Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Freedom, Health Care | Tags: A Constant Temptation, Recognizing the Extremes, Tyranny and Freedom
Hitler was a piker. We rightly excoriate him for the mass murder of Europe’s Jews, for the concentration camps, for the death squads of the SS. The Nazis populate hundreds of thrillers, movies, histories, and all sorts of scholarly work. But we are probably more affected by the thrillers and the movies, for Nazis make fine villains with their boots and death heads and dramatically evil flag. When frustrated lefties want to express their rage, they plaster Hitler mustaches and haircuts on photos of the objects of their anger.
Mao Zedong, founder of the People’s Republic of China, qualifies as the greatest mass murderer in world history, according to a Hong Kong-based historian who had unprecedented access to official Communist Party archives. Frank Dikötter is the only author to have deeply studied the Chinese archives since they were reopened four years ago.
Between 1958 and 1962, Mao’s state waged war on China’s peasants. The nation was facing a famine and the systematic torture, brutality, and starvation and killing of Chinese peasants were comparable to the Second World War in its magnitude. More than 45 million people were worked, starved or beaten to death in China over those four years. A third of all homes in China were destroyed to produce fertilizer. In one region, 13,000 opponents of the regime were killed in just three weeks.
It is indisputable that Mao himself and the Party leadership were afflicted with economic incompetence, wholesale ignorance and ivory-tower utopianism. It was called ‘The Great Leap Forward,’ but the misallocation of capital and resources were disastrous leaps in the wrong direction. This is the toll for only four years. The total is far above 75 million.
The Soviet Union, of course, was responsible for upwards of 25 million deaths of innocent victims, systematically butchered. That policy of ideological hegemony found it a crime to be middle-class, of noble birth, a kulak, a Ukrainian or even a member of the Communist Party. Mikhail Tomsky, head of the Soviet trade unions stated in 1927 :”We allow other parties to exist. However, the fundamental principle that distinguishes us from the West is as follows; one party rules, and all the others are in jail.”
The fascinating thing has always been the Left’s attempts to consider Nazi Germany (the National Socialists) as a party of the right, and thus freely despised, but the socialist Soviet Union was long admired. People still remark that the Cold War was unnecessary overreach.
There are the regimes of the Soviet satellite states of Eastern Europe, now free. Kim Jong Il’s North Korean despotic captive state needs little more explanation than the famous nighttime satellite picture of the Korean peninsula with only one tiny light for Pyongyang and constant evidence of the starvation of the North Korean people. At least 2 million dead.
Pol Pot’s Cambodian killing fields where the entire educated class were slaughtered — some identified only by the fact that they wore glasses — too, are explained by only a few pictures, and an estimated toll of at least 2 million innocent victims. Communist Vietnam and Burma Myanmar add unknown numbers to the toll.
Latin America accounts for at least a 1½ million. The bloody killer Ché Guevara enjoyed doing his own executions personally, and is celebrated by having his image on tee shirts and the fantasy of his romantic story told by Hollywood. New wannabe communists keep popping up in South America, which seems to have a predilection for dictators.
One common theme that runs through all these destructive regimes is complete intolerance for disagreement. My way or the highway reeducation camps.
The Left is currently totally in charge of our government, yet they talk (Kathleen Sebelius) of “having a lot of reeducation to do.” Those who dislike disagreement accuse peaceful participants in Tea Parties of hate and racism when Tea Party participants exhibit only disagreement. SEIU thugs beat up their opponents. Secretary Sebelius wrote to insurance companies warning of zero governmental tolerance for suggesting that government actions were responsible for the rising cost of health insurance policies.
I am not suggesting that Liberals are about to stick the rest of us in reeducation camps. I am simply trying to point out that American society is built on argument, debate and dispute. We try to persuade, present evidence, show examples and convince. When that fails, we look for more evidence and more persuasive materials. Our disagreements are worked out through messy, argumentative political campaigns, where we use all the tools available to us to win the argument.
In all of this there is a temptation towards tyranny. A temptation to hate those who see the question differently. The founders wisely provided three separate divisions of government to provide checks and balances on each other. But the initial rendering of the Constitution all too soon showed cracks — in spite of the clear designation that “we the people” gave certain rights and duties to the government — people were being imprisoned for criticizing the government. So the Bill of Rights was enacted to make crystal clear the protection of political speech and disagreement, as well as our other rights.
Most of us have got it through our heads that we have to tolerate neo-Nazis marching down the street, and idiots burning the flag, because that is the price of our freedom of speech. Our government officials need to recognize that citizens are perfectly free to say that we think that ObamaCare is a disaster, and that the Stimulus was a scandalous failure, without fear of government threats. We get to disagree, and we do.
Filed under: Entertainment, Fun n Games, Humor, News of the Weird | Tags: All Downhill, No Hope, Unintended Consequences