Critique of Communism: Nature of Consequentialism and Freedom



Communism is usually critiqued by the same set of arguments. Communism isn’t practical. Communism ignores non-economic forms of inequality. While these are valid critiques, there are unheard ones (a lot stronger philosophically) that are not mentioned.

First of all, communism fundamentally follows a consequentialist moral system. The goal is to reach utopia, for the lack of a better word, by seizing the means of production and distributing it. It follows the tenet of ends justify the means, quite frankly. The fact of the matter is we don’t determine right or wrong on the basis of consequences.

One reason why the communist state fails has to do with its consequentialist nature. When one accepts tenets on such a basis, certain wrong-doings can be justified as long as the end is reached. Such immorality isn’t tolerated by other, non-communist humans. Hence, why the doings of the USSR and Communist China (Mao) were despised.

The end goal of communism was to achieve Hegel’s Unity of Spirit albeit in a materialistic fashion. According to Marx, economic differences held people back from being what they truly were. This is the existential motif present at the end of communism. One of the reasons why the French Existentialists favored it.

Here’s the second problem: Freedom doesn’t have a consequentialist nature. Freedom is the ability to act as one desires, not the ability to get what one desires. For instance, an entrepreneur who has a failed startup and one who has a successful one isn’t different by the virtue of freedom.

Having said that, material circumstances do determine the freedom to act sometimes. Especially in an economic fashion. That is a flaw of capitalism. But it doesn’t mean that the worker’s state is the necessary, and only, solution to the problem. A communitarian economic system would work in a better fashion.

Leave a Reply