Did you know communism supposedly played an integral role in making America great? Neither did I.
When I came across this New York Times column titled “When Communism Inspired Americans” yesterday, I wasn’t surprised to see a romanization of collectivism published. After all, it’s part of their Red Century series propping up the centennial of the bloody Bolshevik Revolution. (I’m shocked, shocked I tell you!)
Did communism die with the USSR’s physical collapse? Sadly it didn’t, given nostalgia for it in the present day by many of our friends on the Left. Academics shove Marxist-Leninist theory down students’ throats. Hollywood generally downplays communism’s horrors. The fashion industry thinks its chic to host events in communist countries. So why not try to make it mainstream–especially on May Day? Sadly, people have yet to develop the same disdain for it as they have with National Socialism–its fascist cousin.
In her article, columnist Vivian Gornick suggested communists largely defined and shaped this country:
My mother was in the audience that night and said, when she came home: “America was fortunate to have had the Communists here. They, more than most, prodded the country into becoming the democracy it always said it was.”
She went on to write that communist inklings in the U.S.–largely born out of the Progressive era–made this country great:
When these people sat down to talk, Politics sat down with them, Ideas sat down with them; above all, History sat down with them. They spoke and thought within a context that lifted them out of the nameless, faceless obscurity into which they had been born, and gave them the conviction that they had rights as well as obligations.
Not surprisingly, Gornick believes Marxist ideology is largely misunderstood by the masses:
It is perhaps hard to understand now, but at that time, in this place, the Marxist vision of world solidarity as translated by the Communist Party induced in the most ordinary of men and women a sense of one’s own humanity that ran deep, made life feel large; large and clarified. It was to this clarity of inner being that so many became not only attached, but addicted. No reward of life, no love nor fame nor wealth, could compete with the experience.
Communism is supposed to make people–particularly ordinary people–have “a sense of one’s own humanity that ran deep, made life feel large; large and clarified”? Tell that to my maternal grandfather, who spent 18 months at the Belomor Canal gulag on the Russian-Finnish border against his will, simply because he was a landowner and a practicing Catholic. Did he feel “large and clarified” having to endure starvation, torture, and abominable weather conditions? He and his fellow prisoners didn’t feel “large and clarified”; they felt humiliated, small, fearful, and dehumanized by the Soviet Union’s wretched policies. My grandpa was lucky to survive while millions of others weren’t. Ask other survivors and victims of communism how this evil system made them feel “large and clarified” and you’ll find very few defenders of this sentiment.
The romanticization of Marxist-Leninist ideology in the present day is very disturbing. Why do some Americans continue to whitewash the ills of communism? Global communism has left over a hundred million people dead across Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America. The “equality” tyrants promised–from Stalin to Mao and Pol Pot to Fidel Castro–was the equitable sharing in misery, not equality of opportunity like that afforded here in the United States. Why do some on the Left today obfuscate the truth –the bloodshed, the abject poverty, the state-sanctioned atheism, the nationalization of industries, and the disregard for human life–wrought by collectivist policies? (I’ll let you decide for yourselves.)
On this May Day, it’s important to remember this: The United States was born out of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” — not “down with the bourgeois!” To suggest this country was great because of communism is to misconstrue what America stands for. If my family and countless other political refugees who fled their home countries wanted to live under collectivism, they would have stayed behind and not come here. Why risk your life to come to America only to be met with more tyranny?