Victims of Communism Day—2021

Why May Day should be a day to honor victims of an ideology that took tens of millions of lives. But we should also be open to alternative dates if they can attract broader support.


Bones of tortured prisoners. Kolyma Gulag, USSR (Nikolai Nikitin, Tass).


NOTE: This post largely reprints last year's Victims of Communism Day post, with relatively minor modifications.


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 the lion's share 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.

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 policies), 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).

The Chinese regime's repressive policies also played a major role in its initial attempts to cover up the coronavirus crisis, which probably forestalled any chance of containing it before it became a massive pandemic. That deserves recognition, even as we should also recognize that the pandemic was made worse by the bungling of Donald Trump and other Western leaders. Perhaps worst of all its recent atrocities, China's brutal repression of the Uighur minority is reminiscent of similar policies under Mao and Stalin, though it has not—yet?—reached the level of actual mass murder. But imprisoning over 1 million people in horrific concentration camps is more than bad enough. Western nations could begin to demonstrate they have learned the lessons of communism's history by moving or boycotting the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics, scheduled to be held in China.

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. Then-president Trump issued similar declarations in 2017 and 2018 (though he did 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. For that reason, I have adopted the practice of also commemorating the victims of communism on November 7.

I am also 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.

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  1. Disasters have multiple factors. The most powerful in any genocide, and almost never mentioned? Weakness. Jews must acknowledge that to prevent another Holocaust.

    The intended victims not only have a right, but a duty to kill those who do not recognize their humanity, and intend to kill them. You may reply, citizen Jews vs the German Army. Absolutely not.

    There were 20 families of oligarchs that put Hitler in power. He had all their beliefs. You just need to find them, and to kill them all, down to the last kitten. The same is true everywhere. Our oligarchs scored $1.7 trillion enrichment from the Democrat lockdown that killed millions. Never criticize the Germans of the 1930’s or the Chinese of the 1950’s again, since you Democrats and lawyer did the same if not bigger just in 2020. You killed 100 million people by starvation from the $4 trillion drop in world GDP from the lockdown, not from the virus. Biggest and quickest mass murder in history.

    Should we kill 2-3 million Democrats to save our country from Communism and Chinese Communist Party control? Absolutely not. Find the owners, and act on them, with boycotts, shunning, litigation, assertive actions. They are smart, they will get the message. If they are not deterred, go from there.

    1. The Chinese oligarchs scored $2.2 Trillion from the lockdown. They should pay for the millions of deaths they caused.

    2. The Jews have good writing and publicity skills. They were right to document the Holocaust, of course. What is less well known, is that 7 million innocent German civilians were killed by the Allies, and a million German officers were captured by the Soviets, and never returned home. That is 8 million Germans killed without justification. Then, infra-structure free Germany got to spend a decade in the Stone Age after the war. Who knows how many more lives were lost to lack of basic amenities and care?

      The killing of the German oligarch families in the 1930’s would have been good for Germany, and not just for the Jews.

      1. Bullshyte. See:

        It wasn’t like we were dropping nukes, either.

    3. “Weakness. Jews must acknowledge that to prevent another Holocaust. ”

      This nut is a self-identified conservative. Other self-identified conservatives here seem fine with his posts. Draw your conclusions, folks!

      1. The fact remains that if her Uncle Otto had been armed, Anne Frank would have lived.

        There were what — 17 Million Jews in Europe circa 1930? If 10% of them had been armed, things would have turned out quite differently. But the weren’t…

        1. “The fact remains that if her Uncle Otto had been armed, Anne Frank would have lived.”

          I’m not sure who Uncle Otto is, but if Anne’s father Otto had been armed, they would likely have died in a firefight with whoever the Gestapo used as a SWAT team.

          Now, taking a couple Nazis with you may indeed preferable to not taking some with you, but saying that she had more than an infinitesimal chance of surviving the war if only Dad was armed is … pretty far fetched.

          1. Ab: Did you not read my Comment? No firefights with German troops. Eradications of 20 oligarch families down to the last kitten. Even killing Hitler would have been a waste of time, since he was their mere representative.

          2. If just Uncle Otto was armed…perhaps you’re right.

            If Uncle Otto was armed, as well as 1.7 million of his Jewish compatriots? That’s a different story.

            And in fact, that story has been written. When the Jews weren’t armed, you got a Holocaust. When they were armed in 1948…no second holocaust.

            1. Playing counterfactual Nazi wargames to prove guns mean freedom is not a probative exercise. It’s just self-validation.

              1. 1948 demonstrated it wasn’t a “wargame”

              2. Nevertheless, more guns in the population severely diminishes the chances of another Holocaust.

            2. The German population in 1939 was circa 90 million, so odds of 50:1.

              You don’t win at those odds, especially when your opponents are as well or better armed. There were successful resistance movements in WWII, most notably the Yugoslavs. They had the usual advantages of guerilla friendly terrain, support from the Allies, and they weren’t facing the entire might of the German Army as Mr. Frank would have had he started a revolution against the Nazis in ??Aachen?? in the late 1930’s. There is a point at which a small enough minority cannot win against a sufficiently motivated majority.

              I presume that 1948 is a reference to the Israeli war of independence? Wikipedia gives the order of battle as Israel 30k (start) to 117k (end), and the corresponding numbers for the Arab forces as 13k and 63k maximum. The Israelis fought brilliantly, but those aren’t 50:1 odds.

              1. So, you pulled a logical error/switcheroo there.

                You started with the German POPULATION, compared to just the fighters for the Jews (1.7 million). The fact the Jews make up part of the German population in 1939…well, just confounds the errors by double counting.

                The proper comparison would be the size of the German armed forces. Which were about 5 million at their 1940 size. Compare that to 1.7 armed Jews and that would be a different fight.

                When you shifted Arab armed forces, compared to the Israeli fighters. you didn’t use population anymore. If you use population, the Arab countries fighting had ~25 to 30 million in population, compared to a population of just 800,000 for Israel….

                1. “In January 1933, some 522,000 Jews by religious definition lived in Germany. Over half of these individuals, approximately 304,000 Jews, emigrated during the first six years of the Nazi dictatorship, leaving only approximately 214,000 Jews in Germany proper (1937 borders) on the eve of World War II.”


                  I’m not sure where you are getting your 1.7M number.

                  1. So, I based in good faith off Ed’s quote of

                    “17 Million Jews in Europe circa 1930? If 10% of them had been armed, things would have turned out quite differently. But the weren’t…”

                    That’s not quite accurate. Apologies. There were only 9.5 million Jews in Europe in 1933. Could you arm 1.7 Million Jews out of 9.5 Million? If their lives literally depended on it? Likely yes.

                    But your facts keep shifting dramatically. Again, the shift from number of “fighters” to pure population dwarfs this estimate. In addition, you just shifted again from a 90 million population of Germany (which includes Austria and the Czech republic) down to “German proper” in 1937, which drops the population to 70 million

                    1. This requires so many assumptions it’s just fan-fiction.

                      1930s and Germany is not like 1948 and not Germany.

                    2. “Could you arm 1.7 Million Jews out of 9.5 Million”

                      That’s 18% of the population.

                      Compare that to the 22%-32% of the American population that is armed — and consider those statistics low because a significant percentage of those who are armed aren’t going to tell people about it.

                      I get called may things by many people when I say this, but I honestly don’t think that the Jews ever thought that things would get *that* bad, *that* quickly. They weren’t prepared, they believed in the thin veneer of society, and when the middle ceased to hold, it ceased to hold in a hurry…

                    3. So you are using these numbers?

                      And we’re interested in whether Anne Frank would have lived if they had all been armed? I just want to make sure I’m following the argument.

                      Is the argument that if the 400 some thousand Jews in France/Belgium/Holland had access to guns, then the Germans wouldn’t have occupied Holland, and thus Frank would have lived? That seems like a stretch. The French army once fully mobilized was 5.9 million men. Adding whatever fraction of the 400k could fight to that doesn’t seem like a decisive difference.

                      If the argument is that the extra 6M Jews in Poland/Russia/the Baltics being armed would have kept Anne Frank alive because Germany would have been fighting that much harder on the Eastern front, and wouldn’t have been able to devote effort to hunt down Jews in Holland, that still seems like a stretch. For one thing, the Russian Jews of military age were already serving in the Red Army. You can argue that the rest could have been guerillas, and there is some truth in that, but it still seems a stretch to think it would have made a difference. Overall, Jews constituted a little over 1% of the Soviet population. I’m not sure why they could be expected to increase the war effort by much more than 1%. They were c. 10% of Polish citizens, but would a 10% stronger Polish Army have been a game changer?

                      In Europe as a whole, they were 1.7% of the population. That’s just not a game changing number, no matter what gun laws were.

                    4. So, a few points.

                      1. “Whatever fraction could fight”
                      You’re typically going to be underestimating this. When faced with utter and total eradication (like the Jews were), a much higher percentage than 10% of a population will fight. You’ll get everyone who can hold a weapon. Likely 50-60% of a population, if not higher.

                      2. The percentages you’re using are off as well. Jews only made up 1% of the French population, for example, but 20% of the resistance.

                      3. You’re also forgetting the comparative effects. A large Jewish population within Germany, which could actively resist (and hundreds of thousands is large), would’ve required excessive forces from within Germany to deal with. Partisan and Guerilla tactics are possible and typically require much larger numbers of “standard” army forces to deal with them. In addition, they can often diminish support for a government.

                      4. But this all requires firearms to be readily available to the public. One of the first thing any group in power does, when they face a potential “threat” from a minority is take away the weapons. It’s the reason the Nazis took away all the weapons from the Jews (while simultaneously making sure their supporters had more guns). It’s the reason the South favored stricter gun laws in the Jim Crow days. It’s the reason Venezuela instituted laws to take away the citizens weapons.

                    5. “Is the argument that if the 400 some thousand Jews in France/Belgium/Holland had access to guns, then the Germans wouldn’t have occupied Holland, and thus Frank would have lived?”

                      I’m saying that if the two adult males in those hidden rooms had been armed and opened fire when the Gestapo broke in, the surviving Gestapo wouldn’t have cared about anyone other than those shooting at them — she could have escaped.

                      Cops use the term “vertical coffin” for a reason…

                      Conversely, if the Gestapo knew the Jews to be armed, they would have to dedicate a LOT more resources to capturing each one, no more 3-man teams with handguns. You’d need a lot more equipment, a lot more men, and a lot more time — which would both reduce your efficiency and force you to ask if this was an appropriate allocation of finite resources.

                      Furthermore, do not forget that you have to somehow come up with 6 million Jews in Europe because we know that is how many Hitler killed — so if you keep shrinking total populations, there aren’t going to be enough for the 6M figure we know existed.

                  2. “In January 1933, some 522,000 Jews by religious definition lived in German”

                    1: The Nuremburg Laws did not refer to “religious” definitions.
                    2: I said “Europe”, not “Germany — remember that the Nazi’s antisemitism extended throughout all of Europe with the exception of Switzerland.

                    The 19M figure well may be wrong — I remember it in a conversation with Israeli advocates who made the point that the 6M death toll actually was less than half the population, and that there were lots of survivors (something I didn’t realize).

                    I’m not good with numbers, I’m just saying that there WERE a significant number of survivors because they were around in the 1950s & 1960s…

                    1. I’m not good with numbers,

                      Or any other facts.

            3. “When they were armed in 1948…no second holocaust”

              You don’t have to wait that long — while the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising didn’t have a chance at success, look at what they accomplished with the few arms that they did have. Memory is that they tied up a whole division and that was with something like 3 rifles and a shotgun.

          3. The Gestapo usually had three-man teams for these operations — at most they would have had five men.

            Think the ATF at Waco, which had a much larger force (and radios that the Nazis didn’t have). What did the ATF do? They fell back, dragging their wounded to safety — it’s all you can do in such a situation like that, unless you are suicidal.

            So the first two Gestapo through the “vertical coffin” (i.e. door) are dead. A firefight between the still-living Gestapo and the two adult males ensues — and unless they are unfortunate enough to be struck by a stray round, everyone else (including Anne) escapes…..

            They got her in August of 1944 — D-Day was in June of 1944 and while I’ve never figured out (a) exactly when that building was liberated or (b) when the Gestapo stopped its anti-Jewish operations there because of the advancing Allies, reality is that if she’d been able to hide for another 6 months or so, she’d been OK.

            Her date of death is estimated at March 31, 1945 — Hitler himself died less than a month later (April 30, 1945) — she was so close to “making it”…

            1. The other thing here is IF the Jews had been armed, the Nazis probably could still have murdered a lot of them, but the opportunity cost would have been a whole lot higher.

              If you need a full-fledged SWAT team to make every arrest, you are tying up a lot of resources — both personnel and equipment — when you are already fighting a two-front war, with things not going well for you. Every man, every gun, every truck that they dedicated to the Holocaust was one that was badly needed on the Eastern Front. Even the railroad capacity used to transport people to the death camps (in Poland) hurt the war effort because it could have instead been carrying ammo (or warm clothing) to the troops on the Eastern Front.

              And the second thing is that the Gestapo were bullies, and they wouldn’t have been anywhere as brave had the Jews been shooting back at them.

              Combine the two of those, and have a sane & rational Hitler (OK, but…) and you don’t have a Holocaust because it detracts from the war effort.

            2. Such counterfactural speculation is useless.

              However it is historically established at a small, cohesive, trained force can hold off and even defeat a well armed force that is much larger. The classic case was at the Battle of Pharsales, in which Pompeus Magnus had a force of soldiers three times larger than Caesar’s and Caesar was fighting with his back to the sea.
              He told his troops that they had the advantage in battle. They had to win or drown, while Pompey’s troops could run away (which they did). This ended the Roman Civil War.

              But that was not giving guns to 20% of the residents of the Jewish ghetto and expecting a similar result.

      2. This anti-Semite, Nazi sympathizer needs to be held accountable. Naturally, the Nazi hierarchy was an all gay enterprise. That may explain the sympathy, and the opposition to the resistance against them.

        1. ” Naturally, the Nazi hierarchy was an all gay enterprise. That may explain the sympathy, and the opposition to the resistance against them.”

          A nut folks.

          1. But not completely wrong. There was a lot of homosexuality in that movement, particularly amongst the SA.

            1. Get real Ed,
              The presence of homosexuals is very far from a movement being an “all gay enterprise.”

            2. Even if you weren’t just making stuff up, which you are because you’re Dr. Ed, the SA had little influence in the “Nazi hierarchy” after 1934.

      3. He may be a nut. But weakness is like a pheromone to fanatics.

        1. The extremist conservatives around here are happy to help him. They either recognize him as a fellow traveler or think, pragmatically, they can’t alienate such as him as a key component to their coalition. Notice the silence from them on him….

          1. Indeed it is rather amazing, but more and more I find that it is not surprizing

            1. It’s been a process though – the accepting of these legit ill people didn’t happen all at once. Really interesting.
              Do you think it’s just what happens when an ideology swings towards populism?

              RAK doesn’t get a lot of engagement from the lefties here, but I think that may be just that there aren’t as many lefties here (a bit of sample bias towards contrarianism versus ideological self-validation) so we’re not getting a good sample.

              I do think this place is becoming a good argument for moderating forums if you want to get something out of them long-term.

              1. “I do think this place is becoming a good argument for moderating forums if you want to get something out of them long-term.”

                S_0, you can see that from comparing the comments in the NYT with those in WaPo that are even more demented than those we see here.

              2. A quick glance at the rest of the Reason comment forum provides some probable answers for why the Volokh forum has attracted a large number of nuts. The Conspiracy moved their forum to a virtual nut factory, after all.

                The Conspirators don’t appear to have a nut allergy so I don’t expect moderation.

        2. Don Nico : He may be a nut. But weakness is like a pheromone to fanatics.

          Maybe, maybe not. But one thing is certain :

          The subject of “weakness” is an obsession of weak people.

        3. Donnie, aren’t you a lawyer? Do you not believe minds can be read, rare accidents can be predicted, and that standards of behavior should be set by a fictitious character? You say that is to keep the standards objective. Of course, that is a lying masking ideology. That character is really Jesus. That is illegal in our secular nation. You have some nerve calling anyone, nuts. You impose your sicko fake beliefs on others at the point of a gun. Not only nuts, but you are dangerous as a lawyer. Result? Every self stated goal of every law subject is in failure save one, rent seeking. You take our $trillion, return nothing of any value. You destroy $2 million, personally, every year you breathe. You lawyers have unmitigated gall.

          1. “Do you not believe minds can be read, rare accidents can be predicted”
            These would be the ravings of a mad man if charity did not forbid my identifying them as such from the present source.
            David, think of it as my mitzvah, and be thankful

          2. “You impose your sicko fake beliefs on others at the point of a gun. I’ve never owned a gun and only fire a 22-rifle once in a mandatory Army ROTC class.

            “You have some nerve calling anyone, nuts. ”
            I calls ’em as I sees ’em, unless the angels tell me that charity demands leaving Behar alone.

      4. I usually just ignore him.

        But in regards to the point about “weakness,” here’s something to consider.

        Between 1938 and 1945, Nazi Germany sought to and succeeded in killed millions of Jews. In 1948, Arabs again sought to kill millions of Jews. But they didn’t succeed.

        What changed?

        1. Jews got guns for themselves.

          1. Bingo. The Jewish people decided not to be “weak”, decided that they needed to defend themselves, and they did so with firearms. And they did so, and did so quite capably.

            It’s much harder to commit genocide on a group that is willing, able, and has the power and foresight to fight back and defend themselves.

        2. What changed?


          In 1948 Israel had organized, trained, forces, with military arms – some of which they manufactured themselves – communications, etc. They had the benefit of soldiers who had served in the allied forces in WWII. The forces weren’t confined to small sections of cities and towns, but operated in open territory.

          To compare the Arab armies to the SS and Wehrmacht is a joke – comparing high school baseball teams to MLB, and the Israelis were not hugely outnumbered.

          IOW, your whole argument is idiotic, not to say insulting and offensive.

          1. You are frequently wrong, so let me point out that Israel was indeed outnumbered, and that you are very likely, fetishizing Wehrmacht efficiency vs religious hatred. The Arab nations had been fighting to keep what they no doubt viewed as an alliance of Judaism and Christianity out of the holy land, alongside the 3rd Reich.

            1. And your point is?

          2. So, in other words, in 1948, the Jewish people weren’t weak anymore….

            They decided to get guns, they decided to organize and train and defend themselves. And because they weren’t weak, they avoided a second genocide.

            Seems like you’re making my point for me.

      5. The conclusion is that you attack messengers only and always, never messages.

        1. David’s are stupid beyond belief lacking in any credibility. Do you really believe that people can read minds or accurately predict detail of improbable future events.
          “You destroy $2 million, personally, every year you breathe. ”
          Do you actually consider that statement is a “message” worthy of a reply other than a sneer?
          Do you actually believe that Nazism was an “all-gay enterprise?”
          In your strange world do you agree with Behar that “fascists were communists”?
          There is nothing to respond to in such nonsense except to pity the messenger as an act of charity or a mitzvah, if you will.

          1. Donnie. Sorry those are facts. Not only is intent mind reading, but it was lawlessly plagiarized from the catechism of 1275 AD. That is not allowed in our secular nation. I already cited Catechism paragraph 1857. Read it, then read the homicide statutes of your state. I can’t help it if you cut 10th Grade World History class when Medieval philosophy was covered. Your passing 1L wrecked your native IQ. You became a lawyer d-word.

            St. Thomas said, God could predict accidents, and prevent accidents. That belief was in accordance with his faith, which I respect. Not even the 13th Century church said, man could do that. Only the lawyer d-word says that, today in post modern 2021.

            You need to repent. Replacing you and the Justices of the Supreme Court with a Life Skills class student learning to eat with a spoon would mean an immediate upgrade in the decisions and in the clarity of the writing.

            1. You badly need psychiatric treatment.


            2. “St. Thomas said, God could predict accidents, and prevent accidents. ”
              David, despite what your small brain tells you, David Behar is not G_d. St. Thomas also said that ALL that does happen happens in conformity with His will.
              The complete and utter arrogance to a Behar telling me that I have to repent is chutzpah of the highest order. In fact it is a blasphemy.
              Take the advice that bernard offered without malice. See at psychiatrist.

        2. There’s no message or messager so stupid that Á àß äẞç ãþÇđ âÞ¢Đæ ǎB€Ðëf ảhf won’t be there to passionately defend it/them.

  2. Why not make it Victims of Capitalism day? Famines killed millions where the British forced it on people.

    Or the people in America today who still die because they can’t afford insulin. That’s death by capitalism.

    1. From your article, “Drought and monsoons afflicted much of China, southern Africa, Brazil, Egypt and India. The death tolls were staggering: around 12m Chinese and over 6m Indians in 1876-1878 alone.”

      You Commies always scapegoat the people trying to help.

    2. “That’s death by capitalism”.

      No, it isn’t. Absent capitalism would insulin be widely available for injection?

      If you can favorably compare communism and all of its well documented oppression with a free philosophy like capitalism I don’t think there’s any hope for you. Lucky for you though that you live under a free capitalist regime so that you can express dissatisfaction. Under your preferred philosophy, you’d be headed for the camps for doing so.

    3. JoeB1, read Gulag Appellego.

      1. When I try to play appellego I never get the tempo right.

        1. very cute, bernard.

    4. I’m a liberal and quite skeptical of markets as the universal go-to they have become, but this is nonsens.

      The utilitarian argument is muddy, requiring a lot of counterfactual speculation. And on a more Kantian formulation familiar to the West, you are trying to compare direct intentional cause with indirect cause. That is not going to fly with anyone not already looking for an anti-capitalist outcome.

      1. Sarcastr0, causation looks different under capitalism, but it is no less causative. If capitalists discern profit opportunities during a food shortage, and to maximize profits withhold supplies which could ease famine, that doesn’t look as policy-like as starving people for reasons of state, or as a weapon of war. But the result is still a famine caused by ideology. And of course plenty of the famine deaths attributed to warfare have been inflicted by pro-capitalist armies.

        1. I’m not saying capitalism can’t be evil, but pure utilitarianism comparisons don’t play great in peoria.

          By that same utilitarian standard, we should have nuked Russia in 1945; would have saved lives, net-net.

        2. Stephen,
          You confuse the lack of government control over means of production and under a multitude of political systems, with government control over or ownership of the means of production and commerce as dictated by distinct political systems of government.
          I say that is a very large confusion indeed.

          1. Of course, Don Nico. Capitalism is a law of nature. Action-reaction; gravitation; electro-magnetism; entropy; capitalism, all characteristics of the universe. Government has nothing to do with it.

            And socialism is all government, even while it is normative practice among people who practice almost no government at all.

    5. JOEB1,

      I like where you are going except that my variation on this “victims of . . . “ theme would be ‘Victims of Internationalism Day’ as I believe the power, prestige and thus success of communism as an organized murder operation depends more on its appeal as an internationalist exercise than for it’s economic claims.

    6. JoeB1 : Why not make it Victims of Capitalism day?

      Of course you can play Somin’s game all day long. Maybe the Fourth of July to commemorate the genocide of Native American peoples? Christmas would be an excellent holiday to hijack for any number of shameful aspects of Christianity’s history. (Maybe that would be fair, since the early Christians hijacked the holiday from the pagans)

      The point of this game? Why, good old-fashion trolling internet fun. That’s all.

      1. Well, yeah, ideologues gonna ideologue. But I still think it’s worth pointing out that the sacred cows of the defenders of all things market trample an awful lot of people to death. How many people did the United States murder in Vietnam to save them from Communism?

        And I really do enjoy the mental gymnastics of these replies from people that obviously didn’t bother to engage with Davis’ argument. China and India had elaborate systems for distributing grain to regions affected by famine, and then when capitalism was imposed on them, grain was left to rot in silos while people starved to drive up the price. They refuse to argue with that because you can’t.

      2. I mean, there’s even this guy here who can somehow claim that the British were trying to help anyone other than themselves. If that’s not willful blindness… I know how Bernie Madoff earned so much money.

    7. Forcing famine on millions is a tool of dictators, not capitalism.

      And I’ll take the rough edges of capitalism as a downside over the megadeaths of not-capitalism, to say nothing of the gigadeaths of not-capitalism due to lagging technological progress as business grinds to a halt in dictatorship and kleptocracy aka kleptocracy, when nobody can do anything without government permission, with waggling fingers behind the back.

      You can’t give your precious medicine out for free until someone invents it, and that progress correlates directly to freedom of business and economics.

      1. You can’t give your precious medicine out for free until someone invents it, and that progress correlates directly to freedom of business and economics.

        Yeah, the USSR never invented anything, and neither did the Muslims.

        The inventor of the Polio vaccine immediately abandoned his copyright. Almost like he was motivated by something other than capitalism.

        Capitalism is the best engine for innovation, but you don’t need to overplay your hand and give away your credibility.

        1. “The inventor of the Polio vaccine immediately abandoned his copyright. Almost like he was motivated by something other than capitalism.”

          You can do that, in a free market system. Betcha he still sought to minimize his taxes, though.

          1. The point is that not all innovation comes from a capitalist impulse.

            And minimizing your taxes is capitalist now? Their identity as capitalists will be news to the Roman citizens back in the day.

        2. “Yeah, the USSR never invented anything.”
          Interestingly some of the most innovative technological inventions (for example in physics) made by Soviet scientists never reached anywhere near their potential in practice because the USSR was structurally disadvantaged in taking the next step.

          But it is true that Sedov published the analytic solution of the self-similar evolution of a nuclear fireball in the open Soviet literature eight several before von Neumann completed his highly classified calculation with crude computers in the late 40’s.

          Aside from knowing that the nuclear bomb actually worked, the Soviets needed little additional information to realize the designs of Sakharov.

      2. You talk like there’s somehow some necessary link between capitalism and all things good. I get it, I went to public school too, but it’s baseless propaganda. A capitalist market system is perfectly compatible with dictatorship, as Pinochet proved. Or you can look at the moves towards privatization that the Chinese have made.

        What history shows us is that human flourishing comes from a system where power is broadly distributed rather than narrowly concentrated. Because if you have no say in how you’re governed you’re just going to get run over. That doesn’t recommend capitalism at all, we can see every day how economic power is increasingly concentrated in America, and how that translates into political power. You can’t neatly separate political and economic power like the libertarian fantasy insists.

        Capitalism has nothing to do with freedom, and in America today, with our campaign finance system, is antithetical to it.

      3. Krayt, the rise of capitalism and the rise of industrialism were roughly contemporaneous. Like many fans of capitalism, you like to claim the gains of industrialism as fruit of the capitalist tree. Some of that is warranted. Some of it is not. And a big chunk of initial capitalism was enabled by gains from the other direction, with nascent industrialism (such as state-organized naval shipbuilding) delivering from the public sector capital which would later be privately re-deployed. It isn’t a simple picture.

      4. Forcing famine on millions is a tool of dictators, not capitalism.

        There might be some Irishmen who would disagree.

        1. I think he’s trying to escape that comparison through the word “force.” Capitalism didn’t “force famine” on the Irish, it merely didn’t care whether the conditions for profit created famine. And when the famine happened, they continued to ship out tons of high-quality food to England while importing insufficient quantities of lower-quality food from the Americas.

          Also, isn’t slavery a form of capitalism? Indentured servitude? While I don’t think anyone is seriously making the argument that Capitalism doesn’t bring its own ills and Communism has its own undeniably bloody history, both of them have made use of slavery for their own purposes.

    8. Famines killed millions where the British forced it on people.

      How is that “capitalism”?

      Or the people in America today who still die because they can’t afford insulin. That’s death by capitalism.

      Setting aside that there aren’t such people, that would be death by poverty, not capitalism.

  3. Marx is still looking down on it with disbelief.

    1. Actually, he’s smiling. Because it never could have turned out another way.

  4. Happy to invite people to come here to establish communist control of the US though.

    1. Communism was only ever popular because of the widespread abuses that occurred in the name of other ideologies (classical liberalism included). There’s a reason why MLK, Mandela, etc., refused to engage in Communist baiting…They knew who was with them and against them when the chips were down, and the former didn’t include many classical liberals.

      1. Queenie. Academia is filled with Chinese Commie Party sympathizers and enablers, as illustrated by your disloyal comments.

        1. You’re a complete idiot that doesn’t know what they are talking about. I like that you are a consistent, complete Trump supporter example though! Keep it up!

          1. Queenie. I do not want to add to your suffering from being you. Have a blessed day, Hon.

      2. Union members saw how their brothers lived under communism and wanted no part of it, and were ardently anti-communist.

        The young of today have no such good jobs, and so are seduced by its eternal siren song.

  5. “May Day began as a holiday for socialists and labor union activists, not just communists.”

    NO! They merely stole it.

    May Day is halfway be the Spring and Summer equinoxes, in Northern Europe was a time for planting, which then evolved into a fertility rite. See:

    It was very much opposed by Puritans who feared both that it was encouraging demonic possession and Indian alliances against them, the latter a more realistic fear.

  6. “Communism, that’s like Obama and Hillary, right? Man, I sure do hate communism.”

    – Average Volokh commenter

    1. It’s fair since the left calls everyone else “fascists”

      1. Fascists were Commie, the ultimate practitioners of Big Government.

        1. Communism is when the government does stuff. Fascism? Also when the government does stuff.

          The Ideology Understander has logged on.

          1. Nazi workers took over factories, and ran them by workers’ councils.

            1. A state cutout is not really a workers’ council.

              The organisation, by its own definition, combated capitalism and liberalism, but also revolution against the factory owners and the Nazi regime. The DAF, however, did openly prefer to have large companies nationalised by the German state, instead of privately owned companies.

          2. Communism is government ownership of industry. Fascism is nominal private ownership with government control and “partnership”.

            Functionally there’s not much difference.

            Discern the difference on the head of a pin, if it means you can inaccurately accuse the other guys of sympathy for one or the other.

            1. You’re, uh, proving Aunt Teefah’s 1:34 post correct with your reductionism.

              1. Indeed they two are not exactly the same. But do remember that a considerable amount of Soviet production was carried out off the books and after hours led by worker cooperatives rather than Soviet commissars. The Soviet Communist economy had massive rat at its core. The CCP has ways manager to loosen the economic chains enough to allow Chinese entrepreneurial spirit to blossom, but in an environment with strong political constraints.

            2. “Functionally there’s not much difference.”

              Indeed. What Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany had in common was that El Supremo got what he wanted. It’s not like the Petropavlovsk Worker’s Council could disagree with Stalin any more than the Krupp Worker’s Council (if there was one??) or Herr Krupp could disagree with Hitler.

            3. The comparison is silly, because fascism is not primarily an economic ideology. It’s more about extreme nationalism, the Great Leader, and so on.

              The economic organization of the country is secondary.

    2. If Biden gets what he wants, we will have communism…

      1. ^^^ Some powerful conservative minds at work. ^^^

  7. What I now look forward to in May 1 is the Volokh Conspiracy Redbaiting Shitshow Day, where Communism is not lamented, but rather joyfully pressed into service as a partisan cudgel.

    1. Prof. Somin deserves one day each year when the Volokh Conspiracy’s right-wing fans refrain from bashing his libertarian content, does he not?

      This appears to be the way he gets that day of respite.

    2. A gross misrepresentation S_0.
      However, we will get the usual screeds from the usual clowns

      1. I know how these comment threads go, is all.

        Not a comment on the subject of the OP, only that the comentariat is not up to dealing with it.

      2. “the usual screeds from the usual clowns”

        That has described the Volokh Conspiracy. corner to corner and top to bottom, for a number of years.

    3. Sarcastr0 : What I now look forward to in May 1 is the Volokh Conspiracy Redbaiting Shitshow Day…

      Otherwise known as internet trolling in professorial drag……

      1. I very much disagree with you on this one, actually.

        Prof. Somin is sincere. Lacking judgement, but pretty clearly sincere.

  8. To inflate their numbers to 100 million, the Black Book of Communism (in)famously included a whole bunch of people whose status as “victims” is seriously questionable, including SS members, Nazi soldiers, and other fascists fighting in the east. Makes one wonder whether there should be a Victims of Victims of Communism Day.

    1. So 80 million instead of 100 million?

      The Chinese killed 60+ million plus between the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.

      1. That still matters.

        Being OK with lies that go along with your ideology is not cool.

        1. I agree. That’s why I object to gun control groups lumping suicides and accidents into the overall gun death figures. Somehow banning assault weapons and hi-cap magazines will stop the 60% of deaths attributable to people shooting themselves. You know, with one bullet.

        2. I suppose one shouldn’t pick a tendentiously high number.

          But I’m generally suspicious about people who think it’s more important not to overstate the Holocaust numbers than to be against the Holocaust. They’re generally anti-Semites.

          People who rush to challenge Somin’s number but can’t be bothered to unequivocally condemn communism are in the same category. They’re generally just pro-Stalin, period.

          1. Hmmm…OK. I don’t know that I want to defend someone who goes by ‘Aunt Teefah’ without knowing more about her, but I can say the number cited is pretty controversial among historians.

            Like, I’m fine hating Communism for causing 60M deaths.

    2. No it makes us wonder why you’re equivocating over deaths by starvation, torture, imprisonment, and warfare against innocent civilians. It would seem the left is veering into that maelstrom once again.

      1. No, the left isn’t.

        And you should probably keep the lies bright, lest you give the ‘victims of capitalism’ nonsense a legit point.

        Not worth it for getting a round number.

    3. Your point is we can’t count prisoners of war who were starved to death, beaten to death, denied due process and disappeared ? That’s suppose to be just peachy because they deserved it anyway ?

      Congrats on this May 1st, I see you are still holding on to the Communist ideal.

      1. Counting Nazis as deaths due to Communism seems to be needlessly goosing the numbers at the expense of factual consistency.

        But nice job on the redbaiting.

        1. Counting Nazis as deaths due to Communism seems to be needlessly goosing the numbers at the expense of factual consistency.

          .. and you the human avatar of confirmation bias and lord of the fallacy of the excluded middle would know precisely what about factual consistency ? You are a creature of the narrative, top to bottom.

          My definition is simple. Noncombatant deaths directly or indirect caused by the Communist states. So, yes, Nazi POWs killed in retribution should in fact be rolled into that number as should any other POWs. Generally, I am not a fan of mass murder, even of Nazis. No doubt you have some sarcastian redefinition ready at hand to reframe things so you can juggle numbers to better fit your narrative, but I will stay with my simple and honest definition thanks.

          But nice job on the redbaiting.

          … and that means so much coming from a hyper partizan like yourself. Are you using your vaunted powers of telepathy to assign motives to other people so you don’t have to confront what they really think again or do you have a brand new definition of redbaiting ? Half of me thinks you woke up this morning knowing Ilya was going to make first May 1st post so you needed a “Republicans pounce theme” and todays is “redbaiting”

          1. My issue with your generous line drawing is it proves too much. Suddenly the Civil War is full of victims of capitalism. And WW2. And Vietnam.

            And all to get a round number. Communism is monstrous and caused a staggering number of deaths. There’s no need to start playing the margins like that and giving up the high-ground.

            Redbaiting is an action, independent of motivation. You called someone who disagreed with you on the numbers ‘holding to the Communist ideal.’ No need for telepathy to call that redbaiting.

            You also called me hyper-partisan. Is that your own vaunted powers of telepathy at work?

            1. The Soviet prisoners that the Germans left in open cages to starve, or who were worked to death in the camps … should they be counted as victims of the Nazis, or not?

              1. That seems fine to me, but I don’t want to split hairs and become the arbiter of correctness.

                What I’m saying – all I’m saying – is you can afford not to goose the numbers with dodgy inclusions. Like, for instance, the non-War Crime killings of Nazis in WW2.


                1. That page seems a little dodgy to me … e.g. it keeps talking about ‘WWII deaths’ but only mentions Germany and the USSR, not the Japanese in China, etc. But I only read the section you highlighted.

                  I agree it’s not something you can figure to two decimal places, nor should we want to. It’s like arguing how much worse one serial killer is than another, because one killed a few more people. In my view, once you get into serial killer territory, you’re 100% bad. If someone says ‘The Poughkeepsie Poisoner was bad’, I don’t think the right response is ‘Well, maybe, but The Scranton Slasher…’. They are both individually all the way bad. People who quibble about that make me raise an eyebrow.

    4. So, entire lifetimes lost to living in dictatorship and terrible standards ain’t so bad?

      Ahh, the “communism wasn’t so bad” brigade, bragging good times because communist deaths aren’t even higher because of shock and awe killings of professors and the quick building of intense “internal security” bureaus skilled in midnight disappearances?

      See? Few died, just a hundred million, because they were so heavily dominated by evil few chose to resist after the pogroms and induced famines!

      No wonder your type runs around with joy at social lemmingism taking out newly-declared dangerous talk.

      It is your side that has a new Hitler youth, or communist youth, training them to squeal on their parents, for flushing a toilet, or expressing an attitude far more modern than those of Joe and Hillary 20 years ago, yet still not up to date with the warm 14 minute old woke datasheet.

      1. Two things can be true:

        1. Communism was a nightmare of badness
        2. That doesn’t give you license to have less fidelity to facts when criticizing it.

      2. Actually this isn’t completely accurate. For thousands of years, the other side wielded the cancel power, for example, against homosexuality, and beyond, with jailing.

        My lament is humans didn’t learn the evil was the technique itself, not who wields it, or why.

        1. That “other side” — in modern terms, our current conservative coalition of half-educated bigots, superstitious clingers, disaffected culture war casualties — appears to be your side, Krayt.

  9. The next time they try communism it will definitely work.

    1. It does not work even in wealthy Democrat jurisdictions. They are unlivable despite their wealth.

  10. This issue appears to be quite important to you, Prof. Somin.

    Is it the reason you (otherwise inexplicably) continue to associate primarily with intolerant Republicans, authoritarian conservatives, and disaffected right-wing culture war casualties who scorn and mock your libertarian positions here?

    You (and your ideas) deserve better playmates, professor, such as those to be found by joining the liberal-libertarian American mainstream.

    1. Who pays you tiresome, one-note trolls? George Soros? Jeff Bezos? Do they know how much money they are wasting on making the lunatic left look even more batshit insane than normal?

      1. Perhaps the same type of people who fund a polemical right-wing blog with a scant academic veneer, seeking in vain to make obsolete conservative positions more palatable among a reasoned, educated, modern, literate audience?

  11. Well communism fell in the Soviet Union and are the people of Russia better off now? Hard to say. Putin seems better than Stalin but by how much? I don’t really see the people of Russia enjoying the blessing of capitalism and freedom.

    Also, I have no objection to a Victims of Communism day as long as a certain amount of time is focused on why people chose communism over the system that was in place. Why did that system fail and convince people to give communism a chance.

    1. Communism fucked those countries up in a very long term way. Compare East and West Germany today, even after 30 years.

      Or better yet, go to Poland. Great country filled with brave, nice, smart, hard working people but still economically substandard because of 50 years under the communist boot.

      1. This is why I’m glad I believe in an objective morality – many younger Russians want to go back to the USSR, because that’s when they had international respect. (Also some rosy colored historical glasses)

        Would it be imperialist of me to disagree and argue liberty is too high a price to give up for respect? Eh, screw that; they’re wrong.

        1. Yes they are. As are our own baby communists.

          The number of people trying to leave communist countries vs the number trying to get in pretty much says it all.

    2. I have no objection to a Victims of Communism day as long as a certain amount of time is focused on why people chose communism over the system that was in place. Why did that system fail and convince people to give communism a chance.

      Here’s how Lenin & Co. “convinced people to give communism a chance”:

      1. “Lenin “in general” loved people but . . . his love looked far ahead, through the mists of hatred.”

        —Maxim Gorky

  12. I once read a lecture by, of all people, Newt Gingrich, in his more academic rather than bomb-throwing politician mode. He said the greatest failure of the American left was to come to terms with their non-role in recognizing Communism’s evils and the greatest failure of the American right was to do likewise involving racism. Great talk.

    1. If you can remember enough to find a link, I’d love to read that.

    2. re: Republican’s supposed “non-role” in addressing racism
      The 1964 Civil Rights Act would never have passed without Republican support.

  13. Chesterton:
    “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”

    Odd that Christianity never gets grief for that argument, despite a much longer record of failures.

    1. Communism has been a terrible thing in the world. I’ll give no ground to any of the faux-anti-Communist conservatives here.

      However, this kind of thing seems to work like this: anything that happened under Communist regimes can be attributed to Communism.

      Needless to say that’s never applied to, say, Christian regimes or ostensibly classical liberal regimes (remember Locke was fine with slavery, Native American dispossession, etc.).

      1. I’m not aware of any modern Christian theocracies, although I could be forgetting one. Or more.

        And I haven’t seen anybody around here advocating that the US become one. I sure as hell don’t want that.

        1. If you’re going to blame every past proclaimed communist regime for their crimes (which are voluminous) why wouldn’t you blame very past proclaimed Christian regime for the same?

          1. You could do that, I suppose, but at least the supposedly Christian regimes have some good deeds to their credit. They have a much lower intensity of civilian deaths and repression, so whining about them as a general phenomenon suggests a pretty false equivalence.

          2. What proclaimed Cristian regimes? A president who professes to be Christian but doesn’t govern in a manner consistent with the New Testament is not a Christian regime. There haven’t been any Christian regimes.

            Hell, most of the self-proclaimed Christian politicians don’t behave that way anyhow, much less govern that way.

            1. Choose reason. Every time.

              Choose reason. Especially over sacred ignorance, dogmatic intolerance, and unearned privilege. Most especially if you are older than 12 or so. By then, childhood indoctrination fades as an excuse for ignorance, backwardness, bigotry, superstition, and gullibility. By adulthood — this includes ostensible adulthood — it is no excuse, not even in backwater jurisdictions Trump carried by double digits.

              Choose reason. Every time. And education, progress, tolerance, science, freedom, modernity, and inclusiveness. Avoid ignorance, bigotry, superstition, backwardness, dogma, insularity, and pining for good old days that never existed. Not 75 years ago. Not 175 years ago. Not 2,000 years ago. Not 6,000 years ago. Not ever.

              Choose reason. Every time. Be an adult.

              Or, at least, please try.

              Thank you.

      2. The dulling effect of centuries on deaths is an interesting, but collateral issue.

        It is, however, why deaths from Christianity (And Islam, and Hinduism, and Zoroastrianism, and etc. etc.) are not as fresh as Communism, and why trying to force a parallels isn’t really going to work well.

      3. (remember Locke was fine with slavery, Native American dispossession, etc.).

        Sigh. On the off chance you actually have some clue and know more about Locke than my cat, care to point out where Locke is fine with slavery ? I remember some discussions on self ownership but nothing about slavery. My bullshit detectors are going off.

        As to the American dispossession, I am pretty sure Locke didn’t have an opinion on it already being dead. On that topic, I think my cat has you beat.

        1. Artifex, you are wrong on both counts, plus another. Locke was not only fine with slavery, he invested in the slave trade. He did also justify dispossession of American Indians, during the 17th century. And thirdly, he advocated compulsory indentures among the British poor.

          One key to understanding Locke is that he wrote during a time when the vast majority of English people were given little account, neither economically or under the law. His audience were the others, who had land or titles, and his reasoning was in support of those landed and titled people getting to keep that status at the others’ expense.

          Famously, England was a nation of free men. English political institutions in Locke’s time centered on that notion, in the same way that Locke’s writing centered on that notion. Less famously, very few among the English qualified as free men. To do that they needed land or titles that the vast majority did not have and could never aspire to.

          The real Locke has been considerably polished up for presentation to American school children as a plausible source for American idealism. That part is mostly wrong, too, by the way. As a matter of history, it is not easy to show Locke had much influence on America’s founders. Which is at least a little bit surprising, because it is easy to show that at least some founders were mindful of 17th century English political struggles.

          1. One would think that today’s progressives would have a greater appreciation for Locke’s plan for “working-schools,” which were proto-daycare that helped low-income working mothers (who, unlike middle class women, were not imprisoned in their “comfortable concentration camps”): “By this means the mother will be eased of a great part of her trouble in looking after and providing for them at home, and so be at more liberty to work; the children will be kept in much better order, be better provided for, and from their infancy be inured to work…”

        2. As a bureaucrat, not a philosopher-king, Locke played a role in writing the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, which had slavery (but, interestingly, slaves were granted the same religious toleration “as any freeman”). As noted, he also invested in Royal African Company of England, which was involved in the slave trade among other activities.

          The historicist reading of Locke is entirely unpersuasive as the historical contingencies are better understood as obstacles to the full realization of the principles being advocated.

          1. The historicist reading of Locke is entirely unpersuasive as the historical contingencies are better understood as obstacles to the full realization of the principles being advocated.

            That is a good looking point, today. It looks notably different in context of the rigidly caste-bound structure of British society in the 17th century. Do you know of much, or anything, in Locke’s biography to suggest he was more an objector to the status quo in which he found himself, than a supporter of it?

  14. Oh, and whatever Christian regimes you opine into being at least didn’t leave their countries completely impoverished like the communists.

    You don’t even need a human rights argument to oppose communism. It’s a failure as economic system.

  15. Communism is a form of pure evil.

  16. I must say that it in US interest to promote Communism in our adversaries to keep them poor and weak. China goes 10% capitalist, and now they are buying us out. The same for India. Imagine if nations of 1 billion working 20 hours a day went all out capitalist. America would get run over. Kill the Commies here. Promote the Commies in Russia and in China.

  17. The happiest, most successful countries today practice a modified Communism in the context of parliamentary democracy.

    1. Either we disagree about who the happiest countries are or we disagree about the definition of communism. For example, Merriam Webster says:

      “a : a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed
      b : a theory advocating elimination of private property”

      None of those happiest countries have abolished private property, have a dictatorship of the proletariat, or anything close.

      Now, if you ‘modify’ communism into something like ‘democracies with strong free markets and robust safety nets’, well, sure. Just like ‘Hindus practice a modified Catholicism’ is true, if you let ‘modified’ do enough work.

      People who get squishy about condemning either communism or fascism seem a little odd to me.

      1. Absaroka, the problem is your fellow travelers, who are profligate squishes, because they want to red bait non-communist leftists. Apply your rigorous definition of communism, and the claims of communism rampant on American campuses become absurd.

      2. “Merriam Webster says”

        Better get in touch with those guys and ask them to update their definition.

    2. Scandinavian happiness is fake Commie propaganda. They are also moving toward a lot more capitalism.

  18. The killing of millions of enemy soldiers is also wrong. 99% are ordinary people, the same as on our side. They badly want to go home, be with their families and friends, and get on with a productive job.

    These oligarchic families were so powerful none faced justice after the war. The d-word Allied lawyer hanged some minor Nazi officials after a bogus show trial by the victors with zero legal validity save brute force. Then it recruited the real criminals against humanity to rebuild Germany. They got places of prominence not Justice from the Allies. Again, they greatly enriched themselves.

    Stunning history, but it is relevant to today. Millions have died by starvation from the tech billionaire COVID lockdown. They made $trillions even in Commie China. No accountability from the lawyer profession, the most failed, and toxic occupation in our nation, 10 times more toxic than organized crime.

  19. this will never pass for a number of of which is the associated implications of how some of the atrocities could be used to drive narratives which are considered threatening and even racist.

    I once listened to a prof at an Israeli University..he said “yes we all know the holodomor occurred, it was a planned action by Troytsky and it did kill at least six million people but we can’t say it was organized and targeted towards the Ukrainians.” When asked why he said it was because of so many of the bolsheviks involved were Jewish. That could impact how the Holocaust is perceived as a vehicle to fight anti-semitism. And intellectuals to this day have fond feelings for communism and cultural marxism. And to be honest if you look at America today..they won the fight from academia to control the media, govt, and corporate america…communism was a great thing to most of the media today.

  20. Do not get smug here, lawyer d-word. If you control something, you own it, despite not having title to it.

    By that measure, the US is 90% Commie, when you include the centralized planning and planning of regulation. The productive and economic achievement of the US is remarkable given its 90% hobbling by the Commies in the Democrat Party.

  21. The Communists and Socialists themselves picked May 1 as a day to celebrate their beliefs. It is appropriate to remind them on that same day what communist and socialist dictators have done in the name of their ideology and beliefs.

    Leave the commemoration date as May 1, Professor Somin. It is fitting.

    1. So long as we are crowding the calendar in this manner, perhaps we should make May 1 Republican Conservative Bigot Day, too?

      For one day each year, decent Americans should refuse to let conservatives and Republicans hide behind their euphemisms — ‘traditional values,’ ‘conservative values,’ ‘colorblind,’ ‘family values,’ ‘heartland’ — and insist that clingers instead be called the bigots — racists, misogynists, gay-bashers, xenophobes, etc. — that they are. If the consensus is that May 1 should be that day, let’s do it.

    2. By the same token, we should recognize a Victims of Native American Genocide Day, held on the Fourth of July.

      To remind you what has been done in the name of your ideology and beliefs.

  22. I see the violent and racist are out in force today. Wow, the first few comments here are cringe worthy.

  23. All governments at their origins and core are tools to establish a parasitic bureaucrat class over productive individuals. Communism strips away all of the mitigating and slowing pretenses. Without those pretenses Communism’s parasites rush to feed so voraciously that they tend to kill their hosts. Other forms of government allow their parasites to continue to feed in apparent perpetuity.

    “People think they’re trading chaos for order, but they’re just trading normal human evil for the really dangerous organized kind of evil, the kind that simply does not give a shit. Only bureaucrats can give you true evil.” ~ Larry Correia

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