I don’t know that Karl Marx read Sun Tzu’s Art of War, but there is a highly relevant passage in Chapter 3, The Sheathed Sword: “It is the rule in war: If our forces are ten to the enemy’s one, to surround him; if five to one, to attack him; if twice as numerous, to divide our army into two, one to meet the enemy in front, and one to fall upon his rear; if he replies to the frontal attack, he may be crushed from behind; if to the rearward attack, he may be crushed in front.”
There is another relevant quote in Chapter 1, Laying Plans: “If his forces are united, separate them.”
Karl Marx was heavily influenced by Thomas Malthus, who wrote that 10% of the population of all societies control 90% of the wealth. Marx took from this that the proletariat outnumber the bourgeoise ten to one, and Marx’s strategies were exactly what Sun Tzu suggested – surround the enemy.
Marxism failed to take hold in the West, thanks to the relative wealth of the middle and lower classes, and as such, Marx’ followers in the West began to look for a new narrative, using the second quote: “If his forces are united, separate them.”
The military axiom based on this quote is, “Attack in detail,” also known as, “Divide and Conquer.”
Marxists have been working for decades to separate the Western World, and particularly the united States, into identity groups, each of which could either be turned to support Marxism, or could be destroyed ‘in detail,’ and we’ve reached a point where the Communist movement, spearheaded by Black Lives Matter and ANTIFA, have achieved majority support.
What we can expect next should not surprise us: “if twice as numerous, to divide our armies into two, one to meet the enemy in front, and one to fall upon his rear”.
We are being attacked frontally through rioting and looting, and we are being attacked in our rear through our election process (which will be compromised by mail-in-voting). Whichever one we focus on – we’ll get destroyed by the other.
All forms of socialism, however, deal with their own internal group-conflict, the seeds of which lead to misery, depravation, and eventually, collapse. These groups, which work together in free market economies, turn against each other under socialism: producers, and consumers.
Everyone is a consumer, but less than half of the US adult population works. Consumers outnumber producers by two to one right out of the gate, but it’s actually worse than that, as producers only produce in one industry, whereas we are all consumers in many industries.
Under socialism, social power (aka ‘political power’) trumps economic power, and whereas profit gives producers economic power, the overwhelming political power consumers have, invariable leads to calls for subsidizing consumption, which must be paid for, by taxing production. This dynamic puts consumers and producers at odds.
In a free market, consumers and producers are not enemies, but under socialism – they are. When producers and consumers become enemies, Sun Tzu’s advice to the consumer is clear: surround and destroy producers.
Believe it or not, but I’m actually understating the problem. If there is one thing the public is learning from the era of Black Lives Matter, it is that victimhood can become a powerful political currency. It’s hard for producers to claim victimhood, and as such, all of the political currency tied to victimhood is on the side of the consumer.
Add in the fact that most socialist believe profit to be evil, and a consumer-only driven economy will tax production until production no longer exists.
The Scandinavian countries became some of the most wealthy nations on Earth, by the 1970s (using laisses faire capitalism), and in the latter 70s and early 80s, they made a hard left turn. Sweden went as far as mandating that all companies create ‘Employee Wealth Funds’ that would invest a portion of all company profits into employee-owned funds. The Employee Wealth Funds would then use that money to buy company stock. Over time, had this program stayed in place, all Swedish companies would have been fully-owned by their employees, just as Marx envisioned.
The socialist polices the Scandinavian countries employed in the 80s and 90s began to destroy their economies. Luckily for the Scandinavian countries, they were the most homogeneous nations on Earth at the time, and with no cultural diversity, they were able to move back to the right. Today, they have vibrant free market economies, in which the limited regulations that are in place are transparent, and though they still have generous welfare systems, they pay for them with regressive taxes in which the effective tax rate someone pays goes down as they make more money.
Those tax rates are designed to fund generous welfare spending, while encouraging ever more production. The Scandinavian countries are in most respects doing exactly the opposite of what socialists call for.
We know what happens when highly-diverse countries make hard-left turns toward socialism. Hugo Chavez was not trying to turn Venezuela into what Venezuela has become. Hugo Chavez was following the lead of the Scandinavian countries. Unfortunately for the Venezuelan people, Venezuela has a very diverse population, and the political will necessary to remove victimization as a political currency did not exist.
Socialism + Diversity = Balkanization along lines of victimhood. Divide and conquer.
The United States has the most diverse population on Earth. Socialism will be an abject failure here, and once we move beyond a certain point down that road, there will be no turning back.
At first, socialism will seem to work, as it did for around fifteen years in Venezuela. Over time, as production is taxed until it is no longer profitable, production will falter. This is the point where, as Margaret Thatcher put it, the socialists “run out of other people’s money”.
What the communists know, that Democratic Socialist don’t, is that after Democratic Socialism has destroyed production, good-natured socialists like Bernie Sanders suddenly find themselves with a difficult choice between letting the populace starve to death, or rounding them up with the military and police forces, and sending them into farms and factories against their will. Nicolas Maduro is not an evil man who turned his back on Democratic Socialism, but a true believer in Democratic Socialism who faces the choice Democratic Socialism always leads to, between starvation and communism.
Maduro will choose communism, as would Bernie Sanders, and as would any Democratic Socialist leader facing the same choice.
And if we put in place a system where the consumer and producer are enemies, the consumer will take Sun Tzu’s advice and will win. We will then face the same choice Maduro does today, with our leaders making the same decision he is going to make.
We will become a communist state.