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May 1, 2017
Presented by
Dennis Prager

When people think of humanity's greatest evils, why is "communism" rarely mentioned? After all, it has caused more suffering than any other ideology, including Nazism. Watch Dennis Prager's account of communism's horrific legacy.

What’s the most destructive idea in recent history? Communism, which resulted in the deaths of 100 million people in the 20th century. 

  • In the 20th century, Communists killed at least 65 million people in China; more than 20 million people in the Soviet Union; around 5 million Ukrainians; 2 million Cambodians (about one out of every three); 2 million North Koreans; 1 million Vietnamese; and 1.5 million Eastern Europeans.View Source
  • All combined, Communist regimes during the 20th century were responsible for approximately 100 million deaths and enslaved entire nations in Russia, Vietnam, China, Eastern Europe, North Korea, Cuba and much of Central Asia.View Source
  • Related reading: The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression – Jean-Louis Panne et al.View Source
  • Related reading: Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change – Jonah GoldbergView Source

Out of all the oppressive regimes in recent history, Communist China has been the worst, killing 65 million of its own people.

  • In his quest to build a new “socialist” China, Communist Mao Zedong killed approximately 65 million of his own people by execution, imprisonment, or forced famine.View Source
  • Chinese communists operate over 1,000 labor camps, which they euphemistically call “laogai,” or “reform through labor.” Though slavery has been officially abolished in the country, these slave labor camps impose 15-hour work days under deplorable conditions. The labor camps currently hold 3 to 5 million Chinese citizens.View Source
  • All combined, Communist regimes during the 20th century were responsible for approximately 100 million deaths and enslaved entire nations in Russia, Vietnam, China, Eastern Europe, North Korea, Cuba and much of Central Asia.View Source
  • Related reading: The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression – Jean-Louis Panne et al.View Source
  • Related reading: Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change – Jonah GoldbergView Source

Who was the worst mass murderer in history? Communist China’s Mao Zedong, who killed more people than Hitler and Stalin combined.   

  • In his quest to build a new “socialist” China, Mao Zedong killed approximately 65 million of his own people by execution, imprisonment, or forced famine.View Source
  • Communist China currently operates over 1,000 labor camps, which the government euphemistically calls “laogai,” or “reform through labor.” Though slavery has been officially abolished in the country, these labor camps — which include people deemed criminals, whether they are or not — impose 15-hour work days under deplorable conditions and tight control. The labor camps currently hold 3 to 5 million Chinese citizens.View Source
  • All combined, Communist regimes during the 20th century were responsible for approximately 100 million deaths and enslaved entire nations in Russia, Vietnam, China, Eastern Europe, North Korea, Cuba and much of Central Asia.View Source
  • Related reading: The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression – Jean-Louis Panne et al.View Source
  • Related reading: Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change – Jonah GoldbergView Source

The Left often portrays Lenin sympathetically, yet the Communist regime he installed was even more murderous and tyrannical than Hitler’s.

  • Although western intellectuals on the Left often portray Vladimir Lenin in a more positive and sympathetic light than Adolf Hitler, the reality is that Lenin was likewise a tyrannical and brutal leader who embraced mass execution and established what would later become the gulag system.View Source
  • Soviet communists under Joseph Stalin murdered 20 million of their own people. All combined, Communist regimes during the 20th century were responsible for approximately 100 million deaths and a billion people enslaved.View Source
  • Related reading: The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression – Jean-Louis Panne et al.View Source
  • Related reading: Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change – Jonah GoldbergView Source

Communists are often judged more leniently than Nazis, but the truth is the legacy of both communism and fascism is tyranny and genocide.

  • Soviet leader Joseph Stalin committed systematic genocide against groups of people who were under his own control.View Source
  • Stalin’s predecessor Vladimir Lenin was likewise a tyrannical and brutal leader who embraced mass execution.View Source
  • Under Stalin, the Soviets murdered some 20 million of their own people. All combined, Communist regimes during the 20th century were responsible for approximately 100 million deaths and a billion people enslaved.View Source
  • Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler committed the pure horror of the Holocaust, with the consent of many of the German people, which touched families and groups from all walks of life and from many countries.View Source
  • Related reading: The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression – Jean-Louis Panne et al.View Source
  • Related reading: Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change – Jonah GoldbergView Source

Despite Communism’s legacy of genocide and tyranny, many Americans support communist ideas. Why? Idealistic leftist intellectuals. 

  • According to a 2011 Rasmussen study, roughly a quarter, 24%, of Americans either supported Communism or are not sure if they should support it.View Source
  • A 2016 study by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation found that only about 55% of millennials believe that communism is a problem, compared to much higher percentages in older demographics — indicating a growing sympathy for communist and socialist ideology among younger Americans.View Source
  • Despite the awful realities of communism throughout history, western intellectuals have a long history of supporting communist dictators.View Source
  • Related reading: The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression – Jean-Louis Panne et al.View Source
  • Related reading: Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change – Jonah GoldbergView Source

Young Americans have a more positive view of communism than older generations. Why? Because the Left dominates academia. 

  • A 2016 study by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation found that only about 55% of millennials believe that communism is a problem, compared to much higher percentages in older demographics — indicating a growing sympathy for communist and socialist ideology among younger Americans.View Source
  • According to a 2011 Rasmussen study, roughly a quarter, 24%, of Americans either supported Communism or are not sure if they should support it.View Source
  • Despite the awful realities of communism throughout history, western intellectuals have a long history of supporting communist dictators.View Source
  • Related reading: The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression – Jean-Louis Panne et al.View Source
  • Related reading: Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change – Jonah GoldbergView Source

Until leftist intellectuals in the West acknowledge how evil communism has been, we will continue to live in a morally confused world.

  • Despite the awful realities of communism throughout history, western intellectuals have a long history of supporting communist dictators.View Source
  • In the 20th century, Communists killed at least 65 million people in China; more than 20 million people in the Soviet Union; around 5 million Ukrainians; 2 million Cambodians (about one out of every three); 2 million North Koreans; 1 million Vietnamese; and 1.5 million Eastern Europeans.View Source
  • All combined, Communist regimes during the 20th century were responsible for approximately 100 million deaths and enslaved entire nations in Russia, Vietnam, China, Eastern Europe, North Korea, Cuba and much of Central Asia.View Source
  • Related reading: The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression – Jean-Louis Panne et al.View Source
  • Related reading: Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change – Jonah GoldbergView Source

When people describe particularly evil individuals or regimes, why is it that they use the terms “Nazi” or “fascist,” but almost never “communist?” Given the unparalleled amount of human suffering communists have caused, why is “communist” so much less a term of revulsion than “Nazi?”

Communists killed 70 million people in China, more than 20 million people in the Soviet Union (not including about 5 million Ukrainians), and almost one out of every three Cambodians. And communists enslaved entire nations in Russia, Vietnam, China, Eastern Europe, North Korea, Cuba and much of Central Asia. They ruined the lives of well over a billion people. So, why doesn’t communism have the same terrible reputation as Nazism?

Reason Number 1: There is, simply put, widespread ignorance of the communist record. Whereas both right and left loathe Nazism and teach its evil history, the left – and I’m talking about the left, not traditional liberals like Harry Truman or John F. Kennedy – has never loathed communism.  And since the left dominates academia, almost no one teaches communism’s evil history.

Reason Number 2: The Nazis carried out the Holocaust. Nothing matches the Holocaust for pure evil. The rounding up of virtually every Jewish man, woman, child, and baby on the European continent and sending them to die is unprecedented and unparalleled. The communists killed far more people than the Nazis, but never matched the Holocaust in the systemization of genocide. The uniqueness of the Holocaust and the enormous attention rightly paid to it have helped ensure that Nazism has a worse name than communism.

Reason Number 3: Communism is based on nice sounding theories; Nazism isn’t. It’s based on heinous sounding theories. Intellectuals in general – including, of course, the intellectuals who write history – are seduced by words – so much so, that they deem actions as less significant than words.  For that reason, they haven’t focused nearly as much attention on the horrific actions of communists as they have on the horrific actions of the Nazis. They dismiss the evils of communists as perversions of “true communism.” But they regard Nazi atrocities (correctly) as the logical and inevitable results of Nazism.

Reason Number 4: Germans have thoroughly exposed the evils of Nazism, have taken responsibility for them, and have attempted to atone for them. Russians have not done anything similar regarding Lenin's or Stalin's horrors. To the contrary, Lenin, the father of Soviet communism, is still widely venerated in Russia. And as regards Stalin, as University of London Russian historian Donald Rayfield puts it, “People still deny, by assertion or implication, Stalin's holocaust.” Even less so has China exposed the greatest mass murderer and enslaver of them all, Mao Zedong. Mao remains revered in China. Every Chinese currency note has his picture on it. Until Russia and China – and Vietnam, and Cuba, and North Korea – acknowledge the evils their countries committed under communism, communism's evils will remain less known than the evils of the German state under Hitler.

Reason Number 5: Communists murdered mostly their own people. The Nazis, on the other hand, killed very few fellow Germans. “World opinion” – that largely meaningless and amoral term – deems the murder of members of one's own group far less noteworthy than the murder of outsiders. That’s why, for example, blacks killing millions of fellow blacks in Africa elicits almost no attention from “world opinion.”

And Reason Number 6: In the view of the left, the last “good war” was World War II, the war against German Nazism and Japanese fascism. The left does not regard wars against communist regimes as “good wars.” For example, the American war against Vietnamese communism is regarded as immoral, and the war against Korean communism – and its Chinese communist backers – is simply ignored.

Until the left, and all the institutions influenced by the left, acknowledge how evil communism has been, we will continue to live in a morally confused world. 

In the meantime, all good people owe it to the victims of communism to learn what happened to them. Even worse than being murdered or enslaved is a world that doesn’t even know that you were.

I’m Dennis Prager.

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