Communism — A centennial celebration of tyranny and terror
By Mark Alexander
In 1987, seven decades after Russia's Communist Revolution and the generations of misery, mayhem and murder that it seeded worldwide, Ronald Reagan delivered a speech at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate where John F. Kennedy had delivered his condemnation of communism a quarter-century earlier.
Reagan, whose administration is credited by all fair-minded historians as engineering the 1991 fall of the Evil Empire, issued this challenge: "There stands before the entire world one great and inescapable conclusion: Freedom leads to prosperity. ... General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
Those iconic words, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," did indeed set in motion the demolition of the much-hated Berlin Wall, just as it signaled the beginning of the end of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and freedom for its subordinate satellite states.
Russia's "Red October" Revolution was inspired by the Communist Manifesto, published by Karl Marx in 1848. Marx wrote, "The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property. ... Take away the heritage of a people and they are easily destroyed."
That same year, historian Alexis de Tocqueville offered a different perspective: "Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude."
As history would have it, Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin sided with Marx: "The goal of socialism," he said, "is communism." But instead of a utopian socialist "workers' paradise," a succession of brutal communist tyrants unleashed seven decades of global terror — at an incalculable human toll.
The resulting ideological Cold War between East and West was delineated by what Winston Churchill described as the "Iron Curtain." In 1949, Harry Truman noted, "We believe that all men are created equal because they are created in the image of God. From this faith we will not be moved. ... Communism is based on the belief that man is so weak and inadequate that he is unable to govern himself, and therefore requires the rule of strong masters."
Three years later, Truman's successor, Dwight Eisenhower, warned, "The Bill of Rights contains no grant of privilege for a group of people to destroy the Bill of Rights. A group — like the Communist conspiracy — dedicated to the ultimate destruction of all civil liberties, cannot be allowed to claim civil liberties as its privileged sanctuary from which to carry on subversion of the Government."
But while Truman and Eisenhower expressed our nation's largely bipartisan disdain for communism in the post-WWII era, the ideology had its stateside supporters: "I am for socialism," Roger Baldwin insisted. "I seek social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class, and sole control of those who produce wealth. Communism is the goal."
Is it any wonder that Baldwin went on to co-found the American Civil Liberties Union?
In 1959, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev told Eisenhower's Cabinet Secretary Ezra Taft Benson: "Your children's children will live under communism. You Americans are so gullible. No, you won't accept Communism outright, but we'll keep feeding you small doses of Socialism until you will finally wake up and find that you already have Communism. We won't have to fight you; We'll so weaken your economy, until you fall like overripe fruit into our hands."
In the two decades that followed, communism and socialism metastasized around the world, until three electoral events changed the course of history in a matter of months: the election of Pope John Paul II on October 16, 1978; the election of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on May 3, 1979; and the election of President Ronald Reagan on November 4, 1980. Together, these three champions of Freedom would wage an all-out ideological war on communism.
For the record, between 1917 and 1991, there were almost 150 million civilian casualties of communist dictatorships, the three largest dictatorial offenders being China (73,237,000), the USSR (58,627,000) and Germany (11,000,000). Where those dictatorships exist today, the slaughter continues.
That appalling history notwithstanding, The New York Times, the statist journal of record, celebrated the centennial of Lenin's Bolshevik Revolution — the advent of communism — with an extensive series "The Red Century." The Times pretended to explore the ideological failings of communism in an effort to rehabilitate, if not romanticize, the ideology's reputation, which The Times bravely notes is "morally complex."
The murder and planned starvation of more than 150 million civilians over the last century is not "morally complex."
As an antidote to the Times' communist coddling, John Stossel and Jonah Goldberg provide two far more succinct and vigorous perspectives on communism.
Of course, National Socialism and Democratic Socialism are much the same as Marxist Socialism — behind a façade. Leftists would like you to believe that there's a clear distinction, but Adolf Hitler was certainly a socialist.
In his autobiography Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote of his Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers' Party, the "NAZI Party"), "The party should not become a constable of public opinion, but must dominate it. It must not become a servant of the masses, but their master." On the socialist state versus individual Liberty, he wrote, "The unity of a nation's spirit and will are worth far more than the freedom of the spirit and will of an individual; and that the higher interests involved in the life of the whole must here set the limits and lay down the duties of the interests of the individual."
Of course, despotism has always been an element of evil human behavior. In John Locke's 1690 Second Treatise on Civil Government, he wrote, "Despotical power is absolute, arbitrary power of one person to take the life and property of another against their will."
Having witnessed the fate of the Soviet Union, the world's most powerful communist dictator of the present day, Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China, endeavors to avoid a similar fate by implementing a "socialist market economy" while maintaining strong central government control. At present, China has the world's fastest growing economy, though it's still only ranked 106th by per capita GDP. But that success masks a very fragile political foundation subject to trade balance tremors, which is why Xi continues to prop up his nuclear puppet North Korea as a defense against U.S. trade sanctions.
However, while communist dictators pay attention to history, leftist socialism deniers in America are more entrenched than ever. We would do well to revisit Nikita Khrushschev's assertion that "Your children's children will live under communism," and ask whether it still poses a real risk.
Of course it does. As dystopian novelist Aldous Huxley wrote, "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." Or, as that esteemed savant Forrest Gump observed, "Stupid is as stupid does."
After eight years of failed domestic and foreign policies under Barack Obama, whose radical statism and populist socialism were shaped by his Marxist mentors, the newest iteration of the Democrats' neo-communists, the ironically named "antifa movement," is thriving.
In the wake of Donald Trump's improbable victory over Hillary Clinton, who had earlier sandbagged her party's overt socialist protagonist Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Socialists have shifted into anger-fueled high gear.
Most of these socialist sympathizers gravitate toward statism because they want somebody to take care of them. They have no sense of history, never took a civics class, and have never lifted a finger in defense of the Liberty they now enjoy.
Ignorance is bliss, until it's not.
So who's holding the line? The growing ranks of American Patriots, that's who.
We come from all walks of life and every corner of our nation, but at the end of the day, after doing our best to make ends meet in the great diversity of stations we occupy, and despite our differences, we have this in common: As heirs to the blessings of Liberty, the innate and inherent Rights of Man bequeathed to us at great personal cost by our Patriot forebears and generations since, we are resolute that it is our duty "to Support and Defend" that blessing, and avow upon our sacred honor to extend it to the next generation. We are vigilant, strong, prepared and faithful in that resolve.
As such, we recognize that no form of government has been more antithetical to Liberty than the tyrannical communist and socialist regimes in the last century, and we will never acquiesce to those in our own country, whose goal is "fundamentally transforming the United States of America" from a nation guided by Rule of Law and supported by free enterprise to one subdued by the statist rule of men under the increasingly oppressive "progressivism" of Democratic Socialism.
In the words of Joseph Story from his Commentaries on the Constitution, "Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors."
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.