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Fbones24

Friendship with a Communist

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I recently reconnected with an old friend after not having seen him for about twenty years. We are both in our early thirties and were best friends growing up as children. We led very different lives up to this point, but our background is really irrelevant.

When we got together for dinner and drinks, I felt a tighter connection with this person than I do with some other friends that I have been friends with for over twenty years. He challenged me intellectually and our conversation was deep and engaging. We talked about our families, our jobs, our passions our dreams and our futures. Since our reconnection, I have found myself going to him for advice and we have developed our childhood bond all over again. This new friendship feels like something that I have been missing for so long. A real friend who understands me, challenges me and will be there for me if and when I needed him.

So, the problem is that this friend is a true and hardened communist. As expected, Fidel and Che are his heroes. Mind you, he uses an iPhone and wears Nikes (two beautiful symbols of capitalism) in typical contradictory leftist fashion. Anyway, I don't want to pass judgment on him in this thread. That is not what this is about.

My question is simple: Is it possible for me to maintain this friendship given our opposing views on morality? I would certainly appreciate other people's thoughts.

Edited by Fbones24

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If he is truly and honestly a "hardened communist," those views are probably consistent with other not-so-great qualities of his person, and over time you will probably grow weary of each other. However, as you describe how great you both still get along, and since you are presumably far from communist yourself, and since he clearly has some aspects not consistent with communism by taking full advantage of capitalist benefits, it doesn't sound like he's actually communist. So, you'll probably get along indefinitely.

But, this is something only you can decide. You know him better, you feel, in real time, how well you are getting along with him. If it's great, for years, then you have your answer: it is possible to be friends. Through your stimulating conversations you will both probably change your minds about things, and both benefit because of your friendship. If your real question is: should you be friends, well, my view is that as long as I get along with someone, I can be friends with them to at least some degree. How consistent I am in my own views, and same for them, and how our resulting persons wind up interacting with each other, will determine how long and how well we will be friends. If it doesn't work over time, oh well... friends no more. If it does work out, great!

Edited by JASKN

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My question is simple: Is it possible for me to maintain this friendship given our opposing views on morality? I would certainly appreciate other people's thoughts.

I think it’s good to have friends with opposing viewpoints, and since consistent communists are atheists, you’re not going to run into that brick wall called faith. This relationship ought to give you an opportunity to deepen your own understanding of philosophy; one can learn a lot through teaching and the back and forth of debate.

This of course assumes that he doesn't steal from you, then justify himself as P.G. Wodehouse's Psmith does:

"Merely practical Socialism. Other people are content to talk about the Redistribution of Property. I go out and do it."

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I think it’s good to have friends with opposing viewpoints, and since consistent communists are atheists, you’re not going to run into that brick wall called faith. This relationship ought to give you an opportunity to deepen your own understanding of philosophy; one can learn a lot through teaching and the back and forth of debate.

This of course assumes that he doesn't steal from you, then justify himself as P.G. Wodehouse's Psmith does:

"Merely practical Socialism. Other people are content to talk about the Redistribution of Property. I go out and do it."

I am not sure what is worse though....that brick wall called "faith" or that infinite pool called "spirituality" which he definitely subscribes to.

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My question is simple: Is it possible for me to maintain this friendship given our opposing views on morality? I would certainly appreciate other people's thoughts.

In what way is it a problem, though? Sure you likely disagree on some (many?) points of morality and political philosophy, but it doesn't follow from there that there will necessarily be issues in friendship.

Edited by Eiuol

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In what way is it a problem, though? Sure you likely disagree on some (many?) points of morality and political philosophy, but it doesn't follow from there that there will necessarily be issues in friendship.

I think it is just a matter of time. There exist aphorisms on the subject of valuation changing over time: "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" and "Familiarity breeds contempt". Enjoy what aspects of friendship you perceive while they still last.

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I am not sure what is worse though....that brick wall called "faith" or that infinite pool called "spirituality" which he definitely subscribes to.

You didn’t mention anything about that before. Beats me, I was only talking about having a dialogue with a communist. It’s good to have opposition for testing out your arguments. Your friend's starting to sound like a real fruitcake.

Let me put it to you this way. My family is mostly yellow dogs, and as you can see I’m a salt and pepper. But we’re stuck with each other, so we don’t talk politics or philosophy. I gather your friend is someone you can be friends with without discussing philosophy. If that works, great. When or if it stops working, then that’s that.

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In a sense an ideological Communist (what other kind is there today) is more rational and easier to discuss things with, than a Socialist. I have known a few varsity-student idealist commies who actually displayed individualism and character I respected. Whereas socialists have generally disgusted me, not only for their moral cowardice, but also because they are smugly aware of how much power they hold today.

It is weird, but those communists had virtues O'ists are familiar with: independence, integrity, honesty, justice and pride. (Not to mention, atheism.)

Implicit character often counts more than explicitly chosen philosophy.

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I've been friends with several anarchists of varying stripes, including anarcho-communists/syndicalists. I find these people are very often concerned with individual autonomy and have misconceptions of what property rights entail. Two of these friends were also thorough-going egoists. Their view was that communism was the best way to achieve productive efficiency. There are quibbles with these people, but their misinformed political beliefs do not necessarily lead to them being bad people.

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I really don't see a problem.

The differences is not in your values. The differences are in your conclusions. If there are contradictions, then one must check their premises. The common value I see here is the want for a better life and the use of one's mind to arrive at a solution. Talk things about, challenge concepts and premises and go from there.

Suppose that the goal is to make a million dollars. After independent analysis and study, one finds that theft with a perfect escape is the best way. Another says that the use of compound interest is the best way. Does that really make one the thief and the other an investor? Not necessarily. The goals are the same, but they way to get there needs examination. And that's a good conversation starter.

But so long as the conversation is founded on common things, the rest is like working a math problem. If it gets heated, then a referee might be needed

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