THE HUMBLE LIBERTARIAN

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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Socialists and Fascists Have Always Been Kissing Cousins

By: Bradley J. Birzer
The American Conservative


In 1939, the same year the Germans and the Russians mutually consented to rape Poland, T.S. Eliot rather famously (or, I suppose for some, infamously) declared:

“If you will not have God (and He is a jealous God), you should pay your respects to Hitler or Stalin.”

Eliot, of course, could not have been more correct. In 1936, you had three choices: National Socialism, international socialism, or dignity. In 2018, we find ourselves in similar circumstances, even if they aren’t quite as clear cut as they were in 1936.

Of all the disturbing developments in culture and ideas over the last several years—including violence against legitimate authority, violence against the average citizen, and violence against the very ideas that undergird the West—few have been more disturbing than the reemergence of communism and socialism.

Why is this happening now, as much of Western civilization lingers in its twilight state? Most likely, it has to do with three critical things. First, we scholars have failed to convince the public of just how wicked all forms of communism were and remain.

Most historians have focused their research and teaching on how “liberated” every form of eccentricity has become and how—in terms of race and gender—victims remain victims. Almost all historians ignore the most salient fact of the 20th century: that governments murdered more than 200 million innocents, the largest massacre in the history of the world. Terror reigned in the killing fields, the Holocaust camps, and the gulags.

Second, an entire generation has grown up never knowing such things as the Soviet gulags or even the Berlin Wall. Indeed, it’s been more than a full generation since communism existentially threatened sustained violence on a global scale.

With America currently at the height of her power (militarily and economically, not spiritually or ethically), we are the bad guys of the world, if for no other reason than we stand—for the most part—above and alone.

Third, the five nations that remain officially communist—Cuba, Laos, Vietnam, North Korea and mainland China—seem to be relentlessly backward, mad, or capitalist. No one thinks about the first three countries anymore. North Korea looks like a loony bin. China seems more bent on profit and power more than anything it might profess officially.

Equally disturbing is that most younger defenders of communism buy into the oldest propaganda line of the Left—that real communism has never been tried and fascism is the polar opposite of communism.

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