In my last post I explained that the source of an ideological system’s failure is never individuals acting in their self-interest. However, I did note that a source of failure can be individuals whose causes of unease aren’t proper for the system.
Consider the Soviet Union. Many self-proclaimed communists point to Stalin’s rise to power as the point where the country transitioned from a communist system to a corruption of communism. When Stalin came to power he eliminated anybody he perceived to be a challenge to his power. One of his sources of unease was obviously the thought of losing power. A communist system cannot succeed if the individuals in power are made uneasy by losing power because the goal of communism according to Marx is the transition to a stateless society.
Consider the United States of America. Many self-proclaimed capitalists point to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidency as the point where the country transitioned from a capitalist system to a corruption of capitalism. Roosevelt came into power during the Great Depression and implemented a number of socialist programs in an apparent attempt to right the economy. A source of his unease was the continuation of the economic conditions of the Great Depression, which he felt could be corrected by a move away from capitalism. A capitalist system cannot succeed if the individuals in power are made uneasy by economic downturns because those downturns are a necessary response to resources being misallocated.
As I noted in my previous post sources of unease are unique to each individual. This brings us to a major reason why ideological systems fail. No single ideological system can remove or alleviate the uneases of every individual. Communism cannot remove the unease felt by a capitalist when his business is taken and given to his employees. Capitalism cannot remove the unease felt by employees who are not being paid the full value of their labor by a employer. Most proponents of an ideological system recognize this, but fail to grasp the ramifications.
When an attempt to implement an ideological system on a massive scale is made, individuals who are somehow made uneasy by that system (at least in its pure ideological form) will strive to undermine it. Attempts to counteract those individuals will make other individuals uneasy. For example, trying to purge anti-communists after a communist revolution will likely make many of the friends and family members of those anti-communists uneasy. They may attempt to alleviate their unease by undermining the communist system. Attempts at repressing them will just continue the cycle. Eventually so many people are attempting to alleviate their uneasy by undermining the system that its failure can no longer be denied.