by Armando Simón (July 2022)
The Stone Breakers, Gustav Courbet, 1849
In honor of the imminent opening of Washington DC’s Victims of Communism Museum, I thought it would be fitting to write this piece on the subject.
In spite of Marxism’s dismal record, there has been a recent resurgence of Marxism in the United States. Marxist totalitarianism rebounded as a reaction to Donald Trump’s election. Whereas previously Marxists in universities tended to be not so obvious, now their indoctrination of students, their suppression of dissenting views, their propaganda, and their persecution of students and faculty has become blatantly aggressive, accompanied by the terrorist group Antifa. Some university courses are being taught from a Marxist interpretation while in some elementary schoolchildren are being indoctrinated in Marxism. The recent bicentennial of Karl Marx’s birth resulted in a spate of articles in periodicals, some of them even proclaiming that under Communism, women had better sex. Really, they did. The über-bureaucrat Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, praised Marx while Chinese dictator Xi Jinping proclaimed, “We commemorate Marx in order to pay tribute to the greatest thinker in the history of mankind, and also to declare our firm belief in the scientific truth of Marxism.” And Jason Barker, a professor of philosophy at Kyung Hee University in South Korea wrote for The New York Times a piece entitled “Happy Birthday, Karl Marx. You Were Right!” without naming a single thing that he was right about.
Once thought to be dead and buried, along with the Inquisition, the Nazis, and wars of conquest, Communism has made a strong comeback in universities. The terrorist group Antifa is openly Communist, as was the SDS during the 1970s. How, then, can we root them out? If our legislatures target them, they will cry out for freedom of speech, the same freedom that they so systematically deny others in the universities. Quite a dilemma.
Something that most people are unaware of in regards to Communism is that Marxism has been considered by Marxists to be scientific and not just a political doctrine for well over a century. It was certainly taught as such in the Soviet Bloc.
However, others such as Arthur Koestler and Conrad Zirkle pointed out that Marxism is actually more of a religion than anything else, a secular religion to be sure, but it definitely has all the characteristics of a religion (dogma, an inquisition, sacred texts, persecution of heretics, authoritarianism, and belief in a powerful, judging, entity—History[*]). Raymond Aron wittily called Marxism “the opium of the intellectual.”
In reality, Marxism is a pseudoscience, on a par with phrenology, mesmerism, parapsychology, Creationism and Freudian psychoanalysis.
Now, I would like to put Marxist theory to the test. All reputable theories, in order not to be discarded, cannot be disproven. That is a truism of all scientific theories. It must be put to the test and if even one fact, one experiment, goes against the theory, that theory must, perforce, be discarded. This is axiomatic in science. I cannot overemphasize this principle.
The core proposition of Marxism is that the imposition of Marxism improves the lives of human beings. Now, let us look at the record.
Communist dominion was established in Russia, China, Mongolia, North Korea, Vietnam, Hungary, Laos, Cambodia, Cuba, Estonia, Poland, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Albania, Germany, Lithuania, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Latvia, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Tadzhikistan, Tibet, Kazakhstan, Grenada, Turkmenistan, Ethiopia and Kyrgyzstan. 28 countries. 28 case studies. 28 experiments. Each with its own customs, history, languages, geography—none of which are supposed to matter, anyway, according to the doctrine.
The following may feel pedantic, but each instance is extremely important:
In every single instance, while proclaiming itself to be truly egalitarian, having done with class distinctions, a privileged aristocracy—what in Yugoslavia Djilas called The New Class and in Russia was called the Nomenklatura—came into being, composed entirely of members of the Communist Party. While many Ukrainians and Chinese and Cambodians and Ethiopians starved to death with their skin barely covering their skeletons, the new class feasted on fish, fruit, meats and all sorts of imported delicacies.
In every single instance, the standard of living—in every level of society—plummeted. It did not improve the lives of the people. Marxists wrecked the economy, and the production of consumer goods plummeted in both quantity and quality. Long lines of people, stretching for several street blocks, waited for their turn to purchase a shirt, or a pair of shoes, or rolls of toilet paper, or a can of powder milk. This was a common, daily, occurrence. The Communist aristocracy, mind you, never waited on lines, but obtained as many items as they wanted from stores that catered exclusively to the aristocracy. In the particular case of Cuba, the scarcity of consumer goods has always been blamed on the American embargo, but this was simply an excuse given by the regime and its foreign sycophants; the Communists were directly responsible—as they were directly responsible in every single instance. It is conveniently forgotten by their apologists that although one country had an embargo with Cuba, every other country in the world did not. Besides, when Obama offered to lift the embargo, the Cuban government refused; it needs that excuse.
In every single instance, the Communists wrecked agriculture to the point that a rationing system had to be introduced (again, for the people, not for the Communist aristocracy). In Russia, Mao’s China, North Korea and Cambodia, the famines became so intense that some of the people resorted to cannibalism. Neither the cannibals nor their food thought that Communism had improved their lives.
In every single instance, the rule of law vanished as the Party members murdered thousands, and tens of thousands, sometimes simply on a rumor. As Che Guevara stated, “To kill a man we don’t need proof of his guilt.” Property was either stolen, or destroyed.
In every single instance, with the exception of Yugoslavia, citizens were forbidden to travel, not only outside the country, but inside the country as well. Previously, and significantly, only serfs had had this restriction.
In every single instance, an all-pervasive militarism became the order of the day, so that even children were prepared to be thrown into battle as cannon fodder in order to protect the Communist regime. Slavenka Drakulić pointed out that women in Communist countries were in a humiliating situation because the government demanded the production of more and more tanks, but never even gave a thought to even sanitary napkins for women.
In every single instance, a cult of personality sprang up (Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Che, Tito, Castro, Hoxha, Kim, Ceausescu, etc.), so that the psychotic dictator was deified to absurd lengths.
In every single instance, a vicious, repressive, sadistic, secret police was created in order to suppress the people.
In every single instance, the people were spied upon constantly by the Communist government.
In every single instance, historical facts were deliberately falsified, often to an absurd degree.
In every single instance, film, art and literature were grotesquely warped as fanatical mediocrities dictated both style and content, the nonadherence of which resulted in executions.
In every single instance, science was distorted as mediocrities imposed their quackery and put forth a “Marxist biology,” a “Marxist psychology,” a “Marxist astronomy,” a “Marxist medicine,” a “Marxist chemistry,” etc., based on the sacred writings of Lenin, Marx, Stalin, Lysenko, etc. This was exactly the same as happened under The Third Reich with “German medicine,” “German physics,” “German psychology,” etc.
In every single instance, workers were ordered to “volunteer” to work extra hours, usually at no pay, or face execution while being told that workers had never had it so well.
In every single instance, theft and corruption were endemic as the people learned that since the government owned everything, the only way to survive was to steal from the government. Prostitution also skyrocketed for the same reason. This increase in crime is particularly significant because Marxist orthodoxy decreed that the only reason that theft and prostitution existed in capitalist countries was because of the inequality between social classes.
In several countries, specifically Russia, Latvia, Estonia, Tibet, Lithuania and Cambodia, a horrific genocide took place at the behest of the Communist Party. The victims of this genocide, of course, did not think of themselves as better off under Communism.
In several countries, specifically East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Tibet, China, Cuba and Czechoslovakia, popular uprisings against the repressive Communist regime took place, which were put down through military means by the Communists.
In East Germany and Romania, the governments revived the policy of slavery in that it literally sold individuals to West Germany.
Now, let us look at how Marxists have approached basic human rights:
Freedom of speech—abolished.
Freedom of the press—abolished.
Freedom of religion—abolished.
Freedom to own a home—abolished.
Freedom to own property—abolished.
Freedom to travel—abolished.
Freedom of assembly—abolished.
Freedom to criticize the government—abolished.
Freedom to read books and view films of one’s choosing—abolished.
Freedom to grow food for oneself—abolished.
Freedom to have privacy—abolished.
Freedom to own a weapon—abolished.
Freedom to have free elections—abolished.
Freedom to educate one’s children without indoctrination—abolished.
Freedom to maintain one’s family—abolished.
Freedom of workers to unionize—abolished.
In reviewing all of the above, we see then that, historically, far from improving the lives of the people, Marxism actually has had a disastrous effect on the lives of human beings. One Russian dissident described living in the Soviet Union as a slave camp pretending to be a country. Further proof is the indisputable fact that in every Marxist country, the ruling class restricted emigration of the population, i.e., to escape. The Berlin Wall was, in fact, erected to prevent this mass exodus of the people, which was referred to in the West as the “people voting with their feet.” Those who tried to escape but failed usually paid with their lives.
But talking with Marxists, if they admit the above, they will say that Marxism was not implemented correctly, with the implication that if we were to hand over all authority to them now, unquestioningly, then they would create heaven on earth (there is too much capitalism in today’s China for it to qualify as being Marxist). It is true that Marxist dictators repudiated the policies of other Marxist dictators (e.g., Stalin, Khrushchev, Hoxha, Mao, Ceausescu, etc.) as being “revisionist” or “deviationist;” and not being really what Marx and Lenin had envisioned. They then instituted policies which they believed were more in line with the sacred doctrine—only to come to the very same results, time and again. Modern day British, German, American, French, Greek, or Dutch intellectuals may claim the same, but one can rest assured that if given the chance to rule over us the end result would be identical. Most of us would end up dead.
Besides, most Western Marxists have not read a single word of Marx.
Now, considering how Marxists are in universities undermining both scholarship and the society that they live in through indoctrination of naïve students, how do we get rid of this corrosive problem? After all, they will portray themselves as martyrs if we eject them and they will miraculously discover the concept of free speech and free press. The solution is actually very simple. We use Marxism as a tool against Marxists.
Since Communism has pretensions of being scientific, whereas in reality it is a pseudoscience on a par with phrenology, mesmerism, parapsychology, Creationism, and Freudian psychoanalysis, state legislatures should enact laws that (1) university courses that are taught from a Marxist basis will not be funded and (2) professors who have advocated/taught this pseudoscience will be terminated. After all, why should we waste our resources on professors who teach the science of phrenology, or Marxist history, or parapsychology, or Marxist sociology? A university is a place of learning, not of indoctrination with falsehoods.
Furthermore, if the law is passed stating the same thing, but instead of it being narrowed to “Marxism” the word “pseudoscience” is employed, then we will kill two vultures with one stone, which is to say Gender Studies. Feminist “scholarship” is replete with blatant pseudoscience, such as “gender is a social construct,” and, “there are no differences between the brains of men and women.” Most of feminist research is fraudulent, anyway.
But, don’t hold your breath. The Democrat politicians are closet Marxists and the Republican politicians are clueless mouthbreathers.
I would like to conclude with one last illustration. I have mentioned how Marxist doctrine claims to be “scientific.” There is one very basic characteristic of true science which is called a control group and although I have contrasted the policies of Communist regimes with those of normal societies, and I could detail the numerous differences between East and West Germany, a more modern picture will have a deeper impact than just words (“one picture is worth a thousand words”).
North and South Korea are two small countries, geographically identical, yet look at the contrast between them (for some strange reason there are no pictures available of East Germany and West Germany during the 1980s):
[*] This is why nowadays we often hear the phrase, “You’re on the wrong side of history.”
Armando Simón is originally from Cuba, so he knows firsthand about Communism. Apart from that, he also has degrees in history and psychology and is the author of When Evolution Stops, A Cuban from Kansas and The Book of Many Books.
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