I try to reread Karl Marx’s 1848 seminal work, “The Communist Manifesto,” every decade. Today it is strikingly relevant to America’s current infatuation with the Democratic Socialists of America.

In Chapter 2 of his Manifesto, Marx lists “The Ten Pillars of Communism.” It is alarming how much these pillars have infiltrated America’s social and political framework in the last 171 years.

1. “Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.”

Property taxes are our government’s way of insuring that your private land is used for public purposes, and if you are unable (or unwilling) to pay the government’s toll, your land will be taken and given to someone who is. See No. 4, below.

2. “A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.”

The first progressive income tax was passed in the U.S. in 1862, 14 years after Marx wrote his Manifesto, and had a maximum tax rate of 5 percent. Now, it is 37 percent. We are progressing toward the communist utopia of 100-percent marginal tax rates. Marx’s motto, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” is the reason communist and socialist countries always fail. Incentives matter. The heavier the burden you place on productivity, the less productive your workers will be. Incentives are the mark of a productive society.

3. “Abolition of all rights of inheritance.”

The “death tax” is especially contemptible because it is the government’s way of enslaving you to the ‘needs’ of the public, even after your death.

4. “Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.”

The deplorable 2005 Supreme Court decision “Kelo vs. City of New London” held that governments can seize one person’s private property and give it to another who will develop it to benefit the collective.

5. “Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.”

The Federal Reserve. It is clear why cryptocurrency is so hated by communists.

6. “Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.” The FAA regulates all communication other than the print media. Yet even that is at risk because of hate-crime legislation. Additionally, all transportation is controlled and regulated by the government.

7. “Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.”

The Department of Agriculture.

8. “Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.”

This is the communist nirvana. Everyone works the same amount and gets paid the same amount, whether cleaning toilets or doing brain surgery. Raising the minimum wage attempts to do just this.

9. “Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.” No longer do we have small farms. Agribusiness rules the day.

10. “Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production ... .”

This is the heart of the educational-industrial complex: “free” government-school training to create laborers for the workforce. The goal is not to educate a thinking society but training laborers.

In the 171 years since Marx’s “Communist Manifesto” was published, America has made the steep descent into communism from a solidly capitalist inception. The only disagreement that the Democratic Socialists of America (https://www.

dsausa.org/about-us/what-is-democratic-socialism/) have with communism is its authoritarianism, but they have merely transferred that authoritarianism from a few to the many and, like communists, have no qualms about removing our freedoms and liberties to support their personal collective goals.

Dale Courtney served 20 years in nuclear engineering aboard submarines and 15 years as a graduate school instructor. He now spends his spare time chasing his grandchildren around the Palouse.

Recommended for you