Mao on selflessness and collectivism

Mao Zedong on the ethical requirements of communism:

“A Communist should have largeness of mind and he should be staunch and active, looking upon the interests of the revolutionmao as his very life and subordinating his personal interests to those of the revolution; always and everywhere he should adhere to principle and wage a tireless struggle against all incorrect ideas and actions, so as to consolidate the collective life of the Party and strengthen the ties between the Party and the masses; he should be more concerned about the Party and the masses than about any private person, and more concerned about others than about himself. Only thus can he be considered a Communist.”[1]

Selflessness: “subordinating his personal interests to those of the revolution.”
Altruism: “more concerned about others than about himself.”
Collectivism: “struggle … so as to consolidate the collective life of the Party.”

Socialists of all stripes become so and remain so not because they believe that socialism is practical but because they believe it is moral. And their moral theory is anti-egoist and anti-individualist, which is why socialists have so comfortable with squashing egos and sacrificing individuals.

marx_and_engelsThe socialist ethical theory is is why, for example, Friedrich Engels will grant that liberal capitalism has good practical consequences but he will never grant that it is moral.

And this is why apologists such as Eric Hobsbawm can recognize the horrible practical consequences of socialism but still justify it as an ideal.

It’s socialism’s ethic that has to be rooted out. Socialism is not an impractical ideal — it’s an impractical immorality.

[1] Mao Zedong, “Combat Liberalism” (September 7, 1937), Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 33. Online here.

Friedrich Engels against liberal peace.
Eric Hobsbawm is dead.
“The Crisis of Socialism” [pdf]. Chapter 5 of Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault.
Jane Addams and the progressive mindset.

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