Victims of Communism Day
By Emily Skarbek
Yesterday Ilya Somin reminded readers of the Washington Post of his ongoing support for changing May 1st from a celebration of communists, socialists, and labor unions – to a holiday that commemorates the millions who have died because of communist government regimes. Bravo.
Watching from central London, hundreds filled the streets yesterday carrying flags with the hammer and sickle, pictures of Karl Marx, and prints of Che Guevara. Some wore the hats from the Mao Suit. Many chanted “ho, ho, Ho chi minh.” These people march in wilful defiance or plain ignorance of the 80 to 100 million dead at the implementation of communism.
If you ask them, they say that the ideas have not been implemented fully, correctly, or that the ideals are important for their own sake. Rubbish.
Peter Boettke has a wonderful saying that sticks with me on this point (he repeats it, I believe, in his discussion on Econtalk about the contributions of Ludwig von Mises): “Humanity did not fall short of the ideals of socialism; socialism fell short of the demands of humanity.”
In other words, collective ownership of property cannot live up to the demands of the human species in the extended order of exchange. It’s simply not fit for purpose — if by purpose you mean prosperity and social cooperation under the division of labor. It would be a milestone in social evolution if humanity would learn the appropriate lesson from the terrors and atrocities of past experiments in collectivism.