Monday, January 18, 2021

Remembering Communism by Michael Smith

I'm older than my Facebook friend Michael Smith, but we have some shared memories, except mine would begin with the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and a Chinese college roommate in 1958 whose family had fled Communism and all my East European classmates whose families fled Communism:

"Being that I am that old, I remember the news reports about the Soviets invading Czechoslovakia in 1968. I remember daily Vietnam War body counts on the Huntley-Brinkley Report at 6 pm. I remember East Germany before the Berlin Wall fell. I remember Checkpoint Charlie. I remember the Warsaw Pact and the hard line, pre-“glasnost” Soviet leaders, Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko. I can remember when China was essentially a closed society and a mystery to the West…at least until Richard Nixon visited there in 1972.

I remember the violent suppression carried out by these Marxist/communist governments, something that Americans under the age of 35 only read about in history books. To them, China has always been open, there never was a USSR and they have never seen a communist state roll an army into a neighboring nation because they were insufficiently communist. They have never heard miraculous stories of daring escapes from East Germany and the terrible accounts of the 171 people killed trying to reach freedom.

So spare me the mealy-mouthed excuses for Marxism, the admiration of communist China and how a little socialism is a good thing for America. I saw what it looks like in practice. Socialism is the gateway drug to Marxism and Marxism is the precursor to authoritarian communism."

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