Socialists have never liked the freedom of small farmers, as the idea of liberty resulting in good things jars their concept of “collective” good. Stalin took this to an absurd length in his efforts to utterly wipe out the “Kulak”, who were seen as “class enemies” of the poorer serfs. Lenin described the Kulak as “bloodsuckers, vampires, plunderers of the people and profiteers, who fatten themselves during famines”.
In actual fact the last Czars created the Kulak in an effort to lessen the tendency of the serfs to rebel and join radical and militant movements, such as communism. Rather than veritable slaves who owned no land, the serfs were given the opportunity to borrow money and purchase land from wealthy landowners. In a sense it was a mortgage, which the better farmers paid back, becoming small landowners. Generally speaking, a Kulak was a small farmer who owned more than 8 acres.
As is often the case, the lazy did not become prosperous. It was the farmers with ingenuity and industry who became Kulaks. They produced a disproportionate amount of Russia’s food, and for the most part were conservative in their outlooks. Therefore they became the “petite bourgeois” communists despise.
Stalin killed roughly a million, either through murder or through starvation. He sent hundreds of thousands to gulags in Siberia, and more than a hundred thousand left for gulags but never arrived. Stalin felt that by removing such “weeds” the remaining population would be pure, and productive. In actual fact the production of grain plummeted, and there was a terrible famine, especially in the Ukraine, which is one reason there is animosity between Ukrainians and Russians to this day.
During the final days of the Soviet Union small farmers were once again allowed to farm small lots, and immediately out-produced the collectives. 5% of the farmers produced 50% of the food. This should teach a lesson, namely: People with ingenuity and industry have more value than lazy people.
Of course, it is deemed wrong to say any person has more value than another. And it is likely true that God cares for the lazy as much (if not more) than he cares for the industrious. After all, the lazy need help. They need motivation. Whether that help takes the form of a caress or a kick-in-the-butt likely depends on the person and the administrator. However, when it comes down to food on the table, having food has more value than lacking food; hence some people have more value than others, in that particular way.
In my time I’ve lived with many hardscrabble farmers who have first hand experience with the difference between feast and famine, and I found they had a sort of common sense which college students lacked. The college students borrowed money and ate in cafeterias, while the Navajo wove rugs and used the money they made to buy things their land could not produce, such as cooking oil. Their land could produce little that is needed to subsist on a vegan diet, but their land could support sheep. Therefore they ate a lot of mutton. In like manner the old New England farmers only had a little land they could grow vegetables on, but much stony land that could be used for cows, sheep, goats and pigs, and they tended to have diets which included meat and dairy products. Yet college students often looked down their noses at such practicality, and, if radical, tended to castigate non-vegan people, like Lenin cursed the Kulak.
I have tried to educate these idealistic, vegan college students, but usually have failed, and often have been dragged into arguing about politics which has little to do with eating. Therefore I was glad to come across this explanation of the practical side of farming, which I think every vegan should watch.