Communism

Victims of Communism Day 2019

Why May 1 should be a day to honor the victims of the ideology that took more innocent lives than any other.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Bones of tortured prisoners. Kolyma Gulag, USSR.

Today is May Day. Since 2007, I have advocated using this date as an international Victims of Communism Day. I outlined the rationale for this proposal (which was not my original idea) in my very first post on the subject:

May Day began as a holiday for socialists and labor union activists, not just communists. But over time, the date was taken over by the Soviet Union and other communist regimes and used as a propaganda tool to prop up their [authority]. I suggest that we instead use it as a day to commemorate those regimes' millions of victims. The authoritative Black Book of Communism estimates the total at 80 to 100 million dead, greater than that caused by all other twentieth century tyrannies combined. We appropriately have a Holocaust Memorial Day. It is equally appropriate to commemorate the victims of the twentieth century's other great totalitarian tyranny. And May Day is the most fitting day to do so….

Our comparative neglect of communist crimes has serious costs. Victims of Communism Day can serve the dual purpose of appropriately commemorating the millions of victims, and diminishing the likelihood that such atrocities will recur. Just as Holocaust Memorial Day and other similar events promote awareness of the dangers of racism, anti-Semitism, and radical nationalism, so Victims of Communism Day can increase awareness of the dangers of left-wing forms of totalitarianism, and government domination of the economy and civil society.

While communism is most closely associated with Russia, where the first communist regime was established, it had equally horrendous effects in other nations around the world. The highest death toll for a communist regime was not in Russia, but in China. Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward was likely the biggest episode of mass murder in the entire history of the world.

November 7, 2017 was the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik seizure of power in Russia, which led to the establishment of the first-ever communist regime. On that day, I put up a post outlining some of the lessons to be learned from a century of experience with communism.  The post explains why most of the horrors perpetrated by communist regimes were intrinsic elements of the system. For the most part, they cannot be ascribed to circumstantial factors, such as flawed individual leaders, peculiarities of Russian and Chinese culture, or the absence of democracy. The latter probably did make the situation worse than it might have been otherwise. But, for reasons I explained in the same post, some form of dictatorship or oligarchy is probably inevitable in a socialist economic system in which the government controls all or nearly all of the economy.

While the influence of communist ideology has declined since its mid-twentieth century peak, it is far from dead. Largely unreformed communist regimes remain in power in Cuba and North Korea. In Venezuela, the Marxist government's socialist policies have resulted in political repression, the starvation of children, and a massive refugee crisis—the biggest in the history of the Western hemisphere. The regime continues to hold on to power by means of repression, despite growing international and domestic opposition. The struggle for freedom in Venezuela continues even as I write these words.

In Russia, the authoritarian regime of former KGB Colonel Vladimir Putin has embarked on a wholesale whitewashing of communism's historical record. In China, the Communist Party remains in power (albeit after having abandoned many of its previous socialist economic polcies), and has recently become less tolerant of criticism of the mass murders of the Mao era (part of a more general turn towards greater repression). In the West, only a small minority advocates communism. But many more tend to downplay its evils, or are simply unaware of them.

In a 2012 post, I explained why May 1 is a better date for Victims of Communism Day than the available alternatives, such as November 7 (the anniversary of the Bolshevik seizure of power in Russia) and August 23 (the anniversary of the Nazi-Soviet Pact). I also addressed various possible objections to using May Day, including claims that the date should be reserved for the celebration of labor unions.

But, as explained in my 2013 Victims of Communism Day post, I would be happy to support a different date if it turns out to be easier to build a consensus around it. If another date is chosen, I would prefer November 7; not out of any desire to diminish the significance of communist atrocities in other nations, but because it marks the establishment of the very first communist regime. November 7 has in fact been declared Victims of Communism Memorial Day by the Virginia and Utah state legislatures, and similar resolutions have been passed by the  lower houses of the Illinois and Missouri legislatures. The president issued similar declarations in 2017 and 2018 (though he does not have the authority to make it a permanent national holiday through executive action alone). If this approach continues to spread, I would be happy to switch to November 7, even though May 1 would be still more appropriate.

But I am more than willing to endorse almost any other date that could command broad support. Unless and until that happens, however, May 1 will continue to be Victims of Communism Day at the Volokh Conspiracy.

NOTE: Much of this post is adapted from last year's Victims of Communism Day post.

UPDATE: I have slightly revised this post to take account of recent progress towards making November 7 a day of commemoration for victims of communism. The trend is not (yet) far enough advanced to make me give up on the idea of using May 1. But if it continues, that will indeed be the best approach.

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333 responses to “Victims of Communism Day 2019

  1. It’s fitting and a bit ironic that Victims of Communism Day also falls on Yom Ha’Shoah in the Western calendar this year. Debating whether Stalin or Hitler was worse for the Jewish people is like debating if it’s better to get shot in the head once or twice.

    1. “Debating whether Stalin or Hitler was worse for the Jewish people is like debating if it’s better to get shot in the head once or twice.”

      In 1939 when Stalin and Hitler were dividing up Poland, a surprising number of Polish Jews decided to throw in their lot with Hitler and the Nazis. At least Hitler was a capitalist and was well disposed to free enterprise. He even privatized banks which the Liberal Weimar republic had nationalized.

      Lenin was much more favourably disposed to Jews, putting his foot down and abolishing the pogroms that Russians had for centuries celebrated as some kind of sick religious observance.

      I was surprised to learn that Vladimir Putin’s grandfather served Lenin as his cook.

      1. Hitler was a Socialist, not a Capitalist.

        The defeat of imperial Germany in 1918, the economic burden caused by the payment of war reparations to the Allies, and the social unrest in the early years culminated in the German hyperinflation of 1922–23. The mark, formerly backed by gold, evolved into the Papiermark (paper mark), backed by nothing.

        Economic reforms, such as the issue of a new provisional currency – the Rentenmark – and the 1924 Dawes Plan, stabilised German monetary development and thus the economic outlook of the Weimar Republic. One of the key reforms caused by the Dawes Plan was the establishment of the Reichsbank as an institution independent of the Reich government. On 30 August 1924, the Reichsbank began issuing the Reichsmark, which served as the German currency until 1948.
        The seizure and consolidation of power by the Nazis during the years of the Third Reich also greatly affected the Reichsbank. A 1937 law re-established the Reich government’s control of the Reichsbank, and in 1939, the Reichsbank was renamed the Deutsche Reichsbank and placed under the direct control of Adolf Hitler, with Walther Funk as the last president of the Reichsbank, from 1939 to 1945.

        -Wikipedia “Reichsbank”

        1. “Hitler was a Socialist, not a Capitalist.”

          There was freedom of contract in Hitler’s Germany. Businesses were privately owned, with the exception of Herman Goering Steelworks. Otherwise business managed their own affairs and enjoyed profits.

          You’ve fallen victim to some absurd propagandizing. I cut an paste a Wikipedia article on the economy of Nazi Germany:

          “The Nazi government took the stance that enterprises should be in private hands wherever possible.[42] State ownership was to be avoided unless it was absolutely necessary for rearmament or the war effort, and even in those cases “the Reich often insisted on the inclusion in the contract of an option clause according to which the private firm operating the plant was entitled to purchase it.”[43] Companies privatized by the Nazis included the four major commercial banks in Germany, which had all come under public ownership during the prior years: Commerz– und Privatbank , Deutsche Bank und Disconto-Gesellschaft , Golddiskontbank and Dresdner Bank . [44][45] Also privatized were the Deutsche Reichsbahn (German Railways), at the time the largest single public enterprise in the world, the Vereinigte Stahlwerke A.G. (United Steelworks), the second largest joint-stock company in Germany (the largest was IG Farben) and Vereinigte Oberschlesische Hüttenwerke AG , a company controlling all of the metal production in the Upper Silesian coal and steel industry. The government also sold a number of shipbuilding companies, and enhanced private utilities at the expense of municipally owned utilities companies.[46] Additionally, the Nazis privatized some public services which had been previously provided by the government, especially social and labor-related services, and these were mainly taken over by organizations affiliated with the Nazi Party that could be trusted to apply Nazi racial policies.[47]”

          1. “There was freedom of contract in Hitler’s Germany. Businesses were privately owned, with the exception of Herman Goering Steelworks. Otherwise business managed their own affairs and enjoyed profits.”

            According to Pipes and Figes, there was freedom of contract in the early years of the Soviet Union also.
            According to Tooze, that freedom in Nazi Germany was intended to the strictly temporary.
            And Wiki is not a ‘source’

            1. “According to Pipes and Figes, there was freedom of contract in the early years of the Soviet Union also.”

              Sorry, that doesn’t make Hitler a socialist, communist, leftist or progtard. That’s the contention this moron is parroting.

              1. “Sorry, that doesn’t make Hitler a socialist, communist, leftist or progtard. That’s the contention this moron is parroting.”

                It makes your ‘argument’ bullshit.

                1. So, you’re also convinced that Hitler was a socialist because he privatized banks and industry. I can’t say I’m surprised.

                  1. The difference between state ownership of the means of production, and state control, is a distinction without a difference.

                    Nazis were socialists in all but name. Oh wait ….

                    1. “Nazis were socialists ”

                      Some Nazis had socialist backgrounds. Robert Ley, the Nazi Minister of Labour, and originator of the Heil Hitler salute, was perhaps the most prominent. You may have heard of him. But what you must understand is that the Third Reich was a dictatorship under the rule of Adolf Hitler, and it was Hitler that made the rules, not party members.

                      “Nazis were socialists in all but name. Oh wait ….”

                      The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a Democracy. The name says it all.

                    2. “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is a Democracy. The name says it all.”
                      trueman is a fucking ignoramus; his posts say it all.

                    3. This may be the one and only time I actually kind of agree with him.

                      They had labor friendly policies, no doubt. They also weren’t keen on super hardcore free market capitalism, because they thought it caused some problems/excesses etc.

                      But at best the Nazis were VERY moderate socialists, both by the standards of their time, and current times. All economies are mixed economies, and it really is just a matter of degrees. The USA is more capitalist than most other countries, but has social programs and government owned enterprises… Nazi Germany probably had less government involvement in the economy than the US government does today, until things went into full war time mode anyway. But even in the USA during the war the government controlled everything via rationing, ordering factories to make XYZ items instead of ABC items etc.

                      I’m okay with calling the Nazis moderate socialists, but it’s a stretch to say they were SUPER socialist. This was one of the main complaints REAL socialists and communists made of them at the time… They called themselves socialist, but really weren’t according to contemporary left wing critics.

                  2. mtrueman does not that Socialism involves the state controlling and owning the means of production.

                    The definition does not require ALL businesses be under state control.

                    To dum-dum mtrueman, any nation not Communist is Capitalist. He cites Nazis de-nationalization of banks as a reason Germany was Capitalist and then dismisses when Hitler not only re-nationalized banking in 1937 but became its fucking controller in 1939.

                    1. You can quibble over the meaning of capitalism but I’m using the word as shorthand for the private ownership of property as opposed to the public ownership as Marx recommends. The Nazis didn’t control private industry. It carried on much as before only boosted by government contracts which they freely entered into.

                      “Hitler not only re-nationalized banking in 1937 ”

                      I discussed Hitler’s privatization in a previous comment. Perhaps you missed it in your eagerness to lash out with insults.

                    2. “You can quibble over the meaning of capitalism but I’m using the word as shorthand for the private ownership of property as opposed to the public ownership as Marx recommends.”

                      You can quibble over pedantic bullshit, but that means you’re a pedantic bullshitter.

                    3. Poor mtrueman. No citations to back up his inaccurate definitions.

                      North korea does vote for its leaders. Its also technically a republic since its regional provinces vote for the communist party leaders and state leader.

                      North korea is not a free nation and does not claim to be. It does try and twist words like democracy into a free vote which they do not have. The Kim family always gets a majority vote and there are no realistic alternatives candidates.

                      Its how socialist states try and propagandize a sense of legitimacy.

              2. Mtrue, Sevo and LC are right, you are wrong. You’re splitting hairs. Hitler was a socialist. It’s even in the party name.

                Case closed.

                1. By your reasoning the DPRK is democratic and a republic.

                  We can all sleep better now.

                  1. No, it isn’t. Read more carefully. I know constructing logical arguments is difficult for you normies, but you can probably do it if you really try.

          2. Private property ≠ capitalism. Many socialists believe that private property is a necessary evil in the short term when government can’t be trusted to manage it.

            1. We were discussing Adolf Hitler, not ‘many socialists.’

              1. And you’ve given no evidence that Hitler was a capitalist, only that he tolerated private property, which is not inherently capitalist. He certainly didn’t celebrate private property, as his regime confiscated large amounts of wealth from disfavored people and groups. For instance, after Operation Barbarossa they took food from German-occupied Soviet territory and sent it to Germany. He also didn’t permit free enterprise with those people and groups, something that would be necessary to be a capitalist. Jews weren’t allowed to buy food that wasn’t just bread, for example.

                1. Nobody said he was a capitalist.

                  1. mtrueman did: “At least Hitler was a capitalist”

                    1. My bad. He was definitely more of a capitalist than a socialist as long as it benefited the third reich. He never even nationalized his war machine. I’m pretty sure Krupp and most arms manufacturers remained private, providing they were loyal. So it was like the pinnacle of corrupt crony capitalism complete with slave labor and other horrors.

                    2. “He never even nationalized his war machine.”
                      Read “Wages of Destruction”, Tooze. He intended to and didn’t get the chance.

                    3. He ‘intended’ to do a lot of things and didn’t get the chance.

                    4. IMO Hitler accepted that private enterprise was the way to run the economy, but with some restrictions for “higher” social goals.

                      He was not a pure capitalist… But find me ANY recent politician that’s actually in office who believes in ZERO regulation of ANY type of financial transaction. Not even Ron/Rand Paul or other pretty libertarian leaning people would REALLY be all in for eliminating all taxes, all regulations, etc.

                      It’s a matter of degrees. If a True Scotsman anarchist is a 10 on the scale, and Mao is a 0, Bernie is a 3, Hitler was probably a 6, a Donald Trump or something might be a 7, a Ron Paul a 9.

                      There IS more to the world than black and white…

                    5. “He ‘intended’ to do a lot of things and didn’t get the chance.”

                      Indeed. That’s why Hitler is a socialist, and not a capitalist.

                2. “only that he tolerated private property”

                  No, you’ve misunderstood. He didn’t tolerate private property and private enterprise, he encouraged it. In the Soviet Union, private property and private enterprise were tolerated somewhat, but not encouraged. Do you understand the difference between tolerance and encouragement? You should perhaps consult a dictionary.

                  1. The Soviet Union is not Nazi Germany. Comparing the two isn’t very helpful if you’re only interested in one.

                    He did not encourage private property anywhere that involved non-Germans, Jews, or companies unwilling to voluntarily contribute to the war effort. No private property in any occupied territory.

                    Address the widespread confiscation of wealth and limitations of private property and trade the occupied Soviet Union and of any undesirables anywhere in Germany. Confiscating wealth of non-combatant civilians and preventing them from trading with one another isn’t capitalist.

                    1. No private property in any occupied territory.

                      You are suggesting Nazis confiscated all private property in France, Denmark, Norway, etc.? This ideology stuff sure makes for some funny history.

                    2. “The Soviet Union is not Nazi Germany. Comparing the two isn’t very helpful if you’re only interested in one.”

                      I’m just holding up the Soviet Union as the standard bearer of communism, even though they tolerated private property and private enterprise to some degree, even in the farms he so bloodily collectivized in the early 30’s.

                      “He did not encourage private property anywhere that involved non-Germans, Jews, or companies unwilling to voluntarily contribute to the war effort.”

                      That’s because he was a war mongering anti-semite, not because he was a socialist.

                    3. Stephen Lathrop
                      May.1.2019 at 4:20 pm
                      No private property in any occupied territory.

                      “You are suggesting Nazis confiscated all private property in France, Denmark, Norway, etc.? This ideology stuff sure makes for some funny history.”
                      Pretty much. It was theirs to take at their pleasure. The fact that some was not taken is irrelevant to the de facto ownership by the Nazis.
                      It’s no so ‘funny’ if you bother to learn something about it.

                    4. Give me a break!

                      It is traditional standard practice to do this thing called LOOTING when one conquers a territory. You jack shit from those that are you enemies. You leave alone most of the regular folks you don’t think are a problem, or only jack them slightly, depending on the circumstances.

                      THIS is what Hitler did. If you’re going to say stealing property means one CANNOT be capitalist, especially if it’s directed at certain undesirable groups… Well then I guess the Dutch, British, and ultimately the USA weren’t capitalists at all either… Because they conquered territory, and then stole shit from the people they had conquered, even while leaving much property and rights intact for those they didn’t feel the need to jack.

                      Make better arguments guys.

                  2. Clearly McGoop and mtrueman are just going to keep rambling about Hitler and Nazi Germany without knowing what they are talking about.

                    Looks like all their citations just keep falling off.

                    Nazis: Still Socialists

                    1. McGoop, trueman and Lathrop are blithering idiots. If you see a post by any of them, read it carefully; it is bullshit.

                    2. Says the resident decrepit Reason curmudgeon. Seems like you used to be able to make a point.

                    3. @McGoo Sevo is right, you fucking leftard idiots don’t know what your talking about, its typical leftard deflection. All one needs to do is read Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and his letters, he bashes capitalism non stop, not to mention his domestic policies which you leftards try to skew constantly to deny this guy you call a “extreme right winger” is really part of your ranks. HITLER WAS A SOCIALIST. Quit denying it and being dishonest about it and face the facts.

                    4. He bashes Marxism too dumbfuck. When you graduate from high school maybe you’ll realize the world doesn’t conform to your simplistic view of it. Grow up.

                    5. “He bashes Marxism too.”

                      That doesn’t disqualify Hitler from being a socialist. As is pointed out in the article “Nazis: Still Socialists” that loveconstitution1789 linked to points out, all this means is that Hitler isn’t a Bolsheveik.

                    6. Okay he was a right-wing socialist (a.k.a. a Nationalist). Happy now? Didn’t think so.

                    7. “Okay he was a right-wing socialist (a.k.a. a Nationalist). Happy now? Didn’t think so.”

                      Nationalists and socialists are essentially the same thing. What does it mean to “nationalize” the oil industry? It’s taken over by the national government. This is also called “socializing” the oil industry.

                      So if we’re going to call Hitler a Nationalist, we might as well concede that he was a Socialist while we’re at it.

                      It’s actually rather funny how many words we have — Nationalist, Socialist, Communist, Fascist, Democratic Socialist, Monarchist, Imperialist — for “government that wants to control the means of production, aka YOU”. At some point, we should just short-circuit all of this, and call them Collectivist.

                      With this in mind, calling Adolf Hitler a “capitalist” is rather silly: capitalism is a side effect of respecting individuals and their liberty. Adolf Hitler had absolutely no interest in individual liberty. Thus, he was a Collectivist. If we try to define what kind of Collectivist he was, at this point, we’re merely quibbling over definitions.

                  3. Guys, we don’t have to disagree here.

                    Yes, the National Socialists were socialists.

                    1. The issue is whether Hitler was a socialist. Hitler was the dictator, not anyone else.

          3. The Nazis privatized public services.
            The private organizations controlling the services were affiliated with the Nazi Party.
            Given that in the Third Reich the party was the state, the services were state controlled, even if the controllers were “private” and not “government”.

            1. As Hitler put it, “Why need we trouble to socialize banks and factories? We socialize human beings.”

              The “means of production” that socialists want government to control is *you*, the individual.

        2. Oh, no, not this again. Yes, Hitler was a socialist. He was also more capitalist friendly than Stalin.

      2. “In 1939 when Stalin and Hitler were dividing up Poland, a surprising number of Polish Jews decided to throw in their lot with Hitler and the Nazis.”
        Your cite is missing.

        1. “Your cite is missing.”

          Read a book or three about the Nazi/Soviet takeover of Poland. It’s not a happy chapter in human history, I warn you.

          1. Your cite is missing, moron.

            1. I’m not your teacher. You want to learn history, read some books. Nipping at my ankles won’t teach you anything.

              1. Neither will reading your comments, apparently.

                1. Ask Sevo. He reads all my comments and sees fit to comment on many of them.

                  1. “He reads all my comments and sees fit to comment on many of them.”
                    Yes, calling you on your constant bullshit is enjoyable.

                    1. Except you’re not. Why do you find it difficult to believe Polish Jews might think they have better chances in 1939 with the Nazi’s than the Russian’s? Pretty sure the Russian Pogroms had killed many more jews than the German’s had at that point in time.

                    2. “Why do you find it difficult to believe Polish Jews might think they have better chances in 1939 with the Nazi’s than the Russian’s?”
                      Why do you think anyone should believe bullshit from trueman or you without some source?
                      Is it because you’re a blithering idiot?

                    3. You’re the one crying about a missing citation, why don’t you provide one proving him wrong? Because you’re a worthless asshole, that’s why.

                    4. The funny thing about trolls like mcgoop, their posts without citations dont need any reply since their statements are always wrong.

                    5. Wow. You guys are being mighty dickish for people who clearly don’t know much about WWII history.

                      Many Jews DID choose to be in the Nazi controlled parts of Poland. And it wasn’t the first time the Jews decided they were okay with the Nazis.

                      Many conservative Jews backed Hitler on his rise to power, as they disliked commies more. They also thought that much of what Hitler said was just rhetoric and not much would come of it.

                      Ultimately, if WWII had gone differently it is entirely possible the Holocaust wouldn’t have happened, BTW. The Nazis made serious efforts to allow ALL the Jews to emigrate out of their lands. Other nations just wouldn’t take them in large enough numbers. They went so far as to try to buy territory to move them to, just to get them out of Germany. If Germany had won, they may have just shipped them off to some shitty segregated territory, or eventually got them all shipped off to foreign nations, since real world conquest was unlikely and not really a true goal of the Nazis.

                      Actions like the above are probably part of the reason why AT THE TIME the Jews weren’t worried about being murdered. Keep in mind those in the know already knew about mass murder in the USSR, whereas no such events had happened in Germany yet. Germany was a civilized nation you know, unlike those barbaric Russians.

                      Known political dissidents had been thrown in concentration camps, but these were not death camps. Other than that it was typical 2nd class citizen shit… But nobody at the time was expecting mass murder.

                      You boys REALLY need to buff up on your WWII history before you start acting like experts about this shit.

                    6. “Wow. You guys are being mighty dickish for people who clearly don’t know much about WWII history.

                      “Many Jews DID choose to be in the Nazi controlled parts of Poland. And it wasn’t the first time the Jews decided they were okay with the Nazis.”

                      And I can’t help but think that this should be a *very* easy thing to show a cite for. Instead, we get this back-and-forth name calling.

                      I, for one, would appreciate a cite (and I agree that it should be more than Wikipedia, too; it’s a fun resource, but I don’t always trust it). At the very least, it will amuse me to see one.

                    7. “Jewish refugees under the Soviet occupation had little knowledge about what was going on under the Germans since the Soviet media did not report on the goings on in territories occupied by their Nazi ally.[137][138] [139] Many people from Western Poland registered for repatriation back to the German zone, including wealthier Jews, as well as some political and social activists from the interwar period. Instead, they were labelled “class enemies” by the NKVD and deported to Siberia with the others. Jews caught at border crossings, or engaged in trade and other “illegal” activities were also arrested and deported. Several thousand, mostly captured Polish soldiers, were executed; some of them Jewish.[140]”

                      From ‘History of the Jews in Poland wiki’. The references are there for anti-wikipedians.

                    8. And ta-da!

                      For some things I don’t mind when people ask for a link… But I’ve found that 99% of the time when people demand cites, especially ones that aren’t Wikipedia or even a website… They’re just tools being tools.

                      Half the time it’s stuff that anybody who knows about a subject has simply read about in passing. Anybody know that the UK was about to declare war on the USSR, but military actions by the Nazis in Scandinavia screwed up their plans? It’s a fact… I also don’t have a fucking cite saved for it, because I’m not a freak with 11,000 bookmarks, including references to books I’ve read etc. Lots of people just know things, but don’t save where this info comes from… Like how a libertarian might just know that raising minimum wages reduces employment or something!

                      It’s usually just a bitch move to try to win an argument without actually trying. Most of the time anybody with a passing knowledge of the subject simply KNOWS the info, but the ignorant person thinks it’s crazy talk because they’re ignorant. I know a LOT of WWII history, and I can’t give cites for any of it… In short they’re saying “You google this info for me, because I’m really just trying to harass you!”

                    9. “From ‘History of the Jews in Poland wiki’. The references are there for anti-wikipedians.”

                      See? That wasn’t so hard, now, was it?

                    10. Yea but it shoudn’t have even been necessary to anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of the events of the past century. However, it is still interesting reading…..you should try it.

                    11. “Yea but it shoudn’t have even been necessary to anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of the events of the past century.”

                      Government education has a *lot* to answer for, to be sure.

                      And yes, a strong case can be made that our education system has been sabotaged by Communists.

                      The other day our Carpenter’s helper heard me say something along the lines of, “it is difficult to conclude that incompetence is the reason why our public schools have deteriorated. There comes a point where you have to suspect sabotage, or a conspiracy.”

                      He asked me if I really meant that. I gave him the five minute explanation of John Dewey’s known affiliation with communists, his frequent essays and articles about the wonders of the Soviet education system, and his quote, “You can’t make Socialists out of individualists. Children who know how to think for themselves spoil the harmony of the collective society which is coming where everyone is interdependent.”

                      https://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2004/12/department-of-our-collapsing-collapsed.html

              2. You want to learn history, read some books.

                ::cites Wikipedia instead of actual books::

    2. I don’t know how this comment spawned such an autistic debate about Nazism, but I was just pointing out that it’s important that people recognize that state endorsed violence is inherent to both Nazism and Communism. There’s no such thing as a “good” Communism where nice people seize property and centrally plan but don’t infringe upon your rights or kill you. Most people understand how Nazi ideology inherently lead to genocide, but Communism gets a free pass because it’s for the children, minorities, equality or…something. “Communism just hasn’t been implemented properly yet” is a common excuse.

      1. Does Nazi ideology inherently lead to genocide? The Nazis themselves only started mass murdering Jews in earnest when it was clear the war was going badly, and tried very hard pre shots being fired to just get them out of their territory.

        No other fascists committed genocide. And every other European nation (not to mention most other great empires historically) shared their notions of racial superiority, yet didn’t try to completely wipe out the other ethnicities they conquered.

        The British thought themselves the greatest people on earth, and were plenty harsh, but never tried to kill every African or Indian under their rule. Ditto with the USA. Or France. Or Spain. Or China. Or Japan. Or Persia. Or Rome.

        I could go on. The Nazis ended up being an especially hardcore fluke of history. Circumstances combined with their ideology lead to them being extra dickish. That’s pretty much it. Had they conquered Russia and beat the British into a peace settlement there is every reason to believe they would have treated the Jews and Slavs as second class citizens, but not tried to 100% wipe them out.

        1. Jesus Christ. Stanning for the Nazis.

          And below, you advocate mass murder of the USSR.

          You got problems, dude.

          1. How is being RATIONAL standing up for anybody? Did I not call them dicks? The thing is, when you only know the version of history that’s on the Cracker Jack box, these things sound crazy… But when you have a slightly deeper knowledge, as is usual in almost all situations, you find that there’s a lot more weird shit and grey zone stuff going on.

            If the Nazis REALLY wanted to simply kill every Jew… Why didn’t they start doing it in the early 30s right after they came to power? Or even in 1939 right when they declared war? If they had, they could have actually killed every single Jew in their territory, with time to spare.

            The fact is they didn’t like the Jews. They wanted them removed from Germany, or at least their influence completely eliminated. They copied the concentration camp/ghetto system from Indian reservations in the USA initially… And perhaps that’s all it would have remained had they won the war. 2nd class citizens forced to live in ghettos at the whim of an evil nation that hated them.

            You’re the one being a moron, and ignoring obvious and known facts, logic, etc. Everybody always wants some black and white version of everything, when in reality almost everything is grey scale. Grow up, and learn to see nuance in the world.

            1. Claiming you’re the most rational person in the room is not a sign you’re being very reasonable, or really that you’re worth engaging.

              Everyone here thinks they’re being rational; no one else feels they need to go on about it.

              Your suppositions are not doing much to show you’ve ready a book. Your ‘obvious and known facts, logic, etc.’ are actually not that; you are largely alone in your understanding. And your need to talismanically invoke facts and logic show more about where you keep your ego than any actuality.

              1. Didn’t check for days, and you probably won’t see this but…

                Everything I said is true. They copied their ghetto/camp system from America, this is a widely known fact. It is a fact that the Nazis tried to get as many Jews emigrated out of their territory as possible, but nobody wanted such a large number of Jews. (Why do this is they wanted to kill them?) They also tried half way seriously to BUY land to move them to. It is also a fact that mass murder didn’t begin until the war turned. It is a fact that top Nazis were quoted as saying that even if they wouldn’t win THE war, they could win the war against the Jews. Not to mention there is oodles of Nazi paperwork about TONS of plans for what to do with them, that didn’t include killing them all… Until the Wannsee Conference when they decided to whack them.

                Given those facts, most of which are NOT taught to kids in their Cracker Jacks box version of history in school, could a reasonable person not see that it is entirely probable that the Nazis:

                Did not like Jews, but didn’t really intend to kill every single one of them from the get go. More or less as shit spiraled out of control they decided they might as well whack all the Jews, since they believed them to be a vast source of problems in the world.

                That is a 100% reasonable interpretation, ALSO it is NOT something where I am the only one. Many historians would probably readily admit that mass murder probably wasn’t the plan main from the world go. It was like option # 4 or 5 on their list, if not further down than that. But since they lost the war, it made it to the top of the list.

                That’s not saying it’s good. It’s not saying Nazis were nice. It’s simply a balanced view on the subject given all the facts.

                It’s much the same with Anglo murder of Native Americans. We mostly just wanted them out of the way, and were fine with just caging them up on reservations… But if they had to, people back then were fine massacring them too. It’s basically the exact same thing, only in America we won and so could be magnanimous, whereas the Nazis didn’t so said “Fuck it! Burn this bitch down!” as they were losing.

              2. I see it; not worth engaging with, though.

                It does not matter that Nazis learned from America’s racism; they innovated quite a bit after that.

                Did not like the Jews to the point they decided on a Final Solution. The wrote about it, talked about it. Think of why you are doing so much work to deny it.

                1. I’m not denying anything you retard! I’m just saying that context is a thing… Almost no cannibal situation would have occurred within the western world in the last, I dunno, thousand plus years… If the person hadn’t been in a situation where they were starving… AKA It’s silly to say that all the people from the situation the movie Alive was based on were brutal and evil cannibal bastards from birth, without knowing the context.

                  On a 0-100 brutality scale the Nazis probably would have stuck to a solid 70-80 if they had won the war… No worse than the US, Brits, or endless other nations at their worse moments. Knowing far more about WWII history than you do, it seems to me they only went to 100 because they were losing.

                  Again, it’s just trying to use ones brain instead of having knee jerk reactions to everything and acting like everything is black and white.

        2. Any authoritarian system of governance creates the conditions necessary for genocide. Even the nicest authoritarians ever would one day be replaced and the mechanisms for evil people to abuse state power remain in place. That’s why decentralized, limited government is always superior.

          1. Yup. As I said, under other circumstances they might not have committed too much genocide at all… And under OTHER different circumstances they may well have killed ever more than they did. But absolute dictatorships always have the potential for mass murder, and a good chunk of them go that route.

        3. The Nazis themselves only started mass murdering Jews in earnest when it was clear the war was going badly,

          No one should pay the slightest attention to the misstatements of history from commenter vek. Einsatzgruppen (mass murder squads, targeting Jews and others) followed directly behind the first waves of the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939. Their activity increased during the first stages of the German conquest of the western Soviet Union.

          Maybe vek supposes mass murders of Jews repeated again and again, and sometimes numbering in the tens of thousands at a time, are not “in earnest.” Otherwise, it’s bewildering to guess what he might think he is talking about.

          Anyone with questions should just google “einsatzgruppen” and read the Wikipedia article. It condenses more comprehensive accounts from a host of authoritative academic histories. Vek coud not be more wrong.

          1. Again, a half truth.

            You know that many of the people the einsatzgruppen killed were POLITICAL LEADERS and political dissidents right? Like specifically targeted communists, publishers with influences, sitting politicians, etc. And yes, their entire families much of the time, because they were dicks. Also, some of the worst Jew mass murders at that early date that were blamed on the Nazis… Were actually committed by the USSR, which came out after the fall of the USSR.

            But, they did in fact also do some outright purges in certain areas. However, they didn’t even attempt to kill everyone everywhere… The Nazis were totally down with killing the fuck out of people. I never said otherwise. But as I stated above, if they wanted to kill 100% of all Jews, why would they have not started in 1933? or 1935? Or even gone full bore in 1939? They only went full on when it was obvious the war was being lost.

            Top ranking Nazis were quoted as saying essentially “We knew we were going to lose the war against the Allies, but at least we can win the war against the Jews.” IIRC that was an Adolph Eichmann quote.

            The US army on numerous occasions killed every man, woman, and child in certain Indian villages… Yet we were not actually trying to systematically murder every single Indian. All I’m saying is that had things gone differently, the Nazis may well have continued to handle the Jews like we did with the Indians, vs what ended up happening.

        4. Yes, Nazi ideology inherently leads to genocide. It leads to genocide for the exact same reason that Marxist ideology leads to genocide.

          You can only mess up the economy so much, and generate only so much misery among the population, before you start implementing secret police to root out “saboteurs” and find scapegoats.

          We would do well that the Holocaust systemically murdered 6 million Jews — but that’s literally half of the people who were systemically murdered. Another 6 million people were murdered for being undesirables.

          No, the same forces that gave us Adolf Hitler, also gave us Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Castro (among others).

          1. “No, the same forces that gave us Adolf Hitler, also gave us Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Castro (among others).”

            This is only true if you’re an idiot.

          2. No, the same forces that gave us Adolf Hitler, also gave us Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Castro (among others).

            Disagree. I suggest that those cases each arose from its own circumstances, and from a particular history interacting in each case with the unique character of an above-average political opportunist. The salient historical features differ among them, but on a case-by-case basis can be characterized broadly, thus:

            Economic and social chaos > Hitler
            War, economic collapse, and ideology > Lenin
            Nationalism and ideological excess post-Lenin > Stalin
            War, feudal abuses, and nationalism > Mao
            Capitalist excesses and ideology > Castro

            Of course 4 of those 5 were also characterized by the disintegration of a previously sovereign power. The transition from Lenin to Stalin was more like a hand-off within an existing sovereign framework.

            That is, of course, a ridiculously over-simplified taxonomy, but maybe recognizable enough to help note that they weren’t all from an identical historical source, nor entirely a matter of ideology, let alone identical ideology.

          3. I would be totally fine with saying Nazi ideology increases the chances of genocide a METRIC FUCK TON over saaay a constitutional republic… But I just don’t think it is a 100% given. As I have said elsewhere, the British were every bit as into racial superiority, but didn’t mass murder the way the Nazis did.

            No other fascist nation committed mass murder like the Nazis. Likewise, even some communist regimes have not really committed true mass murder… Merely targeted political murder, which is very bad, but also a different thing altogether.

            Being a 95 on the 100 point dick scale is pretty bad… I don’t see why people have to pretend that some things are even worse than they were, when they’re already clearly fucked.

            1. The difference between Great Britain and Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and Communist China is that Great Britain never went full-out nationalizing everything. They had a strong tradition of respecting individual rights (which America took and dialed up to 11, and then some).

              It is a mistake to attribute Nazi mass murder solely to racial superiority. They went after people for political reasons as well.

              1. Yeah, to a point. But you’re forgetting that the British only believed in rights for white BRITISH people… And they even had a hierarchy in there, with the English at the top, followed by the Scots and Welsh, and the Irish being little better than dirty brown skinned foreigners.

                I think there are plenty of cultural and political reasons the Brits were more civilized about their conquest… But I also think half of it was that they won. Losing makes people desperate. Most of the worst stuff the Nazis did was after the war turned. The Brits would intermittently get BRUTAL with massacres, executions, etc in the colonies as needed when things were rough going. If they’d ever felt truly hemmed in in saaay South Africa, I don’t know that they wouldn’t have just killed every black in the territory.

                1. Hitler didn’t wait to start murdering people until it was clear he was going to lose: he was determined to eliminate undesirables from the get-go.

                  For that matter, the Brits were more inclined to recognize the rights of even their subjects. Do you really think that Ghandi’s tactics would have worked against a Hitler, a Stalin, or a Mao?

                  1. Hitler didn’t start wholesale murder of any single group until the war was lost though… He selectively murdered people from the beginning, as has almost every dictatorial system ever. The concentration camps in the early days REALLY were just large shitty prisons for political undesirables, but they got fed, not worked to death, etc. Far better than gulags in the USSR were. They opened up the death camps many years later when things were fucked.

                    As for the Brits and Gandhi… No it wouldn’t have worked on a Hitler… But it also wouldn’t have worked on the Brits in 1850, or 1800, or 1750. They probably would have ended up whacking him, or massacring a lot more of his people, etc. Keep in mind the American colonists were arguably being cooler than Gandhi was for the first number of years leading up to 1776, and were getting shit on pretty hard… Eventually we said fuck it, let’s revolt, whereas Gandhi never did.

                    I guess my point is merely that people like to make out like Stalin, Hitler, Mao, etc are somehow singularly worse than anybody else… And in some ways they are. There are surely lines we like to think the Brits or the USA wouldn’t cross… And there probably are… But I think a lot more of it is simply context, and us liking to pretend the gaps between lines we wouldn’t cross and where Hitler went are far greater than they really are. Then difference in treatment of the Jews vs Native Americans is negligible until maybe 1942 or 1943, and most don’t want to admit it.

          4. Mcgoo95, Stephen Lathrop

            “This is only true if you’re an idiot.”

            I’m not talking about the forces that put these people into power. I am talking about the environment that they create after they come to power: the desire to control the economy completely and thoroughly lead to secret police and gulags. It has to, because bureaucratic control of industry leads to shortages, which makes the people miserable, and leads people to sell things on the black market — who are thus considered saboteurs of the Great Plan, and must be destroyed. Secret police are also necessary to keep people from talking and organizing among themselves, lest they conclude that the problems they are facing are caused by the leaders, and not the “saboteurs”, and thus decide to overthrow the leaders.

            Freedom and government control of the means of production — no matter how you do it — are incompatible. It’s also why you need a microscope to see the differences between Nazis, Communists, and Socialists.

            1. epsilon, you write like someone trying to create historical facts by reasoning from ideological premises. That can seem to work, of course, especially if your ideological ideas have some validity, which many ideological ideas do. Events and ideology can seem to chime together, especially for listeners expecting to hear a particular chord. But ideology can never be a substitute—not even a little bit of a substitute—for learning history by looking at what actually happened.

              For instance, consider the case of Mao and China. You can show historically that the forces which put him in power, were, for the most part, the forces which kept him in power—because both on the way to power, and in power, Mao was expert at the politics those forces created.

              Conversely, the largely mistaken assumptions Mao’s opponents made about what supported Mao’s regime—assumptions rather like yours—were at the root of historical blunders of great import for the opponents, especially here in the U.S. It is notable that to achieve those blunders, the ideologues who set America’s China policy on the wrong foot for decades had first to ignore the well-founded advice of China experts who had been resident there.

              Those understood the situation not through the lens of ideology, but by history and experience. On that basis they knew that communist China was not a pawn of the Soviet Union, nor as ideologically enthralled. They understood the dominant role that anti-colonialism and resurgent nationalism played in Mao’s political success. The experts’ reward for being right about those things was the destruction of their careers at the hands of right wing ideologues, whose premises dictated beliefs to the contrary.

              This nation began to pay the price for those misunderstandings with China’s entry into the Korean War. Other costs have continued for decades, arguably down to the present.

              1. Mao was a Communist, through-and-through, and he deliberately destroyed millions of peasants in the countryside because helping them would impede his Vision of making China a great industrial powerhouse.

                It doesn’t matter what roles anti-colonialism or nationalism played, the fact remains: Mao had no concerns whatsoever for individuals and their rights. He had a Vision for China, and if it meant that millions of peasants were going to starve, then so be it, and they starved because Mao didn’t care.

                Of course, they would have starved, even if Mao *did* care, because his system of forcing everyone to perform according to the whims of his bureaucrats meant that peasants quickly became very demotivated, but hey, what’s a few eggs in creating an omelette? (Even if the omelette never appears.)

    3. To latch on to some private ownership of industry (which was mobilized ruthlessly to serve the state), and claim that Hitler was a capitalist is breathtaking, given the evidence from his own words:

      “We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are all determined to destroy this system under all conditions”

      “I have learned a great deal from Marxism” … “as I do not hesitate to admit”

      “[My task is to] “convert the German volk (people) to socialism without simply killing off the old individualists”

      [We must] “find and travel the road from individualism to socialism without revolution”

      “Why need we trouble to socialize banks and factories? We socialize human beings.”

  2. This is more important than ever. There is no doubt that Putin is a silent communist and is trying to recreate the Soviet Union. His little excursions into ex-Soviet states are for the purpose of testing the waters to see how quickly and completely he can move forward. The shame elections, the lies, the lack of human rights, the assassinations are straight out of the Soviet playbook.

    1. Putin was an actual Communist and officer in the KGB during the time of the USSR.

      While Russia currently is NOT a Communist state, it is a Socialist state. The Russian government controls and owns some of the means of production.
      State-owned enterprises of Russia

      1. True but he is not currently a member of the communist party. I think we will see that change in the next few years, if not in name at least in policy as the All Russia People’s Front (his party now) adopts a more and more communist platform. We already are seeing the re-Stalinization of Russia as he prepares the people.

    2. He’s not a communist, he’s a crime boss with a country as his territory. He doesn’t give a shit who owns anything as long as they do what he wants, voluntary or not.

      1. As were all the communist leaders.

        1. That’s the thing though – crime bosses would be less destructive. Nazis or Commies, it’s the ideologues you need to worry about.

          1. Leftist ideologies are always bad.

          2. Ideologues more destructive than criminals. Good point.

            “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
            – C.S. Lewis

            1. Good quote, thanks!

            2. Christian Science Lewis actually copied the gist of that from Lysander Spooner’s “No Treason”–a satirical takedown of the Civil War income tax as published in Congressional records.

              1. First of all, CS Lewis may have come up with something similar on his own. Second, I’d appreciate seeing the quote from Lysander Spooner himself; I don’t trust you when you make this claim.

                Third, who cares? CS Lewis is right about this, as will be anyone else who points this out, quote or otherwise.

                1. Hank despises Christianity, and all Christians. In what passes for his mind, he cannot countenance the idea that a devout man such as Lewis could have had the wisdom and insight that he did.

          3. One could make a strong case that Capone did less damage to Chicago than Daley did.

            -jcr

      2. He’s not a communist, he’s a crime boss with a country as his territory.

        These have never been mutually exclusive.

        -jcr

    3. I think Putin is more of a non ideological traditional strong man. I think he is genuinely nationalistic, but is fine with whatever policies it takes to achieve ends he deems desirable.

      If I had to pick anything, I’d say he’s more of a typical fascist. Fascism is the ultimate way for dictatorships really.

      It has enough free market going on to have a functional economy, but they still maintain control through strong government regulation.

      1. Putin is a violent, murderous sociopath and there is nothing positive that anyone can say about him that is true. His chosen ideology is inconsequential.

  3. Bernie Sanders and half of the 2020 Democrat hopefuls disagree.

    1. Half?!?

      Interested in knowing how you found any other than Biden.

      1. You think the Dem party establishment doesn’t think communism killed a bunch of people?

        1. Of course they know. But in order to make an omelette, one must break a few eggs…

          1. I don’t think Bernie Sanders is a wannabe mass murderer.

            1. What does it say about the character of a man who honeymooned in the USSR? I think it says he’s an idiot and a slime ball, and a potential traitor. Maybe not a wannabe mass murder but certainly the supporter of a murderous ideology.

              1. Yeah, I saw the picture. How long ago was that? If anyone has the soul of an authoritarian, it’s the one throwing around the term traitor when talking about opposing politicians.

                Your supposition that Bernie Sanders is not just a socialist, but a Bolshevik, hearkens back to the dark paranoid days of McCarthyism.

                1. The dark paranoid days of McCarthyism turned out to be largely accurate.

                  1. That’s pretty dumb.

                    Some Communists in government positions did not mean the revolution was near.

                    McCarthy was a clown who was just making stuff up for populist gain, and the atmosphere of paranoia and blacklisting he urged on was a massive overreaction that hurt many innocent people. And we’re still dealing with some tools approving of the empty redbaiting it created.

                  2. He was right.

                    It was far more than a few, as we can now see by all of the infiltration of the institutions of the nation. There are hordes in government, academia, the media, etc.

                    McCarthy saws the roots of all this forming, and called it out. Maybe he was a dick, but he wasn’t far off the mark.

                    1. And yet the republic stands, and without the need for a purge of thought criminals, somehow!

                      McCarthy was a drunk populist who rode fear to power. He had no special insight, just a complete lack of decency.

                    2. “And yet the republic stands, and without the need for a purge of thought criminals, somehow!”

                      To what degree does the republic stand because McCarthy called out the Communists in government?

                      I would go so far as to say that the *real* people who had no decency were the Democrats, who were more than happy to have Communists in their midst. The person McCarthy named when he was asked “Have you no decency?”, Fred Fisher, was indeed a Communist.

                      And what does this say about Democrats, who not only covered up the murderous regimes abroad, but were more than willing to bring about an implementation of such a murderous regime in the United States itself?

                    3. epsilon, you think we didn’t have a Republic in the 1940s?

                      Democrats didn’t cover up anything, it was called the iron curtain for a reason.

                      The point is not every communist was an existential threat. Democrats believed in freedom of thought, and of association. You do not appear to.

                    4. LOL

                      Well, I can tell you this… Our republic is currently falling apart, and we have moved a LOT closer to communism than we were then… Maybe we should have gone a little more hard core on the commies then, and we’d be a better nation today for it.

                      As for the Dems supporting free speech… Like they do now??? They didn’t then, and don’t now. At least not the ones in power. They were fine with commies because they agreed on a lot of things, if not being outright commies themselves. It was a pragmatic move, not one of purity or virtue. See how they have turned on all those ideals now that they don’t think they serve their ends anymore?

                    5. “The point is not every communist was an existential threat. Democrats believed in freedom of thought, and of association. You do not appear to.”

                      Would you be willing to defend the very same Democrats if, instead of Communist lawyers, they had Nazi lawyers? Particularly if Nazis were still in power, and Nazis in government would more than likely be willing to send each and every State secret to our enemies?

                      Yes, we have freedom of association. A part of freedom of association includes refusing to associate with people we know are enemies of freedom.

                      Considering that Nancy Pelosi had a Chinese Communist spy for 20 years as a *chauffeur*, I don’t think the Democrats *ever* learned that it’s not good to associate with enemies of America.

                      Either that, or they don’t see Communists as enemies of freedom, to this day.

                    6. Ah, vek. Pointing at Dems today when I make a point about McCarthyism. Textbook whattaboutism. Defend the point or quite the field.; don’t faff about with fallacies. Your crisis crying doesn’t even succeed in being a fallacy; it’s not even germaine.

                      epsilon given, the analogy between American commies and American Nazis is not a good one. American Nazis had one purpose. American Commies had lots of purposes, ideologies, and more. Plus, of course, McCarthyism persecuted many innocents and wrecked the lives of many more. Gotta break a few eggs if you’re going to have a proper police state, eh?

                      Yes, we have freedom of association.

                      A part of freedom of association includes refusing to associate with people we know are enemies of freedom.

                      So then we don’t have freedom of association, then do we? Congrats on your fascism 101.

                    7. “epsilon given, the analogy between American commies and American Nazis is not a good one. American Nazis had one purpose. American Commies had lots of purposes, ideologies, and more.”

                      There’s one purpose that Nazis and Communists shared: to overthrow our Republic and the freedoms it recognized, and replace it with a government where everyone was subject to a dictatorship.

                      “So then we don’t have freedom of association, then do we? Congrats on your fascism 101.”

                      I don’t insist that we should make it illegal to associate with Communists. But it’s one thing to be nice to a Communist, or a even a Nazi, at a party; it’s an entirely different thing if you willingly put Communists in positions of power and influence.

                      Democrats don’t *have* to reject Communism, but the fact they don’t means I cannot consider them friends of freedom, nor of the American Republic.

                      “Plus, of course, McCarthyism persecuted many innocents and wrecked the lives of many more.”

                      That persecution wasn’t the result of laws passed by Congress, though, it was the result of a not unfounded fear that Communists were trying to take over and destroy our way of life. To further complicate matters, some of the lives ruined really were Communists — both in and out of government.

                    8. Not all commies were revolutionaries. Especially not the ones in government. Especially the ones that quit after Stalin made his pact with Hitler.

                      You won’t find any current Dems talking about how kick-ass the USSR was, so I don’t know what you mean when you say Dems are embracing communism.

                      Unless you think Dems mean to topple the American government, you’d better start defining your terms.

                      Your excusing McCarthy’s reign of terror because included in it were a few commies betrays a pretty frightening lack of care for collateral social or personal damage.

                    9. “Not all commies were revolutionaries. Especially not the ones in government. Especially the ones that quit after Stalin made his pact with Hitler.”

                      Yet they still support a “Dictatorship of the Proletariat”. Why are we supposed to trust them? And why were we supposed to trust them at a time when Communists *were* actively seeking to overthrow or take over our government?

                      “You won’t find any current Dems talking about how kick-ass the USSR was, so I don’t know what you mean when you say Dems are embracing communism.”

                      They are all to enthusiastic about how “kick-ass” socialism, is, though, and I personally don’t see any difference between socialists and communists. I don’t see why we should, either.

                      “Unless you think Dems mean to topple the American government, you’d better start defining your terms.”

                      Dems don’t want to topple government, per se. They just want to take it over, and then use it to take over our lives.

                      “Your excusing McCarthy’s reign of terror because included in it were a few commies betrays a pretty frightening lack of care for collateral social or personal damage.”

                      And I find your excusing of Democrat support for Communists to betray a frightening lack of care for the genuine danger to freedom that Communists represented at the time — and the danger that Socialists represent as well.

                      At what point will we start to have the same kind of revulsion towards Communists, and Socialists, for that matter, that we do when we hear the word Nazi (whether it be the genuine article, or the modern Neo-Nazi)? Socialists of *all* stripes have proven themselves as evil as Nazis, with Venezuela being the latest example, yet we have Democrats who are running for President, and Democrats in Congress, who have no problem with being identified as Socialists.

                    10. Sarc, you’re a communist sympathizer, so it’s of little surprise that loathe a good commie smasher like Joe McCarthy.

                      This country needs a thousand more.

                    11. Yeah, we all get you’re a McCarthy wanna be. Try drinking more.

                      Check out my May 2nd 1:16 pm if you want to see where my sympathies lie. Hating communism and McCarthyism actually both go together with loving liberty.

                      As if you actually care about anything more than posting sad tribal cries.

                    12. Epsilon is winning all over this shit!

                      Sarc… Do you not understand the concept of an existential threat?

                      Probably not. Because most likely your entire life things have been cushy, and you’ve never felt truly threatened. Well, back in the day communism was an in your face existential threat. It’s easy to say in hind sight now that it wasn’t a big deal… But at the time, not so much.

                      If people had taken fascism more seriously, perhaps its spread could have been stopped, saving 10s of millions of lives. The truth is sometimes you go to war time rules, which are NOT the same standards as in peace time. We were basically on permanent war footing during the cold war, and for good fucking reason. That we didn’t actually jail half of those commies shows how big our commitment to freedom was, because that’s exactly what would have happened in many other countries.

                    13. Vek, you’re an idiot. If my life has been cushy, how has your life been? And yet you have insights about the Hard Choices and Hard Men that are needed in Hard Times.

                      You’re a simpleton who think like he’s in a 1980s action movie.

                    14. By most standards my life has been pretty cushy… The difference is I can realize that in a different era when the 2nd most powerful nation in the world hates you, hates your way of life, has enough nukes to destroy the entire world, has spies everywhere, is actively subverting governments worldwide, is supporting revolutions all over the world, etc etc etc… That decisions made by people in those times are going to be different than arm chair quarterbacks who already know the eventual outcome decades on.

                      I used to rail on people for Korea, Vietnam, and all the other stupid shit we did… But I try to be a little less harsh now for many of those bad choices, because at the time things looked a LOT different than they do now. Nobody knew communism wasn’t going to sweep the world in 1967.

                      Frankly, a softer toned down version HAS swept the world. The globalist system is essentially a middlin’ level of heavy handed socialism, and anybody who doesn’t like it gets labeled all kinds of nasty shit.

                2. So, just curious Sarcastr0, do you deny that the USSR was an oppressive, murderous regime? Do you deny that Sanders was a communist sympathizer? Maybe he still is? Has he denounced his Soviet communist friends?

                  1. I’ve said elsewhere that Communism is dumb and murderous. Yes, I think the USSR was a horrific and evil empire that through neglect, malice and worse, killed millions of it’s own people and forced countless others to live in terror.

                    I don’t know what Sanders was, though I do know there was a period the USSR’s level of corruption and depredation was not so bad. But I do know that thinking ‘maybe’ he’s harboring secret love for Stalin nowadays is just silly.

                    Do you know any Soviet friends of Sanders, or are you just indulging in the lowest of redbaiting, trying to revive the discarded tactics of the 1950s in the 2010s.

                    1. I did not mean the USSR was not so bad, but rather that it was not perceived or understood to be so bad in America.

                    2. Yeah, well I don’t know exactly what period of USSR history you’re referring to but I bow to your superior knowledge of communist atrocities. But maybe you should ask yourself what the USSR was doing when Bernie visited for his honeymoon. I think you’ll find that the nice communist state was still hard at work abusing its population at the time. As for Bernie’s communist friends, not sure I know any personally but a few may still be alive in the city/area he honored with his visit. Yaroslavl, I believe. And, just for the record, how am I being McCarthy like for pointing out that an unrepentant communist is a sleazebag?

                    3. Not what they were doing, what they were perceived doing. Do you deny that the USSR’s propaganda game was strong back in the day?

                      Sanders isn’t an unrepentant Communist, and you’re using guilt by association when you don’t even know the associates. That’s beyond McCarthyism.

                3. McCarthy was almost exactly right. Many of the malignant things said about him were so much leftist propaganda.

              2. “What does it say about the character of a man who honeymooned in the USSR? I think it says he’s an idiot and a slime ball, and a potential traitor. ”

                I wonder whether Prof. Volokh condones a comment that calls Sen. Sanders an “idiot,” “slime ball,” and “potential traitor.”

                Slightly wonder, anyway. Now if that language were aimed at Sen. Cruz . . .

                1. Then it would be wrong. But we’re talking about democrat trash here. The kind of subversive scum progtarded degenerates, such as yourself, worship slavishly. You’re their pet

                2. “I wonder whether Prof. Volokh condones a comment that calls Sen. Sanders an “idiot,” “slime ball,” and “potential traitor.”

                  Not sure, you bigoted asshole, but they are.

                3. Yeah, my apologizes Rev., I should have been more creative in describing a communist sympathizer but was in a rush. How about sleazeball, scumbag, reptile, or creep? And, for someone who supported the USSR at the height of the Cold War, let me amend my comments and remove “potential” from the traitor description.

                  1. I have no desire to incline you to change the content of your comments.

                    In fact, I enjoy the vivid depiction of the Volokh Conspiracy’s partisan hypocrisy that those comments provide.

                    1. Who said wit is wasted on fools?

                    2. And if MKE said the same things about a Nazi sympathizer, you would “enjoy the vivid depiction of the Volokh Conspiracy’s partisan hypocrisy that those comments provide”, right?

                    3. But it’s not partisan hypocrisy to make up a bunch of shit about Ted Cruz?

                      You have become a parody of yourself, a meta joke

                    4. NashTiger, I honestly don’t see anything wrong with this assessment.

                      “What does it say about the character of a man who honeymooned in the USSR? I think it says he’s an idiot and a slime ball, and a potential traitor.”

                      It would be one thing if Bernie Sanders came back from the USSR disillusioned about Socialism, and pushed hard for Capitalism afterward. But he didn’t. He doubled down.

                      Sanders isn’t the only person (political or otherwise) who did this, though. Why do we have so many Socialist apologists, in this day and age? What does it say about the American people, that these people can be elected to office?

                      As for calling Ted Cruz an idiot slimeball, I may have very well seen that opinion expressed in Reason before. There may have even been specific reasons that would have caused me to agree with the assessment, in certain circumstances. No one at Reason is going to get banned for expressing that sentiment here, though, so I fail to see the hypocrisy.

        2. He said, quote, “half of the 2020 Democrat hopefuls”.

          You said “Dem party establishment”.

          See any difference? I sure do.

          1. I was replying to you, though.

  4. Volokh speaks at least two inflammatory half truths in this essay. First, he says that Russia is involved in a “wholesale whitewashing” of communist atrocities. While Russia tries to explain the Holodomor in terms of famine rather than deliberate starvation, that is not wholesale. Putin has often criticized communism, and Solzhenitsyn is still the most revered of Russian intellectuals.
    The description of Venezuela is distorted. The children and adults there are not starving, although many are malnourished. If you want to see starving children, I suggest you visit Yemen, not Venezuela.

    1. This post contains at least one idiotic falshood and one falsely inflated half-truth.

      First,Volokh speaks at least two inflammatory half truths in this essay. First, he says… Eugene Volokh didn’t pen a word of this article.

      Second, the distinction between starvation and malnutrition hardly constitutes an inflammatory half truth when children actually are dying of hunger in Venezuela, and they are. Moreover, especially when compared to other circumstances out of the blue.

      It’s like saying the statement that “Gravity generally pulls things back to the surface of the Earth.” is an inflammatory half truth after I drop an object to the ground and someone else picks it back up.

      1. Moreover, especially when compared to other circumstances out of the blue.

        That is to say, fact that people are unequivocally starving or starving more in Yemen doesn’t mean people in Venezuela aren’t starving.

    2. The re-Stalinization of Russia is proof that he is whitewashing much of the communist history. BTW, whitewash is pretty common over here in Ukraine- the curbs are whitewashed, the trees are whitewashed, my bathroom is whitewashed and my apartment hallways are whitewashed. The irony is lost on me.

    3. Some children actually ARE starving. Have you been there? Do you know any actual Venezuelans?

  5. This campaign of Prof. Somin’s is definitely not gaining any traction. His academic colleagues think that anyone who complains about Communism is an old white male dweeb, and the rest of America is focused on the future. The latter group is mostly correct, by the way: it’s only losers who obsess about the wrongs of the past.

    1. “…it’s only losers who obsess about the wrongs of the past.”

      Yeah, learning from history is such a downer, right, dude?

    2. The latter group is mostly correct, by the way: it’s only losers who obsess about the wrongs of the past.

      You realize that mine and other’s opportunism is the only thing that prevents you from becoming just another forgotten loser of the past, correct?

    3. ” it’s only losers who obsess about the wrongs of the past.”

      Yeah, I guess the if history and facts are white supremacy, then learning from history is the domain of old white male dweebs.

      And if a significant number of academics think people are “old white male dweebs”, that’s an excellent argument for defunding universities.

      1. How about defunding Congress?

        Congresswoman Ilhan Omar went on a very unhinged racist rant yesterday, in which she baldly accused the entire Republican party and “many of our colleagues in the Democratic party” of being straight up racist against her. She also went on to state, “This is not going to be the country of white people.”

        Things that make you go hmmmm . . . .

        1. You’re offended by America not being a country of white people?

          1. I am not. However I am offended by people from “non-white” countries flooding into a predominately white country because it is a better place to live screeching that whites are the problem.

            She is the one generalizing to genetics.

            1. There is a push to try to define white people as Nazis, as opposed to those who defeated the Nazis, which the vast majority identify as.

              If I had to bet, I would guess this is a major rhetorical push from Russian trolling.

              1. I’m white. Never been called a Nazi.

                And it’s not like there were no blacks involved in defeating the Nazis.

                You also turned race into genetics which is both overinclusive and underinclusive. If you want to see what generalizing to genetics looks like, read this blog for a bit when someone brings up IQ.

                1. “I’m white. Never been called a Nazi.”

                  It’s probably because you are neither conservative nor libertarian.

                  In American politics, there are two types of people who are called Nazis:

                  (1) White Supremists who tattoo swasticas on their face, and who want us to expell Jews, yet deny the Holocaust, and wish for Universal Health care and other government control over our lives, and,

                  (2) Conservatives and libertarians (whether white or black) who believe in the Free Market and the Bill of Rights, and wish to deregulate and cut taxes, because they obviously want to keep Communists, er, I mean Democrats, out of power, and thus must be Nazis.

            2. She’s not saying (screeching? really?) whites are the problem. She’s saying people recognizing non-whites as the other like you just did is the problem.

              1. She sees herself as an other!

                That’s the nonsense of the crap the left is spewing all the time. Every group other than whites sees themselves as a clear and distinct group with ethnic interests, wants and needs, preferences, etc. They then go out and fight for these things along their ethnic or religious lines…

                Then complain when anybody accepts their own interpretation of themselves!

                If these god damn people would stop it with this double standard bullshit, I think most white people would be perfectly happy to treat everything as color blind… But you can’t have it both ways! You can’t have special demands and privileges as a group, while also denouncing another group, while demanding everybody is all the same and should be treated as such. Cognitive dissonance big time there.

                1. Being a distinct group and being an other are two very different things, vek. There’s no double standard there.

                  Whites declaring that other races can’t do that is where the badness comes in.

                  There is no double standard in saying everyone is inherently similar, but that some groups are differently situated due to historical and even present prejudice or other societal issue.

                  Different headwinds mean different speed for identical crafts.

                  1. “There is no double standard in saying everyone is inherently similar, but that some groups are differently situated due to historical and even present prejudice or other societal issue.”

                    The problem, though, is twofold: first, immigrants who come to the United States don’t have problems succeeding (because otherwise Asians wouldn’t be even more successful than whites); secondly, Affirmative Action assumes that minorities can’t succeed unless we dumb things down for them — the soft bigotry of low expectations.

                    If we just let people work things out according to their merit, rather than try to make exceptions for alleged racism, minority students actually do *better* than if we try to “help” them.

                    1. Yup. The whole premise is bullshit. There are reasons for the failure of some groups and not others… And in 2019 basically ZERO of it is caused by racism.

                    2. I wouldn’t quite say that basically zero of the problems are caused by racism. But when you consider that it was Democrats who introduced segregated housing, that it was Democrats who segregated the military, it is Democrats who have been mayors and governors over city ghettos literally for *decades*, and it is Democrats who push minorities into elite colleges they aren’t prepared for via Affirmative Action, who then go on to get lots of debt, and *if* they get a degree, it’s in Grievance Studies, rather than something useful like Engineering (and had they taken the classic route of Community College -> State College, they would be *considerably* more likely to get that Engineering degree, and with less debt to boot!)….

                      At some point, I can’t help but wonder: Democrats *claim* that all the racists have left their party and become Republicans. But did they, really?

                      And at what point do we just admit that far more often than not, government intervention does more harm than good?

                  2. Look, either everybody gets to play the “give me special preferences” game, and gets to organize along racial/religious/cultural/whatever lines… Or nobody should.

                    Right now it’s encouraged for everybody to do that… Except the majority population. If some politician were to say “Well, this policy is bad for white and Asian Americans because we carry the majority of the tax burden.” they would be CRUCIFIED for making a completely, objectively true statement. Almost all these special carve out laws are tilted against whites and Asians.

                    So either that shit has to stop… Or a politician needs to be able to come out and talk honestly about shit with plain language. Because it IS a double standard right now.

                2. Of course. Nothing is more racist than a progressive. Not the Klan, or real Nazis.

    4. (Communist loser complaining about history of losing)

    5. “This campaign of Prof. Somin’s is definitely not gaining any traction. ”

      Maybe he should turn his sights on March 8, International Women’s Day. Instead of commemorating some women killed long in a fire, we should remember instead all the victims of women. Bill Cosby, the supreme court judges who’ve been victims spring to mind.

      1. As well as John F Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Teddy Kennedy, and Bill Clinton.

        You REALLY wanna go there?

      2. mtrueman
        May.1.2019 at 2:13 pm
        “Maybe he should turn his sights on March 8, International Women’s Day. Instead of commemorating some women killed long in a fire, we should remember instead all the victims of women”

        trueman again makes an ass of himself! His momma is surprised! She thought trueman was clever!

  6. I think it’s import that on May first we reflect on the labor movement. Not only on the artificial short term gains in wages, but as Prof Somin suggests, the hundreds of millions of dead in famines and organized murder as well.

    1. Your conflation of the labor movement with communism seems pretty agenda-driven.

      One can agree communism is dumb and sucks and yet think unions are good.

      1. Except that unions started as communist organizations and haven’t changed much. So, no, we cannot on agree on that.

        1. …You’re saying all unions are communist? Because like them or not, that’s quote a thing to think.

            1. You’re being dumb and prejudiced then.

              Your evidence is like 80 years old, and I’ll bet you’ve not talked to many union leaders.
              I can tell you, they’re pretty capitalist.

              1. You’d lose that bey. My life long exposure to unions was through my mother and then later my brothers.

                1. Two points reflecting on the seriousness of arguments here :

                  Re Piano & Trainer & “All unions are communist” : I always wonder about the mindset of people who can find it liberating to say something that brain-dead meaninglessly stupid. Geez; what’s the point? No one except the other brain-dead meaninglessly stupid people in their tiny exclusive club takes such a comment seriously to any degree whatsoever. They have to know they’re spouting drivel. What’s the point?

                  Re Professor Somin : Every year he trots this May Day shtick. Of course the idea of commemorating the victims of communism is worthy, and you can argue they have received their worthy due. But note Somin insists on the one day most counterproductive to his supposed goal. Save Somin pick Xmas, he could probably not chose a worse date for his pretend aim. Why? Because despite his crocodile tears over the millions who died, he’s only trolling. He’s not serious either.

                  1. So that’s your argument? You’re not going to show me that I’m wrong? Who’s trolling whom?

                    1. You statement isn’t one of fact, it’s just a tribal yell.

              2. “Your evidence is like 80 years old, and I’ll bet you’ve not talked to many union leaders.”

                Can I present my evidence, then? It’s only been about 12 years since I’ve been a member of a union (in my case, it was a union for grad students), but I was always put off by how everything they did was under the assumption of class warfare and the struggle against employers. I was *particularly* annoyed by the way they ignored that our stipends were in no small part possible due to the students attending our school — and that any increase in our stipends (however necessary they would be) would be carried on the backs of those very students — and not some random “employer” out to oppress us.

                So I apologize if I’m convinced that unions are communist. (And no, the fact that they took a salary doesn’t convince me that they are capitalist — there’s a surprisingly large number of communist leaders who have made a pretty penny being leaders of their communist countries.)

                1. Talking about class warfare doesn’t make you communist. Supporting a dictatorship of the proletariat does. The French government has been run by socialists on-and-off for a while now, and while their economy is more more state-run than the U.S., for example, it is still fundamentally a market economy, and there hasn’t been any mass murder. You might want to look at the so-called “left-wing” uprisings against the Bolsheviks, who Lenin considered his greatest threat, not the White movement. They were socialist, but not communist. There is a difference, and it matters. We can agree that socialism sucks, but mass murder of your opponents is in another stratosphere.

                  1. Is there really a difference between Socialism and Communism, though? The only difference I see is that Communists expect Socialism to whither away and become Communism.

                    To say that socialism doesn’t result in mass murder of opponents also ignores that Nazis were just as Socialist as any Communist society.

                    1. No, there isn’t. Socialism is the economic system of the political system of communism. Theoretically, there is supposed to be this magical moment under communism when suddenly even state ownership of the means of production isn’t needed and socialism disappears but, of course, that has never happened and never will.

  7. I propose that the northern states of the United States institute Treason in Defense of Slavery Day. It would accomplish just about as much and at least is about us, rather than some foreign countries.

    1. The Holocaust didn’t happen in the U. S., either, but there’s a whole U. S. museum devoted to it. Perhaps because of a belief that Americans might have something to learn from horrors that happened in “some foreign countries.”

      (Or “some people doing something”)

      1. If someone wants to build a museum, I’m all for it. We do have a Holocaust Museum, and we should, but we don’t have a Germany Sucks Day. And we shouldn’t.

        1. A Victims of Communism Day isn’t comparable to a Germany Sucks Day.

        2. What is Holocaust Memorial Day, then, if not a formal recognition of the Holocaust? And since we have a Holocaust Memorial Day, shouldn’t we have a Victims of Communism Day (particularly since we are fundamentally less aware of victims of Communism than we are of the Holocaust)?

  8. When I go to a community pot-luck this Saturday to celebrate May Day, it will be in the spirit of a celebration of Spring, which, as an “official” holiday, dates back well over 2000 years. Politicians of every stripe are welcome to stay home. 🙂

  9. Just waiting for the liberals-in-residence to chime in:

    WHAT ABOUT WHITE NATIONALISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????!!!!!

  10. I have always been puzzled why Communists get a pass and Nazis are universally reviled. Speed nazis, grammar nazis, in some ways a fitting end that Hitler’s cause is the butt of jokes, but why are Communists accepted in universities and politics? Why does Europe still have Communist parties while Fascist parties are illegal? Why is it legal and even glorified to wave the hammer and sickle but illegal to show the swastika?

    I can only think it is because Nazis took over a civilized nation which had contributed to arts and sciences, while Communists took over a backwards joke of a nation. Yes, they had music and ballet, but Russia was not in the first tier like Germany, and maybe that provided the excuse: desperate times and countries require desperate measures. Stalin brought Russia out of the stone age! Stalin beat Hitler! The USSR had the first orbiting satellite and the first man in orbit!

    1. Many communists in the US were supportive of Hitler until June 22, 1941.

      1. I’ve been reading a bio of Oppenheimer. From that I gather very much the opposite to be the general case – that many threw in with Stalin as a bulwark against Hitler more than because they loved them some Bolsheviks.

        1. “many threw in with Stalin as a bulwark against Hitler more than because they loved them some Bolsheviks”

          Didn’t Stalin “throw in” with Hitler in 1939?

          1. “Didn’t Stalin “throw in” with Hitler in 1939?”

            It seems to have been the wise decision. It gained the Soviet Union time, access to the most advanced technology Germany had to offer, and even sell resources from territories that the Germans themselves had overrun.

            1. In the long term probably. But Soviet trains were delivering materials to Germany the day of the invasion and Stalin’s lack of preparation killed hundred of thousands of his own people.

              Plus that whole morality bit.

              1. “Stalin’s lack of preparation killed hundred of thousands of his own people.”

                Stalin was more than prepared to sacrifice huge numbers of his own people to pursue his goals.

                1. “Stalin was more than prepared to sacrifice huge numbers of his own people to pursue his goals.”

                  This is what trueman finds to be a defense of Stalin.

            2. Like Chamberlain’s “appeasement” gave the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy time to catch up to the technology of the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine.

            3. And it also gave the Soviets a chance to invade Poland, and execute Polish soldiers en mass.

              Let’s not pretend that Stalin had altruistic motivations for “throwing in” with Hitler. The fact is, both entered the agreement with the plan of backstabbing the other in the future, and mostly because both had the same goal: to take over the world, and force the world into a Socialist Paradise made in their image.

              And the techniques they used to create that Socialist image were the same. Indeed, Hitler merely copied and improved upon Stalin’s and Lenin’s techniques!

          2. Indeed, Stalin did. Tactic or not (I think Stalin believed Hitler myself), it shook a lot of the American Communists a great deal. Many left the party.

            If you’re more interested, I’d recommend American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer.

            It went vastly more into the minute details of the various motives behind American Communism in the 1930s than I cared for.

      2. Like Lefty heroes Dalton Trumbo and Woody Guthrie, among others. They weren’t exactly cheerleading fascism, just advocating “peace” and non-interventionism, and virulently anti-war. Right up until that day, after which they withdrew their previous records and books and started espousing the opposite.

    2. Because the communists won the war.

    3. I think that may be part of it, but it’s also easier for people (who don’t look too closely at what happened) to believe that commies have good intentions. Or that Marxism could still work if someone did it right. It’s a silly and naive thing to believe, but that’s how the human mind works.
      Judging by what actually happened on the ground, they should be put in the same category of social acceptability.

  11. The Russian trolls seem to be out in full force in this one.

    Communism is an evil ideology which only results in oppression, death and starvation.

    1. Because the revolution IS oppression, death and starvation. It’s how you get control of the people, the property and government. Then, after the Revolution, it gets worse as they try to keep control of the people, property and government.

  12. […] Mason University law professor Ilya Somin, over at The Volokh Conspiracy, makes the point that May 1 should be a day to honor victims of Communism. I […]

  13. […] the tens of millions killed, and the many more lives blighted, should be the only way to observe May Day. As Glenn says, communists should get just as much societal opprobrium as […]

  14. […] Mason University law professor Ilya Somin, over at The Volokh Conspiracy, makes the point that May 1 should be a day to honor victims of Communism. I […]

  15. It’s worth noting that the atrocities like theses are the reason that, despite being a generally tolerant society, it’s considered OK to punch nazis and socialists.

    1. The number on this thread who want to conflate Bernie Sanders with Stalin might tell you why this policy is a bad idea.

      (Similarly on the left conflating everyone with Nazis and then endorsing punching them).

      1. And why shouldn’t we conflate Bernie Sanders with Stalin? The very fact that Sanders thinks we have too many kinds of deodorant betrays the very Nazi/Communist mindset that would lead to mass graves.

        What business does government have to tell us what kinds of deodorant we can have? I don’t particularly care who uses the other 21 kinds of deodorant, but I have one brand I use, and one unscented brand at that, that I’m not allergic to. Why should I trust the Government to make sure the one deodorant I use should be made available?

        Indeed, the *only* way to make sure that a limited number of types of deodorant is available, is to use secret police to track down the people who are illicitly creating and selling unauthorized deodorant. This is *exactly* the mindset of Nazi/Communist bureaucrats that leads to purges, gulags and concentration camps.

        So yes, I *will* conflate Bernie Sanders with Stalin. He has the very busybody terror-inflicting tendencies that Stalin had when he took power over Russia.

    2. If Nazi punching is okay… I want punching communists to be officially made socially acceptable too. I would find that a reasonable compromise!

  16. Once again, I’ve never had a problem with a victims of communism day, but I think International Workers Day, which commemorates the Haymarket Affair, is entirely legitimate and I think it’s disappointing to take another day to bury a day that legitimately recognizes an important struggle. I guess International Worker’s Day could be May 4 instead of May 1, though.

    1. “commemorates the Haymarket Affair, is entirely legitimate”

      A IED [bomb] was thrown at police, killing some.

      I don’t think commemorating terrorist activity is “legitimate”.

      Fitting how labor’s holiday is founded on terrorism.

      1. Pinkertons. That is all.

        1. But there isn’t a day for violent strike busting.

    2. Comrades, how many words and phrases straight out the party handbook in this post? The first one with the right answer gets a double ration of bread and a little extra sugar.

    3. You need to update your readings on Haymarket. The workers threw the bomb, the trial mostly got it right, and even used cutting edge forensic chemistry correctly.

      1. No, the gathering was peaceful. SOME workers threw a bomb, yet multiple other people were convicted despite having no connection to the bomb throwing. Peaceful assembly is legal so the prosecution’s theory holding them responsible was unconstitutional and invalid.

  17. […] Mason University law professor Ilya Somin, over at The Volokh Conspiracy, makes the point that May 1 should be a day to honor victims of Communism. I […]

  18. […] Ilya Somin says that today ought to be given over to the remembrance of those killed by Communists. Excerpts: […]

  19. I think if two state legislatures and Pres. Trump have already gone with Nov. 7, and none for May 1, as Victims of Communism Day, then it’s time to switch to Nov. 7 and retire the May 1 date.

      1. Though to be fair I haven’t heard of anyone dancing around the Law Pole.

  20. […] Ilya Somin says that today ought to be given over to the remembrance of those killed by Communists. Excerpts: […]

  21. […] worth remembering today all of the victims of communism, especially in light of the fresh poverty and despair the socialist […]

  22. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of idiots who whitewash the crimes of communism because of its socialist tendencies.
    Go to some university of college sometime and you can count the morons for Marx real quick. They’re usually in the history, political science, sociology and other liberal arts areas.
    Few, if any, have read the book, “The Black Book of Communism,” and even if you pointed out this book, along with other historically accurate books, these over-educated idiots praising communism wouldn’t listen to you, read the books, listen to people who lived under communist repression. They would only make vague and insincere apologies and excuses for communists and their crimes, shrug their shoulders, and/or deflect your arguments with, “Yeah, but look at America’s crimes…blah, blah, blah.”
    I have yet to see any crime America has done that has reached the level of 100 million murdered people.

    1. “I have yet to see any crime America has done that has reached the level of 100 million murdered people.”

      America was an enthusiastic participant in WWI, don’t forget. Somewhere in the 100 million ball park of deaths due to the conflict, and the genocides, famines and pandemics that followed in its train. Is that not a crime perpetrated by capitalists?

      1. America was an enthusiastic participant in WWI, don’t forget.
        ——-
        And recall that it was Woodrow Wilson, the progTard god, that got the US involved in WWI and started a military draft for bodies to fight.

        1. “And recall that it was Woodrow Wilson, the progTard god”

          Don’t you mean the sacrificial scapegoat?

        2. Woodrow Wilson did everything he could to introduce fascism to America. One of the reasons he wanted to join in on WWI was so that we would have an excuse to mobilize as a nation, and thus be more welcoming of more government control.

          I wouldn’t blame WWI on capitalists, either. Germany, in particular, was rather imperialist, and all the other countries were more government-minded than individualist-minded.

      2. No, it’s not. And the US was involved only at the very end of World War I.

      3. No, it was a crime perpetrated by governments.

    2. Who on this forum has whitewashed the crimes of communism? Or are you just speaking generally, like you are about how ‘some university’ has a bunch of Marxists on it’s faculty.

      1. It’s usually an unnamed co-worker or ex girlfriend.

  23. That wasn’t true communism!

    1. Let’s not forget that Stalin was getting ready to start a Russian Jewish Holocaust just before he died.

      And also: the crimes of individuals should not not be laid at the feet of the people they came from. It wasn’t Jewish philosophy that justified these murders, after all, but Communism, and the Jews that were executioners were executing people in the name of Communism, and not in the name of their religion (which, when you consider that Communism is godless, means that these “Jewish” executioners would have had to reject their religion before becoming those murderers).

    1. Don’t mistake edgy hipsters for Maoists.

      1. How would I know the difference?

        1. Maoists are probably not so into buying stuff on Amazon.

          1. I somehow doubt that Maoists would have any qualms with buying stuff on Amazon. Communists are rather funny that way.

  24. East German women who are old enough to remember, actually miss the days of Communism. It was certainly better for their sex lives. What’s with that?

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/12/opinion/why-women-had-better-sex-under-socialism.html

    1. They had better sex lives in their youth than they do now. there was communism in their youth, and isn’t now. Coincidence?

    2. Three generations in a small apartment. Shared apartments. Hunger. Fear. Oppression. Long hours of work outside and inside the home. No hot water or decent soap for hygiene. Yeah, that makes for a wild sex life.

      1. Don’t kinkshame.

    3. That was the biggest bunch of bullshit I have read in a long time.

      “When the government supported you, you could be lazy and spend more time chasing cock!” was basically one argument. Then there was the patently false idea that women like men who treat them as equals and do house work… Which is why women LOVE beta male cucks and not strong, confident men, right? LOL

      The level of stupid leftists will spew out and expect people to believe is mind boggling.

      1. Equality in the Soviet Union meant that men and women worked long hours at their jobs and then were forced into slave labor on the evening and weekends. In between all that, the women still cooked and did the housework, which from personal experience is not easy even today.

        No one in my Khrushchyovka has a vacuum but there are plenty of A-frames in the courtyard for putting the carpets over and beating. Daily, women young and old carry room sized carpets down to beat them outside because it’s spring. Most of the women in my area still do all laundry by hand and even the few with machines, have to hang it out to dry, That’s the purpose of the balcony on a Khrushchyovka apartment.

        I’ve been told many stories of how on weekends, everyone in town would have to show up to work in the parks or streets cleaning up and repairing. They were given a dry sandwich and a beer for lunch but not paid and they had no choice. This wasn’t once or twice a year but a regular occurrence. Kids and teachers at school are still required to leave classes to clean the area and do the gardening about once a week.

        1. Pretty crazy. Did you say you live in the Ukraine in another post?

  25. You don’t know much about women, aging and sex, which is not surprising here at the VC.

    But anyway, from the article:

    “Some might remember that Eastern bloc women enjoyed many rights and privileges unknown in liberal democracies at the time, including major state investments in their education and training, their full incorporation into the labor force, generous maternity leave allowances and guaranteed free child care. But there’s one advantage that has received little attention: Women under Communism enjoyed more sexual pleasure.

    A comparative sociological study of East and West Germans conducted after reunification in 1990 found that Eastern women had twice as many orgasms as Western women. Researchers marveled at this disparity in reported sexual satisfaction, especially since East German women suffered from the notorious double burden of formal employment and housework. In contrast, postwar West German women had stayed home and enjoyed all the labor-saving devices produced by the roaring capitalist economy. But they had less sex, and less satisfying sex, than women who had to line up for toilet paper.”

    1. No wonder the West Germans had to build a wall to prevent women from fleeing to the land of multiple orgasms.

      1. “Dr. Renate Werwigk-Schneider was 23 years old and had almost completed her degree in medicine at the Humboldt University in Berlin when the border in Berlin was sealed off between the East and West on August 13, 1961….

        “Renate Werwigk-Schneider was found guilty of attempting to escape by the Rostock district court and sentenced to two and a half years in prison. Her father received three years and her mother one year….

        “…With the help of her friend, she risked escaping a second time. She was arrested with a fake passport in Bulgaria on the Turkish border and held in a state prison in Sofia. On the basis of an agreement between East Germany and the People’s Republic of Bulgaria, she was flown to East Germany and transferred once again to Hohenschönhausen. In December 1967 the court in Potsdam sentenced her to another three and a half years in prison. A year later her release was purchased by the Federal Republic of Germany.”

        Why did this ungrateful woman flee from all that free sex to the boring, repressed West, especially after the East German government had made a major contribution to her education and training?

        https://www.berliner-mauer-gedenkstaette.de/en/dr-renate-werwigk-schneider-795.html

        1. “Angelika Schröter was part of the hippie movement, the so-called “tramper scene,” in East Germany. In her free time she wore the typical attire — a green shell parka, jeans, the so-called “Jesus slippers” — and she hitchhiked to blues concerts. The trampers’ non-conformist behavior and appearance did not correspond to the East German regime’s image of a proper socialist society. She was labeled “negative decadent” by the secret police….

          “As part of the tramper scene, Angelika Schröter repeatedly caused offense in East Germany. Moreover, she increasingly acted in opposition to the East German state….The East German state authority tried to put a stop to these activities, which were carried out outside the state-controlled organizations. To avoid these kinds of restrictions, the Schröters decided to apply for an exit visa in the fall of 1982….

          “After that Angelika Schröter was under constant observation by the secret police. She lost her job. She was repeatedly summoned to the Council of the City of Weimar, Division of Internal Affairs, where the Schröters were pressured to rescind their application to leave the country. A year and a half later, on the evening of March 29, 1984, they were informed that they were to appear at the Division of Internal Affairs the next morning at 8 a.m. There they were told that they were to travel at 10 o’ clock by train to East Berlin, where they would be permitted to cross the checkpoint into West Berlin at the Friedrichstrasse S-Bahn station.”

          https://www.berliner-mauer-gedenkstaette.de/en/angelika-schroeter-801.html

          How erotic!

          1. An ungrateful Soviet emigre critiques the better-sex thesis in this very magazine:

            “The only actual evidence Ghodsee offers for the joys of socialist sex is some polls suggesting that East German women were having more and better sex than their Wessi sisters. (As the British social historian Josie McLennan demonstrates in her 2011 study, Love in a Time of Communism, the actual findings are complicated, contradictory, and often dubious. One such survey suggested that East German men were better endowed, which mostly seems to demonstrate that Communism breeds more prolific liars.)…

            “As someone who lived in the Soviet Union until emigrating as a teen in 1980, I can say that Ghodsee must have a truly impressive pair of rose-colored glasses.”

            https://reason.com/2019/03/01/no-sex-wasnt-better-for-women/

            1. Well, gee, if it’s in Reason, it must be true, right?

              No worse than what happened in the right-wing dictatorships we installed and supported.

              Except there, women did NOT “enjoy many rights and privileges unknown in liberal democracies at the time, including major state investments in their education and training, their full incorporation into the labor force, generous maternity leave allowances and guaranteed free child care.”

              Can such things be provided outside the context of a Communist dictatorship? According to the (all-male) VC’ers, and the commenters here, the answer is “no”.

              1. Well, gee, if it’s in Reason, it must be true, right?

                ::ignores other citations::

                No worse than what happened in the right-wing dictatorships we installed and supported.

                Nope, commie governments are always worse.

                Except there, women did NOT “enjoy many rights and privileges unknown in liberal democracies at the time, including major state investments in their education and training, their full incorporation into the labor force, generous maternity leave allowances and guaranteed free child care.”

                ::Never figures out why those same women turned right around and supported the fall of their benevolent overlords in the late 80s and early 90s::

              2. Did it ever occur to you that should modern western women decide to work ONLY enough to have the standard of living of people living in communist shit holes they could afford all that shit, and still work less? Because the wealth of capitalist systems is so much greater it is ridiculous.

    2. A comparative sociological study of East and West Germans conducted after reunification in 1990 found that Eastern women had twice as many orgasms as Western women.

      Not surprising that the fall of the Berlin Wall and the East German government got the former East German women so hot.

  26. All this time I thought May Day was a pagan celebration of fertility where pre-women danced around a large phallic symbol, binding it tightly with cloth – at least that was part of the explanation In state funded kindergarten

    1. LOL

      I’ve watched a few chunks of some of those movies with a buddy who is into weird cult films. Pretty effed up, and kind of hilarious. Also, LOTS of awesome boobs.

  27. Communists should be eradicated where they are found.

    No more.

    1. How Stalinish of you.

      We didn’t defeat Communism with thoughtcrime and purges, we defeated it by being persistently better than they were.

      1. Actually, we defeated it by ultimately refusing détente, like the liberals wanted to do at the start of the 80s, and treating it like the hostile cancer that it is.

      2. We could have defeated it a lot earlier had we wanted to use force.

        IMO, we should have told Stalin he better pull out of all of eastern Europe or we were going to start nuking every Russian city in order by size, starting with Moscow. Then actually did it if he didn’t listen.

        The USSR as just what it had been pre war would have never lasted as long, or had the power to project and support all the other commies.

        Hell, we probably should have demanded Stalin step down, and an end to the communist regime or we’d do the same. Ditto for China and Mao. We could have saved 10s of millions of lives, probably just with a small threat, or maybe killing a few hundred thousand people.

        We blew a major chance at dealing with some big problems when we were the only ones with nukes.

        1. Your imperialistic counterfactual may have had a whole bunch of unintended consequences.

          Utilitarianism never works as well as you think it would have in hindsight.

          1. Then again, what we actually did might not have been the best for the world, either.

            I occasionally wondered how different the world would have been had we sided with Germany instead of Russia in WWII — particularly if Stalin had decided to invade Germany instead. Would we have had a Cold War with Germany? Or would we have demanded Germany to clean house instead, and to end National Socialism?

            In retrospect, it’s easy to say “but the Nazis were the bad guys!”, but then, so were the Communists — they were *every bit* as evil as the Nazis.

          2. Yes, there would have been consequences… Like Eastern Europe being free from mass murder and communist oppression.

            I’m not just some lone nut in thinking we should have taken out the USSR… Patton, Churchill, and a number of other major politicians/generals wanted us to keep rolling our armies east until we took out Stalin ourselves. I just agree with their assessment, not Truman’s.

            If you’re going to “save the world from evil” it sure does seem to make sense to ACTUALLY save the world from evil, versus allowing millions of people to die simply to hand massive chunks of land from one tyrant to another. With us being the only ones with nukes, we may have been able to topple the USSR at that point without firing a single shot. It’s not like most of the Russian people liked those pricks to begin with.

            1. Enjoy basking in how your genocidal conterfactual woulda brought about hypothetical utopia. That’s not crazy person thinking at all!

              1. How is removing Communists from power inherently genocidal? Even if it involved nuclear weapons?

                Was ousting Adolf Hitler genocidal against Germans? Or ousting Imperial control over Japan (the latter of which, incidentally, *did* involve nuclear weapons).

                The sentiment that vek expresses isn’t new. My grandpa, a WWII vet, thought it was a mistake that we didn’t push on to Moscow to remove the Communists, when they were still weak after the war. And considering that they had taken over territory, particularly refusing to let Eastern Germany go free after West Germany was made free, it isn’t unfair to say that they had proven themselves to be just as aggressive as Germany during the War at this point.

                While we were likely more weak now than my grandpa realized, and war-weary as well, and probably didn’t have the resources to rebuild *three* nations after conquest, I don’t consider it an unreasonable position to consider what the world would have looked like, had we gone that course. Even if it ended up involving nuclear weapons, as we had done in Japan.

                1. Yup.

                  Sorry, out of all the major wartime leaders and generals the ones I like the best even on other grounds, Churchill and Gen. Patton both wanted to take out the commies. The world could have been a tremendously better place… I guess we’ll never know though.

  28. […] Mason University law professor Ilya Somin, over at The Volokh Conspiracy, makes the point that May 1 should be a day to honor victims of Communism. I […]

  29. BWWWHWAAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAH!

    Bull Cow is a communist. He just doesn’t like the way that communism has been implemented in the past in certain places. He believes that he has a better way for his version of communism. I can’t believe he had the gall to write this.

  30. […] professor Ilya Somin explains why we should use the day to commemorate the victims of communist totalitarian […]

  31. Must I come to Reason to hear nationalsocialists carping about internationalsocialists? Both wings of Altrurian predatory aggression differ only in that one kneels before Martin Luther or the Pope of Rome, while the other salutes statues of Lenin and Stalin. Other than choice of mysticism, there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between nazis and communists. So true is this that my father’s generation dubbed the latter “red fascists” once Reich war criminals began joining the communist party en masse to escape denazification roundups. Surely reason need not perpetuate the fraud that these are “the two alternatives” available by reprinting their one-dimensional screed!

  32. This monotonously repeated contrivance from Somin should be seen for what it is: a less-than-forthright effort to bolster institutionalization of capitalism as the economic system for the nation. No such ideology was any part of the nation’s founding, so those whose own ideological preferences lie in that direction (libertarians especially) regard that history as an oversight—one which they long to correct.

    But however certain you may be that capitalism beats all the rest, it’s still unwise to want it—or any other system of economy—institutionalized. That would put the nation’s politics in shackles that the Constitution does not contemplate, and which would too much narrow the scope of the people’s choices.

    For instance, it would preclude even suggesting—perhaps for the narrow political purpose of disciplining some specific capitalist excess—the possibility of choosing for some contingent, limited need to use a competing ideology, or a mixture of them. Institutionalized capitalism would instantly be seized upon by advocates seeking a lever to pry loose from American life such popular socialist-tending programs as Medicare and Social Security.

    Of course Somin’s proposal would not by itself accomplish all that. But adopting it—no matter what date were chosen—would be an unwise step in the wrong direction.

    1. Tell us whether the same reasoning makes it unwise to have a Holocaust Rememberance Day.

      I mean, doesn’t Holocaust Remembrance Day hinder any effort to incorporate aspects of fascism or anti-Semitism into our public policy? Doesn’t that narrow our options?

      1. Telling choice of Holocaust Remembrance Day and not Victims of Fascism Day.

        1. “Telling choice of Holocaust Remembrance Day and not Victims of Fascism Day.”

          I would have no objection to renaming Holocaust Rememberance Day to Victims of National Socialism Day.

          Do you have any other nitpicks?

          1. Alternatively, instead of Victims of Communism Day, we could have Terror-Famine/Great Purge/Great Leap Forward/Cambodian Massacres/etc./etc. Day, but since that makes for kind of a long name, Victims of Communism Day would be more concise.

            The National Socialists only had 12 years, and they had time for one major atrocity before they were defeated, which makes for a short, convenient name.

            So what name would you find acceptable for a day commemmorating the victims of Communism?

            Or do you object to the very *concept* of such commemoration?

            1. Victims of Communism day is a large and potentially growing set, just like memorial day or veterans day.
              Victims of Naziism, or Holocaust remembrance Day, or your list of communist mass killings are all limited to a set of events.

              Nice of you to intimate I’m defending communism, though.

              1. I’m intimating that you’re anti-anti-communist.

                The people who make a fuss about communism seem ickier to you than Communists themselves.

                But I could always be wrong.

                1. You are wrong – I’m anti redbaiting BS, I’m not against people being against communism; I’m against it myself.

                  1. Is it brown-baiting to have an entire museum on the Holocaust? What a downer that is!

                    1. It’s a long thread; I can forgive you for missing where I said I thought a victims of communism day was a fine idea.

                      The redbaiting is people using communism being bad go in on modern Democrats, unions, trying to rope in Nazis and the Holocaust, etc.

                    2. My bad for missing your remark.

                      Also, I thought by “red-baiting” you meant getting all negative about some movement or organization’s communist members or associations. So again I misunderstood you.

                      I’ll try to do better.

              2. Why does it matter that Victims of Communism day will continue to grow? Should we cancel Holocaust Memorial day if Nazis (or a party suspiciously like them) takes over Germany again, and starts executing Jews again?

                I would go so far as to point out that, since people *continue* to be victims of Communism day, that would make it even *more* important to recognize Victims of Communism Day, not *less*.

    2. Here’s the deal, though: there’s really only two ways to set up a country. Either you set up the country to celebrate the individual, and protect individual rights, or you set up the country to celebrate the collective, and crush individuals and their rights in the name of making a better government.

      That Founding Fathers didn’t deliberately try to create a capitalist society is true — but they *did* set out a country that protects individuals, and recognizes individual rights. Free Market Capitalism is an accidental side effect of doing that.

      It’s funny that you complain about capitalists wanting to end Medicare and Social Security, when there are countries (including countries Socialists like to point to as successful Socialist countries!) that are trying to privatize these things.

      The fact is, government bureaucrats will *always* be less efficient than the free market. They simply don’t have the incentives needed to do the right thing.

      1. epsilon, I suggest that your thinking about history and government would profit if you made an effort to disentangle your notion of government from your notion of sovereignty. Mostly, governments and sovereigns are not the same, nor even a little bit alike. They work by different rules, toward accomplishing different objectives. Once you notice that governments are created by sovereigns, and to the extent that they are limited governments, that they are limited by sovereigns, your horizons might expand.

        You might also benefit, in a related way, from the insight that a sovereign, with power sufficient to create a government at pleasure, may choose, or may not choose, to value efficiency ahead of everything else. At the very least, you might be forewarned not to assume—as you apparently have—that efficiency is the first preference of this nation’s sovereign. Nor to assume that even if it is that way now, it will always be that way.

        1. “At the very least, you might be forewarned not to assume—as you apparently have—that efficiency is the first preference of this nation’s sovereign.”

          The people who wish to nationalize/socialize health care insist that it will be more efficient than our current boondoggle of a system (which boondoggle is far more the result of government intervention than most people are willing to admit), yet when I see what government has already provided, whether at home or abroad, I fail to see the efficiency promised. I can only conclude that the interest of the sovereigns who wish to inflict their miserable health care on me don’t care about efficiency, or truth: they want to secure power over themselves, or have accepted the lies of the people who wish to secure power over us.

          And you would benefit from looking at how freedom has done far more to advance human life, and human comfort, than government intervention ever has. Indeed, the *most* important function of our Federal government is to protect us from the governments around the world that have not only decided to hamper their own citizens, but to then try to take over the rest of the world, and force their vast inefficiencies on the rest of us.

          1. Come on now, you gotta give it to the Democrats… Rationing healthcare is A form of efficiency right???

  33. I recognize Prof. Somin’s annual windmill tilting as the good-faith idealism that it is. But beyond that, the real interest is in how the comments change from year to year and platform to platform. Always a spectacle.

    The general ‘all Dems are Commies’ is expected, if a bit emptier than most this year.

    Perhaps because of how many got pulled into the extended arguments about whether Nazis are Commies. It is the most vitriolic example of masturbation I’ve seen yet.

    1. “Perhaps because of how many got pulled into the extended arguments about whether Nazis are Commies. It is the most vitriolic example of masturbation I’ve seen yet.”

      Indeed. We would do well to recognize that both systems were systems of collectivism that had absolutely no interest in the individual or individual rights, and leave it at that.

      As for “all Dems are Commies”, I’m not entirely convinced this is false, particularly with the number of Presidential candidates embracing socialism of one form or another; the only question that remains is “How many Republicans are Commies?” and the answer is almost certainly “a lot more than we’d like.”

      Oh, how I wish we had a firm Individualist Party! Well, one that’s generally in power, at least…

    2. “Or do you object to the very *concept* of such commemoration?”

      Given that most of the victims of communism, at least in the USSR, were communists, socialists, leftists or progtards you’d be commemorating the very perpetrators of the crimes whose victims you are commemorating. Would you be happy celebrating Leon Trotsky Day?

      Joke time. The time 1930s late one night. The place Moscow. A knock on the door wakens a frightened father who asks “Who is it?”
      “NKVD” comes the thundering reply. The relieved father says “You’ve got the wrong apartment. The communists live upstairs.”

      1. I’m fairly sure they killed a lot of noncommunists.

        1. “I’m fairly sure they killed a lot of noncommunists.”

          In that case, how about Victims of Communists Who Weren’t Communists Day. That way we don’t go and commemorate communists who were killed by communists, and we get to mention communists twice in the same commemoration day.

          1. Great, let’s exclude the communists from Holocaust Remembrance Day, too! /sarc

            1. I am aware that another poster suggests that communists don’t have a right to life. I think they do – or, rather, a communist has the right not to be deliberately killed unless (s)he has been convicted after a fair trial of some serious crime such as murdering lots of people.

              1. I’m even willing to settle for executing Communists who have deliberately killed just a handful of people in their efforts to jump-start a Communist revolution.

      2. Does it really matter who was killed, or why? Surely, you’re not going to insist that, of the 100 million or more people killed by Communism, all, or even most, of them were Communists?

        Should we withhold our sadness of what happened in the Reign of Terror because Robespierre himself became a victim?

        Or maybe we should cancel Holocaust Memorial Day because only half of those executed were Jews?

        Or maybe we should step back and look at how Socialism is a murderous institution, and insist that it never happen again, regardless of who wants to be in charge…

        1. “Does it really matter who was killed, or why? Surely, you’re not going to insist that, of the 100 million or more people killed by Communism, all, or even most, of them were Communists?”

          In USSR the victims were of the left. Leon Trotsky was a Bolshevik. There were millions of others less famous. The peasants who bore the brunt of the forced collectivization were supporters of various socialist parties like the Socialist Revolutionary Party which outperformed the Bolsheviks largely due to their agricultural base. At least according to the election held very shortly after the October revolution. Some say this was the last free election in Russia.

          1. Again, by this reasoning, we should reject Holocaust Remembrance because Nazi German government was elected into power, and had broad support. How many people sent to the gas chambers were supporters of socialism of one form or another? How many of them were Nazis?

            Does it matter? The fact remains that, whether we talk about Communist regimes or National Socialist ones, they systemically murdered their own people. We owe it to ourselves to remember that this is what happens when Socialists come to power.

            And, above all, when people say that Capitalism is immoral because it requires people to fend for themselves, and Socialism is moral because everything will be provided for us, we should remember: one system has made the world far better for this generation, than for any generation preceding it, and one system has repeatedly brought misery and death to its populations. At some point, perhaps maybe we ought to measure the morality of economic systems on the *results*, and *not* the *intentions*, of the people making the promises.

  34. […] Victims of Communism Day 2019: Why May 1 should be a day to honor the victims of the ideology that t… – Ilya Somin, The Volokh Conspiracy […]

  35. Lots more ‘maybe the Nazis were good’ than in past years as well.

    1. That actually surprises me. You’d think that, for a website that focuses on libertarian thought, there would be a lot more people who couldn’t see the differences between Adolf Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao (among others) — or at least see that the differences don’t matter.

      1. Between this forum and the general rise of the alt-right, makes ya wonder what it is about Naziism that seems to be attracting conservatives these days.

        1. I wouldn’t consider “alt-right” to be conservatives. Like the “ctrl-left”, they generally want the same things: universal health care, and a government that puts the rich in their place.

          I’m still at a loss as to why so many so-called Liberals are fascinated by Socialism and flirt with Communism, both of which are the exact opposite of liberty.

          1. The alt right wants an ethnostate. That’s their main thing.

            No one flirts with communism anymore.

            As for socialism, I’m going to assume you’re of the school were socialism is high taxes, high entitlements like Europe? Definitions vary.
            But the reason why I’m into such things comes down to FDR’s Four Freedoms. In other words, economic freedom is a remarkably pinched example of freedom unless you’re well-off. The poor don’t have any real choices or freedom under an economically ‘free’ system; their time is all spoken for trying to maintain food and shelter.
            Freedom from fear and want? Now that’s operational freedom; that’s freedom I can use.

            In other words, I don’t consider markets to be a moral good per se; they are an incredible tool. Harnessing a vice like greed into an engine of innovation and efficiency is nothing short of incredible. But to what end? Just letting it run is to decide growth for growth’s sake is all you need; the philosophy of a cancer cell, with about the same morality.
            But a regulated market? that’s a powerful tool to take the values and goals set in place and make them go places.

            1. “Freedom from fear and want?”

              Can you really guarantee this, though? Democrats have been working at it for decades. If the ghettos of the cities they have been in charge of for those decades is any indication, the policies to provide freedom from fear and freedom from want have the exact opposite effect.

              It would seem to me that economic freedom is far more effective in achieving freedom from fear and want, than anything that government has done to achieve these things.

              (And yes, I include the soft socialism of hampered free markets people refer to as “socialist” in Europe in this analysis. Too often, the countries we are asked to consider as models for “ideal” socialist systems are working to privatize their “ideal” systems.)

              1. Neither I nor you can guarantee anything, up to and including economic liberty. We can only advocate for policies we think will bring it about.

                Bringing up cities as a pure expression of Democratic policies isn’t really very intelligent if you think about it for a minute. For one, it puts the cause after the effect. For another, it lacks any nuance within the Dem party. For a third, it ignores non-Democratic factions. For a fourth, it ignores externalizes.

                It seems to me your faith in the markets is writing your conclusions more than any kind of reason.

                If you think Europe has ‘hampered free markets,’ what do you think of America since the New Deal? Free markets were never much of a thing, and much less of a thing come modern times. You’re turning a continuum into a binary, and down that road leads madness.

                1. “Bringing up cities as a pure expression of Democratic policies isn’t really very intelligent if you think about it for a minute. For one, it puts the cause after the effect. For another, it lacks any nuance within the Dem party. For a third, it ignores non-Democratic factions. For a fourth, it ignores externalizes.”

                  Perhaps, but at some point, I can’t help but wonder: if Democratic policies actually *fixed* things, in the *decades* of Democratic control over *both* these cities and these State governments, shouldn’t things have improved by now? Were things really *so* terrible before these Democrats came into power, that even their programs were powerless to fix things? And what do non-Democratic factions have anything to do in cities where Democrats have dominated politics for decades? And what externalities, pray tell, are keeping Democrats from fixing State and City problems, when they have been in a position of power for several decades?

                  Perhaps at some point Democrats should stop blaming other people for their miserable failures, and just admit that their programs just don’t work.

                  “If you think Europe has ‘hampered free markets,’ what do you think of America since the New Deal?”

                  I particularly think it’s a shame what the government did to bring about our current health care system. Pretty much everything blamed on the “free market” is the result of government interference, starting with the “New Deal”. Considering that the 1929 bubble that popped was created by the artificially low interest rates that governments like to insist are necessary for a robust economy, and that the government response by Herbert Hoover, and doubled down on by FDR, gave us a Great Depression, I’m honestly not all that thrilled by the programs that hamper our free market system.

      2. Whether private property is encouraged or discouraged matters a lot to libertarians. That Hitler was a dog lover and Lenin was a cat lover is a good example of a difference that doesn’t matter to libertarians.

        1. It isn’t just private property that libertarians value, though. They also value the freedom to use that property as they see fit, and the freedom to be able to speak out against the government when the government takes away that freedom.

          While Nazi Germany might have recognized private property, they didn’t recognize those other rights.

          In other words: private property is a necessary condition for liberty. It isn’t a sufficient condition, though.

          1. ” private property is a necessary condition for liberty.”

            Is it a necessary condition for socialism? I think not.

            1. Of course private property isn’t a necessary condition for socialism! Neither is it necessary for socialism to abolish private property.

              For socialism to exist, all you need is bureaucrats who insist that they know better than the rest of the population for how resources should be allocated, and then to punish the individuals if they deviate from this planned allocation.

              After all, ultimately, the “means of production” is people, not property.

  36. Whoa, problematic much? Healthcare is a right!

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