By Alexander G. Markovsky, AM THINKING APRIL 2023
On April 22, 1919, on his 50th birthday, Lenin gave an interview to London’s Daily Chronicle and made stunning revelations about the Bolshevik’s struggle to destroy capitalism. The next day the interview was published in the New York Times as “Talk with Bolshevist Head.”
“Experience has taught us it is impossible to root out the evils of capitalism merely by confiscation and expropriation, for however ruthlessly such measures may be applied, astute speculators and obstinate survivors of the capitalist classes will always manage to evade them and continue to corrupt the life of the community,” he said.
To accomplish this, Lenin declared, “Debauch the currency to overturn the basis of society.” The destruction of currency was the main component of the Bolshevik strategy.
During the interview, Lenin further elaborated on the implementation of his strategy at length:
Hundreds of thousands of ruble notes are being issued daily by our Treasury. This is done, not in order to fill the coffers of the State with practically worthless paper, but with the deliberate intention of destroying the value of money as a means of payment.… The simplest way to exterminate the very spirit of capitalism is, therefore, to flood the country with notes of a high face-value without financial guarantees of any sort.…The great illusion of the value and power of money on which the capitalist state is based will have been definitely destroyed.
In his brilliant book The Economic Consequences of the Peace, published in 1919, prominent British economist John Maynard Keynes and the author of Keynesian economics, offered a lucid comment on Lenin’s strategy for the destruction of capitalism:
Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalist System was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method, they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily…. Lenin was certainly right; there is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner that not one man in a million is able to diagnose.
So how did this realization at the heart of the Bolshevik revolution become the driving force in the assault on the American enterprise system?
Ironically, uncontrolled spending and the massive assault on capitalism are the products of our irresponsible democracy. There are three critical points. First, the Democrat party made an epochal ideological shift toward egalitarianism. For years the Democrat elite and party leaders have displayed their distaste for capitalism, fracturing the country’s moral consensus. Second, the Republican Party opted, for the most part, to ignore the ideological challenge.
Third, the American voters, who are dumb enough to elect untutored graduates of American universities that are uninformed and poorly read; a few have even earned notoriety for inconceivable stupidity. Some of them, aware of self-worthlessness, adopted Marxism and can hardly contain their awe and envy at the American enterprise and question its moral validity. The others are pedestrian opportunists with no intellectual basis and, as such, going along just to get reelected.
Since 1971 when the gold standard was abandoned, the Democrat and Republican administrations, with the support of the House and Senate, have been replaying Lenin’s strategy for the downfall of capitalism, spending, and printing money at unprecedented levels.
A combination of myths and fiction has been used to promote spending. Myths represent the theological aspect of the socialist religion — the source of conviction for true believers. Fictions are supposed to condition the masses to repel reason and accept beliefs that are contrary to common sense and life experience. The multifaceted deception has taken the form of scientific theory, such as climate change, or actions taken presumably for the common good, such as Obamacare.
During the last 50 years, both parties have demonstrated high creativity regarding spending. Over the years, we have spent billions to halt climate change, maintain generous foreign aid, and offer welfare checks for illegal aliens. The newest ideas are reparations for slavery and forgiveness of student loans. Multiple wars also became multitrillion dollar drains on the economy, making the US defense budget exceed the military budgets of China, Russia, India, Saudi Arabia, and NATO’s European partners combined.
This is one part of the seemingly incomprehensible strategy for destroying wealth. Another part of this strategy is dramatically accelerating the country’s national debt growth. Since 1971 the national debt has risen from $700 billion to an astonishing $32 trillion, projected for 2023.
Thus, in a poignant summary, the Russian experience offers a valuable lesson for those who ignorantly print money or have a dream of destroying capitalism. What began in 1919 as bragging about the destruction of capitalism with considerable aplomb, just in two years, turned into an unmitigated disaster. The destruction of currency led to hyperinflation and the complete collapse of the Russian economy. In 1921, Lenin, to foster the economy, had to bring capitalism back to bail Bolshevism out. He enacted the so-called NEP (New Economic Policy) that reinstated private ownership of land and means of production. By 1928, the Russian economy recovered. This time Bolsheviks used taxation, regulations, forced collectivization, and mass murder to end capitalism. To strengthen the ruble and fill the coffers of the State, the Bolshevik Government confiscated private citizens’ gold, diamonds, and other valuables.
We are facing with the most dramatic and challenging period of the US history. The key issue for America’s future is that at some point, the quantity will turn into quality. The excess of currency “without financial guarantees of any sort” will eventually bring down America’s pride, crush the economy, dethrone the American dollar as the world currency, and spur another Great Depression. The country may have to face a choice between chaos and socialist tyranny. Hopefully, the historical precedent described here will provide the impetus for Americans to elect meaningful leadership to alleviate the looming catastrophe.
Alexander G. Markovsky is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, a conservative think tank that examines national security, energy, risk analysis, and other public policy issues. He is the author of “Anatomy of a Bolshevik” and “Liberal Bolshevism: America Did Not Defeat Communism, She Adopted It.” Mr. Markovsky is the owner and CEO of Litwin Management Services, LLC. He can be reached at email@example.com