Quick, pick one: Career frustration, or Venezuela? It’s not an easy choice, apparently.
To use the same misquote of Churchill that everyone else does, capitalism remains the worst economic system, except for everything else we’ve ever tried. But no matter how many citizens communism pummels into an unmarked grave, some of us still swear that collectivized control, if we get the conditions right, is going to do the trick.
I get it, sort of. I’ve always been open to the fantasy that there might be some way of arranging things that’s more fair than what we have. As a young restaurant worker who had placed her bets on a pre-Internet writing career back in the day, I daydreamed as much as the commies do about a genuinely level playing field. Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if the kids who grew up with trust funds and connections at their fingertips didn’t get a head start!
But it’s even nicer to have shoes.
Even back then, when the local young socialists were cumming in their chinos to meet me because I had once worked a temp job in a real live factory (I took the beer they bought me; did not take their ideology), it was obvious that even if there is a way to create a pure meritocracy, whatever created the USSR is not going to be it. Communism doesn’t even hit its stated goal of making things “fair,” whatever the hell they mean by that. No one I’ve ever met who has had anything to do with communist countries personally has anything good to say about it.
Granted, when Matt Barnes at the Pitt Report (to take a fairly random example) writes “There is no question that capitalist societies produce inequalities. A system based on freedom of choice with reward based on merit is bound to yield different results in different circumstances,” he fails to mention that the range of merits that capitalism actually rewards are fairly narrow, particularly in the arts. Further, he seems to have forgotten the sheer frustration of growing up in the wrong place — but fuck it, I will take his touch of smugness any day over a leftist trying to tell me what to say and pulling my would-be savings and capital out of my wallet to hand to serial breeders and corporate welfare. (Oddly, the leading commies are usually people who are doing quite well, which makes me wonder whether they aren’t just pulling the ladder up after them.)
True, I don’t like watching morons like Lena Dunham effortlessly slide to the front of the line, but being able to buy anything I want without leaving my house is fucking magic. (I’m sure if you’re in Venezuela right now, being able to walk four miles to buy a stick is fucking magic.) Unfairness for artistes, even if you are one, is better than millions of people going hungry. Really, it is. Fame, fortune, and an unlimited supply of tail are pretty high on the pyramid of needs. And Dunhams would go to the front of the line in a socialist country anyway. What, you think nepotism ends where the Party begins? How do you think the Party works? Put down the crack pipe.
However, if those of you who are still convinced that real socialism has never happened want to do just one more experiment, why don’t you take a tip from your worst frenemies in the Alt-right? You two have way more in common than you could bear to consider.
For example, social engineering. Those guys have been tinkering with the idea of ethnostates: dividing up the US, sorting people by ethnicity, then politely (they say they want to do it politely, anyway) asking everyone to pick all their shit up and move to the bit that’s marked for their ancestry (no word on what you should do if you’re German and Italian, however).
I’ve said before that this is such a ridiculous idea even on the level of logistics that I can’t believe anyone would put it forward except as a way to get attention for their shitposting. People HATE moving. How will you ever uproot all the hoarders? Who’s going to get stuck next to the Canadians? And I’d be FURIOUS if they sent me to Alaska. They try to put me in Alaska, the deal is over.
However, sorting out one particular group and giving them an ethnostate that they can choose to go to if they like is more doable. Israel would have been fine if they had stuck it in the middle of nowhere, instead of surrounded by neighbors who would nuke it if they could figure out how. If the white ethnostatists want to go live in Appalachia, it would be fairly easy, and I don’t see any reasonable problem with that, unless they started developing nukes. They’ll probably kill each other trying to decide who’s actually white, but at that point, that’s their problem. The whole thing about being an ethnostate is you get to solve your own shit.
So, speaking of being left to solve your own shit, here’s an idea: why don’t we send people who still want communism to their own little ethnostate? (Polit…nostate? Doesn’t have the same ring to it.) They’re getting frustrated as hell not being able to completely ruin everyone else’s fun as it is; why not let them have fun on their own?
There are all kinds of empty housing projects out in the boondocks in China. Perhaps in a few years when the Chinese are trying to figure out what the *(&$#!! to do with these idiots who want to go back to the bad old days, they’ll donate the land to the worldwide project just for the sake of getting rid of them. Then we take all the people living in communist dictatorships who still think communism is a good idea—oh, wait… they can’t leave…
… well, take all the Americans and Western Europeans who have never stood in a bread line and think it sounds wonderful, give them a few fifty-gallon drums of peanut butter, and throw them in an apartment complex in Bumblefuck, China together. They can tax each other and coin pronouns till they’re blue in the face. All of the poisonous initial elements that have caused all the other socialist utopias to fail will be absent, especially those of us dickheads who don’t want to be equal. They’ll also be missing everyone who gives a shit or wants to work, but the invisible milkman of human kindness will surely smooth that over. So maybe this time they’ll prove us wrong, and create a heaven on Earth.
I’m half joking, but while you’re at it, give the people who want to try to mix capitalism with a universal basic income and give them a few thousand square miles that nobody’s using and some IT personnel. That’s probably going to fail too, but I’d give them better odds—and if that works, then it’s really going to work.
If it were possible for young people to pay their rent while trying to get onto the ladder instead of having to snatch at the first exhausting, low-paying thing that came along—without the whole thing crashing down on your head or slowly turning into garbage—that might look more like a meritocracy. It would probably not work, but I’m not enough of an economics genius to not say, hey, give them some ghost town in the Rust Belt and see what happens.
Whatever your utopia, if you want to keep trying, go have at it. Experiment on yourselves. Save up for a Mars rocket. Just don’t hang around here using everyone else as a guinea pig, too. And if you ever come up with a purely merit-based system that sorts for what I consider virtues, then let me know. I might fly over on my giant, tame bat and move in.