Why no Nazi-like stigma for Com­mu­nism?

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

Why is it that when peo­ple want to de­scribe par­tic­u­larly evil in­di­vid­u­als or regimes, they use the terms “Nazi” or “fas­cist” but al­most never “com­mu­nist?”

Given the amount the hu­man suf­fer­ing com­mu­nists have caused — 70 mil­lion killed in China, 20-30 mil­lion in the for­mer Soviet Union, and al­most one-third of all Cam­bo­di­ans; the dec­i­ma­tion of Ti­betan and Chi­nese cul­ture; to­tal­i­tar­ian en­slave­ment of North Kore­ans, Chi­nese, Viet­namese, and Rus­sians; a gen­er­a­tion de­prived of hu­man rights in Cuba; and much more — why is “com­mu­nist” so much less a term of re­vul­sion than “Nazi?”

There are Mao Restau­rants in ma­jor cities in the West­ern world. Can one imag­ine Hitler Restau­rants? Che Gue­vara Tshirts are ubiq­ui­tous, yet there are no Hein­rich Himm­ler Tshirts. This ques­tion is of vi­tal sig­nif­i­cance. First, without moral clar­ity, hu­man­ity has lit­tle chance of avoid­ing a dark fu­ture. Sec­ond, the rea­sons for this moral im­bal­ance tell us a great deal about our­selves to­day. Here, then, are seven rea­sons. 1. Com­mu­nists mur­dered their own peo­ple; the Nazis mur­dered oth­ers. Un­der Mao about 70 mil­lion peo­ple died — nearly all in peace­time — vir­tu­ally all of them Chi­nese. Like­wise, the ap­prox­i­mately 30 mil­lion peo­ple that Stalin had killed were nearly all Rus­sians, and those who were not Rus­sian, Ukraini­ans for ex­am­ple, were mem­bers of other Soviet na­tion­al­i­ties. The Nazis, on the other hand, killed very few fel­low Ger­mans. Their vic­tims were Jews, Slavs and mem­bers of other “non-Aryan” and “in­fe­rior” groups.

“World opin­ion” — that va­pid amoral con­cept — deems the mur­der of mem­bers of one’s group far less note­wor­thy than the mur­der of out­siders. That is one rea­son why blacks killing mil­lions of fel­low blacks in the Congo right now elic­its no at­ten­tion from “world opin­ion.” But if an Is­raeli sol­dier is charged with hav­ing killed a Gaza woman and two chil­dren, it makes the front page of world news­pa­pers.

2. Com­mu­nism is based on lovely sound­ing the­o­ries; Nazism is based on heinous sound­ing the­o­ries. In­tel­lec­tu­als, among whom are the peo­ple who write his­tory, are se­duced by words — so much so that deeds are deemed con­sid­er­ably less sig­nif­i­cant. Com­mu­nism’s words are far more in­tel­lec­tu­ally and morally ap­peal­ing than the mo­ronic and vile racism of Nazism. The mon­strous evils of com­mu­nists have not been fo­cused on nearly as much as the mon­strous deeds of the Nazis. The for­mer have been reg­u­larly dis­missed as per­ver­sions of a beau­ti­ful doc­trine (though Chris­tians who com­mit­ted evil in the name of Chris­tian­ity are never re­garded by th­ese same peo­ple as hav­ing per­verted a beau­ti­ful doc­trine), whereas Nazi atroc­i­ties have been per­ceived (cor­rectly) as the log­i­cal and in­evitable re­sults of Nazi ide­ol­ogy.

This se­duc­tion by words while ig­nor­ing deeds has been a ma­jor fac­tor in the on­go­ing ap­peal of the left to in­tel­lec­tu­als.

3. Ger­mans have thor­oughly ex­posed the evils of Nazism, have taken re­spon­si­bil­ity for them, and at­tempted to atone for them. Rus­sians have not done any­thing sim­i­lar re­gard­ing Lenin’s or Stalin’s hor­rors. In­deed, an ex-KGB man runs Rus­sia, Lenin is still widely revered, and, in the words of Uni­ver­sity of Lon­don Rus­sian his­to­rian Don­ald Ray­field, “peo­ple still deny by as­ser­tion or im­pli­ca­tion, Stalin’s holo­caust.”

Nor has China in any way ex­posed the great­est mass mur­derer and en­slaver of them all, Mao Ze­dong. Mao re­mains revered in China.

Un­til Rus­sia and China ac­knowl­edge the evil their states have done un­der com­mu­nism, com­mu­nism’s evils will re­main less ac­knowl­edged by the world than the evils of the Ger­man state un­der Hitler.

4. Com­mu­nism won, Nazism lost. And the win­ners write his­tory.

5. Noth­ing matches the Holo­caust. The round­ing up of vir­tu­ally ev­ery Jewish man, woman, child, and baby on the Euro­pean con­ti­nent and send­ing them to die is un­prece­dented and un­par­al­leled. The com­mu­nists killed far more peo­ple than the Nazis did but never matched the Holo­caust in the sys­tem­iza­tion of mur­der. The unique­ness of the Holo­caust and the enor­mous at­ten­tion paid to it since then has helped en­sure that Nazism has a worse name than com­mu­nism.

6. There is, sim­ply put, wide­spread ig­no­rance of com­mu­nist atroc­i­ties com­pared to those of the Nazis. Whereas, both right and left loathe Nazism and teach its evil his­tory, the left dom­i­nates the teach­ing pro­fes­sion, and there­fore al­most no one teaches com­mu­nist atroc­i­ties. As much as in­tel­lec­tu­als on the left may ar­gue that they loathe Stalin or the North Korean regime, few on the left loathe com­mu­nism. As the French put it, “pas d’en­e­mis a la gauche,” which in English means “no en­e­mies on the left.” This is cer­tainly true of Chi­nese, Viet­namese, and Cuban com­mu­nism. Check your lo­cal uni­ver­sity’s cour­ses and see how many classes are given on com­mu­nist to­tal­i­tar­i­an­ism or mass mur­der com­pared to the num­ber of classes about Nazism’s im­moral record.

7. Fi­nally, in the view of the left, the last “good war” Amer­ica fought was World War II, the war against Ger­man and Ja­panese fas­cism. The left does not re­gard Amer­ica’s wars against com­mu­nist regimes as good wars. The war against Viet­namese com­mu­nism is re­garded as im­moral and the war against Korean (and Chi­nese) com­mu­nism is sim­ply ig­nored.

Un­til the left and all the in­sti­tu­tions in­flu­enced by the left ac­knowl­edge how evil com­mu­nism has been, we will con­tinue to live in a morally con­fused world. Con­versely, the day the left does come to grips with com­mu­nism’s legacy of hu­man de­struc­tion, it will be a very pos­i­tive sign that the world’s moral com­pass has be­gun to cor­rect it­self.

Den­nis Prager is a na­tion­ally syndicated colum­nist.

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