I must confess something: Socialism poses a grave threat to the U.S.
I, a first-generation American born to socialism survivors, take no pleasure in admitting this. I’m not an alarmist nor do I want to stoke fear. But I must be honest about the precarious situation we find ourselves in today.
By now, socialism should have gone into the ash heap of history. Sadly, its pernicious ideas still linger and have clung onto many of our institutions.
Yesterday marked the centennial of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s creation. Largely absent from the coverage here stateside, unsurprisingly, was highlighting the millions of victims who died in this time. Instead, Chairman Xi was the “star” in all of this. Revolting. Similarly, Axios unveiled a new poll showing growing disdain for capitalism—even among Republicans. Scary.
It’s disconcerting to hear this. But fear not: socialism can be stamped out here in America. Don’t believe me? Here are three effective ways to help usher in its demise.
Make Anti-Socialism Bipartisan Again
After Democrats narrowly retained control of the House of Representatives last year, Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) lashed out at her colleagues, remarking “…we need to not ever use the words ‘socialist’ or ‘socialism’ ever again. Because while people think it doesn’t matter, it does matter. And we lost good members because of it.”
Conservatives can’t simply preach an anti-socialist message to the choir. We must export the message to the masses. Yes, it’ll be challenging to engage our political opponents but we must. Why? Let’s briefly look at history.
Did you know many 20th-century Democratic lawmakers were avowed anti-communists and anti-socialists?
President Harry S. Truman famously pledged to help nations resist communism through the “Truman Doctrine.” President John F. Kennedy continued policies of containment and said in 1952 the communist threat is “an enemy, power[full], unrelenting and implacable who seeks to dominate the world by subversion and conspiracy.”
Were you aware many chairmen of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) were Democrats?
Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson (D-WA) and Rep. Charles Vanik (D-OH) also sponsored a namesake amendment to the Trade Act of 1974 making trade with non-market economies (i.e. the Soviet Union) conditional on respect for human rights and permitting emigration.
Where are the anti-communist Democrats of today? They’re greatly needed in this fight.
Listen to Survivors, Not Opportunists
It’s important to lean on living survivors and elevate their stories to understand the dangers associated with collectivism.
Americans learned about Nazism’s horrors hearing directly from Holocaust survivors. Listening to stories about survival and death pulled heartstrings and inspired Americans to etch the words “Never Again” in their minds.
Why wasn’t the same strategy employed to combat socialism? It should have been replicated immediately following the USSR’s collapse. But better late than never.
To ensure effectiveness, individuals enlisted to speak should have some proximity to the horrors. It isn’t enough to have political influencers decry “socialism sucks.” That message, especially delivered by opportunists, won’t resonate with our peers en masse.
Instead, let survivors speak for themselves and help broadcast their testimonials. There are plenty of credible perspectives available from individuals who lived in the Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Castro’s Cuba, and even present-day Venezuela.
It’s imperative to give them a platform to share their stories.
Change Starts in Schools
Not only should survivors address audiences young and old, socialism’s crimes should be accurately taught in schools.
Communism should be equally reviled like National Socialism. Why isn’t this the case already? Unfortunately, many schools and institutions of higher learning purposely obfuscate the truth and whitewash its crimes.
In response, several states have passed legislation to teach the evils of communism and socialism. Florida became one of the first states to reform their curriculum. A similar bill is currently moving through the Arizona state legislature. Going forward, this effort should be replicated in other states.
In addition to teaching socialism’s horrors and incorporating survivor input, the following books should be recommended for reading: Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder, Witness by Whittaker Chambers, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, Stalin’s Secret Agents by M. Stanton Evans, Fear No Evil by Natan Sharansky, and The Black Book of Communism, among many available titles.
35 years ago this January, my parents settled here as political refugees after fleeing Soviet-occupied Lithuania.
Today, they are shocked to see many of their fellow Americans embrace policies that engulfed and destroyed their homeland last century. They also worry about seeing iconic American institutions destroyed by central planning domestically, and an ever powerful CCP and entities like it rising globally.
The opportunity to educate our peers and political opponents, however, shouldn’t be squandered. To truly stamp out socialism in America, it’ll take a concerted effort by everyone—right and left.
Invest in and support organizations like Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, Young America’s Foundation, Free Cuba Foundation, and similar American-based educational outfits. Support amending school curriculum to teach the horrors of communism and socialism. Elevate survivors and their stories.
It’s time to get to work. Will you join me?