Friday, December 26, 2008

Communism and Fascism morally equivalent

The above is a review by Adam Kirsch of Sean McMeekin’s History’s Greatest Heist: The Looting of Russian by the Bolsheviks. McMeekin describes the “incalculable quantity of . . . art objects, religious icons, jewels, silver plate, bonds and cash stolen by the Bolsheviks between 1917 and 1922. The fact that the Bolsheviks confiscated Russia’s treasures has never been a secret. It should be no surprise to learn the details from McMeekin’s book. “The surprise consists in McMeekin’s relentless insistence of a historical truth still not automatically accepted: the moral equivalence of the Nazi Party and the Soviet Communist Party. Yes, in the abstract, most thoughtful people would acknowledge that Lenin’s and Stalin’s crimes rivaled Hitler’s, that the Gulag was as evil as the concentration camp. But while Nazism is treated as a crime whose effects ought to be reversed, Communism is granted the grudging respect we give a historical fait accompli.”


McMeekin makes a very good point. The common use of the term “Left Wing” to describe the Communists and “Right Wing” to describe the Nazis, obfuscates the facts. They were both Totalitarian Socialistic systems that worked pretty much the same way. They should be on the same wing, the totalitarian wing. The opposite of that wing would be the Liberal-Democratic (non-totalitarian, or freedom) wing.

People who have thought this through realize that the Communists and Nazis were morally equivalent. We read the other day of the 103 year old Polish veteran and victim of a Gulag who hoped he would live long enough to see Communists tried in the way the Nazis were tried at Nuremberg. ( ) And then we read about revisionist historians who accept Communist ideals and hope for a future Communist success. These historians are treated with respect in our universities as we learned from Haynes and Klehr ( ) , but since Communism is morally equivalent, our universities should give the same consideration to Nazi revisionists. There are some. They think Hitler had some really good qualities and that things were a lot better in Germany than is usually conceded.

McMeekin’s concern isn’t quite mine. He is appalled that British and American Capitalists wouldn’t act on principle and refuse to buy the thieving Bolshevik’s booty. Kirsch writes that the “West lived up to Lenin’s cynical prophecy: ‘The capitalists will sell us the rope with which to hang them.” Well, it isn’t quite that bad Lenin and Kirsch. Yes, the “freedom” wing will buy from and sell to the “totalitarian” wing. I would agree that they shouldn’t, but I wouldn’t go beyond moral suasion in that regard. The “totalitarian” wing can enforce any sort of law they like, but the “freedom” wing must let the immoral and irresponsible have as much freedom as permissible under our democratic laws, even if it means buying Russian’s national treasures from 1917 to 1922 – that is, unless we can come to our moral senses in academia and elsewhere and actually learn to treat Communism and Nazism as morally equivalent.

No comments: