I was surprised to find I've never posted on this. A Mayday or two ago I tweeted something that Adam Badlwin retweeted, something along the lines of, "Today we should remember the 70 million people killed by communism." I was low-balling the number. It's really somewhere around 100 million or 110 million people killed by communism, communist policies or communists since we started trying out the theory.
This topic comes up because a recent Salon article defended Communism. If we did it here, indicates writer Jesse Myerson, it would be a kinder, gentler communism. Sure it would. Instead of Mao's 70 million dead, the Weather Underground estimated they'd only need to slaughter 25 million Americans to institute Communism.* That is way kinder and gentler. Of course, with population increases since then, it's probably up to 50 million or so they'd have to slaughter to make the US communist.
Now, that's worse than Stalin and Lenin, but definitely kinder and gentler than Mao. Years of calling themselves "Progressives" have really mellowed those commies out.
Note that the 110 million people killed is one that Myerson disputes, but not on the actual numbers. Communism has killed about 110 million people. Instead, it was okay in his eyes because many of the people slaughtered were communists themselves: "For one thing, a large number of the people killed under Soviet communism weren't the kulaks everyone pretends to care about but themselves communists." I'm against the wholesale slaughter of millions of people whether they're devoted communists or capitalists, so I don't see this as somehow making it okay.
In China, the vast majority of the 70 million deaths were caused not by Communists shooting people in the back of the head but were rather due to communist policies, so Myerson feels that's okay, too. He writes that the deaths were cased by Mao's "'Great Leap Forward,' a disastrous combination of applied pseudoscience, stat-juking, and political persecution designed to transform China into an industrial superpower in the blink of an eye." I still chalk those deaths up to communism, because whether you die quickly from a bullet to the back of the head or from slow, painful starvation due to communist policies, it was the implementation of communism that caused your death. So those 70 million count.
It's hard to come up with a precise number of people killed by communism, but when you add up all the deaths in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, North Korea, Africa, Eastern Europe and Vietnam, you have between 100 and 110 million people killed.. There's no defense for that. There's no "kind and gentle" implementation of communism. When it's instituted, millions of people die. Mr. Myerson, let's just admit that communism is a bad idea. Capitalism isn't perfect, but it's far better than the mass human slaughter communism brings.
*I've linked the source, but in case that link ever goes dead, preserving the testimony of Larry Grathwohl, the man who infiltrated the Weather Underground for the FBI is a worthwhile endeavor:
"...[the leaders of the Weather Underground] felt that this counter-revolution could best be guarded against by creating and establishing re-education in the [American] Southwest, where we would take all of the people who needed to be re-educated into the new way of thinking and teach them how things were going to be.
I asked, “Well, what is going to happen to those people that we can’t re-educate, that are diehard capitalists?” And the reply was that they’d have to be eliminated. And when I pursued this further, they estimated that they’d have to eliminate 25 million people in these re-education centers. And when I say “eliminate,” I mean kill 25 million people."