Do liberals realise communism doesn’t work? Before I answer this, if I may, I would like to define liberalism and communism to set the context.
According to Wikipedia:
Liberalism is a political philosophy or worldview founded on ideas of liberty and equality.
Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas and programmes such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free markets, civil rights, democratic societies, secular governments, gender equality, and international cooperation
In political and social sciences, communism (from Latin communis, “common, universal” is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money, and the state
Now if you will throughly analyse the definitions , I feel you should have your answer. To equate liberalism with communism is akin to equating democracy with theocracy. Both claim to represent people and their choice but who has a bigger say in things varies. Now, if you notice, basic idea of liberalism is to promote liberty and equality. Communism also wishes to have equality. However definitions of equality drastically differs in the both the systems. Equality under liberalism equates to everybody having equal rights in the justice system, equal opportunities with respect to education, career opportunities, and everybody having right to elect their leader irrespective of their financial , religious, gender and ethnic background. A large majority of us homosapiens are liberals by nature, many times due to our own selfish needs. I don’t think in the event of a crime commited against you, you would want to have less rights than the rich preparator. Liberalism is an ideal societies aspire to. Nations and societies are formed to establish liberalism. Courts, parliaments and senates are liberal institutions by their very own nature. Ideally courts punish the criminal irrespective of their background. Congressmen/women and senators are expected to speak for you, the fisherman who is losing his/her livelihood and factory worker who is losing his/her job. If your congressman/woman gives equal importance to rights of factory workers as that of silicon valley entrepreneur then he/she is a liberal. Regarding trade, liberals disagree by a wide margin. Few are proponent of globalisation , free trade and increased corporations between countries and few detest it with passion. Here comes into picture subclass of liberals i.e. socially liberal but economically conservative. Bernie Sanders is a good example of this subclass. He campaigns for equal rights however is opposed to free trade agreements. This is where where people make mistake of equating liberalism with communism. However if you look into it, you will realise it is closer to Donald Trump’s trade vision than that of communists. Also liberals like Sanders oppose free trade not because they are against wealth creation but because they feel this puts lower strata of society into a disadvantageous position. Now I am not arguing that this is a right stand. Personally I feel in any society, some people are going to be at disadvantageous position irrespective of the system of economics or governance they are in. Equality of all in all spheres of life is an utopia. However we must aspire to reach what would you call in mathematical terms limit of equality so that we can consider equality for all practical purposes.
Now, communism on the other hand believes that in the existing societal structure , it is not possible to achieve true equality and only by usurping current bourgeoisie class who have been exploiting the masses since the dawn of time, we can establish a just society (As per Communist Manifesto). Communism also proposes violent means to overthrow the current system. Now, first of all this puts current bourgeoisie class in a position where they can not claim equality. As per Communist Manifesto, Communism also prohibits private ownership which even includes your own home. Communism believes that to bring a true equality into the society, individuals should not be allowed to create wealth. Primary function of money in communist society is to be medium for day to day transaction. Communism opposes items of luxury as they create bourgeoisie class. Communists believe in a society where collective ownership (i.e. Government for all practical purposes) is primary provider for masses ensuring equality for all. In the case of religion, while liberals aspire for a secular society which gives equal rights to all religions, communism prohibits practice of any religion. Marx famously declared religion as opium of masses (Which I agree with however personally I feel all of our utopian visions are opiods and religions is just one among them). As per communist manifesto, ultimate aim of communism is to create a communist society throughout the world and first step in this direction is to establish communist society at national levels by eradicating bourgeoisie class. Now as you would notice, both liberalism and communism push for international corporation however mode of achievement is quite different. Liberals aspire for, communist believe in snatching it. Communism believes, to protect the rights of poor, rich must pay the price as they have caused suffering in the first place however as I pointed out earlier, liberals believe in a society where we have equal representations and rights.
Honestly I feel communism failed the day proponents decided to release a manifesto. Any system which aspires to bring just society for 7 billion homonsapiens, can not have a 100 page guideline like a user manual of a refrigerator. It has to account all the complexities and intricacies of human nature and society. Painting one class of population as oppressor and another as oppressed is a sure shot receipe for disaster.
Where modern liberalism fails is, they also do not consider inherent human nature. Yes ideally we all should have equal rights however any time it infringes on rights of a large mass of population, it is not going to be accepted by anyone. If you force down equality, it creates resentment. However I do not have any right answer for this. In many cases government had to force equality irrespective of the resentment of the masses and in the end it became new norm. What to do about resentmemt? The truth of the matter is, we will have resentmemt and we must accept it as part of our society. So our societies will have cycles of reformation and resentment and there is nothing we can do about it. We all want to be equal which is a theoretical possibility but practical impossibility.
We are currently in the resentment phase however sooner or later we will have a reformation cycle.
Do liberals realise that communism doesn’t work? If they have understood both liberalism and communism then they should. A true liberal can propose or agree with few of the ideas of the communism however liberals as per their inherent nature are going to oppose communism. They are more likely to be foes than friends.
P.S. I may have not directly answered the question however in my opinion this was the only way I could explain two complex constructs. I also apologize for all the grammatical errors as English isn’t my native language however please free to suggest edits if you deem fit.