Given the manifest failures of Marxism, it’s odd Western leaders have played along with a Chinese Communist-led campaign to celebrate the bicentennial of Karl Marx’s birthday.
The centerpiece of May’s effort was the new Marx statue donated by the People’s Republic of China and unveiled in Trier, Germany on Saturday. The statue, unwanted by the citizens of Trier, was accepted by the local government and celebrated by the head of the European Commission, even though representatives from Europe’s former Communist states opposed the effort to rehabilitate an ideology that held them captive behind the Iron Curtain.
The EU’s highest official, Jean-Claude Juncker, performed as if on cue. At his speech in Trier, he whitewashed communism, obscured the crimes, and ignored the victims. Claiming, ridiculously, that ideas don’t have consequences — a stance that would seem to undermine the EU’s own rationale for existence — he said, “Karl Marx was a philosopher, who thought into the future, had creative aspirations, and today he stands for things, which he is not responsible for and which he didn’t cause, because many of the things he wrote down were redrafted into the opposite.”
Juncker conveniently ignores Marx’s own calls for violent revolution. In 1848, Marx argued that “there is only one way … the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terror.”
Moreover, Vladimir Lenin, like every empowered communist leader, “appealed to Marx as the fundamentalist appeals to the bible,” according to historian Edward Crankshaw.
Lenin used Marx’s program to establish the greatest tyranny the world had ever witnessed. From that diseased trunk of the Soviet Union branched out more than forty Marxist-Leninist regimes, all funded, trained, modeled, or imposed by the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics. These communist regimes, and their proxy guerrilla movements, have killed more than 100 million people since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Each claimed they were enacting Marx’s dream more perfectly than the others.
Ideas do have consequences, and the ideas of Marxism are the deadliest the world has ever known.
Marx denied the idea of individual rights, and therefore the basis for justice, human rights, and democratic government. He denied the ownership of private property and thus ushered tragically avoidable destitution and famine for tens of millions. He denied the existence of a transcendent truth or God, thereby removing any moral limitation on man’s action. Marx denied the reality of human nature and blamed human institutions for life’s imperfections. He embraced political violence as a purifying force for change to bring about an ill-defined state he called communism.
Last century’s horrors of purges in Russia, famine in the Ukraine, deportations in the Baltics, torture in Albania, killing fields in Cambodia, and the massacres of Mao’s China brought more unnecessary suffering, more slavery, and more murder to the world than ever before.
All this is the legacy of Marx — horrors justified by the lies and lust for power that Marxism demands in atonement for the existence of an imperfect world. Happy bloody birthday, Karl!
Alas, Marxism did not end with the 20th century. The economic, social, and psychological ramifications of communism take generations to heal even after Communists are out of power. This is true from Poland to Crimea, and from Greece to Cambodia. Sadly, we are not only recovering from failed human experiments in Marxism, we are now seeing new nations fall captive.
Within the last 12 months, Nicholás Maduro and his backers in Havana established a new single-party state justified by the same slogans as the Castro Revolution of 1959. Having nationalized the economy and removed political opposition, Maduro governs a country where the average Venezuelan has lost 24 pounds in the last year due to malnutrition.
The annual currency inflation rate is now over 4,000 percent, opposition leaders are tortured in prison, and more than 160 unarmed young protestors have been murdered by the regime. Maduro remains securely in charge — protected by a body guard unit composed of Cuban soldiers. Venezuela, one of the most prosperous countries in the Western Hemisphere, has been brought to its knees in two decades by the false hope of Marxism presented as “democratic socialism.”
In 2014, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which took over Hong Kong from the British in 1997, mandated that the territory’s schools teach the Marxist interpretation of history in all curricula. High schoolers, born in a free city never before ruled by Communists, demanded freedom through the Yellow Umbrella Movement led by Joshua Wong. Four years later, the student leaders have been sentenced to jail and democratic elections, previously promised, have been cancelled. Each week features news of disappearances or prison sentences of students, journalists, and bookshop owners. Hong Kong is no longer a free city.
If connecting Marxism with modern tyranny seems hyperbolic, just ask Xi Jinping why the CCP can eradicate the Buddhists of Tibet, murder the Uyghurs in Xinjiang (or East Turkestan), forcibly abort millions of desired babies from helpless mothers, harvest the organs of prisoners of conscience, disappear businessmen, jail and beat journalists, torture lawyers, and imprison Christian pastors and priests. Xi has already answered: Marxism is the CCP’s claim to legitimacy.
While Xi stood under a giant effigy of Marx to announce China’s vision for the future, CCP newspapers hailed Marx’s Das Kapital as “holy scripture,” and Chinese state television ran a morbid show called “Marx Got it Right.” Communism still justifies the CCP’s power and governs ethical rules of a pseudo-religious code — in lieu of morality. “Socialism with Chinese characteristics” is a standard by which CCP members can be judged, subjects can be governed, and dissidents can be eliminated.
In his speech this month, Xi called Marx “the greatest thinker of our time” and declared that Marx’s way is “the future for China.” Yet many China “experts” and “business leaders” in the West refuse to acknowledge that China is influenced by Marxism. This is surely because we are used to the blind economic management of the Soviet Union. We are unprepared for a CCP that manipulates market mechanisms and uses cyber-technology to deftly manage a totalitarian bureaucracy that also assembles our iPhones.
To help us in the West “get it,” China donated the massive Marx statue to the city of Trier and sponsored conferences, exhibits, and book launches all over the world to commemorate the ideology of communism on the bicentennial of Marx’s birth. According to The Economist, the PRC spends some $10 billion annually on international propaganda efforts. The Marx bicentennial was one of the most highly publicized non-trade related efforts of China this year. That’s because Marxism is also a useful standard often unfurled to prevent Western powers from judging the actions of the PRC.
Xi tells the United Nations, “Don’t criticize our human rights violations.” And the United Nations stands impotent, uncomfortable with the idea of moral absolutes. Xi tells the Vatican that they should select from among Chinese cardinals whom the CCP considers loyal to an atheistic state. And the Vatican complies. Xi tells the United States, “Stop judging China by democratic standards.”
Meanwhile, the PRC militarizes islands in the South China Sea, colonizes Africa, and threatens America’s allies in East Asia. All while benefitting from a global economic system that it regularly defrauds by artificially devaluating its currency, stealing intellectual property through espionage, and using slave labor.
Xi has made it clear that abroad China will fund and promote the global reassertion of Marxism — already whitewashed by Western academics and politicians — as a desirable alternative to messy Western governments which are based on individual rights and democratic legitimacy. In his speech at the CCP’s recent 19th Congress, Xi promised to “always preserve the character of a Marxist governing party.” He also promised the CCP will be a global leader. “China will continue to actively participate in the evolution and construction of the global governance system,” he said.
With all the power of China’s enticing and coercive totalitarian state behind it — and with all the ignorance of a new, poorly educated Western generation, Marxism is blundering out of the bloodbath of the 20th century and seeking to shape life in this century. Only very recently has the United States turned to address the now undeniable threat emanating from Beijing.
For the first time in U.S. history, the National Security Strategy released in December 2017 named China as America’s top strategic threat. But this is not enough.
I’m perplexed that our Millennial generation must fight another struggle to defeat the flawed but powerful forces of Marxism-Leninism. This deadly ideology should have been, as Ronald Reagan called for long ago, “consigned to the ash heap of history.”
Now the task falls to us. We must confront the state power of China and its authoritarian allies, which seek to make the international order in their image. We must meet their intellectual and security challenges with all the moral, diplomatic, economic, and military power the free world can muster. We must reject the false hope of Marxism. We must reaffirm our commitment to life, liberty, and free enterprise that have given us the freest, most prosperous society the world has ever known.