia if the FARC had somehow obtained power. The mural was commissioned, incidentally, by the government of Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro, a one-time leader of the M-19 guerrilla movement.)

The paradoxical thing, of course, is that communism is based on wonderful ideals: equality, cooperation, from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. And on and on. Unfortunately, the tools those governments used to reach those goals - such as totalitarianism and forced collectivization of farms - clashed terribly with human nature.

If only communism were possible, then this would be a much better world. But it isn't, unfortunately.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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