Paul Kengor is a professor of political science at Grove City College in Grove City, Penn. He has just published "The Devil and Karl Marx," a careful look at the diabolical side of Karl Marx. The book has come out during an important time in our history since so many Americans, particularly our youth, have fallen for the seductive siren song of socialism taught to them by the academic elite.
"The Black Book of Communism," edited by Stephane Courtois, details the Marxist-Leninist death toll in the 20th century. Here is the breakdown: USSR, 20 million deaths; China, 65 million; Vietnam, 1 million; North Korea and Cambodia, 2 million each; Eastern Europe, 1 million; and about 3.5 million in Latin America, Africa, and Afghanistan. These figures understate those detailed by Professor R.J. Rummel in "Death by Government." He finds that from 1917 until its collapse, the Soviet Union murdered or caused the death of 61 million people, mostly its own citizens. From 1949 to 1976, Communist China's Mao Zedong regime was responsible for the death of as many as 78 million of its own citizens.
The world's intellectual elite readily focus on Adolph Hitler's murderous atrocities but ignore those of the world's socialists. Mao Zedong has been long admired by academics and leftists across our country. They often marched around singing his praises and waving his little red book, "Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung." President Barack Obama's communications director, Anita Dunn, in her June 2009 commencement address to St. Andrew's Episcopal High School at Washington National Cathedral, said Mao was one of her heroes.
Whether it's the academic community, the media elite, stalwarts of the Democratic Party or organizations such as the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, Green for All, the Sierra Club, and the Children's Defense Fund, there is a great tolerance for the ideas of socialism — a system that has caused more deaths and human misery than all other systems combined. Today's leftists, socialists, and progressives would bristle at the suggestion that their agenda differs little from those of Nazi, Soviet, and Maoist mass murderers. Keep in mind that one does not have to be in favor of death camps or wars of conquest to be a tyrant. The only requirement is that one must believe in the primacy of the state over individual rights.
Kengor highlights another feature of Marx ignored by his followers. This feature of Marxism should be disturbing to Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who said that she and her fellow organizers are "trained Marxists." I wonder whether she shares Marx's views on race. Marx's son-in-law, Paul Lafargue, was viewed as having Negro blood in his veins. Marx denigrated him as "Negillo" and "The Gorilla."
Marx had similar hate for Jews. He referred to his fellow socialist labor organizer Ferdinand Lasalle as a "greasy Jew," "the little k*ke," "water polack jew" and "Jewish n*gger." In 1844, Marx wrote an essay titled "The Jewish Question" in which he asks "what is the worldly cult of the Jew?" His answer: "Haggling. What is his worldly god? Money."
Down through the years, leftists made a moral equivalency between communist/socialist totalitarianism and democracy. W. E. B. Du Bois, writing in the National Guardian (1953) said, "Joseph Stalin was a great man; few other men of the 20th century approach his stature." Walter Duranty called Stalin "the greatest living statesman...a quiet, unobtrusive man." George Bernard Shaw expressed admiration for Mussolini, Hitler, and Stalin. Economist John Kenneth Galbraith visited Mao's China and praised Mao Zedong and the Chinese economic system. Michel Oksenberg, President Jimmy Carter's China expert, complained that "America is doomed to decay until radical, even revolutionary, change fundamentally alters the institutions and values," and urged us to "borrow ideas and solutions" from China.
Kengor does a yeoman's job of highlighting the evils of Marxism. The question is whether Americans will heed his lesson or fall prey to the false promises and live the horrors of socialism. By the way, while Sweden and Denmark have a large welfare system, they have market economies — not socialist economies, as some leftists claim.
Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.