Sunday, April 27, 2014
May Day - By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them
Recently, letters to the Wallkill Valley Times discussed the attitude that should be taken toward people like Pete Seeger, leftist political activist and musician who died this January, people who were sympathetic in one sense or another to Communism. We rightly condemn those sympathetic to Nazism and totalitarianism of various forms and shun even those favoring somewhat less odious practices. Choices have consequences.
In the scholarly Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression [originally published in France in 1997], the death toll from this ideology is estimated to have been 85-100 million, including 25 million in Russia, 65 million in China, eclipsing a “mere” 2 million in Cambodia‘s killing fields. I am not sure whether it includes the over 5 million Ukrainians killed by the program of deliberate mass starvation undertaken to break the resistance to collectivization of the independent farmers, the kulaks. It does not include the loss of life due to Communist China’s enforcement of a “one-child” policy.
The joy of the people finally released from Communist rule twenty-five years ago speaks volumes about such governments. Those in America who wanted to know the truth about life under Communism could do so through the works of Solzhenitsyn, Djilas, Conquest, Medvedev, et al. Except for the elite, such countries are prisons.
As the Venona papers documenting Communist infiltration and spying activities here in America demonstrated: Communists in the U.S. were not imaginary “witches,” but real people, who– among other things– helped the U.S.S.R. obtain the technical expertise to build the atomic bombs and the hydrogen bombs that placed the West at risk of being devastated in a nuclear war. Their political influence was also often used against America’s interests.
May 1st, celebrated by the Communists as “May Day” and by some of the rest of us as a day honoring workers, is a good day to reconsider Marxism, which sounds appealing to some, and judge it by its fruits, not its slogans. It has been proposed to have this day be used to recognize the victims of Communism.
Decades ago, I would have rather lived in West Germany than Communist East Germany before the Wall came down. Today, I would rather live in South Korea than Communist North Korea, wouldn’t you?
Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D.