History/Culture, Politics/Economics

How Smurfs Communist Propaganda Is In Fact A Capitalist Wet Dream

There is a decades-old theory that the classic “Smurfs” was, in fact, a bit of communist propaganda. While I will not, for the most part, get into the theory’s specifics here, I can recommend this 2011 Washington Times article as a launching point.

The evidence certainly seems damning; the entire cartoon is rife with Marxist ideology and the patriarch of Smurf Village even looks like him. However, as we all know, the left can’t meme; this is true now and it was true then. Many of the attempts to subvert our nation through popular culture memetics can and do backfire. Some of them, on further inspection, are better right-wing memes than left-wing ones.

Such is the case with the “Smurfs”.

Papa Smurf is known on occasion to echo Marx’s “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Their “non”-economy requires the same hand-waving magical thinking Marxism does:  Smurfs would not have the luxury of being nearly so communist if it were not for the mystically super-abundant “smurfberries”.

Yet, even within this blatantly communist propaganda, the simple truths of Austro-Libertarianism can be found. The Left can’t meme because, with their total lack of a sense of irony or self-reflection, they will happily showcase the talking points of the Right without realizing it.

For example, the Smurfs illustrate the division of labor, natural elites and authority, nationalism, personal responsibility, self-interest, and individual excellence.

We’ll start with a simple observation:  Papa Smurf is not the only “star” smurf to get a special name and special recognition. The smurf village has many denizens whose names we never learn nor need — or care — to learn; they are as extras in a movie. They are mere crowds of faces. Yet there are many smurfs, beyond Papa Smurf, who demonstrate and are named for an area of speciality including: Hefty Smurf, Farmer Smurf, Baker Smurf, Brainy Smurf and Crafty Smurf. There is even a “Vanity Smurf” whose only contribution to the village seems to be his total self-involvement.

While there are many, many unnamed smurfs in the village, there are in fact several smurfs who stand out for various reasons. The reason they stand out is that they represent specialization and the division of labor. They have, by their strengths, talents and characteristics stood out as more than “common” smurfs.

No smurf is forced to adopt skills not to his liking (indeed, there are smurfs, such as “Vanity Smurf” who are not known for having what we might immediately recognize as skills) or perform labor to which he is neither suited nor desires to perform. Indeed (unless we are to presume that smurfberries have some sort of euphoric effect), it appears that the vast majority of smurfs perform only the labor they desire to perform. They are each performing the role they not only have the ability for, but the desire; there is no doubt that vanity has the ability to help out on the farm and yet his role in the village extends no further than self-absorption. In this way, we can see that the smurf village shows us the peaceful interplay of self-interested actors; no one is coerced into his role in the village.

This self-interested division of labor has led to the rise of natural authorities in the village, smurfs who could be easily recognized as more knowledgeable and more skilled in specific areas. A smurf would not ask Vanity for guidance on getting past a weight-lifting plateau; for this he would turn to Hefty. Likewise, he would not ask Hefty for a beauty makeover but again turn to Vanity. Named smurfs are natural authorities:  they are elites within a given area of life, not because they force others to turn to them for advice but because their own excellence in these areas make them the natural providers of guidance in them.

Thus not only do the defined roles of the Elite Smurf demonstrate the division of labor — whereas Marx envisioned that a person would change roles from day-to-day as the commune’s needs demanded — along the lines of self-interest, they also demonstrate Hoppe’s concept of the natural elite. This can be further illustrated when our examination of smurf culture extends beyond the lower tier Elite Smurfs to the village’s patriarch: Papa Smurf.

Papa Smurf is, of course, intended to evoke Karl Marx in what one can only presume to be the most ignorant revisionist presentation of the Leninist-Stalinist dictatorship imaginable. The problems with communist dictatorships — and why communism always seems to get hung up in dictatorships — is a ripe subject for an entirely different discussion.

Instead, we’ll focus on the fact that, once again, Papa Smurf is a far better Austro-Libertarian meme than a communist one. Papa Smurf is the quintessence of the full realization of Hoppe’s Natural Elite, without having yet evolved into the establishment of an apparatus of State. Papa Smurf has gone beyond being recognized as the authority in a specific area, such as with the lesser Elite Smurfs, to instead be held up as the leader of the village and the one who fills that most critical of roles:  arbiter of dispute resolution.

Papa Smurf did not inherit this power because his father was Papa Smurf before him, nor by election; for there is no requirement that the other smurfs come to him for guidance or resolution. All smurfs are free to choose whatever course they wish, to attempt to resolve their differences between themselves or to involve any other third party besides Papa Smurf in said resolution. If a smurf is unsure of how to proceed with a task, threat to the village, or other problem he again is free to resolve it as he sees fit. It is only by choice that smurfs turn to Papa Smurf for guidance, and that choice is informed by their respect for Papa Smurf’s wisdom, cool response to pressure, confidence, and experience.

Papa Smurf does not employ Brainy to lecture young smurflings on the wonders of Papa Smurf’s ability to lead — though Brainy might certainly do so of his own accord and aforementioned respect for Papa Smurf — nor does he employ Hefty to beat smurfs into submission and to force them to come to him for guidance and to accept that guidance once given. Papa Smurf has not instituted an apparatus of State, yet the village does not lack order and leadership:  Papa Smurf is a natural elite.

Hoppe describes the natural elite thusly:

“In every society, a few individuals acquire the status of an elite through talent. Due to superior achievements of wealth, wisdom, and bravery, these individuals come to possess natural authority, and their opinions and judgments enjoy wide-spread respect. ”

This describes Papa Smurf perfectly (with the exception of wealth because idiotic communist portrayal of supposedly superior non-economy); it is his wide-spread respect which allows the village to be thus governed. This government is entirely voluntary; while Papa Smurf may chide errant smurfs for not coming to him for advice, or not heeding it once taken as their machinations eventually fall apart, they are nevertheless free to make those mistakes for themselves. Indeed, this has been known to happen from time to time as well as the parallel situation in which Papa Smurf is not present to provide guidance and smurfs must deduce for themselves “what would Papa Smurf do?”

Papa Smurf does not pretend to be absolutely knowledgeable in all areas; unlike Marx himself, Papa Smurf recognized individual talent and the importance of the division of labor. He would not presume to instruct a young smurfling on how to be strong; this task would be entrusted to Hefty. He would not tell Crafty how to build a contraption to better harvest smurfberries; Brainy is clearly better suited to do that.

Indeed, it is this ability which makes a truly effective leader in real life, and in Papa Smurf’s case it is this ability which has precisely led to the natural authorities of the lesser Elite Smurfs (Brainy, Hefty, Vanity et al). The natural elite, sans the apparatus of State, will bring out the natural authority of lesser elites based on their talent as wisdom will lead him to recognize those areas in which he is not best suited to provide guidance and how to recognize in others greater strength in those areas.

It must also be noted that smurfs live in an ethnically homogeneous community. They are, essentially, an extended family. It is no accident that Papa Smurf is named as he is; he is in spirit, if not literally (it does not appear that Peyo ever really expounded on how smurfs are made, or Papa Smurf’s role in this) the father of all in the village. It is precisely this close genetic proximity which engenders the sort of high-trust society which allows smurfs to cooperate so well; each smurf can rely on the overall “good” intentions of his fellow. Each smurf can go to Papa Smurf for dispute resolution knowing that his fellow will abide by the guidance Papa Smurf offers. This reinforces the successful division of labor, and the authority of their smurfy patriarch — all without the need to resort to Hefty bashing any uncooperative heads in. High trust communities are the meat of civilization, and ethnonationally homogeneous communities help to engender that trust.
Lastly we come to the antagonist of the smurfs:  the wizard Gargamel. Gargamel is intended to represent capitalists, we are told (he desires to exploit the communist smurfs and turn them into gold for his benefit and at their expense). Many have noted he even strongly evinces antisemitic caricatures of the dark-haired, hook-nosed greedy jew.

Gargamel seems a primary illustration of Marx’s greedy, jewish, capitalist bankster. Yet is he? Aside from his fascination with gold at the smurfs’ expense, what is capitalist, or even banker, about Gargamel? If he does not fit the intended caricature, what lessons can we draw from Gargamel?

Within the character of Gargamel (and by proxy, the cat Azrael) we can see foreign invasion disrupting our little community built on the division of labor (introducing the feminist influence in the person of Smurfette), taxation in the form of attacking the productive smurfs to direct their productivity (albeit in entirety instead of in part) to the non-productive mooch class (yes, Gargamel just wants the gibz!), and the deleterious effects of not adhering to the NAP.

But most importantly, the character of Gargamel is the perfect parody of a communist high-time-preferenced r-select with magical thinking (he literally wants to use magic to extract wealth from the productive).

We have now come full circle to show that the Smurfs is a better parable of Austro-Libertarian ideals than communist ones, all the way down to their high time-preference commie wizard.

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