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Reblogged:Communist and Nazi Brutality by the Numbers

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Some time in the past week, I saw someone, on Twitter, I think, express the hope that one day, it would be just as socially unacceptable for someone to express sympathy for communism as it now is regarding Nazism. Coincidentally, I also ran across an answer to a question stemming from Andrew Jackson's culpability for the Trail of Tears. The reply reads in part:

It is also worth asking yourself why some statues are safer than others these days. (Image by Steve Harvey, via Unsplash, license.)
The following are [professor R.J.] Rummel's 12 most murderous regimes (from his article in the Encyclopedia of Genocide, 1999): (1) USSR, 62 million deaths, 1917-'87; (2) People's Republic of China, 35 million, 1949-'87; (3) Germany, 21 million, 1933-'45; (4) nationalist China, 10 million, 1928-'49; (5) Japan, 6 million, 1936-'45; (6) prerevolutionary Chinese communists ("Mao Soviets"), 3.5 million, 1923-'49; (7) Cambodia, 2 million, 1975-'79; (8) Turkey (Armenian genocide), 1.9 million, 1909-'18; (9) Vietnam, 1.7 million, 1945-'87; (10) Poland, 1.6 million, 1945-'48; (11) Pakistan, 1.5 million, 1958-'87; (12) Yugoslavia, 1.1 million, 1944-'87. Three additional "suspected megamurderers," as Rummel puts it, are North Korea, 1.7 million deaths, 1948-'87; Mexico, 1.4 million, 1900-'20; and czarist Russia, 1.1 million, 1900-'17.

Rummel goes on to identify the top nine killers: (1) Joseph Stalin, 43 million dead, 1929-'53; (2) Mao Tse-tung, 38 million, 1923-'76; (3) Adolf Hitler, 21 million, 1933-'45; (4) Chiang Kai-shek, 10 million, 1921-'48; (5) Vladimir Lenin, 4 million, 1917-'24; (6) Tojo Hideki (Japan), 4 million, 1941-'45; (7) Pol Pot, 2.4 million, 1968-'87; (8) Yahya Khan (Pakistan), 1.5 million, 1971; (9) Josip Broz, better known as Marshal Tito (Yugoslavia), 1.2 million, 1941-'80.
It is worth noting that these numbers do not include deaths from war -- which such regimes foment -- or that are due to their policies, such as Communist China's 20 million famine deaths from 1959 to 1962.

Nazi Germany ranks third in the number of "democides" -- behind two communist regimes.

To be clear, judging an ideology or its adherents is not as simple as counting the bodies of its victims, although it is highly relevant that communism had killed an average of a million people a year by the time of the widely-celebrated (!) centenary of the establishment of the Soviet Union. It would be ridiculous, for example, to rank communism as "more evil" than Nazism based on body count or proportion of the population killed: At this point, it is clear that both result in governments exterminating human beings. Furthermore, the deaths, alone, leave room for people to excuse the ideologies for not having been implemented faithfully or, much worse, praise them for being moral, but impractical.

Nazism excused the state robbing, injuring, and killing certain groups of people on the basis of their ancestry. Communism does so on the basis of the fact that some people own things that others do not. Theft, assault, and murder are wrong, no matter what the motive. Such crimes are not somehow purified by having been committed by the state in the name of "the people." Nor are they when motivated by an altruistic motive.

Speaking of altruism, Ayn Rand once said:
There are two moral questions which altruism lumps together into one "package-deal": (1) What are values? (2) Who should be the beneficiary of values? Altruism substitutes the second for the first; it evades the task of defining a code of moral values, thus leaving man, in fact, without moral guidance.

Altruism declares that any action taken for the benefit of others is good, and any action taken for one's own benefit is evil. Thus the beneficiary of an action is the only criterion of moral value -- and so long as that beneficiary is anybody other than oneself, anything goes. ("Introduction", The Virtue of Selfishness, p. viii.) [bold added]
Until the slogan, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need," is recognized as immoral, we will continue to see people evading and excusing the evil of communism, which is on a par with that of Nazism.

Nazism was wrong, not because it harmed members of ethnic groups, but because it harmed individual human beings. The same is true of communism, despite its posturing to the effect that harming one individual somehow benefits another.

-- CAV

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