I agree wholeheartedly with the thrust of his point - which is that the appalling crimes and mass murder of the totalitarian left are too often forgotten compared with the appalling crimes and mass murder of the totalitarian right. Les deux exces se touchent. The difference between some Westerners' embrace of Stalinist Russia and Maoist China is that fewer leftist intellectuals were fooled the second time around. A British leftist expedition remained unfooled:
No “useful idiots” of the kind who had made the Soviet Union under Stalin appear the savior of humanity emerged from the trip. The parade held in Beijing to mark the fifth anniversary of the People’s Republic reminded the philosopher A. J. Ayer of the Nuremberg Rallies. Though impressed by the “dedicated and dignified” Mao, the trade unionist Sam Watson was dismayed by Chinese talk of the masses as “another brick, another paving stone.” Mao asked Attlee to help reverse the American policy of encircling his country through defense treaties with Southeast Asian countries and the rearming of Japan. Attlee firmly informed Mao that “two-way traffic was needed” for peace, and asked Mao to help persuade the Soviet Union to free its satellite states in Eastern Europe.
Other European visitors to China were relative pushovers. François Mitterrand, who visited China at the height of the devastating famine in 1961, denied the existence of starvation in the country. André Malraux hailed Mao as an “emperor of bronze.”
Still Reynolds' point about double-standards is well-taken. What creeps me out is one thing:
Communists are as bad as Nazis, and their defenders and apologists are as bad as Nazis’ defenders, but far more common. When you meet them, show them no respect. They’re evil, stupid, and dishonest. They should not enjoy the consequences of their behavior.
What does that last sentence mean? Is it some kind of threat?
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.