The Crisis of Socialism [EP audiobook]

This is the fifth chapter of the audiobook version of Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault.

Chapter Five: The Crisis of Socialism [mp3] [YouTube] [74 minutes total]

ep-audio-ch5-150pxMarx and waiting for Godot [mp3] [YouTube]
Three failed predictions [mp3] [YouTube]
Socialism needs an aristocracy: Lenin, Mao, and the lesson of the German Social Democrats [mp3] [YouTube]
Good news for socialism: depression and war [mp3] [YouTube]
Bad news: liberal capitalism rebounds [mp3] [YouTube]
Worse news: Khrushchev’s revelations and Hungary [mp3] [YouTube]
Responding to the crisis: change socialism’s ethical standard [mp3] [YouTube]marxkarl
From need to equality [mp3] [YouTube]
From Wealth is good to Wealth is bad [mp3] [YouTube]
Responding to the crisis: change socialism’s epistemology [mp3] [YouTube]
Marcuse and the Frankfurt School: Marx plus Freud, or oppression plus repression [mp3] [YouTube]
The rise and fall of Left terrorism [mp3] [YouTube]
From the collapse of the New Left to postmodernism [mp3] [YouTube]

Chapter One: What Postmodernism Is [mp3] [YouTube] [38 minutes]
Chapter Two: The Counter-Enlightenment Attack on Reason [mp3] [YouTube] [72 minutes]
Chapter Three: The Twentieth-Century Collapse of Reason [mp3] [YouTube] [50 minutes]
Chapter Four: The Climate of Collectivism [mp3] [YouTube] [102 minutes]

Chapter Six: Postmodern Strategy [mp3] [YouTube]

The Explaining Postmodernism page.

Soviets and Nazis — which were worse?

The Nazis were evil, killing millions of human beings, and they have universally and properly rummel-20th_c_mortacraciesproperly condemned for their horrors.

The Soviets were also evil, killing more millions than the Nazis did, yet they have not been universally condemned. The Soviets have been attacked by libertarians, conservatives, and moderates as a great lesson in evil — but not by the political left. (Alan Kors here takes them to task for this abdication of moral responsibility.)

In part this makes sense: When socialism was in power in Russia, China, and many other places, leftists were widely admiring of those regimes. So it’s understandable that after-the-fact shame would lead them to denial and avoidance. And younger leftists are likely to believe that socialism is moral in theory despite its practical failings, so they will want to cut Stalin and Mao some slack.

But Sidney Hook offers a philosophical explanation — that by egalitarian standards the communists were more moral than the fascists even though the communists killed more people:

“When I confronted them with the evidence that Stalin had unjustly killed more Jews than Hitler, which was true at the time, swastika-112x50they retorted that he was killing them not as Jews but as dissenters. Since in this respect the Jews were being treated equally with others, that was more important in their eyes than the alleged injustices of their executions” (Out of Step, p. 353).

So a thought experiment. Which of the following regimes is worse?
* Regime A kills 5 Jews, but it doesn’t kill non-Jews.
* Regime B kills 6 Jews, but it also kills 6 non-Jews.

By the principle of individual rights, both are evil and Regime B is worse.
By the principle of equality, Regime B is better.

Question: Is Hook right that this is actually how leftist egalitarians think, or are the leftists in his anecdote engaged in bad-faith avoidance?

Update: I just came across this post by Professor Lester Hunt: “Nazism or Communism: Which is More Evil?”

Marxism = Nazism (another datum).
Heidegger, anti-humanism, and the Left.
Chipotle Mexican Grill versus egalitarianism.
18th-century Russia as egalitarian paradise.

[Chart image source: R. J. Rummel’s Democide site.]