The Seductive Dream

What do you do when your dream dies? Pham floated alone in the dark of his room, and thought about the question with something like curiosity, almost indifference. At the edge of his consciousness, he was aware of the ragged hole he had punched in the localizer net. The net was robust. That disruption was not automatically revealed to the Emergent snoops. But without careful revision, news of the failure would eventually percolate out to them. He was vaguely aware that Ezr Vinh was desperately trying to cover the burnout. Surprisingly, the boy had not made things worse, but he had not a prayer of doing the high-level cover-up. A few hundred seconds, at most, and Kal Omo would alert Brughel?and the charade would be over. It really didn?t matter anymore.

What do you do when your dream dies?

Dreams die in every life. Everyone gets old. There is promise in the beginning when life seems so bright. The promise fades when the years get short.

But not Pham?s dream. He had pursued it across five hundred light-years and three thousand years of objective time. It was a dream of a single Humankind, where justice would not be occasional flickering light, but a steady glow across all of Human Space. He dreamed of a civilization where continents never burned, and where two-bit kings didn?t give children away as hostages. When Sammy had dug him out of the cemeterium at Lowcinder, Pham was dying, but not the dream. The dream had been bright as ever in his mind, consuming him.

And here he had found the edge that could make the dream come true: Focus, an automation deep enough and smart enough to manage an interstellar civilization. It could create the ?loving slaves? whose possibility Sura had made jest of. So what if it was slavery? There were far, greater injustices that Focus would banish forever.


He had looked away from Egil Manrhi, now scarcely more than a scanning device. He had looked away from Trixia Bonsol and all the others, locked for years in their tiny cells. But yesterday, he?d been forced to look upon Anne Reynolt, standing alone against all the power of Focus, spending her life to resist that power. The particulars had been a great surprise to Pham, but he had been fooling himself to think that such was not part of the price for his dream. Anne was Cindi Ducanh writ large.

And today, Esr Vinh and his little speech: ?The price is too high!? Ezr Vinh!

Pham might have his dream?if he gave up the reason for it.

Once before, a Vinh had stepped between him and final success. Let the Vinh snake die. Let them all die. Let me die.

Pham curled inward upon himself. He was suddenly conscious that he was weeping. Except as a deceit, he hadn?t cried since?he didn?t remember?perhaps since those days at the other end of his life when he first came aboard the Reprise.

So what do you do when your dream dies?

When your dream dies, you give it up.

--A Deepness in the Sky, by Vernor Vinge

The seductive dream. There is much about the modern left that I have sympathy for, including the recognition that we live in an imperfect world, and the resulting quest for a better one. For some, this leads to an embrace of Marxism. The vision of a stateless, classless society calls out like a siren's song.

Yet, the history of Marxism is drowned in an ocean of blood. Every instance in which Marxism has been tried has led to atrocities and human suffering on a grand scale. Why pursue this ephemeral delusion? Has the 20th century not taught us anything?

It started with Lenin. It continued with Stalin. Mao was perhaps the apex of Marxist tragedy. Each one after Lenin looked back at his predecessor?s crimes against humanity and denied the connection between those tragedies and Marxism. He proclaimed his vision of improving upon the past to go back to Marx's 'true' vision, yet each time, the result was the same. Mass graves, starvation, and tragedy. There were more. Pol Pot. Ho Chi Minh. Each time the same reasoning was given. That wasn't true Marxism. That was totalitarianism. We are going to make a better society with the true Marxism. Every single one of the aforementioned monsters called himself a Marxist. Yet, each and every time, Hell on Earth ensued. Tito, Ortega, Jaruzelski, Mengistu. And each time, intellectuals in the West embraced the monster waiting in the wings as the savior of Marxism. And each time, he was discarded as a false prophet when the stories of holocausts poured out, only with the subsequent embrasure of a new Messiah. And today, it continues with Kim and Castro, with the same apologists denying the truth. How far really is the distance from the classroom of a Marxist university professor to the killing fields? The dreamchasing continues.

Marx's ideas weren't just wrong; they were deadly wrong. At root, his is a philosophy of hate. It paints a false picture of human nature, reducing it to a deterministic result of class conflict. Instead of recognizing a shared common humanity, it divides it into two groups: good men, and another group of something inferior, something vile, something to hated and despised, something not quite human. This debasement is not a sign of higher scholarship in an enlightened age of reason; rather, it is a human expression of some atavistic remnant of a primitive reptilian hindbrain which saw all of nature?s creatures as either predator or prey.

It is the philosophy of the savage.

It should be no surprise that wherever and whenever Marx's ideas have been widely accepted, oppression, genocide, gulags, mass graves, killing fields, holocausts, pogroms, factories of human slaughter, and economies of scale in murder have followed. When you dress up hate as reasoned discourse, propagandize it, and industrialize it, that's what follows.

It?s time to move on and forward, time to embrace the individual in all his glory, recognizing the true diversity of humanity. It's time to throw away the seductive dream of Marxism into the trash heap of history. It's time to put the blood-stained anti-human symbol of holocausts - the hammer and sickle - away for good. It's time to move on.

So what do you do when your dream dies?

When your dream dies, you give it up.

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So what do you do when your

So what do you do when your dream dies? When your dream dies, you give it up.

As a former devout marxist socialist, who spent possibly 10 years, or more, trying to give up the dream, I can sympathize with anyone out there in a similar position, who knows deep down inside that socialism doesn't work, but who can't give it up because it still seems better than anything else. Fear ye not, o fellow potential member of 'Socialists Anonymous'. There is a way out, indeed, there are three ways out.

The first, and easiest way, is to read P.J.O'Rourke's Eat the Rich, and then read the excellent books it recommends in the first chapter. This is the cold turkey cure! :-)

The second way is to work your slowly through a more expansive series of books, detailed in my own bloodily-endured Cure for Socialism. Save yourself the pain, and follow the track I beat through a dense ideological jungle. This is cold turkey, with a bit of methadone on the side.

The third is to stick with sites, every day, like Catallarchy, and debate the questions which arise, and then as objectively as you can, stripping out your own hatred and emotion, think about the results of the debates, reflecting upon them, and checking out the suggested links. My bet is that your socialism will eventually drain away, and then we will welcome you to the light side. However, this third rehab route could take several years, especially if you keep retreating back to your own socialist swamps, for more red propaganda to top off your politically correct bunkers.

My vote is go for route one. Mr O'Rourke provides lots more laughs than I do on my own more extended route, and laughter may be the best cure of all. Whichever way you go, good luck! ;-)