Liberty Expose: The Deadliest Ideology
Imagine 100 million victims. 100 million lives lost. Combined, that is around the population of Texas, California, Florida, and Ohio. To put the death toll in context, around 60-80 million died in the Second World War, an estimated 37 million perished in the First World War, 11 million died in the Holocaust, and 20 o 50 million died from the Spanish flu. 100 million deaths - an incalculable amount of tragedy.
100 million isn't a meaningless abstraction - 100 million is the estimated number of people who died as a result of communism in the 20th century. 100 million is the conservative estimate – there a too many fatalities to know for certain. The famines, purges, and forced industalizations, all of which done in the name of socialist progress, killed more people than any other tragedy in the 20th century.
This year marked the century since the 1917 revolution in Russia established the world’s first communist state. Before then, communism was just a dream – an idea forwarded by a radical, impoverished philosopher exiled in London. In 1917, that idea manifested into a state lead by Vladimir Lenin. In the century between the establishment of the first communist state and now, 100 million have died because of the ideas of Marxism-Leninism.
The proliferation – no – the metastasizing of communism across the world from Berlin to Beijing should be remembered with the other great tragedies of the 20th century, such as the world wars and the numerous genocides.
Yet it is not. While the other ideas and policies such as fascism, racial supremacy, religious extremism, colonialism, and imperialism are condemned for the terror those concepts are responsible for, Marxism still exists in intellectual life.
While the institutionalization of Marxism is dying – its last remnants consist of a Stalinist North Korea, a stagnated Cuba, and a deteriorating Venezuela, the spirt of the ideology lives on in the West. It has become institutionalized in Western academia; Marxist literary theory is standard in many English departments, Marxist historians are celebrated and are required reading for many advanced history students, and Marxist or Marxist influenced philosophy such as critical theory continue to have a presence in the humanities.
100 million dead, and there are still open followers of Marxist doctrine. Let’s flip those last sentences, and insert another ideology; Fascist literary theory is standard in many English departments, Fascist historians are celebrated and are required reading for many advanced history students, and Fascist or Fascist influenced philosophy continue to have a presence in the humanities.
And a reminder: communism out killed fascism by a few dozen million.
Why does society tolerate this inconsistency? Why would a dorm room poster of Marxist ideologue Che Guevara be dismissed as youth naivete while a dorm room portrait of Francisco Franco cause protests? (assuming college students know who Francisco Franco was.)
Why, in an age in which statues of Confederate leaders are being torn down, is there not similar outcries for the statue of Vladimir Lenin in Seattle to be removed? Why is it when speakers like Richard Spencer go to spew their hatred at universities, headlines are made and emergencies are declared, but at those same universities, tenured faculty members are promoting ideas of similar banality?
The double-standard is as maddening as it is mind-boggling.
The apologetics of communism and Marxism have also leaked into Western culture and politics; the New York Times ran a series of articles commemorating the centennial of the Russian Revolution titled “Red Century” that came far from the litany on condemnations that Revolution’s centennial deserved; following the death of Fidel Castro, Canadian Prime Minister and Rolling Stone cover boy Justin Trudeau tweeted that Castro was a “remarkable leader”; and British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn praised Hugo Chavez and his Venezuelan experiment in socialism following the death of that leader.
What is to be done about this? And why does Marxist apologetics still exist despite a century of horror that discredits the ideology?
One can speculate – perhaps as communism did not end by bombardment, like fascism, it didn’t get attached to the negative label associated with the latter, despite having a higher death toll. Or maybe, as communism’s victims died via policy, and those purged were done for political reasons, as opposed to the Nazi’s main victims being murdered on racial and ethnic grounds, communism seemed less insidious. Or it could even be because the ideas of Marx and Lenin still appeal to many throughout the West.
Either or, the criticism of Marxism and communism must surpass the lay tolerance that currently exists. Academic institutions, particularly the liberal arts and humanities departments, are losing their credibility as institutions for higher learning as opposed to indoctrination factories. Notions, such as “facts being social constructs,” are becoming increasingly prevalent. Groups such as Antifa, which adhere to the Frankfurt school notion of “tolerant intolerance,” are brining violence to college campuses.
At its height, about 1/3 of the world under communist tyranny. Now only five communist nations remain. Communism in its political form died not from foreign invasion, but from its own policies. Marxism promised workers liberation from oppression and a higher standard of living. What the workers of the communist nations received was an even more brutal oppression, and an unbearable existence. Now, those nations must recover from their experiments with socialism.
Some, like the Baltic states, have made remarkable progress. Many, such as Russia, still struggle with the legacy of authoritarianism. Some nations, like Venezuela, didn’t learn from the failures of socialism and instituted far-left policies after the fall of the communist bloc. Venezuela is suffering dearly for its mistake.
Of the five communist nations that still exist – China, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, and Cuba – China, Vietnam, and Laos have moved away from communism, and established a regime of “authoritarian capitalism.” Only North Korea and Cuba stay true to its communist roots.
While any absurd John Bircher notion of a communist conspiracy in America must be dismissed as pure insanity driven by Cold War nostalgists, cultural Marxism is still alive and well in America and the West. An open socialist, one that honeymooned in the Soviet Union, almost won the Democratic nomination – and won the spirit of the youth wing of the party.
Intolerance of intellectual diversity (Read: classical liberalism) is even more rampant now than it has ever been. Debates regarding the nature of free speech, specifically whether it should be limited, are no longer tabooed.
The problem with culture, as the founders of the American republic have observed, is that it often becomes policy. The cultural elements of Marxism must be debated and decimated, before the adherents of those idea implement them as policy. America is exceptional in many ways – but our laws of economics remain the same as any other nation.
It has become a cliché now, but Karl Marx once wrote that human events occur first as history than as farce. The Soviet Union and the Russian Revolution is history, we must assure that America does not become farce.