The idea behind communism is that society should function like a beehive. Where everyone perfectly shares and cooperates.
Like all the cells working together in your body, honey bees work in such perfect harmony, they are like a single organism. It’s not hard to see how someone might see this as a great model for human society.
The problem is that humans aren’t bees. If you put human intelligence and personality into bees and sent us into a hive, some of us would get greedy and try to suck up all the honey.
People Aren’t Bees
Nevertheless, if the idea is to have a beehive-like utopia, then there is no need for art, religion, or any other superfluous spiritual indulgence. What use would a beehive have for bees that sit around praying instead of collecting pollen and producing honey?
Science and rational thought contribute to material advancement. We can become more efficient workers and build the very best utopia. Without any pesky “waste” of resources.
If you have ever seen Soviet architecture, you will generally see ugly square purely functional buildings. The best example I can think of is in the city of Budva, Montenegro where Russian oligarchs have built the ugliest city I have ever seen. Functional but irredeemably ugly!
Theory vs Practice
In practice no system is pure. A communist economic system is mixed just as our capitalist system is mixed, with some socialist redistribution of income, for example.
Communist countries, even if they are officially atheist, also vary in how tolerant they are of religion. An official atheist country will usually allow some religious autonomy and pluralism as long as the faithful don’t threaten the social order.
Sometimes a communist country will become aggressive and launch propaganda campaigns that demonize religion.
We say this in the Soviet Union, where at times, leaders actually tried (unsuccessfully) to eradicate religion.
Today in post-Soviet Russia the Orthodox church is resurgent.
A Borrowed Metaphor
This beehive metaphor is borrowed from the late former president of Bosnia, Alija Izetbegović. I read it many years ago in his book, “Islam Between East and West” which heavily influenced my worldview.
Do you think he’s right?
If not, I’m interested in your alternative theories.