As we’re approaching the hundred year anniversary of the October Revolution, I wonder what lessons we’ve learned about it in here in the west? After all, the twentieth century was the bloodiest century in human history, and the Soviet Union played no small part in making that statistic a reality.
Some young people seem to believe there is no connection between Soviet Russia and modern Marxist-influenced “Democratic Socialism.” Those people are mistaken. But make no mistake about this, the social and economic changes proposed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels way back in 1848 in The Communist Manifesto live on, and The Communist Manifesto itself provides the proof. More about that coming up.
Direct Marxist Influence
The most obvious recent example we’ve seen of Marxist influence (not counting certain government programs) in America was in 2016, when the Democrat Party almost ran a self-avowed Socialist for the office of President of the United States of America. Sure, there were a few snorts of disapproval here or there, but nobody really saw that as a particularly horrible idea.
The most common argument I’ve seen with respect to parallels being drawn between the Soviet Communists, the Chinese Communists and Democratic Socialism is that somehow the Soviets and the Chinese just didn’t implement Marx’s principles appropriately. I had one adherent to Democratic Socialism explain to me that Marx would have never put that much power into the hands of the state. It would all go to the people. Really? Because that’s not what it says in the book. It’s times like those that I realize that most of the people who believe in this nonsense haven’t actually read the book. In the Communist Manifesto, Marx himself says that initially, the state will have to seize all property in a “necessarily despotic” manner. Of course, presumably after that, in this make-believe scientific utopia, the newly-minted dictator who has seized control of the wealth of a nation is supposed to just give it all back. The only problem with that is that it’s been tried already and failed. Countries with large populations have already experimented with the principles and they have been found lacking to say the least.
Eliminating the Opposition by Eliminating Free Speech
A second, more pernicious example of Marxism in America today (whether the majority of them know it or not) is in their language, or rather, their attempt to control people’s language. The language comes right from the Marxist worldview. Not convinced? If we trade the words “proletariat” and “bourgeoisie” with the words “marginalized” and “oppressors,” you can immediately recognize that the same ideas are at play, but instead of trying to control the direction of society through control of capital, this is about controlling the direction of society through their language. In both instances, perceived victims rise up to overthrow the “elites” who don’t deserve to be there in the first place. In both the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries, this process involves knocking those evil elitists down a peg. These so-called “privileged” elites in society today are told that their opinions are no longer as valid as those of the marginalized, and that maybe their opinions are even criminal? (1) Don’t worry, this isn’t some head-fake on their part; they’re still pretty easy to spot; there’s still plenty of talk about overthrowing elites, but keep in mind, it’s important to know the connection between the Marxist ideology and the attempts to silence free speech. I wonder if these young Marxists know what happened in the Ukraine when Stalin perceived the farmers there as being “privileged?” Would it change their opinions of their Marxist ideology to know that the answer to that question is that the leader of the largest, longest running Marxist experiment in history starved seven million Ukrainians to death by taking the very food they had grown and distributed it out to others? (2) From each according to his ability, to each according to his need; or something like that, right?
We can’t allow the social justice warriors to co-opt our language any more. I’ve generally been the guy who sat back and didn’t say anything because I was afraid of being labeled in some unfair way. But when I started connecting the dots between the Marxists of yesteryear with how they’re behaving today, I realized that we all need to do our part to shout down tyranny. And no, I don’t think tyranny is too strong of a word to describe what is happening in a political climate that disallows criticisms (such as criticisms of compelled usage of recently invented personal pronouns such as Ze and Eir). There is currently a movement in North America to compel the use of such pronouns by force of law, and in fact, such a bill has recently passed in the Senate in Canada with no amendments. (1) So take the morality out of it for a minute and let’s just pretend like it’s ok to have differences of opinion in North America in 2017. This bill proposes that if a person in a position of authority in Canada refuses to refer to a student by one of those pronouns, he or she will have committed a human rights violation, and may be subject to jail time as a result. (1) Remember we are pretending like it’s ok to have a different opinion for a moment here. Do you really want to live in a world where the government compels your speech? That’s another thing they did in Soviet Russia.
If I reverse the argument, it’s still true. For example, I’d be personally offended if someone walked up to me and called me fat, but that doesn’t mean (a) that it isn’t true, and (b) that I want the government to restrict someone’s right to say it. I don’t want to have a Senate hearing held discussing the human rights violations of fat guys. I know I’ve referred to Canada’s Bill C16, and you may be thinking that could never happen here in America. But we already have at least one state (New York) in America that has passed such mandates. In New York, they passed a mandate that threatens to fine a person up to $250,000 for intentionally using the wrong pronoun. (6) How long before there’s an attempt to pass a federal bill like the one here in the United States? And let’s say you agree with this particular issue (compelled pronouns); who’s to say that you won’t be on the other side of the debate next time? The issue at hand here isn’t pronouns, it’s shouting down those who don’t want you to raise your voice. From my own personal viewpoint, if you want me to call you Zarathustra, I’ll call you Zarathustra (if I can pronounce it). I’m fairly agreeable. I just don’t want to be compelled by the government to say anything, and neither should you. We know what happens when regimes have that kind of control.
In a show of historical ignorance, sometimes we even see protesters waving a Soviet Union Communist flag (the primary reason I took the time to write this piece) at a protest of capitalism or the evil one-percenters. It’s hard to even fathom how poorly a young person must have been educated to think that the Soviet Union is a model government to hold in high esteem.
One-Hundred Year Anniversary of the Russian October Revolution
On this one-hundred year anniversary of the Russian Revolution, I think it’s appropriate to remind people of exactly what the Soviet Union stood for, and the results that were garnered. The Soviet Union was built upon the “scientific” principles of Marxism. So was Mao Zedong’s China by the way, which was just as brutal, and had an incredibly high body count of its own, but for now, we’ll focus on Stalin’s Soviet Union. So Stalinism is based off of Marxism, but what about the results? While estimates vary, somewhere between twenty and sixty-six million human beings died in Soviet Russia as a result of these “scientific principles.” (3) I’ve recently read a book titled The Gulag Archipelago (the source for some of my information regarding the Soviet Union) by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (who won a Nobel Prize in 1970 for his work on this book), who was himself a prisoner in the Soviet Gulag Archipelago, where millions were tortured and killed. He bore witness to the killing himself, and after he was released from prison, he studied the Soviet Union’s tactics, and, combined with witness testimony from hundreds of fellow Russians, estimated the regime’s body count at the high end of that sixty-six million figure.
Still, something about the concept of socialism appears on the surface to be utopic to seemingly millions of young people around the western world. In part, I blame our education system for not showing up to class to teach us the atrocities of Communist Russia and China. And in some cases, I blame Marxist college professors who should know better, indoctrinating the youth with dangerous propaganda.
I grew up in the 1980’s and 1990’s, and I was taught in school about the evils of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, where six million human beings were brutally executed in concentration camps. But I wasn’t really taught about the evils of the Soviet Union, which killed as many as sixty-six million human beings. In fairness, this probably gets complicated for teachers, because people (and especially kids) want to place everything into a neat little box. We like to have a good guy and a bad guy. And since we already know Hitler is evil, where does that leave Stalin? I can picture a nine-year old raising his or her hand now: “Wait, we were fighting with one evil dictator to wipe out another evil dictator?” That’s a tough concept to teach to fourth graders.
So they teach young students about World War I and World War II, and then they teach about the Cold War, but I think what happens is that, since it’s not politically correct to teach about American exceptionalism anymore, kids lose sight of the fact that the Cold War took place between a great nation and a brutal dictatorship. And no matter how many ways a moral relativist tries to slice that cake, those are just the facts. America is far from perfect, but we’ve been correcting our mistakes for over two-hundred forty years now. Our way was better, and we proved it! End of debate. Overall, it’s hard to imagine that if these young people were being educated on the subject properly, they would want to try that experiment again.
I wonder if the snowflakes waving Soviet Union flags have any idea what it represents? I hope that, on this one-hundred year anniversary of the Russian Revolution, maybe a few teenagers with Marxist ideology found what I’ve written today. And I hope that I provided some education about the Soviet Union that you didn’t already know, and maybe connected a few dots between what we are seeing today and what they were doing back then. Finally, tell your kids about what happened in the Soviet Union and in China, lest we raise a generation who forget the lessons that may save us from extinction one day.
I want to give a big thank you to Professor Jordan B. Peterson of the University of Toronto, whose lectures have influenced my way of thinking recently. I’ve been following his brilliant Maps of Meaning Psychology lecture series and studying his book (also titled Maps of Meaning). I suggest you do the same. It’s been incredibly inspiring and influential for me. In fact, the premise for this article is inspired by Dr. Peterson’s lectures.
- Jordan B. Peterson on Compelled Pronouns: Canada Senate Hearing on Bill C16
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnIAAkSNtqo (First Six Minutes)
- Stalin’s Forced Famine 1932-1933: 7,000,000 Deaths
- New York Times Article: The Gulag Archipelago
- Peterson, Jordan (1999) Maps of Meaning. New York, New York. Routledge.
5. Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr I. (1973) The Gulag Archipelago. New York, New York. Harper and Row.
6. Daily Caller Article: Legal Experts: Transgender Pronoun Mandates are Unconstitutional
- Engels, Friedrich & Marx, Karl. (2005). The Communist Manifesto. 1848.
Thanks for reading! If you are so inclined, go pick up my book (available on Kindle or paperback) at Amazon. It’s called “Jamey Jones and the Sons of Noah.” It’s a fun science fiction book about a group of teenagers living on a planet called Kepler 438b. It’s seventy pages long, inexpensive, and it’s kinda good, even if I say so myself.