The ideals of liberty without the virtue of communism are impotent. The path to communism without the ideals of liberty is lethal. At face value they are contradicting ideologies, one focuses on liberation from political repression while ignoring the exploitative nature of capitalism, the other on the liberation of the economic repression of capitalism while ignoring the repressive nature of the government (particularly Marxism-Leninism) towards the majority with the emergence of a one-party state. The idea is to take the tenets of a ‘free’ society in the political sense like America or Europe were dissidence is allowed within the frameworks of a capitalist system and translate them over to a socialist system where the same political freedoms are enjoyed by all citizens along with the liberation from capitalist exploitation. It doesn’t have to be one of the other. The ideal society is one similar to that envisioned by Thomas Paine and Rousseau with a limited government and unalienable human rights which it cannot violate along with the economic and revolutionary foundation as advocated by Karl Marx, including the utmost authoritarianism during the revolution itself initially. A system cannot be politically free without the principles of liberty as advocated by Thomas Paine, nor can it be economically free without a socialist or communist system as advocated by Karl Marx. The very point of socialism is not to squander but to expand personal liberty. Of course the liberty advocated by Thomas Paine is unconsciously a communist liberty, it can only be fully actualized in a communist society.
One must not disregard the revolutionary line of socialism, but recognize the difference in a short period during which a revolutionary government lays the foundation for such a republic and then the implementation of a constitutional democratic socialist republic which would fully embody enlightenment principles which we have- at least on paper today. “The aim of constitutional government is to preserve the Republic; that of revolutionary government is to lay its foundation.” -Maximilien Robespierre.
I arrive at such a conclusion through my critique in studying the USSR, China, Albania, etc. It is in studying these countries that it becomes apparent that such principles weren’t implemented in actuality because they didn’t recognize the difference between the two consecutive and distinct forms of government which revolution brings about. Robespierre for instance was very clear on such a distinction, one lays its foundation and the other preserves the republic. Liberty can only flourish in a republic where the foundations for its existence are solid. While it is true that any state cannot truly call itself ‘free’, such a republic will be 10 times as ‘free’ as even the most democratic republics today. Full Liberty cannot flourish in class society, it can only be actualized totally and in reality in a classless society. This means that in the transition to a society which embodies the virtue of liberty, there must be a transition from bourgeois society which subjugates the majority to the will of the minority to a proletarian society which subjugates the minority to the majority. Between these two forms of society lies the revolutionary transformation of society as a whole. If we have socialism, we will not yet have full liberation. For true liberty under socialism will only exist for 9/10 of the population. Only when all classes have been abolished through the abolition of private property can liberty truly be achieved, in the higher stage of communist society where there is no state, where there is no exploitation or oppression on a systemic scale.