I have pen pals from many countries with different political orientations. It is easy to remark that those from countries with socialist, or former socialist, rules are of right orientation, while those from countries with market-driven economy have left orientation. There always is a problem to know how much to the right is someone coming from the left and how much to the left is someone coming from the right, and which is their relative position. It seems that, in people's opinion, the best political system is anything except that which they live in.
Is there an ideal political system? The question is not new at all. The ancients were very concerned in such topics, much more than we are, and we are often surprised how deep their concepts were . One of the most comprehensive one belonged to Aristotle, in his Politika. He identified three main theoretical types of political systems; aristocracy, monarchy and republic. None is perfect. Everyone of them has good qualities and flaws. That's why the society usually turns from one type into another in a perpetual cycle: monarchy, democracy, aristocracy, monarchy and so on, passing through some degenerated forms. Dictatorships are degenerated forms of the democracy, before its fall. (Aristotle said.)
I had the misfortune to change three types of political systems in the same country. Despite this misfortune - in any evil there is something good-- I was lucky by having the opportunity to see for myself what really happened here, and how people behaved during those changes.
Before the WW II, Romania was a monarchy in full development. Its evolution was suddenly broken by the Soviet Army. They imposed on us a sort of democracy, as a matter of fact one already degenerated. In less than fifty years, this political system broke down in all occupied countries, starting with USSR itself. All of these countries are now trying to adopt a market-driven economy.
It is in fashionable nowadays to say communist instead of socialist when they speaking about eastern Europe countries, in order to spare the feeling of the members of some occidental socialist parties. Do not allow the illusion to lead us! It is the same.
Communism = Socialism.
As a matter of fact, till 1989, we used to say socialist, not communist. I am sorry for those who think that the socialism is a possible solution, even after it failed has everywhere, not only in Europe. Those who think that we did not have democratic rules, universal vote, etc., are also wrong. On the contrary, theoretically, we had all of those rules. Officially we used to say that we were of the democratic system, while the occidental countries were belonging to some "capitalist", "imperialist" systems. We were the good ones, and they the evil. The communist system was conceived as a perfect democratic one. All of the adults used to participate in the election. The right to vote was more than assured; it was compulsory. Unfortunately only theoretically. Reality was the opposite. The frontier guard kept us away from the border so that we could not go abroad, instead of keeping away the enemies of our country. The result of the elections was always the same: over 90% for the "beloved leaders". They inverted all the scales of values. Maybe Lenin really wanted to build a socialist system. Maybe. We saw the results.
Aristotle was right. Democracy degenerates in dictatorship. How is that possible? Firstly, democracy causes corruption and hypocrisy. Then the leaders learn how to use democratic rules in order to handle people. From the corruption to the terror mentioned with the political policy, all the means are used. Dictatorship is the last stage. After that only the fall follows, due to economic decline. This is exactly what happened here. The main cause of the hypocrisy is simply the universal vote. It is a paradox to ask stupid people to choose clever representatives. In order to obtain their votes, the sly politicians make unrealistic promises. Politicians everywhere do it. Of course we do not want to renounce the universal vote as long as we do not have a better solution. People from some countries know to use it reasonably while those from other ones are easily deceived. It is a matter of how to use it. Our system was the most hypocrite that humanity has ever invented. I know some people will say that there is corruption, hypocrisy, et cetera in occidental countries too. Yes, but not to the same degree and not so wide spread. Italian Mafiosi are beginners in comparison with some communist leaders. We practiced "State Mafia". The whole political system used to be of a Mafia type.
Yes, the belief that communism is something promising is wrong. Both socialism and communism are words defining an ideal political system. In fact an Utopia. We may ask why the Eastern democracies dropped so fast, what was wrong, or what the differences face to the Occidental ones were. The explanations to these questions only regard the past, but the morals are for the future because such perils are possible whenever there is a democracy. A common saying is: "The wiseman learns from the other's experience; the fool not even from his own."
An ideal is a theoretical notion. It does not exist in reality. Society belongs to nature, and nature is not perfect. It is contradictory, complex, uncertain, unforeseen, and in perpetual moving. Nobody could control it perfectly. Trying to suddenly build a perfect society was the mistake the Marx, Lenin, and their disciples did. It is intellectual naiveté to think that someone could conceive of a new society. We are unable to conceive of a simple blood corpuscle or human being, how could we conceive of an entire society?
In my opinion, the system in which we live is not important. None is perfect. Our duty is to try to make things tolerable and to improve it continuously. The key to progress is not in politics but in morality and economy. Politics is a necessary evil. The economy must be efficient, because the more efficient it is the easier people succeed in annihilating the stupidity of the politicians and lead their acts. The occidental countries have different political systems. Some of them are monarchy and others republics, but all belong to the same community: the community of prosperous countries. People want to improve their lives only when they can trust their political system and respect its rule. That's why we can accept some small imperfections if the system is a prosperous one, and people really want to improve it step by step because they trust in their morality.
What impressed me most when visiting occidental countries, was people's preoccupation for well-done things. They know that working well is to their advantage. Our elder generations used to do the same but the younger ones have a "socialist education". They think differently. I remember a political militant ordering to the workers to pick up only yellow weeds from a cultivated field, because only they could be seen from the presidential helicopter.