Should anyone remain at the real end of history to chronicle a list of humanity's worst systems for the benefit of any left to read it, the legacy of communism is sure to be at, or near, the top.
That's why it is especially appropriate that in Washington, D.C., this week a Victims of Communism Memorial will be dedicated.
With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the quick collapse of the Soviet Union, many embraced the idea that the world had become free, or was headed in freedom's direction. That one-quarter of the world population remained under communist dictatorship in China seemed of less concern than the dissolution of Soviet Russia. The Tiananmen Square Massacre in June of 1989 reminded the West that communism was as deadly to those who opposed it in China as it had been in the Soviet Union. But the West's attention span is short and soon American companies were happy to do business with China because our commitment to the bottom line is stronger than it is to the moral line.
Lee Edwards, the chairman of The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOCMF), has attracted bipartisan support for the memorial, including Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), who are offering remarks at the dedication. It comes on the 20th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's Berlin speech during which he famously said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."
The brutality of communism was quickly swept under history's rug, in large part because so many on the left had embraced it as the solution to humankind's problems. The memorial stands as a rebuke to such twisted thinking.
"The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression" by Stephane Courtois, Nicolas Werth, Jean-Louis Panne, Andrzej Paczkowski, Karel Bartosek and Jean-Louis Margolin lists by country the number of people murdered under communist regimes: 65 million (and counting) in China; 20 million in the Soviet Union, 2 million (and counting) in North Korea, 2 million in Cambodia, 1.7 million in Africa, 1.5 million in Afghanistan, 1 million in Vietnam, 1 million in communist Eastern Europe and 150,000 in Latin America.
In short, communism, an evil ideology unlike any the world has seen, is responsible for the slaughter of more than 94 million human beings. It tops all plagues, natural disasters, crime, and other political ideologies, probably combined.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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