Is Communism Moral

Motives are much less important than behavior.  We all know this: If someone has good intentions,   but treats people badly, those  good intentions mean nothing. As it is with individuals, so it is  with governments. Capitalism might sound   less noble than communism—the individual  pursues success to the best of his abilities   (that’s capitalism) versus everyone shares  everything equally (that’s communism). But it is   capitalism that has produced freedom and it alone  has lifted millions from poverty while communism   has kept millions impoverished and  without exception crushed freedom. Capitalism for all its imperfections enables a  decent society. Communism, whatever its stated   intentions, leads to evil. Yet, increasingly,  people either ignore or deny the evil of this   ideology, which, within a period of only 60 years,  created modern totalitarianism and deprived more   people of human rights, and tortured and killed  more people than any ideology in history. How can we explain this? There are two ways. One is ignorance: People just don't  know the truth about communism. The second is willful blindness:  People know the truth,   but choose to ignore it because the truth about  communism's horrors is too painful to confront. Given the sad state of our educational  system, we can assume most people   fall into the first category. They just  don't know. So let me offer some facts. But before I do, I need to  address another question:   Why is it important that  everyone know what communism did? Here are three reasons: First, we have a moral obligation to the  victims of communism not to forget them.   Just as Americans have a moral obligation to  remember the victims of slavery, we have the same   obligation to the billion victims of communism,  especially the hundred million who were murdered. Second, the best way to prevent an evil from  reoccurring is to confront it in all its horror.   The fact that many people today, especially  young people, mention communism as a viable   option for modern society, proves they  don’t know communism's moral record.   Therefore, they do not properly fear communism, which means this evil could happen again. And why could it happen again? That brings us  to reason number three. The leaders of communist   regimes and the vast number of people who helped  those leaders torture, enslave, and murder were   nearly all normal people. Of course, some were  psychopaths; but most were not, which means   that any society—including free ones—can  devolve into communism or some analogous evil. Now some facts: Based on the authoritative  Black Book of Communism, written by six   French scholars and published in the United  States by Harvard University Press, here are   the numbers of people murdered by communist  regimes—not soldiers; ordinary civilians. Vietnam: 1 million. Eastern Europe: 1 million.  Ethiopia: 1.5 million. North Korea: 2 million.   Cambodia: 2 million. The Soviet  Union: 20 million. China: 65 million. And the numbers are conservative. And, of course, these numbers do not describe  the suffering endured by hundreds of millions   of people who were not murdered: the systematic  stripping people of their right to speak freely,   to worship freely, to start a business, or  even to travel without party permission;   no non-communist judiciary or media; the  poverty of nearly all communist countries;   the imprisonment of vast numbers of  people; and, of course, the trauma   suffered by the hundreds of millions of friends  and relatives of the murdered and imprisoned. These numbers don't tell you about the frozen  millions in the vast Soviet Siberian prison   camp system known as the Gulag Archipelago,  or the Vietnamese communists' routine practice   of burying peasants alive to terrorize other  peasants into supporting the communists,   or Mao Zedong's regular use of hideous tortures  to punish opponents and intimidate peasants. People associate evil with darkness. That’s not  accurate: It is easy to look into the dark; it is   very hard to stare into bright light. One should  therefore associate evil with extreme brightness,   given that people rarely look at  real evil. And those who do not   confront real evil often make up evils like  "systemic racism" in 21st-century America,   or "toxic masculinity," or "patriarchy"  that are much easier to confront. The Book of Psalms states: "Those  of you who love God must hate evil." If you don't believe in God,  here's another way of putting it:   "Those of you who love people must hate evil." If you don't hate communism, you don't  care about, much less love, people. I'm Dennis Prager.