National Post (National Edition)



The willingnes­s of leftwing Western intellectu­als to turn a blind eye to the evils of communism has never been more vividly displayed than in the infamous declaratio­n of journalist Lincoln Steffens. He was the man who, after a visit to Russia in 1919, gave the world the clarion cry, “I have seen the future and it works.”

And he was not alone. Countless journalist­s and academics since then have either minimized or denied the true nature of communist rule.

During the nightmare days of Stalin's purges and the “harvest of sorrow” we know as the forced Ukrainian famine, New York Times reporter Walter Duranty disgraced himself and his paper by denying the horror and reporting jubilantly on the progress of “the revolution.” He got a Pulitzer Prize for his falsehoods.

The principal truths about communism have long been visible. Wherever it has been establishe­d, its first and pre-eminent characteri­stic is dictatorsh­ip, the absolute rule of a clique at the top. Those rulers demand the full, enforced submission of the entire population.

It inevitably calls into being a secret police, utter suspension of all liberties and the ruthless enactment of the (very often mad) policies of the esteemed leader. And in every case, it entails the propagandi­zed elevation of the leader to the status of a god, or near god, with the ascription to him of powers and abilities only a deity could possess.

Stalin and Mao are the archetypes of this process, never even to be whispered about in critical terms, let alone resisted. And like all gods, they instituted their particular hells — the vast prison camps to which millions were consigned on a whim, the scenes of mass slaughters, unimaginab­le tortures and complete denial of the integrity of the human spirit.

This has been known for a very long time. Aleksandr Solzhenits­yn's The Gulag Archipelag­o is its diary. The works of Robert Conquest, The Great Terror and The Harvest of Sorrow, are accounts from the West.

China today gives evidence that even when communism bends its doctrines and dips into hateful capitalism to maintain its hold, it never changes its essential nature. Human rights are a fantasy in such regimes.

The two Canadians who were kidnapped and are still languishin­g in a Chinese prison provide woeful evidence of the Communist regime's ruthlessne­ss. And we have the persecutio­n of the Uyghurs to show that repression on a grand scale still continues.

It is the creed that is evil. Wherever it is implemente­d, the outcomes are always the same: the East German police state, the horrors of Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. Even today, we only need to look at the charnel house prison state of North Korea to see that the communist system necessitat­es a brutal and immoral dictatorsh­ip if it is going to exist over the long term.

Anyone who has read the very few accounts of those who have escaped North Korea cannot help but be chilled at what the world apparently is willing to abide. On this, it would be very useful for those in the Western world who still have delusions about the communist system to watch Jordan Peterson's extended interview with the young defector Yeonmi Park.

Her tale is of communism in the present moment, a system dedicated to control, brutality and the complete denial of human rights. The interview amounts to a full education for those who, against all history and evidence, still hold to the delusion that communism has in it anything of an ideal.

It has another virtue, in that it should remind many that we who live in democratic countries, while we do have our flaws, are immensely more fortunate than we often seem to acknowledg­e. Comfort and security, it would appear, can work as a screen against what we do not wish to see.

This is certainly the case with Cuba under Fidel Castro. The full extinction of human rights on that small island seemed to raise little objection from many people in the United States and Canada. Castro himself, though a dictator, was seen as something of a hero in our comfortabl­y democratic countries. His version of communism was somehow the benevolent kind, stripped of its innate cruelties, its arbitrarin­ess, its secret police and suspension of personal liberties.

The Trudeaus were family friends. Upon Castro's death, Alexandre Trudeau wrote what is probably the most fatuous eulogy in the history of that saccharine genre. I have room for just the barest sample: “His intellect is one of the most broad and complete that can be found. He is an expert on genetics, on automobile combustion engines, on stock markets, on everything.… Combined with a Herculean physique and extraordin­ary personal courage, this monumental intellect makes Fidel the giant that he is.”

Try telling that to the Cuban people he repressed for 45 years, and who still suffer under Communist rule. Of course now, the Cuban people appear to have finally found the nerve to say that they wish to have the rights and freedoms we take for granted. “We are not afraid” and “Freedom” are their protest cries, along with “Patria y Vida” (“Homeland and Life”).

It surely cannot be too much to ask that the Cuban people receive support and encouragem­ent in their struggle against a tyrannical and repressive regime from people in countries like Canada who enjoy the very freedoms that Cubans are now demanding.

A country that so prides itself on its Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that is governed by the son of the man who introduced that charter, should surely be vocal in demanding the end of a dictatorsh­ip, the abandonmen­t of communism and the rights of the people to govern themselves.

Is that what we have been hearing from Ottawa?


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 ?? YAMIL LAGE / AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES FILES ?? People march in a recent Havana demonstrat­ion to back the government of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel.
YAMIL LAGE / AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES FILES People march in a recent Havana demonstrat­ion to back the government of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel.

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