I want to talk to you today about an episode of 'Lost' where our good friend Hurley found himself in a most unfortunate circumstance. You see, he was tasked by Jack to be king of all the foodstuff. Hurley, who was a rich man before he found himself stuck on Gilligan's Island, came to realize that being king of what everyone wanted most didn't work out well for him in the past, so he didn't want to do it in the present either.
Jack, the commune leader, said: Tough titties Hurley! This is your job, and it is your responsibility to carry out the distribution of all the foodstuffs. Hurley's foresight as a wealthy man made him dismayed at the idea. So much so, that his first instinct was to blow up the pantry with dynamite.
Fortunately, Rose Nadler talked him down. She spoke to him in such a way where they devised a plan to distribute all the food so that people would be happy—at least for one night, anyhow. As depicted in the episode, everyone got what they wanted, the night went well, filled with peace and harmony. It may or may not have created the impression that communism works. And it does work, for about a day, and then reality happens.
What is the reality to which I speak? Well, that's something the episode glossed over. In a communist society, it's dangerous to be successful. These are things you don't do unless you want a target painted on your back. This is why, despite seemingly all the logic in the world, Hurley's first instinct was to blow up the pantry along with all the food in it.
You see, he wanted to act in his self-interest, which meant that he didn't want people to hate (or kill) him for the food he was assigned to distribute. Thus, the food was the problem, so blow up the food. Rose showed him another way, it was still antithetical towards the long term survival of the entire group, but it ultimately solved Hurley's problem, i.e., no more food, no more need for an austere food king. More succinctly, he fired his job.
The real problem solved here is that of wealth redistribution, and whether or not it should be a thing. The writers of Lost seemed to have thought if it is going to be a thing, make it short, quick, and get it over with as soon as possible. In reality, people think that wealth redistribution is sustainable. They fail to realize that it's unsustainable, short-lived, and destructive too.
Let's take a look at the UK as an example. People in the Labour party are talking about billionaires. They suggest that their wealth ought to be re-distributed. What they fail to realize is that the wealthy will simply move away from the UK and take their money with them. There are plenty of recovering, former communist countries that know the value of billionaires who purchase things locally. And as these things tend to go, one country's trash is another country's treasure.
For whatever reason, people fail to connect cause and effect. They fail to see the larger picture. No wealthy person wants communism, any wealthy person who does, does so merely for the goal to capitalize on either promoting it or as a result of it. E.g., individuals who are beneficiaries of state-monopoly capitalism. If and when wealthy people truly want communism, they can simply give away a substantial portion of their earthly possessions to charity or those in need.
Most communist advocates are what you would call have nots. There's nothing wrong with being a have not. However, what it means is that you've got more people in need than are producing, and this eventually results in real problems. And that's the moral of this story, yes you can eat the rich, but you can only do it once. After that, depending on your sense of entitlement, you might look for the next less-rich person to eat.
In short order, you'll have a world of people who dress like bums, so they don't get bum-rushed. Do you think it's a coincidence that communists dress the same and walk-in lockstep? Fuck no, it's a survival trait for a ruthless environment. One that will eat you alive if you fall out of line. None of the countries, whether they be capitalist or communist, are purely one or the other. It's more of a spectrum as to whether or not a nation leans more towards liberty or tyranny.
Given the choice of a more collectivist vs. individualist country, whether I am wealthy or poor, you can sign me up for freedom every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Freedom means you can choose how you make a living. You don't have to be like Hurley, king of the foodstuff if you don't want. It means you have options. You are not assigned uniforms or a job. I think most people would rather have autonomy and manifest their destiny as opposed to having it dictated by some potentate or algorithm.
The image above is brought to you courtesy of Pixabay.