Marxism: 100 Years of Deception -- and Counting
When helping my daughter with her AP World History class recently, I was struck by the similarities between the present day and the troubled years between the first and second world wars. This similarity was driven home even more strongly by the recent death of Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II's spouse of almost 74 years. Philip's passing reminds us that we will eventually lose Elizabeth herself, who, at 94, is the longest-reigning monarch in British (and world) history.
We are witnessing the end of an era.
The aftermath of the Great War saw the implosion of three European kingdoms: the German-Prussian Empire, the Habsburg dynasty that ruled Austria-Hungary and the 300-year-old Romanov dynasty in Russia.
The collapse of the Romanov dynasty is arguably the most heartbreaking. Czar Nicholas II had been begged by his advisors to give more power to the Russian Parliament and transition toward more of a constitutional monarchy, like that of his cousin, King George V of Great Britain. In part because of the obstinance of Nicholas' imperious wife, Alexandra, the czar refused -- a decision that not only sealed the fate of the Romanov family (the czar was eventually forced to abdicate; he, Alexandra and their five children were brutally slaughtered by Bolshevik revolutionaries) but also changed Russian history and condemned millions of people to death at the hands of communist regimes that spread across the globe.
Intellectuals, artists and revolutionaries viewed the collapse of European monarchies with hope that a more egalitarian society would be ushered in to replace the old order. Then, as now, some of the most vocal activists were clamoring for societies designed according to the writings of Karl Marx -- one where private property would cease to exist, everything would be communally owned and government would wither away in favor of rule by the proletariat (working class).
Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks who forged the Soviet Union following the collapse of the Russian monarchy were committed Marxists, as was Lenin's successor, Josef Stalin. But it soon became clear in Russia -- and elsewhere throughout the world where communism and socialism were implemented -- that Marx's collectivist utopia was a pipe dream, utterly antithetical to human nature, economically disastrous and impossible to implement without the kinds of brutality that made even the most venal and vicious kings look like Quakers.
Twenty million people died under the communist regime of the former Soviet Union in a combination of purges, political executions, torture and imprisonment in concentration camps, and widespread famines.
Sixty-five million are said to have died under China's communist Mao Zedong.
Millions more died in smaller countries throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America with equally oppressive communist governments. Once-prosperous nations such as Venezuela have been reduced to ruin.
What Marxists lack in economic common sense they have always made up for in hypocrisy. While the common people starve, the leaders of communist countries live like royalty and denounce "running dog capitalists" as "enemies of the people."