Ralph Reiland: Millennials need a lesson on evils of communism
“Millennials would rather live in socialist or communist nation than under capitalism: Poll” was the troubling headline on a Nov. 4, 2017, Washington Times article by staff reporter Bradford Richardson.
One wonders which section of the newspaper was the most appropriate for carrying Richardson’s report — lifestyle, comedy, business, entertainment or education (or more accurately, the lack of education that’s apparently developed when it comes to basic literacy in history, politics, human rights, totalitarianism, societal freedom, moral principles or economics).
Let’s start with the worst, the brutal and astounding numerical evidence of the human cost of installing, mandating and retaining communism as measured by the deliberate and planned eradication of 100 million people around the world through terror, torture, famine, mass deportations, imprisonment and massacres in order to develop and enforce the collectivist agendas of oppressive and anti-capitalist regimes by way of top-down authoritarianism, regulation, surveillance, forced obedience and punishment.
The 100 million? “The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression” is described by Tony Judt of The New York Times as follows: “An 800-page compendium of the crimes of Communist regimes worldwide, recorded and analyzed in ghastly detail by a team of scholars. The facts and figures, some of them well known, others newly confirmed in hitherto inaccessible archives, are irrefutable. The myth of the well-intentioned founders — the good czar Lenin betrayed by their evil heirs — has been laid to rest for good. No one will any longer be able to claim ignorance or uncertainty about the criminal nature of Communism.”
An international bestseller, “The Black Book of Communism” is already famous throughout Europe. One wonders, especially with Vladimir Putin regularly hacking at America’s door, how many millennials in the United States have encountered any of the information in this comprehensive text in their high school or college classes.
The documented death toll — as many as 65 million in China, 25 million in the former Soviet Union, 2 million in North Korea, 2 million in Cambodia, 1.7 million in Africa, 1.5 million in Afghanistan, 1 million in Vietnam, 1 million in Eastern Europe, and 150,000 in Latin America — demonstrates how the establishment of communism inescapably and repetitively led to massive crime, terror and repression, bringing into being the top and unparalleled position of communism in the hierarchy of political violence.
“The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property,” proclaimed Karl Marx. That meant a peasant’s land was owned by the government and his output belonged to the people, i.e., the state. That meant a desperate peasant farmer could be killed by the government if he was found to have buried a handful of seeds in his frozen winter ground in order to keep his hungry family from starvation.
By 58 percent, millennials opted for one of the three alternative systems to free enterprise, compared to 42 percent who said they were in favor of capitalism, reported Richardson: “The most popular socioeconomic order was socialism, with 44 percent support. Communism and fascism received 7 percent support each.”
Ralph Reiland is associate professor of economics emeritus at Robert Morris University and a local restaurateur. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org .