Victims of communism have not ranked very highly in the hierarchy of historical victims, but that appears to be changing, albeit slowly. In all honesty, I have never understood why communism has been let off so lightly in the West. From a body count perspective, communism was by far the most brutal and murderous of all ideological plagues (some estimates place the worldwide total deaths that can be attributed to communism to be as high as 100 million).
Let me rephrase my previous statement. I understand perfectly why communism has been let off so lightly; what I don’t understand is how others have not condemned those who have let communism off so lightly. Put bluntly, twentieth-century communism was just as horrifying as Nazism was, yet in the twenty-first century, communism is still treated as a viable, perhaps even desirable political option in the West.
I have written about communism many times on this blog; thus, I have no desire to delve into the irony of hip Che Guevara t-shirts or the blatant acceptability of communist symbols such as red stars and hammers and sickles again. Nevertheless, I would like stress the following – as unlikely as it may appear, the Red Star is still very much alive, and it resides comfortably in the heads of many among the liberal/leftist elite today.
Perhaps the most recent example of this was the speech given by the current President of the European Commission who happily attended a ceremony commemorating the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx’s birth. Once there, the EC president gave an impassioned speech defending Marx’s legacy by claiming the communist founder should not be judged for the crimes his followers committed decades after his death.
Mr. Junker also said, "One has to understand Karl Marx from the context of his time and not have prejudices based on hindsight, these judgments shouldn't exist."
At the ceremony, Junker went onto discuss Marx's influence on the European Union, saying that Marx's philosophy taught Europeans that it was the “task of our time” to improve social rights.
That the EC President attends a commemoration of Karl Marx where he went on to unveil a 14-foot statue of the founder of communism is troubling; that a commemoration of Karl Marx was even held at all should cause each of us to pause and reflect for a moment.
Following the event, MEPs from Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party wrote to Mr Juncker in protest of the visit, saying: "Marxist ideology led to the death of tens of millions and ruined the lives of hundreds of millions. The celebration of its founder is a mockery of their memory."
It is worth noting that Hungary was one of the few countries to condemn Junker’s visit to the Marx birthday party, which reveals yet another dividing line on the European continent – countries that suffered under communist rule versus those that did not. For all their flaws and underdevelopment, countries in the former Eastern Bloc have one distinct advantage over their richer Western counterparts – they have a keen understanding of communism and can recognize the Red Star whenever it appears in contemporary politics. Citizens of Western European countries have not had this kind of firsthand experience; hence, they are more susceptible to the insinuations of communist propaganda.
I have raised the event cited above to serve as an example of my previous claim that the Red Star is still alive today, and that it is comfortably lodged in the minds of the ruling elite. When the EC president speaks of improving social rights, he is essentially employing communist language and philosophy, which is perfectly fitting because, for all intents and purposes, a newer, modernized version of communism is all the European Union aspires to be.
Honoring Karl Marx and promulgating Red Star visions and policies today not only makes a mockery of communism’s victims, it also makes a mockery of God because communism remains the most inherently anti-religious ideology ever developed. Declaring religion to be nothing more than opium for the masses, communism placed humanity at the center of its philosophy and paradoxically, but predictably, developed into the most anti-human system the world has ever known. Yet, in 2019 communism can still be viewed as an admirable, desirable, and attainable political objective.
Of course, contemporary Red Star acolytes know better than to unfurl the old flags of communism again; they are well aware that even the most ignorant among us would likely oppose this. The word communism is never used explicitly, and whenever it is, it is quickly declared as something that exists only in the dustbins of history. But don’t be fooled. Communism has not died; it has merely changed its form. No, there will be no worker marches or hammers-and-sickles this time around, thank you very much. Instead, communism is being fed to the masses in a different form, under the variegated guises of leftist/liberal policies implemented through two of the old Party’s favorite vehicles – bureaucracy and the media. And guess what? In many areas, it is working.
This does not mean the majority of people in the West are on the cusp of surrendering to communism yet, but the current version of communism we are all suffering under has achieved something the oppressive, totalitarian red regimes of the past could only dream of – they have succeeded in driving God farther away from the hearts of Men. Being a Christian in the Soviet Union in the 1950s was regarded a defiant act of insurrection; being a Christian in the contemporary West today is regarded as a pitiable act of insanity.
Regardless, communists know one thing extremely well – religion, Christianity in particular, is poison to the communist cause. A true Christian is essentially inoculated against the communist virus. Those who claim to be Christian and communist are not Christians at all because the two elements simply cannot co-exist. Anyone who claims they can understands neither communism nor Christianity.
Though I am sure they think otherwise, secular liberals, conservatives, and libertarians are not immune to the communist virus. To prove my point, I offer a quote from Bill Bryson the American travel writer who perfectly epitomizes the kind of liberal, mediocre, mid-wit mentality that currently prevails in the West. Of the collapse of communism, Mr. Bryson had the following to say:
“This was 1990 the year that communism died in Europe and it seemed strange to me that in all the words that were written about the fall of the iron curtain, nobody anywhere lamented that it was the end of a noble experiment. I know that communism never worked and I would have disliked living under it myself but none the less it seems that there was a kind of sadness in the thought that the only economic system that appeared to work was one based on self interest and greed.”
The end of a noble experiment! That Mr. Bryson would not want to live under the noble experiment is telling, yet he declares the experiment noble nonetheless. This kind of thinking is far more prevalent and ubiquitous than we dare to admit – and it is exactly the kind attitude that will lead us all back in the gulags if we are not careful.
The bulk of the annual commemoration for the victims of communism in Hungary takes place in a Budapest Museum called The Terror House, which is an apt name considering the museum focuses entirely on communist and Nazi atrocities. At the event this year, museum director Mária Schmidt, offered the following words,
“Communism should not be presented exclusively as something of the past as there are still people in Europe who want to change the world on the basis of its ideology.”
Truer words have rarely been spoken; perhaps we should take them as a warning . . . or a wake up call.