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Archive for the ‘Communism’ Category

A couple of weeks ago, I expressed disgust that the President of the European Commission was going to give a speech commemorating the 200th birthday of Karl Marx.

To be blunt, Marx was a despicable person who developed an ideology that butchered 100 million people.

Yet he still has plenty of apologists.

It’s disgusting when serious publications such as the New York Times publish fan-boy columns about Marxism. But what should we think when Teen Vogue publishes an article celebrating Marx? Here’s some of pabulum offered to readers.

Karl Marx…developed the theory of communism, which advocates for workers’ control over their labor (instead of their bosses). …his ideas can still teach us about the past and present. …The famed German co-authored The Communist Manifesto with fellow scholar Friedrich Engels in 1848, a piece of writing that makes the case for the political theory of socialism— where the community (rather than rich people) have ownership and control over their labor — which later inspired millions of people to resist oppressive political leaders… His writings have inspired social movements in Soviet Russia, China, Cuba.

As an economist, I’m most offended by the laughably inaccurate description of labor in a market economy.

As a human being, I’m utterly nauseated by the description of communism as a means of resisting oppressive political leaders. Is the author really that clueless?!? For heaven’s sake, communism and oppressive politics may as well by synonyms.

The article then offers up some oleaginous descriptions of how students are being fed Marxist propaganda.

So how can teens learn the legacy of Marx’s ideas and how they’re relevant to the current political climate? …Public high school teacher Mark Brunt teaches excerpts from The Communist Manifesto alongside curriculum about the industrial revolution in his English class. …Brunt talks about how these factory workers did all of the leg work — including slaughtering animals and packaging meat on top of working long days with little, if any, time off — to keep the factories intact, yet had very little control over their work, including their working conditions, compared to the profiteering factory owners. …He then introduces Marx’s distinction between the proletariat — the working class as a whole — and bourgeoisie — the ruling class who controls the workers and profits from their labor.

Needless to say, Mr. Brunt is wrong about the history of sweatshops.

But he’s downright delusional when trying to explain why workers reject Marxism.

In his advanced class, Brunt also introduces the idea of false consciousness, which is defined as the many ways the working class is mislead to believe certain ideologies. …“You’re tricked into thinking your allies are different and your enemies are different than they actually are.”

Gee, Mr. Brunt, maybe workers reject Marxism because they like freedom and better living standards.

College students also get subjected to propaganda.

Former Drexel University professor George Ciccariello-Maher uses Marx to teach history… “When I teach Marx, …There’s this myth of the free market, but Marx shows very clearly that capitalism emerged through a state of violence.” …Some examples of violence that aided in the establishment of capitalism in the United States include stealing the land of Indigenous people and trafficking Africans through slavery.

Wow, only an academic could blame capitalism (a system of mutually beneficial voluntary exchange) for the actions of governments (land expropriations and state-sanctioned slavery).

But I’m not overly agitated by the incoherent thoughts of bitter “educators.”

What does upset me is that some impressionable young ladies looking for make-up tips and relationship advice may accidentally read this terrible article and actually conclude that Marx, instead of being a totalitarian, was some well-meaning, run-of-the-mill leftist.

Which is why this tweet from a journalist at the Weekly Standard is a nice summary of what’s wrong with the article.

But it’s even worse than the tweet suggests. The author didn’t under-estimate the body count resulting from communist tyranny. She wrote an entire article about Marx and never mentioned any of the death, misery, and destruction resulting from Marx’s evil ideology.

So let’s set the record straight.

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Professor Paul Kengor opined about the real Marx.

May 5 marks the bicentennial of Karl Marx, who set the stage with his philosophy for the greatest ideological massacres in history. Or did he? …deniers still remain. “Only a fool could hold Marx responsible for the Gulag,” writes Francis Wheen in “Karl Marx: A Life” (1999). Stalin, Mao and Kim Il Sung, Mr. Wheen insists, created “bastard creeds,” “wrenched out of context” from Marx’s writings.

But, as Kengor explains, Marx’s writing were a green light for totalitarianism.

In “The Communist Manifesto,” he and Friedrich Engels were quite clear that “the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: abolition of private property.” …Marx and Engels acknowledged their coercive nature: “Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads.” In the close of the Manifesto, Marx said, “The Communists . . . openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.” They were right about that. Human beings would not give up fundamental liberties without resistance. Seizing property would require a terrible fight, including the use of guns and gulags. Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and a long line of revolutionaries and dictators candidly admitted that force and violence would be necessary. We’re told the philosophy was never the problem—that Stalin was an aberration, as were, presumably, Lenin, Trotsky, Ceausescu, Mao, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, the Kims and the Castros… Couldn’t any of them read? Yes, they could read. They read Marx. The rest is history—ugly, deadly history.

Unless you’re reading vapid articles in Teen Vogue. In which case you’ll be less knowledgeable about history when you’re done.

P.S. While it’s tempting to laugh at the article in Teen Vogue, you can enjoy deliberate humor about communism by clicking here, here, here, here, and here.

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Why are there so few liberty-oriented societies compared to the number of places with statist governments?

And why does it seem like the size and scope of government keeps expanding around the world?

If I’m feeling optimistic, I’ll disagree with the tone of those questions. There are reasons to be cheerful, after all. the Soviet Empire collapsed and there’s solid data that global economic liberty has increased over the past few decades. And for those who care about evidence, there’s a slam-dunk argument that smaller government means more prosperity.

But if I’m feeling pessimistic, I’ll look at grim numbers suggesting that the burden of government automatically will expand because of demographic change. And I also worry about eroding societal capital, with more and more people thinking it’s okay to live off the government. And let’s not forget “public choice,” the theory that explains why politicians have an incentive to make government bigger.

I go back and forth on whether the glass is half full or half empty, and I’m not sure which side is winning. All I can say for sure is that Americans are getting increasingly polarized as we have big fights about the proper role of government.

Which is why I’ve always thought decentralization would be a good idea. No just for policy reasons, but also for domestic tranquility. All the leftists could move to places such as California, Illinois, and New Jersey and vote themselves Greek-style government. And all the advocates of limited government could move to more laissez-faire states such as New Hampshire, Texas, and South Dakota.

We don’t need a national divorce, not even the humorous version. We just need Swiss-style federalism.

But statists will never agree to that approach. And these two sentences from Reddit‘s Libertarian page succinctly explain the left’s opposition.

This guy nails it.

Libertarians have no objection to a bunch of statists creating some sort of socialist or communist mini-society, so long as it’s voluntary. Indeed, we’ve periodically had experimental societies in America based on Marxist principles. Starting with the Pilgrims (who learned from their mistake). And I still laugh every time I think about Bernie Sanders getting ejected from a hippie commune because he was too lazy to do his share of the common work.

But this tolerance isn’t a two-way street. Libertarians will let socialists create statist systems inside a free society, but the left won’t allow libertarian outposts in statist societies.

Heck, our statist friends don’t even like it when other nations have pro-market policy. That’s one of the reasons international bureaucracies always persecute so-called tax havens. Folks on the left may be misguided, but they’re usually not stupid. They know that statist systems will quickly fail if productive people have the ability to move themselves (or at least their money) across national borders.

The bottom line is that federalism is good because it means people can easily move when a government imposes bad policy. This is also a recipe for tolerance and tranquility, though only one side sees it that way.

P.S. The left is so hostile to tax havens that a bureaucrat from the U.S. Treasury accused me of “being disloyal” to America. A former Senator said my actions to defend low-tax jurisdictions were akin to “trading with the enemy.” And the bureaucrats at the OECD actually threatened to throw me in a Mexican jail for defending tax competition.

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I’m currently in Zürich, Switzerland, where most shops are closed because “May Day” is an official holiday (thanks to Swiss federalism, the 26 cantons make such decisions rather than the central government).

As a fan of warm weather, I certainly don’t object to a celebration of springtime. But I have a hard time feeling festive because May 1 also has been hijacked by communists and socialists for “International Workers’ Day.” And the two holidays – unfortunately – have blurred together for some people.

Celebrating workers and seeking to boost their incomes is a worthwhile goal, of course, but communists and socialists shouldn’t be involved since their policies invariably result in lower living standards for ordinary people.

So I’m going to celebrate May Day by adding to my collection of anti-communism humor (see hereherehere, and here for other examples). For our first item, we’re going to mock the leftist claim that communism has never failed because various totalitarian regimes were not examples of “real communism.”

And some true believers hold to this laughable excuse until the bitter end.

Let’s briefly digress so I can make a serious point. A few days ago, I condemned the European Commission’s top bureaucrat for agreeing to take part in a celebration of Marx’s 200th birthday.

Well, the New York Times reminds us that it also belongs on the list of dupes and apologists by publishing a column lauding the supposed insights of Marx.

What precisely is Marx’s lasting contribution? Today the legacy would appear to be alive and well. …countless books have appeared, from scholarly works to popular biographies, broadly endorsing Marx’s reading of capitalism… In 2002, the French philosopher Alain Badiou declared…that educated liberal opinion is today more or less unanimous in its agreement that Marx’s basic thesis — that capitalism is driven by a deeply divisive class struggle in which the ruling-class minority appropriates the surplus labor of the working-class majority as profit — is correct. …Racial and sexual oppression have been added to the dynamic of class exploitation. Social justice movements like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, owe something of an unspoken debt to Marx… The transition to a new society where relations among people, rather than capital relations, finally determine an individual’s worth is arguably proving to be quite a task. …But he does offer a powerful intellectual acid test for that change.

Amazing that someone could write such nonsense in 2018.

Now let’s return to the deliberate humor. Here are some parents who don’t realize they’re making a big mistake (though, as Chuck Asay humorously depicted, maybe we should blame the person who believes in myths as an adult).

For what it’s worth, I think the cartoon would have been even better if the guy was wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt.

I’ve saved the best for last. Or, to be more accurate, this final bit of humor is my favorite because it’s hard to find economics-oriented humor (hence my appreciation for this Wizard-of-Id parody).

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Reminds me of Cuba and North Korea (and Venezuela, though I don’t believe that awful regime has ever officially claimed to be Marxist).

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The evil ideology known as communism left a track record of unimaginable horror. Experts estimate that 100 million people were killed by Marxist regimes.

Some were murdered. Other starved to death because of the pervasive economic failure of communism.

Yet there are dupes and apologists who overlook all this death and misery.

One of them is Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission. A few days from now, this über-bureaucrat will help celebrate the 200th birthday of Karl Marx.

The European Commission President will travel to Trier, Germany, where he will give a speech to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Marx’s birth. …The Commission President will give a speech at the opening ceremony of the Karl Marx exhibition in the city. …The chief eurocrat’s trip has received critics, who have suggested the 63-year-old forgetting how Marx’s “warped ideology” led to millions of deaths across the world. Ukip MEP and the party’s former leader Paul Nuttall said: “It is appalling that Jean-Claude Juncker feels it necessary to commemorate a man whose ideology – Marxism/Communism – led to more than 100 million deaths. …Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski…, who as a seven-year-old boy fled to Britain with his family from the Communist regime in Poland, said Mr Juncker should reject any invitations to commemorate the event. He said: “I think it’s in very poor taste we have to remember that Marxism was all about ripping power and individual means away from people and giving to State. “Marxism led to the killing of millions around the world as it allowed a small band of fanatics to suppress the people we must learn the lessons from this and share with our children.”

How disgusting.

And let’s not forget that communism is still claiming victims in places such as Cuba and North Korea.

Here’s the part of the story that caused my jaw to drop.

A commission spokeswoman defending Mr Juncker’s visit… She said: …“I think that nobody can deny that Karl Marx is a figure who shaped history in one way or the other.

In that case, why not celebrate Hitler’s birthday as well?

Writing for the Atlas Society, Alan Charles Kors expresses dismay that communism does not receive the same treatment as its sister ideology of National Socialism.

No cause, ever, in the history of all mankind, has produced more cold-blooded tyrants, more slaughtered innocents, and more orphans than socialism with power. It surpassed, exponentially, all other systems of production in turning out the dead. The bodies are all around us. And here is the problem: No one talks about them. No one honors them. No one does penance for them. No one has committed suicide for having been an apologist for those who did this to them. …The West accepts an epochal, monstrous, unforgivable double standard. We rehearse the crimes of Nazism almost daily, we teach them to our children as ultimate historical and moral lessons, and we bear witness to every victim. We are, with so few exceptions, almost silent on the crimes of Communism. So the bodies lie among us, unnoticed, everywhere. We insisted upon “de-Nazification,” and we excoriate those who tempered it in the name of new or emerging political realities. There never has been and never will be a similar “de-Communization,” although the slaughter of innocents was exponentially greater, and although those who signed the orders and ran the camps remain. In the case of Nazism, we hunt down ninety-year-old men because “the bones cry out” for justice. In the case of Communism, we insisted on “no witch hunts”… The Communist holocaust should have brought forth a flowering of Western art, and witness, and sympathy. It should have called forth an overflowing ocean of tears. Instead, it has called forth a glacier of indifference. Kids who in the 1960s had portraits of Mao and Che on their college walls —the moral equivalent of having hung portraits of Hitler, Goebbels, or Horst Wessel in one’s dorm—now teach our children about the moral superiority of their political generation. Every historical textbook lingers on the crimes of Nazism, seeks their root causes, and announces a lesson that should be learned. Everyone knows the number “six million.” By contrast, it is always “the mistakes” of Communism or of Stalinism (repeated, by mistake, again, and again, and again). Ask college freshmen how many died under Stalin’s regime, and they will answer, even now, “Thousands? Tens of thousands?”

Of course, some of these kids are probably wearing t-shirts celebrating Che Guevara, so it goes without saying that they are ignorant.

Or, if they actually know Che’s track record, the kids are immoral punks.

In any event, Jean-Claude Juncker should know better. Sounds like he wants his name to be added to the biggest-clown-in-Brussels contest.

P.S. I’m embarrassed to admit that some economists were apologists for communism.

P.P.S. There’s a very small silver lining to the dark cloud of communism. You can click here, here, here, and here to enjoy some clever anti-communism humor.

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I sometimes feel guilty when I mock communism. Should I really be joking about an ideology that directly or indirectly caused 100 million deaths? Are laughs appropriate when there is ongoing torture, abuse, and starvation in communist hellholes such as North Korea and Cuba?

Seems on the same level as cracking jokes about the holocaust.

But I think there’s a difference. Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist Workers Party is gone and every single educated and civilized person agrees we never want something similar to reemerge.

By contrast, there are still modern-day Marxists. They’re in the Antifa movement. There are Marxist professors with tenure on college campuses. I certainly don’t think it’s a dominant ideology on the left, but there are far too many Marxists and Marxist apologists.

Indeed, this is why I think there’s a big difference between liberal socialism and Marxist socialism.

Anyhow, I’ll continue to share anti-communism humor for the simple reason that we still need to discourage this evil ideology from gaining more adherents. And since people don’t like to be mocked and ridiculed, it’s good to use humor to make Marxism toxic.

We have three items today, starting with some very clever Twitter satire.

The millions of people who starved to death under Mao’s reign in China and during the oppression of the Ukraine certainly wouldn’t laugh at this joke, but I found it amusing.

Next, we have one of Fidel’s chief butchers. Vapid college kids may put Che Guevara on a t-shirt, but the rest of us should put his image in urinals.

I’ve saved the best for the last.

Here’s the communist version of monopoly, featuring many chances to go the gulag. But if you’re lucky, you get food rations!

My only quibble is that “pay luxury tax” is a real thing in the real Monopoly. Certainly seem that it also belongs in the commie version.

P.S. Previous collections of ant-communism mockery can be found here, here, and here.

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When I shared some anti-communism humor on January 14, I figured that it would be quite some time before I had another opportunity to mock that evil ideology.

But that column triggered a bunch of messages, with friends and acquaintances sending me new material.

I figured that was a sign of interest in the topic, so let’s once again have a few laughs.

We’ll start with a couple of Wendy’s commercials. I actually remember the first one from my younger days and it is definitely my favorite because of the (very accurate) way it portrays that totalitarian ideology.

I hope you enjoy the Soviet fashion show as much as I did.

Here’s another commercial from Wendy’s. I don’t remember seeing it on TV.

I don’t think it’s quite as clever as the fashion show, but it still makes fun of how the system tried to control people and deny freedom.

Now let’s check out a couple of images that showed up in my inbox.

This first one is the sarcastic version of a 2013 column that included a poster mocking people who claim that communism has never been tried.

This final image is my favorite.

It’s a more clever version of an image I shared back in 2014 comparing night-time views of North Korea and South Korea.

Let’s close on a serious note. North Korea is a horrifically backwards and evil place.

So while the image is amusing, let’s not forget (as captured by these two short videos) that it actually represents utter misery and unimaginable agony for millions of innocent people.

Something to keep in mind the next time you see some morally bankrupt jerk with a Che t-shirt.

P.S. You can click here for the inaugural collection of anti-communist humor.

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Since communism killed 100 million people over 100 years and still causes unimaginable misery in a few blighted nations today, part of me thinks we should always treat the topic in a somber fashion.

But humor plays an important role in the world of politics. Reagan’s jokes (see 4th video) about the Soviet Union, for instance, helped undermine the legitimacy of that wretched system.

So let’s augment my collection of anti-communist humor from with a couple of new items.

We’ll start with a look at the class dunce.

I’m not sure what that made me laugh, but it did.

Next, here’s something I saw on Twitter. I assume Soviet Barbie was done as satire. In any event, it captures the utter dreariness of Soviet life.

Let’s close with an actual beer commercial from the 1980s, featuring the humor of a Russian émigré, Yakov Smirnoff.

On a related note, there is plenty of socialism humor, as well as redistribution humor and Venezuela humor.

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