The New Criterion offers us a horrifying overview of the bloody legacy of Communism down the centuries. Those of us who fought the Cold War in one way or another needed little convincing of the evil of the 'other side', but today, many of its horrors have been forgotten, or whitewashed by 'fellow travelers'. This article sets the record straight.
Ninety-nine years ago, Tsar Nicholas II abdicated, and, after a few months of weak parliamentary rule, the Bolsheviks seized power. We call that seizure the Russian (or October) Revolution, but it might better be designated the Bolshevik coup d’état. A party of 10,000 people gained control of an empire occupying one-sixth of the earth’s land area.
From the start, they made up for their small numbers with outsized violence. If at first their executions of liberals, socialists, workers who showed independence, and peasants from whom grain was seized at gunpoint seemed like a short-term necessity, it soon became evident that the violence would never stop. In fact, it was to grow, with Stalin proclaiming “the intensification of the class struggle” when Bolshevik control had long been total.
The Bolsheviks made up for their small numbers with outsized violence.
Eventually some eighteen countries were to fall under Communist rule. In 1999, Time magazine proclaimed Einstein the “man of the century”—the person who “for better or worse most influenced the last 100 years”—but Einstein did not remotely affect so many lives as Lenin. Bolsheviks were never very good at material inventions, but they excelled at political technology, inventing an entirely new system we call totalitarian. As they say today, it went viral. There is still no vaccine.
Of course, lots of conquering groups have annihilated or enslaved other groups—just think of the Trojan war or Tamerlane’s mountains of skulls—but no form of government had ever been so brutal to those it regarded as its own people. Soviet Russia was far crueler than its tsarist predecessor, which had long been proverbial as “the gendarme of Europe.” Between 1825 and 1905, the tsars executed 191 people for political reasons—not for mere “suspicion” as under the Soviets but for actual assassinations, including that of Tsar Alexander II. In The Gulag Archipelago, Alexander Solzhenitsyn remarked that between 1905 and 1908 the regime executed as many as 2,200 people—forty-five a month!—“calling forth tears from Tolstoy and indignation from Korolenko and many, many others.” By comparison, conservative estimates of executions under Lenin and Stalin—say, twenty million from 1917 to 1953—yield an average of over ten thousand per week. That’s a tsarist century every few days.
Western public opinion has never come to terms with the crimes of Communism. Every school child knows about the Holocaust, Apartheid, and American slavery, as they should. But Pol Pot’s murder of a quarter of Cambodia’s population has not dimmed academic enthusiasm for the Marxism his henchmen studied in Paris. Neither the Chinese Cultural Revolution nor the Great Purges seem to have cast a shadow on the leftists who apologized for them. Quite the contrary, university classes typically blame the Cold War on American “paranoia” about communism and still picture Bolsheviks as idealists in too great a hurry. Being leftwing means never having to say you’re sorry.
There's much more at the link.
Indispensable, essential reading for anyone who doesn't know (or has forgotten) the full horror of all that Communism perpetrated in its quest for the left-wing, progressive chimera of the 'classless society'. It very nearly ended up with no society left at all.