A man should not have to agree with someone 100% to find great value in his observations. For example, I have always liked Mao’s honest observation that “all government flows from the barrel of a gun”. (paraphrased) In like manner there are free market economists that I find great to read even if I might disagree once in a great while with some observation or the other. Walter Williams is one of those economists. His national columns are written in a breezy style for the common man to understand and are jewels of common sense and logic. He wrote one this week and I stole the title for this post myself.
He wrote in part:
In Europe, especially in Germany, hoisting a swastika-emblazoned Nazi flag is a crime. For decades after World War II, people have hunted down and sought punishment for Nazi murderers, who were responsible for the deaths of more than 20 million people.
Here’s my question: Why are the horrors of Nazism so well-known and widely condemned but not those of socialism and communism? What goes untaught – and possibly is covered up – is that socialist and communist ideas have produced the greatest evil in mankind’s history. You say, “Williams, what in the world are you talking about? Socialists, communists and their fellow travelers, such as the Wall Street occupiers supported by our president, care about the little guy in his struggle for a fair shake! They’re trying to promote social justice.” Let’s look at some of the history of socialism and communism.
What’s not appreciated is that Nazism is a form of socialism. In fact, the term Nazi stands for the National Socialist German Workers’ Party. The unspeakable acts of Adolf Hitler’s Nazis pale in comparison with the horrors committed by the communists in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the People’s Republic of China. Between 1917 and 1987, Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin and their successors murdered and were otherwise responsible for the deaths of 62 million of their own people. Between 1949 and 1987, China’s communists, led by Mao Zedong and his successors, murdered and were otherwise responsible for the deaths of 76 million Chinese. The most authoritative tally of history’s most murderous regimes is documented on University of Hawaii Professor Rudolph J. Rummel’s website, and in his book Death by Government.
How much hunting down and punishment have there been for these communist murderers? To the contrary, it’s acceptable both in Europe and in the U.S. to hoist and march under the former USSR’s red flag emblazoned with a hammer and sickle. Mao Zedong has been long admired by academics and leftists across our country, as they often marched around singing the praises of Mao and waving his little red book, “Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-tung.” President Barack Obama’s communications director, Anita Dunn, in her June 2009 commencement address to St. Andrews Episcopal High School at Washington National Cathedral, said Mao was one of her heroes.
Whether it’s the academic community, the media elite, stalwarts of the Democratic Party or organizations such as the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, Green for All, the Sierra Club and the Children’s Defense Fund, there is a great tolerance for the ideas of socialism – a system that has caused more deaths and human misery than all other systems combined.
Today’s leftists, socialists and progressives would bristle at the suggestion that their agenda differs little from those of Nazi, Soviet and Maoist mass murderers. One does not have to be in favor of death camps or wars of conquest to be a tyrant. The only requirement is that one has to believe in the primacy of the state over individual rights.
The question boils down to asking are we moving toward more liberty and freedom or are we moving toward a police state? Are we moving toward the Soviet Gulag or are we moving toward the “live and let live” attitude of the early Republic? You know the answer. We are moving toward the system of the Soviets. We even have our own death camps which we have located in the Middle East. They are entire countries where we rape, torture, maim, kill, and humiliate.
I have written many words on the subject of peace, freedom and liberty over the years but none any better than Dr. Williams when he says that the only requirement that is needed to bring about the horrors of the police state is that one believe in the primacy of the State over than of the individual. In a nutshell that is the central error of the collectivist.