Capitalism vs. Socialism: A Story of Two Family Relics
There are two stories that I am going to tell you. They happened a long time ago. They occur over three centuries and span multiple continents. These stories have nothing in common except for one thing: the continuity of documents.
The history of the first document dates back to the beginning of the 18th century. The scene is a North American colony called the Province of New York. For his services to Great Britain, a German nobleman received land from King George II in the royal colony of New York. The area was large, but subsequent generations quietly sold it piece by piece. This family of new settlers supported the colonists, not King George III, in the Revolutionary War. This allowed the ownership of the land to be preserved after the war. Now my good friend owns this land (or rather, the small piece that remains). He, like his ancestors spanning eight generations, is an American patriot.
Recently, there was a problem with the issue of land ownership in the state of New York. Without going into details of the territorial dispute court case, I will dwell on its essence. My friend did not have any official documents issued by the state of New York that would confirm his right to own said land. So he brought to court the only thing he had: an old family relic – a fragile parchment scroll signed by the British monarch.
The American judge, having examined the parchment, ruled that the heir to the German nobleman be the only legitimate owner of the land, granted to his ancestors by King George II long before the establishment of the United States of America.
The court ordered the Executive Branch to issue him a modern deed confirming his right to own the land, as well as to record the information about the owner in the state register.
This story of land ownership has a happy ending. The continuity of property rights is one of the main foundations of capitalism. The second story, which also has a happy ending, is an entirely different pattern of continuity.
My supervisor at the scientific laboratory was a brilliant scientist and a true Russian intellectual. His ancestors were Cossacks who lived in the south of Russia for many centuries. Throughout their history, they eventually replaced their classic Nordic features with typical southern features – relatively dark skin, curly hair, and a slightly hunched nose.
In 1942, the south of Russia was occupied by the troops of the Third Reich. First, the Nazis began to round up the Jews. On one of the winter days of 1943, Gestapo agents broke down the door of my supervisor's ancestors' peasant hut and ordered them to gather for an hour and report at the railroad station together with all the other Jews. The father of my scientific supervisor started a verbal skirmish with the Gestapo, which turned into a mêlée. The whole time, he did not stop shouting that he was not a Jew, but a Russian.
The Gestapo was taken aback. The agents immediately arrested him and threw him in jail. They also informed the authorities about the incident. After some delay, a commission of Nazi doctors arrived from Berlin. They, using the canons of eugenics, made a thorough examination of the prisoner. They measured his forehead, ears, and nose and came to an unambiguous conclusion – he was essentially a purebred representative of the Aryan race.
The Russian peasant was given a certificate with an official seal, on letterhead with a swastika, signed by some Standartenfuhrer, that he was not a Jew, but an Aryan. The newborn "Aryan" jubilantly arrived back home and hid this document until better times.
Fast-forward a short ten years, and "better times" have come. In 1953, Stalin planned to remove the entire Jewish population of the USSR to Siberia. In other words, the Holocaust-2 was being prepared. One March morning in 1953, agents of the NKVD (later renamed the KGB) burst into the hut of the Russian peasant and relayed the well known phrase: "Jews, get out!" As it played out ten years ago, a verbal skirmish began, which again developed into a fistfight. By the time the family relic obtained from the Nazis was finally found, the "Aryan" had lost two teeth.
However, when the NKVD agents saw this document stamped with a swastika, they turned pale. After a long dumb scene, during which they reverently looked at the paper, they apologized to the Russian "Aryan" family and evaporated. A few days later, the mustached communist tyrant died, and the Holocaust-2 did not take place.
This eugenics-related story has a happy ending, too. The continuity and acceptance of the Gestapo document should not surprise anyone.
Supporters of National Socialism from the Third Reich and supporters of International Socialism from the Soviet Union, although they fought among themselves, understood each other perfectly.
At first glance, these stories about family relics have no political background. However, these two family histories reflect the well known practical consequences of one or another ideological foundation of a society.
Under socialism and capitalism, there is a significant continuity of ideas, traditions, and laws. At the same time, any form of socialism – whether in fascist Germany, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea or the Soviet Union – always leads to totalitarianism and anti-Semitism. Finally, in spite of utopian Marxism, socialism does not lead to an equal distribution of wealth; rather, as Winston Churchill rightly pointed out, it leads to an "equal sharing of misery."
The cacophony of the pre-election race in 2018, when the number of sweetly singing socialist sirens in America is simply off the charts, should not confuse anyone.
The outcome of this year's elections is more important than ever: either Trump's capitalist reforms will be continued or they will be torpedoed, and Obama's socialist reforms will again start to strangle America.
What family relics would you like to leave to your descendants?