Fyr - I'm sorry if I wasn't clear in presenting my own perspective. I don't espouse communism or anything approaching what Marx saw as a socialism that would lead to communism. I'm happy with our capitalist society, even if I'm frustrated at times (as I'm sure you are) with the direction it takes occasionally. I also apologize for sounding condescending. Please believe me that I did not intend it. In fact, I believed that you don't have a very good understanding of communism and your expanded description convinces me that I was correct. Communism does not reward innovation or motivation and for that it will never succeed, as in fact it has almost disappeared from the world today, but beyond your reference to this in rather emotional terms, your 'understanding' is wanting. Your understanding that communism crushes "personal, religious, and economic freedoms and with brutal, merciless force advances its own ends because the means are justified" can be said equally truly of any ideology when combined with a totalitarian government. Class warfare certainly is not a necessary component of communism either. Lord knows the capitalism of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the US fostered pretty darn strong class struggle until unions and effective governmental protections against monopolies and unfair labor practices brought the pot back from a boil (it still simmers up now and then in our society). Class warfare is most common in societies where there are dramatic differences among classes. We have a much greater difference in our country among the haves and have-nots than any communist country has ever had. As for communism not helping the underclass to achieve, it certainly has taken our country a long time to create a society where that is possible; we seem to be approaching it asymptotically and are unlikely to ever actually reach that point. As for this not being possible in a communist country, I would offer an anecdote from my trip to Cuba. I was in the country on a scientific visit. My hosts were two Afro-Cuban women. One of them is a highly regarded scientist in the Cuban Academy of Sciences. I asked them about their support of Castro and the Cuban government. Her reply said more about creating opportunity for the underclass than I could otherwise articulate. She said, "if it were not for the revolution, I would never have been able to go to high school, much less to the university and follow my dream of studying science; instead I would be cutting sugar cane as my parents did under the Samoza government." I don't think one needs to look very far to see that communism has no corner on the market of "propaganda" and a "captive press" to promote its ends. So, yes, I think you misunderstand communism, because you attribute many things to your understanding of communism that are common to many totalitarian and oppressive governments regardless of their economic ideology. My statement about China still holds; your suggestion that it is naive notwithstanding. It is hard to find anything about the economy in China today that Marx or Lenin would recognize as communist. Your statement that, following the Tienanmen Square massacre the Chinese government gave the people the choice of economic or political freedom has no basis in truth. They gave little consideration to relaxing their grip on political control and the economic reforms were already well underway in China by then. For what it is worth, there are abundant signs of economic freedom everywhere you look in China today, both in terms of entrepeneurship and professional fields. It is really pretty impressive and just about as scary as the red army. We have much less to fear from their army than from their rapidly growing economic, technological, and intellectual capacity combined with the tremendous debt our government now owes to China for spending so far beyond its means during the Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II years. Yes, they benefited handsomely during the Clinton years, too, but that mostly was in the trade imbalance and less in the purchase of US government IOUs. Our future is going to be hamstrung by that combination of debt to China along with its unregulated economic growth.