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Sunday, 7 December 2014

From Killing the Rich to Taxing The Rich

Question Time panel in Doncaster 4 December 2014

[T]he suppression of the minority of exploiters, by the majority of the wage slaves of yesterday, is a matter comparatively so easy, simple, and natural that it will cost far less bloodshed… and will cost mankind far less.

Lenin wrote this in The State and Revolution (Amazon USA) (Amazon UK) .

In the end, 66 million people were killed in the USSR between 1917 and 1959: tortured, shot, starved, frozen or worked to death. This figure was calculated by Professor of Statistics I. A. Kurganov and quoted by Alexander Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago (Amazon USA) (Amazon UK) .

Others say that the figure is 45 million, still others 20 million. The lower figures may be due to the fact that they only refer to deaths caused by Stalin, and don’t include the pre-Stalin and post-Stalin periods of the Soviet Union.

None of them includes the tens of millions of deaths of the Second World War.

If 60 million were indeed killed from 1917 to 1959, an average of 2 million were killed during each year of Stalin’s horrendous rule – or 40,000 every week (even during “peacetime”).

If the real number is 20 million, that still means 1,830 deaths every single day.

And they were not just “the minority of exploiters”, as Lenin put it. They were peasants, workers, middle class people.

That eventually was the blood and human cost that Lenin considered “natural” and negligible.

It’s useful sometimes to remember the sources of the ideas of people who are currently in the political arena. It makes it easier to make sense of what they say, which at times would seem incomprehensibly against common sense.

Thursday’s Question Time program on BBC1 hosted among its panel Labour's MP and Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper. On that occasion the Labour Party, Lenin's heirs, showed through their representative how to adapt the Bolshevik leader's ideas to our modern – for them regrettably less revolutionary and cloak-and-dagger - times.

"Kill the rich!" has been replaced by "Tax the rich (to death if possible)!”

After all, one of the first punishments that Lenin recommended just after the October Revolution was "confiscation of all property”, along with confinement in prison, forced labour and all the other niceties.

Lenin's grandchildren have to content themselves with 40-45 (50 at most when they are in government) per cent of people's income. How small and disappointing it must seem to them! But they bravely react to disappointment by pushing for more, as they always do on Question Time.

Some panellists on Thursday reassured us that the well-off will not feel the difference if more money is extorted out of them, sorry I meant top tax rates increase.

I suppose it must be the same way of thinking of conscientious thieves when they decide to burgle a wealthy household: steal the money where it is and where there is so much of it that its absence won't have consequences.

Ah the joys of democracy, where two wolves and a lamb can vote on what to have for dinner.

But what Labour doesn't disclose is that new and higher taxes initially introduced for top earners trickle down to the middle classes and even the working class. An example is the Stamp Duty tax, whose burden has increased on UK low and middle income families trying to buy a new home.

A couple of people in the audience claimed that they would be happy to pay more tax, if it helps children, disabled and such.

If they were telling the truth, the easy solution would be not that taxation is increased - as these people can't expect to impose their preferences on others - but that they give to charities. In that way they will be surer that their money does go to finance their chosen goal and not, like taxpayers' money, into redundancy payments of hundreds of thousands pounds, salaries for optimisers, facilitators, equality commissioners, communication officers, other assorted bureaucrats and various useless public sector employees.

One of the main reasons why anything run by the government is hopelessly cost-ineffective is because the state invariably employs many more people than are necessary for the job.

It does so because it's a way to increase its power, which is its main goal. The more public sector employees, the greater the public sector and the more people dependent on the state. That also translates into more votes. Parasitism and clientelism are the name of the game.

The broadcast ended on a humorous note, when a totally useless panelist (impossible to fathom why he was invited), the ridiculous - but unfunny – comedian Omid Djalili admitted that he hadn't understood the last question from the audience, but in all truth he hadn't got the others either.


  1. Thank you Enza. A brilliantly crafted piece about the true evils of statism/collectivism. I love your description of democracy! I couldn't have put it better myself.

  2. "It’s useful sometimes to remember the sources of the ideas of people who are currently in the political arena. It makes it easier to make sense of what they say, which at times would seem incomprehensibly against common sense."

    Unintended irony, I'm sure. The fact that Solzhenitsyn's opus magnum Two Hundred Years Together remains unpublished in English and essentially unknown, gives a hint as to why Soviet communism is poorly understood in the West. Then there's Malcolm Muggeridge, whose novel, Winter in Moscow, was written only after his frank reports on the Holodomor were deemed unfit for publication by The Manchester Guardian.

  3. An interesting and revealing column, thank you, Enza. But, Solzhenitsyn’s remedy for communism was a Christian theocracy. I wonder if he had any to say about Islam, a competing theocracy that seems to be doing its best to match communism's death toll, and has been for the last 14 centuries.

  4. Thank you for the column. You indicate what I think is an important point often neglected by so called right wing politicians in America.

    The Left disguises its agenda, which is establishing a socialist police state in England and America, by saying that they want to help people.

    No. What they want is power. If you want to help people, first you earn the money. You don't begin, as the Left does, by grabbing other people's hard earned money and then diverting that hard earned money to pay for the waste and corruption which is government.

    Charity is not authoritarian. It does not begin at gun point.