Perspective: Freedoms Child
DECEMBER 01, 1988 by NATALIE POLOVCHAK WILCOXEN
Walter and I were very lucky. Our babunia (grandmother) never worked. She was always at home, so we never had to go to the government kindergarten, the sadochok, which begins when a kid is three years old. Babushka taught us our ABCs, addition and subtraction, before we went to the first grade.
She told us the Bible stories she knew. Where there are no Bibles, the only way you can learn to know the Lord, to know what God is about, is to talk.
You spend time with your grandmother because you love her and listen to her and you learn what’s true and what isn’t. Then you go to school six days of the week, from nine in the morning to three in the afternoon, listening to the teacher and learning to become Young Pioneers, and then you join the League of Young Communists, the Komsomol.
So you become in-between. You just don’t know what’s right. For a certain period of your life, you go through a stage like being lost.
Finally, you really have to decide what you believe. You either become a person of your own—you learn things within your family and its beliefs, and you believe in them—or you are pulled into the society. Either you become a Christian, a believer in God, or you become the absolute opposite.
In the Soviet Union, everything is against God, against religion, against Christianity. Everything is for Communism. But Communism doesn’t work. So this contradiction makes you think, question things. You press for answers and you have to guess for yourself what they ale.
But we were lucky. We had our babunia. She taught us everything she knew about God, and about believing in Him and in knowing what was right.
—Natalie Polovchak Wilcoxen,
writing in Freedom’s Child,
by Walter Polovchak (Random House, 1988),
a book which relates the story of young
Walter’s defection from the Soviet Union.
Marxism Is Dead
The Communist Manifesto, published in 1848, is a clever piece of literature aimed at curing all the ills of society created by class antagonisms. With this taken into consideration, there is no denying the appeal of the communist “perfect society”—an end to exploitation, alienation, and human suffering. But Marx and Engels were wrong.
They asserted that “Society as a whole is more and more splitting into two great hostile camps, into two great classes facing each other—bourgeoisie and proletariat,” and with an increase in class antagonisms there eventually would be a social revolution which would crush the bourgeoisie and create a “perfect society.” Marx and Engels, however, turned out to be poor prophets, instead of an increase in class antagonisms between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, there has been a decrease. The reason for this is the capitalist revolution. Capitalism has provided a better standard of living and general well-being for the masses than Marx or Engels could ever foresee—and it shows no signs of decaying.
But is man better off?. Has capitalism “left no other bond between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous ‘cash payment,’” and “reduced the family relation to a mere money relation”? The capitalist society can be callous, and certain characteristics of the bourgeoisie often are contemptible, but with the proper institutions—especially family and religion—the vices of a free market society can be restrained and transcended, leaving more to life than “naked self-interest.” The Communist Manifesto falls apart at this point and the authors’ attempt to discredit religion and family turns out to be lame.
So who believes in Marxism? Is it an ideology for all nations as Marx and Engels claimed? History once again proves them wrong. There has yet to be a country which has experimented with Marxism and carried out its agenda word for word. Lenin ran into theproblems inherent in strict Marxism and experimented with a limited market system—the New Economic Policy. China has been moving away from strict Marxism, as have several nations in the Soviet Bloc. It is evident that Marxism is fatally flawed, and except for a few godless radicals who naively hold to this ideology, it is dead.
Florida State University
It is time to stop deceiving ourselves, stop believing the office ignoramuses and calmly admit that the problem of “consumer selection,” the problem of competition, is not rooted in any social or class relationships . . . .
Bottom-line, market stimuli must extend to all stages of the process “research-develop-ment – investment-production – marketing-ser-vice.” Only the marketplace, and not mere administrative innovations, can subordinate this entire chain to the demands of the consumer.
writing in the June 1987 issue
of the Soviet journal, Novy Mir,
as reported in the Montreal Gazette
(July 6, 1987)
Felix Morley Prize Winners
We are pleased to note that five young Freeman authors have been honored in the 1988 Felix Morley Memorial writing competition sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies. Our congratulations go to Christopher L. Culp, Nick Elliott, John Hood, Philip S. Smith, and Robert S. Taylor. It has been especially gratifying for us to work with such promising young writers.
—Beth A. Hoffman & Brian Summers