Last Tuesday, I had the pleasurable task of being Master of Ceremonies for the Atlas Economic Research Foundation dinner in Washington, D.C., that celebrated the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Founded in 1981, the Atlas Foundation assists the formation of free market think tanks around the world to spread the ideas of personal liberty, private property rights and limited government. So far, they have been successful in at least 70 countries. Attending the two-day celebration were think-tank representatives from many of these countries, including those from Croatia, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Cote d'Ivoire, Kenya, Mozambique, South Korea, Russia and Brazil.
Alan Kors, University of Pennsylvania history professor, gave the evening's keynote address. What he revealed about the dereliction and character weakness of academics, intellectuals, media elites and politicians is by no means complimentary, but worse than that, dangerous. Professor Kors said that over the years, he has frequently asked students how many deaths were caused by Joseph Stalin and Mao Tsetung and their successors. Routinely, they gave numbers in the thousands. Kors says that's equivalent to saying the Nazis are responsible for the deaths of just a few hundred Jews. But here's the record: Nazis were responsible for the deaths of 20 million of their own people and those in nations they conquered. Between 1917 and 1983, Stalin and his successors murdered, or were otherwise responsible for the deaths of, 62 million of their own people. Between 1949 and 1987, Mao Tsetung and his successors were responsible for the deaths of 76 million Chinese.