A Centennial Anniversary of Evil

"I grant that the Nazis committed excesses, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something to be said for Fascism." -- Douglas Murray sarcastically (National Review) Let that sink in...

 

Now... That statement is about as absurd as it gets.  Why?  What is the key trait, the key results that define that era, those men, that political system as reprehensible?

 

Answer: The body count... The number of deaths and amount of misery they inflicted upon the world in the twentieth century.  Adolf Hitler (and his National Socialist Party) were responsible for the murder of six million Jews; then there were the additional deaths associated with the Second World War that can be squarely laid at their feet.  They deserve the corner of hell reserved just for them.

 

Yet an equally absurd (actually much more so) statement could be made today about another political movement with hardly the batting of an eye.

 

Exactly one hundred years ago (October/November 1917) the groundwork for the death of close to 100 million souls over the next century was laid down in history.  Uncounted millions more would suffer; most for the entire lives. 

 

This dark stain in all human history was nothing less than the beginnings of the first socialist state born in Russia.  The event is known by many names but common monikers are the "Bolshevik Revolution", "Red October", and the "Great October Socialist Revolution". 

 

 

This historical event was led by none other than Vladimir Lenin. From that spark would come the Russian Civil War and the creation of the Soviet Union in 1922.  Other leaders would follow as would other nations in the footsteps of socialist/communist dictators.  The death-toll inflicted by even the fascist would pale in comparison.

  • USSR... 20 million (Stalin)
  • China... 65 million (Mao)
  • Cambodia... 2 million (Pol Pot)
  • North Korea... 2 million (and counting)
  • Africa... 2 million
  • Vietnam... 1 million
  • Eastern Europe... 1 million

 

The fascist murdered 1/10th the number achieved by the communists and the world (mostly) remembers... but today...

 

In Russia Joseph Stalin (the biggest mass murderer in Russian history) is easily regarded as the "most outstanding" historical figure in World history.  Just imagine the world outcry if Adolf Hitler still retained that honor in Germany.

 

 

Even in western society (Britain) only about 61% of youth (age 16-24) associate Stalin with "crimes against humanity".  28% have never heard of the guy (an indictment itself on their education system).  50% have never heard of Lenin (not the Beatle). 

 

Proving propaganda and disinformation (that Stalin himself would be proud of) works; 39% associate George W Bush with "crimes against humanity" and even 34% transfer that same identity to Tony Blair.  YET... only 20% apply the label to Mao Tse-tung or Pol Pot (mostly because none of them have ever heard of these guys either).

 

 

And despite the body count upon which these Cuba, China, and North Korea were built, they continue the great communist/socialist experiment.  Then there are also the regular implosions of nations/societies who give it a try from time to time. (see Argentina).

 

Meanwhile democratic socialist states increase in scope and even in the United States a major party embraces more and more Marxist ideology.  When a kinder, gentler Marxist is a viable candidate for the Presidency of the United States (or even dog catcher for that matter) we're in trouble.

 

Socialist/Communists apologists everywhere pretend (or worse actually believe) these atrocities never happened.  Some, who are at least intellectually honest (see historian Eric Hobsbawm), admit it but say it was (and is) worth it in pursuit of the ultimate goal of social utopia.

 

 

So, on this momentous centennial anniversary, humanity blindly declares... "ONE HUNDRED MILLION DEAD IN THE LAST CENTURY!  OK comrades... we'll get it right this time... because we are the people we have been waiting for.  We grant that past Leninists committed excesses, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something to be said for Communism and Socialism."

 

As for those who aren't quite on board?  Nothing a little purge, re-education, and quality gulag time can't fix.

 

(Note: This post was inspired by and heavily borrows from "One Hundred Years of Evil; The inextinguishable allure of Communism" by Douglas Murray, National Review, October 30 2017)

Comments

Simply Jews Added Oct 26, 2017 - 1:27pm
This is a good summary of much of the XXth century. However, expect a few frenzied attacks from some WB denizens, blaming capitalism and Bush family for most of it.
 
There is a worrying trend these days, what with people, especially the young ones, not learning anything from that, relatively recent, history. Popularity of Stalin, to use one example, is on a steady rise in Russia, his crimes being whitewashed  by some revisionists and his "achievements" hailed. 
 
You can hear more and more of Western "progressives" bemoaning the failure and the fall of the first socialist heaven and pushing for a repeated performance of that failed experiment. "We'll do it just right this time" is the popular refrain.      
 
As if...
Dino Manalis Added Oct 26, 2017 - 1:36pm
Russia and China now understand that capitalism is essential to grow revenues and pay costly bills.  The Soviet Union collapsed as a result of glasnost and perestroika, because people constantly demanded more freedom and Gorbachev allowed Baltic republics to secede, then all Soviet republics sought independence, including Yeltsin's Russia!
Michael Cikraji Added Oct 26, 2017 - 1:47pm
To say that Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were brutal communist dictators is an understatement. However, these regimes were not socialist in nature, but endeavored to create communism, which is fundamentally different.
To erroneously refer to them as synonymous (which you will probably answer with), is the same as saying mercantilism and capitalism are the same thing. They're not, they're fundamentally different. 
What is sad, is that many Americans, the vast majority of them WHO HAVE NEVER LEFT AMERICA, feel that any system or idea that is different from what they see in front of them is somehow evil....
Flying Junior Added Oct 26, 2017 - 2:12pm
What's the idea of portraying Stalin with the Obama Hope Poster colors?  That is completely unnecessary.  It detracts from anything that you are trying to communicate succesfully.  It's inflammatory and frankly offensive.  Why not just a simple picture of Stalin?
Simply Jews Added Oct 26, 2017 - 2:27pm
Michael C.
 
"However, these regimes were not socialist in nature, but endeavored to create communism, which is fundamentally different."
 
Begging your pardon, do you know how the 1917 revolution is called?
What is the meaning of "USSR"?
 
And how "endeavored to create communism" (which is true, at least in the intention) means that they were not socialist?
John G Added Oct 26, 2017 - 2:33pm
Laughable drivel.
Michael Cikraji Added Oct 26, 2017 - 2:38pm
Simply Jews,
 
What is the meaning of "USSR"?
 
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and also:
East Germany was officially the "German Democratic Republic"
North Korea is officially the "Democratic People's Republic of Korea", and so on...
You can call a horse a cow, but a horse is still a horse, a cow is still a cow.... just cause you call something a name doesn't mean it's so....
 
And how "endeavored to create communism" (which is true, at least in the intention) means that they were not socialist?
 
Ah.... feel like I'm back in the front of the classroom again....
 
Difference between Socialism and Communism
Simply Jews Added Oct 26, 2017 - 2:46pm
@Michael.
 
I didn't ask you what is the difference between socialism and communism.
 
I have asked you why the people who defined the meaning of socialism, created a socialist country (or at least what they thought was socialism) and taught their kids that they live in the socialist heaven were wrong about it, not knowing that they live in communism.
 
And how "endeavored to create communism" , which in English implies planning for the future prevents the country from being socialist in the present. 
 
I can ask the above questions in Russian, if you prefer.             
Michael Cikraji Added Oct 26, 2017 - 3:08pm
Simply Jews,
 
the people who defined the meaning of socialism
Neither Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot or even Karl Marx invented or defined the concept of socialism. The idea goes back at least to the French Revolution. 
Per Karl Marx, socialism was just a stepping stone toward the dream of communism. Socialism wasn't their end, it was their means. There's a supreme difference. 
 
not knowing that they live in communism.
In Marx's communism, what has happened is that the state has DISAPPEARED entirely, and people live in utopia. This NEVER HAPPENED, but was the dream that communists were striving for. In the end, they felt like they needed to force people into behaving certain ways
 
So, if you look at socialism as an end, and not a means to another end, you're not looking at it the same way a communist would. 
John G Added Oct 26, 2017 - 3:13pm
The workers did not own the means of production so it wasn't socialism.
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 26, 2017 - 3:27pm
SJ >> This is a good summary of much of the XXth century.
 
Thank You
 
SJ >> However, expect a few frenzied attacks from some WB denizens, blaming capitalism and Bush family for most of it.
 
I expected nothing less as I hit the submit button. :)
 
SJ >> There is a worrying trend these days, what with people, especially the young ones...
 
Exactly... those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it.  One of the points of the post is that we are well on our way to repeating it in the next century.
 
SJ >> You can hear more and more of Western "progressives" bemoaning failure... pushing for repeated performance...
 
Yes... in the leftist mind the only thing wrong with these communist/socialist endeavors was that people like them weren't in control.  Thus, the mantra "we are the people we have been waiting for".  But you see hints that exactly the same thing would happen under the enlightened today.  Re-education camps?  Thought crime?  It's all just below the surface of leftist dogma.
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 26, 2017 - 3:27pm
SJ >> Russia and China now understand that capitalism is essential to grow revenues and pay costly bills.
 
They have definitely adapted, but I question just exactly how much they have learned.  Russia is still essentially a dictatorship and China an oligarchy.
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 26, 2017 - 3:28pm
MC >> However, these regimes were not socialist in nature, but endeavored to create communism, which is fundamentally different... To erroneously refer to them as synonymous.
 
Completely synonymous? No.  But they are from the same mindset and world view.  Socialism is essentially Communism Lite.  You don't get drunk quite as fast... but you will get there.
 
This is kind of like the argument that the NAZIs weren't really socialist.  They may have taken over the means of production via threats of violence and execution (instead of government confiscation) but they did achieve those ends.
 
MC >> What is sad, is that many Americans, the vast majority of them WHO HAVE NEVER LEFT AMERICA, feel that any system or idea that is different from what they see in front of them is somehow evil....
 
Evil?  No. At least not always. 
Inferior?  Yes. ;P
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 26, 2017 - 3:28pm
FJ >> What's the idea of portraying Stalin with the Obama Hope Poster colors?  That is completely unnecessary. 
 
Meh... the point intended is that leftist (such as Obama) do more and more embrace Marxist doctrine.  Marxism is the direction of progressivism.
 
FJ >> It's inflammatory and frankly offensive.  Why not just a simple picture of Stalin?
 
To some I'm sure.  But it was intended to make a point; and a few waded up panties is a small price to pay. :)
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 26, 2017 - 3:28pm
MC >> Begging your pardon, do you know how the 1917 revolution is called?  What is the meaning of "USSR"?
 
Right on MC.  A hundred years ago... there was little distinction between the two terms.  Socialism and Communism were comrades in the good old days.   As you said, one was using the other as the means to an end.
 
It was WWII where the two factions competed for the same hearts and minds (especially in Germany) that the split occurred.  The communists by that time were less willing to wait for their workers utopia and wanted to skip the socialism means.
 
That was a really good link explaining the differences...
 
"Communism and socialism are umbrella terms referring to left-wing schools of economic thought that oppose capitalism... As an ideology, communism is generally regarded as hard-left, making fewer concessions to market capitalism and electoral democracy than do most forms of socialism."
 
I still say Socialism is Communism Lite so as to ease the consciences of the party elite; and to boil the frog (proletariat) a little slower; ease them into their lot in life.
 
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 26, 2017 - 3:28pm
JG >> Laughable drivel.
 
Thank you JG... I could hope for no higher praise! :)
Jeff Jackson Added Oct 26, 2017 - 4:17pm
Great facts Lynn, but you'll never convince some of the geniuses here on WB, of many of them, they insist it is all made-up drivel. I guess we'll just have to dig up those bodies and show them to the world, even then they'll claim it's fake.
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 26, 2017 - 4:34pm
JJ >> Great facts Lynn, but you'll never convince some...
 
Thanks Jeff.  Many of the bodies have been exhumed (like the killing fields of Cambodia) and many remain buried (and will remain so thanks to dictators like Putin).  The history and proof are there for those who want to know.  For those who don't... who "insist it is all made-up drivel"...
 
Best to smile and take their derision as further proof that you're right.  Truth is not something they are overly interested in and never will be.  Nothing you say or show them will ever change their minds.
 
"I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it." -- George Bernard Shaw
 
Unfortunately, I find myself in the pig pin (replying to trolls) all the time... :)  Some pigs just need a good ass whoopin' :)
John G Added Oct 26, 2017 - 4:58pm
It takes only two things to keep people in chains:
The ignorance of the oppressed and the
treachery of their leaders.
 
America has both in spades.
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 26, 2017 - 5:06pm
JG >> America has both in spades.
Meh...  that one didn't do it.  Squeal a little more... :)
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 26, 2017 - 5:58pm
It seems to me that you are taking your conclusion to a rather illogical end.
 
”Socialism” isn’t inherently evil.  There are a wide variety of Socialist countries around the world with varying degrees of marketplace freedom.  Some work, some don’t.  
 
The issue comes when you get a “Dictatorship of the Proletariat” in which one individual like a Stalin or a Mao takes control.  Even the earliest Communists invited internal debate, once that is stifled and the person in charge is no longer accountable to anyone, that is when you get bloodbaths.  It’s the same among any dictatorship, be they left or right.  Frankly ideology becomes less important the more power is consolidated into the hands of one person or a small, isolated group of individuals.  
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 26, 2017 - 6:01pm
The key is the various checks and balances that hold government responsible.  The Socialist countries in Europe are Democracies that are held accountable to their constituents and have the rule of law to constrain them.  Where the ruling party is no longer accountable and they make up laws, that is where you run into trouble.
Jeff Michka Added Oct 26, 2017 - 6:45pm
Michael C asks: Why not just a simple picture of Stalin? -Because this clown wants to signal WB rightists he's "one of them."  Any Obama hate is good hate to WB rightists. They all think he's still president...
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 26, 2017 - 8:15pm
Jeffrey Kelly... first, let me thank you for the reasoned and well thought out response.  It is a breath of fresh air compared to much of what you often see on WB (see John G & Jeff Michka...)
 
JK >> It seems to me that you are taking your conclusion to a rather illogical end.
 
I don't think so, but I can see how your thought process leads to that conclusion.  I look at the massive failures and the horrible carnage directly attributable to communism (and to a lesser extent socialism) and see the rule.  You look at the current successes (Europe) and see the rule.  Using those two mountains of evidence... I'm still OK with my logic.
 
JK >> ”Socialism” isn’t inherently evil. 
 
I disagree, but there is a nuance to that; and I'll do my best to explain.  Let me first concede that I have perhaps been a little unfair to democratic socialism by equating it so directly to communism (which is truly evil).
 
I actually (along with the American founding fathers) consider ALL government to be inherently evil.  But, like those men, I realize it is a necessary one.  Thus, when dealing with such a deadly and destructive force (as proven by all of human history) it is imperative that balance and control be maintained.  The systems that do that best are the least evil and the systems that fail are the worst of evil.
 
Socialism simply falls on the scale somewhere between a Constitutional (preferably capitalist) Republic at one end and a Communist Dictatorship on the other; freedom, checks, and balances being the guage.  The more democratic it (a socialist society) is the better, the more oligarchical it is the worse.
 
I still stick with my stance that socialism is the lesser cousin of communism because they share in the belief of government control over individual freedom.  This makes it more apt to lose its way and fall for the same ills of communism that lead to abuse of power.
 
JK >> There are a wide variety of Socialist countries around the world with varying degrees of marketplace freedom.  Some work, some don’t. 
 
I agree that is the case in Europe currently for several nations.  There are also many more around the world that have tried to achieve that ideal (Cuba, Argentina come to mind) and have utterly failed to the misery (and sometimes death) of their populace.
 
JK >> The issue comes when you get a “Dictatorship of the Proletariat” in which one individual like a Stalin or a Mao takes control.
 
Yes... and my point is that communism, and to a lesser extent socialism more often progress to that outcome with disastrous results.  I present one hundred million dead as proof of my hypothesis.  The handful of current European outliers are great, but they aren't the rule.  Even if you consider fascism to the right (which I don't) there is no comparison in the success/failure rate when it comes to not murdering your own people.
 
JK >> Even the earliest Communists invited internal debate, once that is stifled and the person in charge is no longer accountable to anyone, that is when you get bloodbaths.
 
I'll give this anecdote in response.  A communist co-worker once asked me what I really had against the ideals of communism.  Not the results, but the actual plan and desired results of communism.  My response was that I had no more against communism than I had against unicorns.  Both are imaginative fairy tales.
 
Debating communist theory is like debating a popular fantasy novel.  The world it imagines is inherently impossible (due to human nature).  All that debate would be fun and entertaining in a fantasy context; BUT where we get into trouble is in trying to implement that impossible fantasy.  It always results in tyranny and death.
 
History proves it... so let us learn from that history.
 
Communism is a red hot, roaring, out of control fire that you should run from with all haste.  Socialism is a fire that has proven itself many times to explode and thus one that you should back away from slowly, keeping a close eye on it.
 
JK >> It’s the same among any dictatorship, be they left or right. 
 
True... but again I point out that the numbers (bodies) on the left far, far exceed those on the right within the last century.
 
JK >> The key is the various checks and balances that hold government responsible. 
 
Yes!
 
JK >> The Socialist coun
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 26, 2017 - 8:47pm
JK >> The Socialist countries in Europe are Democracies that are held accountable to their constituents and have the rule of law to constrain them.
 
Good for them.  I wish them all the success in the world.  And as a supporter of self-determination I embrace their right to choose whatever form of government they like.
 
I just wish they (and the leftist over here) would allow us backwards Americans to stay as far away from financial and dictatorial ruin as possible.
 
JK >> Where the ruling party is no longer accountable and they make up laws, that is where you run into trouble.
 
Exactly... so go with the systems with the best track record in avoiding that and even then stay always VIGALENT.
Jeff Jackson Added Oct 26, 2017 - 9:39pm
The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 26, 2017 - 9:49pm
JJ... Amen!!
Simply Jews Added Oct 27, 2017 - 1:53am
@Michael Cikraji,
 
You referred to me saying: "the people who defined the meaning of socialism". Indeed, I should have said "the people who defined the meaning of Soviet socialism". Marx and Lenin did a lot of work on that. But nevertheless, socialism having several versions, USSR was a first implementation of what was considered "real socialism", according to the formula "from everyone according to his ability and to everyone according to his work". That it was all one big lie is another matter.
 
"Per Karl Marx, socialism was just a stepping stone toward the dream of communism. Socialism wasn't their end, it was their means. There's a supreme difference. "
 
Let's get a bit more logical, why don't we? That, as you correctly stated, socialism was a stepping stone, doesn't mean USSR was not socialist. That the Soviets planned for the communism to start in 1980 (a goal happily forgotten when 1980 came by) doesn't have anything to do with these same Soviets claiming that USSR is a place of the fully implemented socialism. 
 
I hope it clears our debate here.
 
P.S. When I am saying things like "doesn't mean USSR was not socialist", of course we should keep in mind that the Soviet version of socialism was a cruel parody of what Marx had in mind...
Thomas Sutrina Added Oct 27, 2017 - 9:49am
Just a fantastic article.
  
"The greatest [calamity] which could befall [us would be] submission to a government of unlimited powers."
-- Thomas Jefferson, Declaration and Protest of Virginia, [1825]
 
"No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent."
-- Abraham Lincoln, October 16, 1854
 
"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-- John F. Kennedy
Leroy Added Oct 27, 2017 - 10:57am
Another great article, Lynn.
 
I take a few minor exceptions.  The numbers for Stalin seem way too low.  And, I have to stand up for the Chairman.  Although millions died under Mao, it was more due to his stupidity than intent.  Stalin starved people to death with intent, so he is much more evil in my book, but, at this point, what does it matter?  They say he was inspired by a movie.
 
To me, socialism is a broad tent under which communism, fascism, and democratic socialism fall.  Communism is just an extreme implementation.  The opposite of socialism is not capitalism.  Capitalism, in my book, is where everyone seeks their best advance under the rules, so capitalism exists in under all governments.
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 27, 2017 - 1:49pm
@Leroy:
”The numbers for Stalin seem way too low.”
 
Actually 20 million is too high.  I think people mix up those that died during the Russian Civil War (Stalin was not solely responsible, Lenin and Trotsky started the “Red Terror”) and deaths from WW II.
 
Most of the deaths that occurred after Stalin took complete control over the state happened from 1930-1941.  Most of those deaths occurred during 1930-1933 in the midst of the collectivization of Soviet agriculture.  It’s estimated that between 5-7 million people died of artificial famine, with a large percentage of those in the Ukraine (the Holodomor).
 
It’s estimated that about a million people died during the Great Purge from 1935-1938, with another 500,000-750,000 between 1939-1941 after the USSR occupied Eastern Poland and the Baltic states.
 
The Gulag never had as high of a mortality rate as the Nazi Concentration Camp system (after WW II started).  The Soviets never created anything as heinous as the Nazi Death Camps of Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau.  
 
“And, I have to stand up for the Chairman. Although millions died under Mao, it was more due to his stupidity than intent.”
 
I wouldn’t cut him that much slack.  Mao refused (just like Stalin did) to change course after reports of famine reached him during the Great Leap Forward and Mao encouraged the murderous conditions of the Cultural Revolution.  Probably 60 million is too high, it’s closer to 20-30 million.
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 27, 2017 - 3:42pm
Thomas and Leroy, thanks for the compliments and comments.  It's good to have your work appreciated.
 
Thomas, great quotes from learned men that drive the point home!
 
Leroy >> The numbers for Stalin seem way too low.
JK >> Actually 20 million is too high.
 
"Some historians attempt to make separate estimates for different periods of the Soviet history, with casualties for the Stalinist period varying from 8 to 61 million.  Several scholars, among them Stalin biographer Simon Sebag Montefiore, former Politburo member Alexander Nikolaevich Yakovlev and the director of Yale's 'Annals of Communism' series Jonathan Brent, put the death toll at about 20 million." -- Wikipedia
 
I chose 20 million because much of what I have read assigns that number as the general consensus.  On all the numbers, I tried to go with the consensus and not high or low ball them.  With records being what they are and men actively trying to prevent the truth from getting out; we will never truly know the total.
 
JK, thanks for your own detailed analysis.  I too am a firm believer in skepticism... question everything! :)  Your totals would put the carnage on the low end of the range of estimates.
 
JK >> The Gulag never had as high of a mortality rate as the Nazi Concentration Camp system (after WW II started).  The Soviets never created anything as heinous as the Nazi Death Camps...
 
Agreed, death was not the primary purpose of the Gulag; just a semi-common side effect.
 
Leroy >>  And, I have to stand up for the Chairman.  Although millions died under Mao, it was more due to his stupidity than intent.
 
Ahhh, had only the dyeing known of Chairman Mao's good intentions and that it was his incompetence that killed them... it might have brought them some solace in their final days or hours.  I know I often feel that way concerning the left destroying this country.  They only wanted what was best for all of us… too bad they were total morons… (meant as a good natured jab).
 
 I see your point that Stalin with bad intentions from the beginning was pure evil; but Mao knew at some point in time... and never turned back.  That’s enough for me.
 
Leroy >> To me, socialism is a broad tent under which communism, fascism, and democratic socialism fall...
 
Love this assessment of the political systems!
 
Most people assign fascism to the right of the political spectrum and never make the common connection to socialism.  Interestingly enough this was because of communist propaganda pre-and-post WWII. 
 
Pre-war the communist hated the socialist/fascist (and vice-versa) because they were each siphoning off those willing to adopt that ideology.  The idea was "If you weren't around, your people would rally to my cause and my flag."  Both were probably right.
 
Post-war the communist used this argument to imply all the blame for that mess (WWII) was not caused by their side of the political spectrum; and to avoid such in the future people should rally to their cause and their flag.  I don't know if they believed their own lies... but the propaganda took root and fascism was assigned a right-wing designation.
 
Again, thanks to all for the well thought out comments. -- LJ
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 27, 2017 - 5:04pm
@Lynn Johnson:
”I chose 20 million because much of what I have read assigns that number as the general consensus. On all the numbers, I tried to go with the consensus and not high or low ball them. With records being what they are and men actively trying to prevent the truth from getting out; we will never truly know the total.”
 
Check out Timothy Snyder’s book, “Bloodlands, Europe Between Stalin and Hitler.”
 
The thing I like about Snyder is he de-politicizes the process and did extensive work in the Russian Archives.
 
Also, he wrote a short article regarding numbers:
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2011/03/10/hitler-vs-stalin-who-killed-more/
 
I may be off on some of my numbers, I did it by memory.
 
The problem is much of the work done pre-1996 relies on estimates and frankly those with political axes to grind.  An author I admire wrote about the deportations carried out by the Communists in Poland from 1939-1941 stated that 1-2 million Poles died during these deportations.  It's simply not the case.
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 27, 2017 - 5:52pm
>> Check out Timothy Snyder’s book...  he de-politicizes the process... problem is much of the work done pre-1996 relies on estimates and frankly those with political axes to grind.
 
Thanks for the book reference and the link.  De-politicizing would be a definite requirement in reaching the truth of the matter.
 
I will check out both.
 
I am pre-supposing; that we can still all agree as to the evil nature of the men; even if the numbers (in millions) are at the lower side of estimates.
 
Agreeing on the culpability of communism and socialism in these deaths may be another matter still open to debate.  A debate touched on here that will continue I'm sure.
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 27, 2017 - 6:12pm
In the end, any number is a true tragedy.  I strive for accuracy (if possible) because making political points disrespects the victims.
Jeff Michka Added Oct 27, 2017 - 6:52pm
LJ gets all excised and tone polices, then he quibbles with Leroy over how many people Stalin killed. Jeffrey Kelly states:In the end, any number is a true tragedy.  I strive for accuracy (if possible) because making political points disrespects the victims.-Well stated. That's lost, on both Leroy and LJ who will contend the important thing is making political points, particularly bashing the left, or over-inflating their rightist credentials. "In your heart you know they're right, far right."
Leroy Added Oct 27, 2017 - 8:45pm
What do we have to gain by inflating the numbers?  My numbers mainly come from Robert Conquest, who, almost apologetically concluded higher numbers, while suspecting the numbers were even higher.
 
Communism is bad no matter what number you accept.  As long as there are people who continue to believe that communism is the best form of government and we just haven't given it a good try yet, we will continue to subject millions to misery.
 
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 27, 2017 - 9:25pm
I stand by the tone of the debate and the respect shown Jeffrey K. as evidence that, no... it's not all about political points (for me, Leroy, or JK).  About the only comments that resemble political points at all costs were from a couple of drive-by trolls that simply attacked the right for being right... with little or no reference to actual content.
 
Some simply live by the mantra of accusing your opponents of what you yourself are guilty of.
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 28, 2017 - 12:07am
I’ve come to the opinion that humans themselves are simply flawed.  It doesn’t matter what ideology we claim to follow or God we worship.
opher goodwin Added Oct 28, 2017 - 7:19am
Lynn - the trouble is that we have yet to have a real communist system. Every time it has been tried it was either taken over at the start and turned into a fascist tyranny (a la Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot) or undermined from outside by the USA - South America and Cuba.
I'd like to see democratic communism given a real chance. But I would settle for a socialist democracy and a fairer, more equitable society.
Simply Jews Added Oct 28, 2017 - 7:33am
Opher, 
 
"I'd like to see democratic communism given a real chance." 
 
Better not, Opher, really. Unless you are thirsty for another epic bloodbath. Wasn't the last century enough for everyone?
 
Accidentally stumbled on this a few minutes ago. Worthy read.
Give it a try.
Leroy Added Oct 28, 2017 - 7:59am
Thanks for the link, SJ.  I was a good read, but I was a little disappointed that it never really examined why communism is evil.  It touched on it but never explained it.  But, I did like this quote by Mikhail Bakunin:
 
“If you took the most ardent revolutionary, vested him in absolute power, within a year he would be worse than the Czar himself.”
 
If the stakes weren't so high, I would put Opher in charge as an experiment.  I can't think of anyone more worthy to make it work.
Leroy Added Oct 28, 2017 - 8:03am
"I'd like to see democratic communism given a real chance. But I would settle for a socialist democracy and a fairer, more equitable society."
 
We have already seen it.  It's called the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Simply Jews Added Oct 28, 2017 - 8:14am
Leroy,
 
Of course a short piece like that one can't examine the inherent problems of communism as ideology (that looks good only on paper). It is just that, really, I stumbled on it within minutes of reading Opher's comment. 
 
For me, after Solzhenitsyn, the real watershed work was The Great Terror by Conquest. Neither explain the roots of the malady, but their study of effects is second to none.
 
The Red Wheel by Solzhenitsyn might be a good read, but of course there are quite a few good studies debunking the poisonous ideology mentioned.
Simply Jews Added Oct 28, 2017 - 9:22am
And here is another good one, also geared toward the centennial "celebrations". It also doesn't go into the roots, I have chosen it for the last sentence:
"A century on, the bacillus isn’t eradicated, and our immunity to it is still in doubt."
Neil Lock Added Oct 28, 2017 - 9:33am
Lynn Johnson: Good article, and an excellent comment thread (two comments by one individual excepted).
 
I think Leroy is spot on when he describes socialism as a broad tent, and includes fascism within it. The real divide, for me, is authoritarianism versus individual liberty. And fascism, communism and socialism are all on the authoritarian side.
opher goodwin Added Oct 28, 2017 - 9:50am
Simply - the problem with communism is firstly making it democratic and accountable and secondly preventing the psychopaths from taking over. Solve those two and you have a fairer society.
Surely that is not beyond the wit of man?
opher goodwin Added Oct 28, 2017 - 9:52am
Neil - I think fascism can come out of any system. All it requires is a megalomaniac, nationalist/racist dogma and a sense of superiority.
Simply Jews Added Oct 28, 2017 - 10:12am
Opher,
 
I can understand the emotional part of your sympathy to the general idea of communism. I, like many Soviet citizens, went through this stage, although like most Soviet citizens, the cold reality cured me of that delusion early enough. I guess it is something to be thankful for...
 
"Simply - the problem with communism is firstly making it democratic and accountable and secondly preventing the psychopaths from taking over. Solve those two and you have a fairer society."
 
As you very well know, it was tried several times in several places and ended in one way. No solution so far.
 
"Surely that is not beyond the wit of man?"
 
If we ever succeed in preventing some of the equal from becoming more equal, grab the power and with the power the money, it might become not beyond our wit. Didn't work and I don't see any signs of it working anytime soon. And, between us, believe me, I would like to see that. Call it delusions of the childhood or whatever.
 
And check this out, it is short and to the point.
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 28, 2017 - 11:45am
@Leroy:
”We have already seen it. It's called the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.”
 
I think you are taking the “Democratic” in the above too seriously.
Simply Jews Added Oct 28, 2017 - 11:53am
@Jeffrey,
 
Come on, it is "Democratic People's" and not "Democratic Republic".
That's fine ;-)
opher goodwin Added Oct 28, 2017 - 12:20pm
Simply Jews - an interesting read but not one I agree with. I do not believe that equality can only be achieved through violence. But I'm not hung up on complete equality either. I do like a meritocracy with some degree of inequality.
I believe we can democratically introduce a more socialist system where, through fair progressive taxation, we can reduce the level of inequality. When it is as great as it is now I find it morally obscene.
Simply Jews Added Oct 28, 2017 - 12:34pm
Opher,
 
I think it may help if we agree on terms. There is a big difference between two statements:
- People are equal.
- People have equal rights.
The first is a deception, the second is (or should be, where it is not implemented fully) true. 
Cause people are not equal, it is a fallacy to even think so. You are better read than I am, run quicker, I eat more and produce less widgets per hour than you, but I am better at Boggle etc. 
 
I do not support what is called here "swinish capitalism" that creates the 1% of super-rich, but neither do I pine for enforced "equality" that inevitably creates the 10% of "more equal", if you see what I mean.
opher goodwin Added Oct 28, 2017 - 12:49pm
Simply - I see that. I have no desire to force equality through violence. I just want a more equal society.
I fully accept that people are different with different abilities, features and attributes. I'm fine with that. It wouldn't do for us all to be the same. My view is that intrinsically, in some philosophical/ethical sense that we are of the same worth. You might be stronger, more intelligent and faster but it does not confer a philosophical superiority. We all have our virtues.
Simply Jews Added Oct 28, 2017 - 1:09pm
Opher,
 
"You might be stronger, more intelligent and faster but it does not confer a philosophical superiority. "
 
As long as we agree that there is some merit in meritocracy and that remuneration for superiority should exist, we are on the same page.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Oct 28, 2017 - 2:23pm
I hate all the white-washing. It's also true that history will repeat if people don't know it. But people don't care about history.
 
Don't believe the BS about working European socialist societies! Europe is on the brink of losing her freedom. Not because they are already socialist, but because too many politicians try to make everything more socialist. It starts with branding everybody fascist and take away people's abilities to defend themselves against the defamation while the state grows and takes more and more control over every aspect of your life. Surveillance becomes commonplace. The list goes on and on.
 
Clarification: Some welfare programs like Medicare are not socialism. Some conservatives are also to blame for the trivialization, and thus enabled the white-washing.
 
Maybe Sweden is socialist now. I can't listen to them anymore. If you ever hear something racist from me, it will be a comment about the Swedes. I can't stand them anymore.
 
SJ: <3<3<3 You know your stuff!
Jeff Michka Added Oct 28, 2017 - 5:00pm
LJ continues his rightist righteousness: Some simply live by the mantra of accusing your opponents of what you yourself are guilty of. - You seem to troll just fine ol Lynn.  Wear it with pride, Julius.  Topically, your article was basic rightist congratulatory drivel.  You want applause.  I'll keep it to a long, wet raspberry, and a huge thumbs down.
John G Added Oct 28, 2017 - 7:13pm
I wonder if the anti-left warriors consider that the 3 to 4 million Iraqis killed over the past 3 decades were killed by capitalism.
Or the 3.5 to 5 million Vietnamese?
Or the 5 million Russians under Yeltsin?
I'm guessing not.
opher goodwin Added Oct 28, 2017 - 7:56pm
Simply - Oh I definitely agree with that.
opher goodwin Added Oct 28, 2017 - 7:59pm
Benjamin - I live in Europe but I haven't seen anything that is taking away my freedom or rights - apart from the stupidity of Brexit which will deprive me of the protection of the European courts. What freedoms do you see being taken away?
John G Added Oct 28, 2017 - 8:03pm
The EU is a predatory, neoliberal, CAPITALIST kleptocracy. Socialism is strictly verboten under the treaty.
Jeff Michka Added Oct 28, 2017 - 8:17pm
wonder if the anti-left warriors consider that the 3 to 4 million Iraqis killed over the past 3 decades were killed by capitalism.
Or the 3.5 to 5 million Vietnamese?
Or the 5 million Russians under Yeltsin?-Nope.  If it wasn't Stalin or Mao, THEN IT MATTERS NOT to the rightist "humanitarians" like Leroy and ol LJ.  PLUS THEY'D NEED TO TALK ABOUT EACH TOTAL...assign blame and 'fault." lotta work for them.
Benjamin Goldstein Added Oct 28, 2017 - 10:22pm
Opher: Are you even aware that there is only OME court not multiple 'European courts' that has something to do with Brexit.
The European Court of Human Rights (which is the only court that would make sense in your 'protection' statement) belongs to the Council of Europe. Britain remains member of the Council of Europe. So does Russia. So does Turkey. The Council has NOTHING to do with the EU. As far as I can tell the UK is not planning to leave the council.
You don't even know basics.
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 28, 2017 - 10:28pm
JK >> I’ve come to the opinion that humans themselves are simply flawed.  It doesn’t matter what ideology we claim to follow or God we worship.
 
That has always held that belief as well.  I think that is self-evident from the empirical data of history.
 
It is upon this assumption that I take the next step and deduce that government (an instrument of power created by flawed men) is also inherently flawed (I even say evil).
 
As a necessary evil, I think government that recognizes those two truths is best.  Communism/Socialism don't do that; in fact, they seem to rely on the inherent goodness of men.  I think this foundational false premise is part of that ideologies problem.
 
OG >> the trouble is that we have yet to have a real communist system.
 
And we never will... because the theory is fundamentally flawed.
 
OG >> Every time it has been tried it was either taken over at the start and turned into a fascist tyranny (a la Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot)
 
Exactly, so at what point do we stop attributing this fact (tyranny) to chance and acknowledge it as a flaw/virus inherent to the system?  At this point (millions upon millions of dead), I'm there.
 
OG >> I'd like to see democratic communism given a real chance.
 
Wishing to see this is equivalent to wishing some world in a fantasy novel (Tolkien perhaps) would come to fruition.  I'd like to see a unicorn (from the communist theory and unicorn analogy earlier).  But hopefully well before the millionth death caused by trying to create a unicorn; I think I'd stop wishing to see one and certainly stop trying to create one.
 
OG >> But I would settle for a socialist democracy and a fairer, more equitable society.
 
Much less deadly, dangerous, and destructive by far.  Just don’t take that next logical step.
 
SJ >> Better not, Opher, really. Unless you are thirsty for another epic bloodbath. Wasn't the last century enough for everyone?
 
Exactly... The death and carnage resulting from trying to create what can't be is the entire point of the post.  Better that we learn from history before we repeat it in this century.
 
Enjoyed the linked article.  It helped that the author echoed many of my same points. :) or is that vice-versa
 
Leroy >> I was a little disappointed that it (the article linked by SJ) never really examined why communism is evil.  It touched on it but never explained it.  But, I did like this quote by Mikhail Bakunin: "If you took the most ardent revolutionary, vested him in absolute power, within a year he would be worse than the Czar himself."
 
This quote does touch on why communism is inherently evil.  And it gets back to what JK observed earlier, "humans themselves are simply flawed".  Communism (and socialism) have at their foundation that the opposite is true.  That humans within the communist system will act against their own interest and in the interest of the collective.  And if one or several fail to live up to that very high standard, everything collapses into tyranny.  It's an certainty under communism and likely under socialism.
 
In contrast, a democratic republic is based on the principle, that people and government can't be trusted; so that checks and balances and more checks are placed upon those who would govern.  The system acknowledges and mitigates for a flawed humanity.
 
So, we see that one foundation (of communism) is a lie and the other foundation a truth.  From there it's simple physics.  A house built on sand cannot stand.
 
Leroy >> If the stakes weren't so high, I would put Opher in charge as an experiment.  I can't think of anyone more worthy to make it work.
 
Hear, hear.  As long as I get the option to be far, far away.  Not a slight to Opher, just a nod to human nature.  I wouldn't trust me either; and I’m as selfless as they come; humble too. :)
 
SJ >> And here is another good one...
 
Thanks for the links... and the continued comments.
 
NL >> Lynn Johnson: Good article, and an excellent comment thread (two comments by one individual excepted).
 
Thank you... and I am particularly impressed with the comment thread.  I really appreciate (almost) everyone who has commented and worked to further the discussion (despite our disagreements).
&nb
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 28, 2017 - 10:29pm
NL >> I think Leroy is spot on when he describes socialism as a broad tent, and includes fascism within it. The real divide, for me, is authoritarianism versus individual liberty. And fascism, communism and socialism are all on the authoritarian side.
 
I'm with you (and Leroy) there for the exact same reason.  Opher states that fascism can come out of any system... and I agree with that too... BUT it is more likely to come out of one that is authoritarian and anti-individual liberty.
 
Also, everyone associates racism to fascism because it was a defining characteristic of the NAZIs.  I say racism isn't key to fascism so much as hatred (of anything) used to consolidate the people around the authoritarian power. 
 
OG >>  Simply - the problem with communism is firstly making it democratic and accountable and secondly preventing the psychopaths from taking over.  Solve those two and you have a fairer society.  Surely that is not beyond the wit of man?
 
Actually, that is exactly what I, and others are saying.  Because of the nature of man, you can't achieve those two things... especially the 2nd.  Being flawed is bad; being flawed and not realizing it worse; being flawed and not mitigating for it disastrous.
 
SJ seems to have verbalized that well.  Thinking communism is within the wit of man?  No way.
 
OG >> My view is that intrinsically, in some philosophical/ethical sense that we are of the same worth. You might be stronger, more intelligent and faster but it does not confer a philosophical superiority.
 
Wow... OG, I really like that.  It sounds very... Christian. :)
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 28, 2017 - 10:30pm
JM >> LJ continues his rightist righteousness... You seem to troll just fine ol Lynn... Topically, your article was basic rightist congratulatory drivel.
 
Wow... just so much depth there to digest.  Thanks for adding to the conversation.
  
JG >> I wonder if the anti-left warriors consider... (EVERYTHING the fault of capitalism)
 
We don't...
John G Added Oct 28, 2017 - 10:47pm
Which just proves the point that it is about partisanship rather than fact.
Pascal Fervor Added Oct 29, 2017 - 9:41am
From Richard Fernandez 
The Tower Amid the Ruins
 
Although Karl Marx, not Adolf Hiter, was arguably the most destructive German ever born, target="_blank" rel="noopener">Bret Stephens writes in the New York Times that Western intellectuals will go to extreme lengths to deny it.
 
Why is Marxism still taken seriously on college campuses and in the progressive press? ... These aren’t original questions. But they’re worth asking because so many of today’s progressives remain in a permanent and dangerous state of semi-denial ...
 
They will insist that there is an essential difference between Nazism and Communism ... balance acknowledgment of the repression and mass murder of Communism with references to its “real advances and achievements.”

 
"They will write about Stalinist playwright Lillian Hellman in tones of sympathy and understanding they never extend to film director Elia Kazan" because Marxism is ostensibly a moral enterprise. However many millions it killed it meant well. 
opher goodwin Added Oct 29, 2017 - 10:26am
Lyn - Well I guess we'll have to disagree on socialism. I think that recognising the problems is a starting place to solving them and that a fairer society is a laudable aim. I reckon it is within the wit of good people to create a foolproof system that the selfish and greedy (or just plain psychotic) can't take over. But it's an opinion.
On the basic worth of humans - not Christian - merely moral and philosophical.
opher goodwin Added Oct 29, 2017 - 10:30am
Pascal - the trouble with looking at the communist experiments in China, Russia and Cambodia is that you are in fact not looking at communism by a system that was fascist and tyrannical because all three were taken over by tyrants who used it for their own ends.
I'd like to see a communist system that a. wasn't taken over by psychopaths and b. wasn't disrupted and undermined from outside by the USA. Then we'd see if it could be made to work.
I have a post I'll put out next on revolution.
Leroy Added Oct 29, 2017 - 11:06am
Communism will always devolve into the least common denominator.  How long will someone bust their tail for the good of all when the some sit back on their tail and do little or nothing?  Soon, one realizes that he is not rewarded for his hard work and he can sit on his tail too and do nothing and make a claim on those that continue to work.  It goes against the fundamental nature of man.  The only thing left is the point a barrel of a gun at his head and make him work.  No, it was never a problem with the leaders.  Communism is fundamentally flawed.  No good will ever come of it.
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 29, 2017 - 5:00pm
OG >> Well I guess we'll have to disagree on socialism.
 
Yes... but I still appreciate your perspective and input.  Thank you.
 
OG >> ... a fairer society is a laudable aim.
 
Yes... We just disagree on the definition, approach, and assumptions.  Other than that, we're on the same page. :)
 
OG >> I reckon it is within the wit of good people to create a foolproof system that the selfish and greedy (or just plain psychotic) can't take over.
 
I don't, because no system is foolproof (or tyrant proof) but it is within our wit to create a systems that are less susceptible.  I believe individual freedom and eternal vigilance are the keys.
 
OG >> On the basic worth of humans - not Christian - merely moral and philosophical.
 
Just a friendly jab... thus the :)
opher goodwin Added Oct 29, 2017 - 5:41pm
Lynn - it is always good to exchange views even if we don't agree. I reckon the way forward is usually through listening, appreciating and compromising. We're not that far apart.
opher goodwin Added Oct 29, 2017 - 5:42pm
Leroy - I don't agree but I do see your point. I think we could find a compromise with some kind of meritocracy and democratic socialism.
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 29, 2017 - 7:29pm
Leroy >> Communism will always devolve into the least common denominator. 
 
You and I are completely on the same page on this one.  (sorry OG) Communism will always be taken over by psychopaths because a) there are always psychopaths ready and able to take control and b) the flawed foundation/assumptions of communism enable psychopaths to take the reins.  Socialism is susceptible to a lesser extent, but it happens. (See Hugo Chavez)
 
Leroy >> Communism is fundamentally flawed.  No good will ever come of it.
 
Like building a bridge while insisting that 2+2=5.  Every bridge with that flaw will collapse every time.
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 29, 2017 - 8:02pm
I think the problem I’m having with this idea that “Communism is inherently evil” is that we’ve never actually had a true “Communist” Government.  We’ve had governments claim they were “Communist” but the fact is, a “Communist Government” is a contradiction in terms.  
 
A true “Communist” society has never existed in modern times.  The Communist States that we know of either sprang up in authoritarian societies (Imperial Russia, China), were imposed by Stalin after WW II (Eastern Europe, North Korea) or grew up around nationalist movements in former European colonies in Asia, Africa and South America.  None of them followed the blue print established by Marx and Engels, that of the worker rebelling against the capitalist class and establishing a true “classless” society.  
 
All of the countries I mentioned above hid behind the moniker of “Communist” but essentially established new ruling classes that simply turned into new oppressors.  They were never Communist, they were simply party dictatorships no different than fascists.
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 29, 2017 - 8:04pm
Just to be clear, there will never be a “Communist” society until humans evolve.  It’s obvious that we are not.
Leroy Added Oct 29, 2017 - 8:46pm
'Just to be clear, there will never be a “Communist” society until humans evolve.  It’s obvious that we are not. '
 
I do think it is possible to breed humans who will accept communism.   Let's hope it never goes that far.  I would prefer a bullet to the head.
Pascal Fervor Added Oct 29, 2017 - 9:02pm
The freedom for individual advancement outside of central planning has provided in the West so well, that virtually nobody there has to live under conditions as depicted say by Dickens or Hugo. But there remains a resentment that is never sated. And there are sinister forces constantly inflaming those resentments. That is the foremost reason why we can never have Heaven on Earth -- there will always be someone who will go out of their way to disturb the comfort even of those who are satisfied with the most meager existence.
 
What bothers the resentful is that they can see someone satisfied while they themselves are not.
 
Those of you here who mention the "human condition" almost never mention particulars such as that one.

Let me provide what I think might make an impression on the memory of the most honest minds here.
 
If Utopia exists, where would the practical jokers (those who get a kick out of upsetting the applecart so to speak) and misanthropes (those who can't stand people) fit in?  The answer would appear to be -- the practical jokers sell the idea to fools, and the fools learn to late that the misanthropes are running the place.

BTW, when Sir Thomas More wrote his Novel Utopia, he was very clear about what the word really meant.
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 29, 2017 - 9:42pm
@Leroy:
”I do think it is possible to breed humans who will accept communism. Let's hope it never goes that far. I would prefer a bullet to the head.”
 
Your way of looking at things is very limited.
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 29, 2017 - 9:53pm
@Pascal Fervor:
”Those of you here who mention the "human condition" almost never mention particulars such as that one.”
 
What you are describing is the “human condition.”
 
The reality is that Communists and Fascists were all “Utopianist.”  Hitler wanted to create the perfect racial empire, Mussolini wanted to recreate the Roman Empire and so on.  Lenin thought he could yank a backward country into the Communist paradise, Stalin thought he could accelerate the process, as did Mao in his turn.
 
None of these men thought they were wrong or evil.  They all believed that history would show they were right, that they had destiny and history on their side.  So, if they had to crack a few eggs to make the perfect omelette, well, a few million eggs, no great loss.
 
That is hubris of the highest order but those men dreamed big.  In the end, whether Communist or Fascist, the world paid.  The actions are what is important, the label is not.
 
Pascal Fervor Added Oct 29, 2017 - 9:59pm
Before each of those despots got to the top, they had to inflame resentment. Someone will be happy for a moment, see someone else who seems happier, and they are no longer happy until the other comes down -- one way or another.  Someone in charge to see that the lowest common denominator rules is what has ended up time after time.
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 29, 2017 - 10:09pm
BTW, it’s probably useful to note the biggest difference between the two ideologies and why one was far more successful.
 
Fascism is exclusive by nature.  It’s very nationalist and therefore very specific to the countries that adopted Fascist ideology.  Nazi Germany also carried a heavy racial component.  It isn’t about classes per se, it’s more about Germans or Italians getting what was rightfully theirs at the expense of others.  In other countries (like Spain) it was about keeping society intact and keeping the riff raff out (said riff raff being Communists and Socialists).  It’s also less concerned about economics.
 
Communism and Socialism, OTOH, is very inclusive.  It cuts across borders.  It preaches equality, making it attractive to the downtrodden and dispossessed.  In Europe it naturally attracted workers who felt exploited by the ruling classes and also attracted Jews who wanted freedom from persecution.  Outside of Europe it attracted the natives of countries exploited by Europeans.  It’s all about class and economics.
 
That’s it in a nutshell.  That was not meant to be the final word but a starting point.
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 29, 2017 - 10:11pm
@Pascal Fervor:
”Before each of those despots got to the top, they had to inflame resentment. Someone will be happy for a moment, see someone else who seems happier, and they are no longer happy until the other comes down -- one way or another. Someone in charge to see that the lowest common denominator rules is what has ended up time after time.”
 
Yes, that is not exclusive of either Fascism or Communism.
John G Added Oct 29, 2017 - 11:03pm
The History Channel has a lot to answer for.
The language here is Orwellian. Your capitalist overlords are brainwashing you with self serving porkies.
'Fascism' is not an interchangeable term for totalitarianism. 
Fascism and socialism have diametrically opposite goals.
 
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 29, 2017 - 11:38pm
@ John G:
”The History Channel has a lot to answer for.”
 
I haven’t watched the history channel in years.

“The language here is Orwellian. Your capitalist overlords are brainwashing you with self serving porkies.”
 
LOL
 
'Fascism' is not an interchangeable term for totalitarianism.”
 
Fascism is an ideology.  Totalitarianism is a form of government that includes many different types of ideologies.

“Fascism and socialism have diametrically opposite goals.”
 
Goals are irrelevant to the end result.
 
John G Added Oct 30, 2017 - 2:57am
opher goodwin Added Oct 30, 2017 - 5:31am
Jeffrey - history does show that we are becoming less aggressive and violent. That's good. Maybe one day we will be ready to do something better than the greed and selfishness of capitalism.
opher goodwin Added Oct 30, 2017 - 5:36am
Jeffrey - I like your description of Socialism and Fascism. Fascism is indeed exclusive. It works on the basis of asserting that one group is superior to others. It works to identify scapegoats and asserts that when these groups are eradicated everyone will be happy. That the 'in group' deserve to have a better life than the others. This makes it racist and xenophobic.
Isn't that exactly what we are seeing in the States right now?
opher goodwin Added Oct 30, 2017 - 6:03am
John G - well Tony Benn is one of my heroes. I saw him speak ten years ago and had a chat with him. He makes sense and this is a great clip.
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 30, 2017 - 6:07am
@John G:
 
I don’t need YouTube to teach me history.  
opher goodwin Added Oct 30, 2017 - 6:09am
Jeffrey - listening to Tony Benn, an extremely intelligent and eloquent person, won't do you any harm.
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 30, 2017 - 6:16am
@ Opher Goodwin:
 
Thank you.  
 
I’m a bit more pessimistic than you, mainly due to the divisiveness I see so prevalent in both Europe and the US.
 
As for capitalism, I’m not against capitalism, it does drive innovation.  The issue is rampant capitalism that turns destructive.  You can see glimpses of that in any major economic crash.  
 
As for scapegoats, both Communist and Fascist Governments used them to justify repression.  We see this scapegoating now towards Muslims.
 
 
opher goodwin Added Oct 30, 2017 - 7:42am
Jeffrey - I too see that divisiveness. We have to build bridges not walls don't we?
I largely agree with what you said. My contention is that we have to strive to make it better, fairer and more caring.
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 30, 2017 - 8:13am
@ Opher Goodwin:
 
”Jeffrey - listening to Tony Benn, an extremely intelligent and eloquent person, won't do you any harm.”
 
I’m generally suspicious of John’s YouTube videos but I’ll have a listen when I get the time.
 
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 30, 2017 - 8:24am
@ Opher Goodwin
 
”Jeffrey - I too see that divisiveness. We have to build bridges not walls don't we?”
 
Yes, I agree.  
 
I’m pessimistic going forward.  Brexit, the election of Trump, the rise of Right-Wing Parties in Europe, the chipping away of democracy both in Europe and in the states, all of these things make me gloomy going forward.
 
Trump’s election seemed to halt some of that in Europe but Austria’s last election threw a curve into the equation.  I understand, to a degree.  People are frightened and have given a name to that, Islamic radicalism embodied in the Muslim refugees.  There is the “White Paranoia,” this feeling of being subsumed and losing one’s identity.  Nationalists and racists feed on that, offering a solution.  
 
Now, in a way, I think it this may be the high tide of such views.  I hope so.  We’ll see.

“I largely agree with what you said. My contention is that we have to strive to make it better, fairer and more caring.”
 
I agree.  
opher goodwin Added Oct 30, 2017 - 8:41am
Jeffrey - thoroughly agree - but everything passes. Now is the time for them to have their day. The future will be better.
I'm always suspicious of anything coming from John G but the Tony Benn is excellent.
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 30, 2017 - 8:44am
Opher, on your recommendation I will watch it.
 
As for the rest, one can only hope.
John G Added Oct 30, 2017 - 6:01pm
Tony Benn had a diametrically opposite view to you on many things Goodwin. Especially on the EU. And he wouldn't touch your view of the Middle East with a barge pole.
Jeff Michka Added Oct 30, 2017 - 6:39pm
I largely agree with what you said. My contention is that we have to strive to make it better, fairer and more caring.-I'm interested in how we make racial hatred "better, fairer and more caring."AND That the 'in group' deserve to have a better life than the others. This makes it racist and xenophobic. Isn't that exactly what we are seeing in the States right now?  Yup, and I can't see a way to make it better, fairer or more caring than to round the Trumpists up and shoot them all.  Kind of their solution to minorities, reversed.
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 30, 2017 - 6:57pm
The liberals have taken over the comments of my post!  And that's good.  I've enjoyed the exchange.
 
I'll comment (and ask questions) on a few of your comments.
 
JK >> Your way of looking at things is very limited. (in response to Leroy "Let's hope it never goes that far. I would prefer a bullet to the head.")
 
I'm with Leroy, not that we would be given much choice in the matter.  Those who value liberty would be the first against the wall when it goes that far (communism).
 
"Give me liberty or give me death" is indeed not a very common principle today.  But when enough people adopt it, the possibilities are actually limitless. :)
 
JK >> Goals are irrelevant to the end result.
 
I just don't see that.  Good intentions/goals with the same results as bad/evil matter little to the dead.  What solace do good intentions bring them or their families?
 
It's like the old adage... "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."
 
If indeed the communists had good intentions (ever) then they are the ultimate proof of this.
 
OG >> history does show that we are becoming less aggressive and violent.
 
OK OG, I'm totally missing historical evidence.  And this is a real question seeking to understand...
 
Where do you see this (we becoming less aggressive and violent) in history?
 
OG >> As for scapegoats, both Communist and Fascist Governments used them to justify repression. 
 
Yes, the Jews in particular and sometimes each other.
 
JK >> I’m generally suspicious of John’s YouTube videos
 
As am I. :)
 
JK >> but I’ll have a listen when I get the time.... Opher, on your recommendation I will watch it.
 
As will I.
 
JK >> I’m pessimistic going forward.
 
It's funny how you and I are both pessimistic and "gloomy going forward"; but for completely different reasons.  You see your side losing as I see mine losing.  One of us is wrong. 
 
Cheer up... history is on your side. :)  It's guys like me and Leroy that need to be worried (and armed and vigilant). :)
 
JK >> Yup, and I can't see a way to make it better, fairer or more caring than to round the Trumpists up and shoot them all.  Kind of their solution to minorities, reversed.
 
See.
 
John G Added Oct 30, 2017 - 7:09pm
You and the liberals are on the same side.
You're just in different factions of the oligarchs' war and looting party.
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 30, 2017 - 7:40pm
@Lynn Johnson:
 
I’m gonna break this up a tad, Lynn.  Ironically I'm right in the middle of reading “Red Famine” by Anne Applebaum.  The problem is it’s an e-book and it’s due back tomorrow night. 
 
“JK >> Your way of looking at things is very limited. (in response to Leroy "Let's hope it never goes that far. I would prefer a bullet to the head.")

I'm with Leroy, not that we would be given much choice in the matter. Those who value liberty would be the first against the wall when it goes that far (communism).”
 
I don’t think you have much to worry about.  We are in no danger of a Communist Revolution anytime soon.  If the impossible were to happen I would stand next to you at that wall.  Life wouldn’t be worth living.

"Give me liberty or give me death" is indeed not a very common principle today. But when enough people adopt it, the possibilities are actually limitless. :)”
 
It’s not a problem as long as you don’t point that gun at imaginary enemies.  Most liberals and leftists are not your enemy, Lynn.  Most are like me.  I despise radicals of any stripe, be they left or right.  

JK >> Goals are irrelevant to the end result.

“I just don't see that. Good intentions/goals with the same results as bad/evil matter little to the dead. What solace do good intentions bring them or their families?

It's like the old adage... "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

If indeed the communists had good intentions (ever) then they are the ultimate proof of this.”
 
I think the issue you and I are having is that to me ideology is largely irrelevant.  The “name” to me is nothing, primarily because none of the governments that claimed “Communism” were actually “Communist.”  In the end they were nothing more than party dictatorships, similar to Fascism in the way they operated.  More people died under Communist rule because Communism spread farther due to its inclusive nature.  
 
I mentioned above the differences between Fascism and Communism.  Fascism had limited appeal but Communism had universal appeal.  It sold well to workers and peasants tired of the status quo but in the end they were all betrayed.  Their governments turned totalitarian on them, operating just like the authoritarian governments they replaced.
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 30, 2017 - 7:42pm
@Lynn Johnson and Jeff Mischka:
 
”JK >> Yup, and I can't see a way to make it better, fairer or more caring than to round the Trumpists up and shoot them all. Kind of their solution to minorities, reversed.”
 
Um, Lynn, I didn’t say that.  Jeff, to be honest, I like you brother but that sentiment is off the reservation.
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 30, 2017 - 7:48pm
@Lynn Johnson:
”It's funny how you and I are both pessimistic and "gloomy going forward"; but for completely different reasons. You see your side losing as I see mine losing. One of us is wrong.”
 
Sad to see we have sides.........
what do you think my side is, Lynn?

“Cheer up... history is on your side. :)”
 
History is against us all.  To me mankind hasn't learned anything.
 
“It's guys like me and Leroy that need to be worried (and armed and vigilant). :)”
 
Again, make sure to point that weapon in the right direction....
Jeff Michka Added Oct 30, 2017 - 9:00pm
Ol Lynn ain't a big readers, but will have to reenforce Jeffrey Kelly's comment: Um, Lynn, I didn’t say that.  Jeff, to be honest, I like you brother but that sentiment is off the reservation.-Perhaps so, but hearing from a local Trumpeter expressing the need to kill all "these muslims and mexicans" flooding into the country. While defending his son over more bullying of local latinos. There's no hope for Trumpists.  When you read Lynn's screed: “It's guys like me and Leroy that need to be worried (and armed and vigilant)." PERHAPS YOU CAN BETTER UNDERSTAND MY POINT.  iT'S GUYS LIKE LYNN AND Leroy who would love to gun down minorities, given even a small chance.
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 30, 2017 - 9:46pm
JK >> Sad to see we have sides.........
 
Not really, there have always been sides.  Sometimes they work together, most times not. 
 
JK >> what do you think my side is, Lynn?
 
The left.
 
JK >> History is against us all.  To me mankind hasn't learned anything.
 
Yep... kind of the point of the post linked to my comment.  I'm a little too subtle sometimes. (So, we agree on at least this.)
 
JK >> Again, make sure to point that weapon in the right direction....
 
Only at those who would take liberty by force.... and no one else as implied by the historical reference.
 
JK >> Um, Lynn, I didn’t say that.
 
Forgive my typo of assigning to you the insane, irrational statements of another.  I should have been more careful given the vile hatred of the original sentiment.  It was a grave error on my part.
 
I also regret that my typo detracted from what I wanted to point out by using Jeff Micha’s own words to prove where the source of the violence really is.  I knew it came from him... there are few others who (even on WB) who would write such hate-filled drivel.
 
As I have pointed out concerning JM before... There are some who will accuse their opponent of that which they are guilty.
 
I do appreciate you (JK) calling out the “off the reservation" statement.
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 30, 2017 - 9:54pm
I can't tell if JM really believes the vile things he says or not. 
 
"Perhaps so, but hearing from a local Trumpeter expressing the need to kill all "these muslims and mexicans" flooding into the country."
 
"There's no hope for Trumpists.  When you read Lynn's screed:..."
 
"PERHAPS YOU CAN BETTER UNDERSTAND MY POINT.  iT'S GUYS LIKE LYNN AND Leroy who would love to gun down minorities, given even a small chance."
 
NOTHING I (or Leroy) have ever written implies we believe or support such drivel... and if Jeffrey Michka really thinks his statements are true... then he is an even bigger moron than I think he is... as if such a thing were even possible.
 
It's vile hate-filled people like this who would do violence in response to the hatred they imagine in the hearts of their opponents. 
 
You want to know how the likes to Stalin accomplished what he did?
 
Look no further than the example of Jeffrey Michka.  In Stalinist society, he would not only be on the reservation... he'd run it.
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 30, 2017 - 10:03pm
@Lynn Johnson:
”JK >> Sad to see we have sides.........

Not really, there have always been sides. Sometimes they work together, most times not.”
 
Not as divisive as now.

“JK >> what do you think my side is, Lynn?

The left.”
 
Does this make me some kind of enemy?
 
I’m no one’s enemy, Lynn.  Most of the left, like the right, is no one’s enemy.
John G Added Oct 30, 2017 - 10:29pm
LOLz. Kelly is a rightwing (neoliberal) Liberal. He's closer to you than he is to the centre, let alone the left.
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 30, 2017 - 11:58pm
JK >> Not as divisive as now.
 
Agreed, but both sides are to blame.  Just look the likes of JM and tell me I'm wrong.
 
JK >> I’m no one’s enemy, Lynn.  Most of the left, like the right, is no one’s enemy.
 
I agree.  We are not enemies.
 
I even think your goals and intentions are good.  I simply don't trust your solutions to be what is best (as in results).  So, for that reason (and only that reason) I'll will oppose those solutions.
 
I expect you will do nothing less in return.
 
Nothing personal, no vitriolic hatred, no "off the reservation" defamation, no rounding up to be shot... just honest opposition of two sides with the best of goals and intentions.
Lynn Johnson Added Oct 31, 2017 - 12:08am
JG >> You and the liberals are on the same side… You're just in different factions of the oligarchs… Kelly is a rightwing (neoliberal)… (Lynn is a fascist bullyboy) … closer to you than he is to the centre, let alone the left.
 
Uggg… John G, give it a rest.  We get it.  Everybody is in on this fascist oligarch conspiracy, and you’ve got it all figured out with newspaper clippings and string.
 
Wouldn’t it be easier to list the half dozen or so in the tin-foil hat brigade NOT part of the world order?
Pascal Fervor Added Oct 31, 2017 - 2:07am
LJ >> "The liberals have taken over the comments of my post!  And that's good. "
 
Not if you take Robert Conquest's Second Law of Politics into account. ;)
Jeffrey Kelly Added Oct 31, 2017 - 6:35am
@John G
”LOLz. Kelly is a rightwing (neoliberal) Liberal. He's closer to you than he is to the centre, let alone the left.”
 
John is a Stalinist, therefore everyone is to the right of him.
 
Lolz.
opher goodwin Added Oct 31, 2017 - 12:04pm
Lyn - I see the evidence of less aggression all around us. There was definitely less bullying in my school and less racism than when I was a kid. There have been less people killed in wars and less deliberate harm and cruelty to animals - bear baiting etc.
But most of all - when I was touring in Wales many moons ago we followed a sign to an iron age hill fort. It was stuck on top of a mountain. the walls were of slate that had to be carried in baskets on the backs of people from a quarry ten miles away. Those walls were ten foot thick. It was summer but the rain was horizontal and stung your face. Down in the green valley the sun was shining.
Why did they go to such trouble and discomfort?
Because every year marauders would come through, rape, pillage, torture and kill. They would carry off the crops and livestock.
They don't do that anymore.
Flying Junior Added Nov 1, 2017 - 2:11am
I remember the coast trail near St. David's Cathedral.  Saint David's was recessed in a hidden valley so that it could have a tall spire yet remain unseen by the Norsemen in their ships.  As we looked down on it from above, we saw that a funeral was taking place.  There was a nice Bentley parked outside.  We knew that we would not be able to enter and see the cathedral from inside.
 
We also climbed a bit of the Cader Idris, conveniently staying at the Minffordd Inn.  There was a great deal of slate cleverly used in the construction of the trail.  It reinforced parts of the trail from erosion and also provided wonderful sluices to channel rain away from the trail.  It was not carried up on the backs of workers, however.  It was dropped in large bundles by helicopter.
 
It was not raining that mid-September evening in 2002.  It was a rare Indian Summer.  As we were heading down the mountain, the locals were heading up to camp with their bedrolls on their backs.  Earlier, at the lake, we met a young couple that brewed tea with the lake water.  There was also a lonely seagull who appeared to be somewhat of a transient.  After the exhilarating hike, it was very comfortable to put our bare feet in the gentle streams while we sat on rocks and admired the Rowan trees.
Flying Junior Added Nov 1, 2017 - 2:16am
Oh yeah, about the marauding.  It was quite clear that the strongest castles had all been built upon hillsides.  It was far easier to defend from a greater height.  We visited Carreg Kennan.  From the top, all around us we looke down upon wonderful farms and hedgerows.  We called it the Shire after the epic motion picture based on Tolkien's trilogy.  I met the owner who let me take a little video of his beautiful Welsh Springer Spaniel, Glenn.
Jeff Michka Added Nov 1, 2017 - 6:01pm
LJ sez: It's vile hate-filled people like this who would do violence in response to the hatred they imagine in the hearts of-As opposed to rightist bullies like yourself.  You wear your hatreds on your shirt sleeve, and I suppose you actually taking action is an absurd proposition.  Unlike JK, I think you are an enemy, like all bully-boy TRUMPETERS ARE TO ANYONE THAT THINKS DIFFERENTLY ABOUT CONSTANT ADULATION OF A TV reality star...and talking about "free dumb and liber-tea" you only want for yourself and a stiff subset of other jerks that congregate around clowns like you how are instant judges of others, but really have nothing to judge by.  Sure, I realize less thought went into voting for Trump than you, bully-boy, judging others, but that makes you even more fradulent.
Lynn Johnson Added Nov 1, 2017 - 6:18pm
JM >> Unlike JK, I think you are an enemy, 
 
Thank you.  I can think of no higher honor you could impart.
 
JM >> (the rest... blah, blah, blah)
Hard to reply given the level of coherence.  I take it English is not your first language and I hate to think what I would sound like trying to communicate in a second tongue.
 
But, thanks for the comment.  I'll let the readers of WB judge the character of each of us based on our words.  Good luck to you.
opher goodwin Added Nov 3, 2017 - 5:37am
Flying - It's a beautiful part of the world isn't it?