28 September, 2010

Communism's Nuremburg (City Journal)

Guy Sorman at City Journal (a blog which, I must confess, I had not heard of until now) has a very interesting piece on the trials of Communist Khmer Rouge leaders, currently going on in Cambodia.

What the Khmer Rouge brought to Cambodia was in fact real Communism. There was no radical distinction, either conceptually or concretely, between the rule of the Khmer Rouge and that of Stalinism, Maoism, Castroism, or the North Korean regime. All Communist regimes follow strangely similar trajectories, barely colored by local traditions. In every case, these regimes seek to make a blank slate of the past and to forge a new humanity. In every case, the “rich,” intellectuals, and skeptics wind up exterminated. The Khmer Rouge rounded up urban and rural populations in agricultural communities based on precedents both Russian (the Kolkhozy) and Chinese (the popular communes), and they acted for the same ideological reasons and with the same result: famine. There is no such thing as real Communism without massacre, torture, concentration camps, gulags, or laogai. And if there has never been any such thing, then we must conclude that there could be no other outcome: Communist ideology leads necessarily to mass violence, because the masses do not want real Communism. This is as true in the rice fields of Cambodia as in the plains of Ukraine or under Cuban palms.

He also observes:

Nazism’s trial took place in Nuremberg beginning in late 1945, and Japanese fascism’s in Tokyo the following year. But until now, we have had no trial for Communism, though real Communism killed or mutilated more victims than Nazism and Fascism combined. Communism’s trial has never taken place, outside the intellectual sphere, for two reasons. First, Communism enjoys a kind of ideological immunity because it claims to be on the side of progress. Second, Communists remain in power in Beijing, Pyongyang, Hanoi, and Havana.

To this I would also add a third reason: Communism still enjoys a fair degree of support among certain prominent intellectuals, though they now tend to cloak their leanings in other terms to disguise their ideology. Nevertheless, Revolutionary Marxist and Communism have never gained the stigma that Fascism and Nazism have in our culture, even though history has proven them to be a far deadlier strain of Totalitarianism. By all rights Stalin, Lenin, and Mao should be as reviled by the world as Hitler is today, as synonymous with notions of evil as Auschwitz is. I find it appalling that twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the opening up of Eastern Europe, we are still ignoring its murderous legacy and giving a pass to its atrocities.

No comments: