Thursday, October 07, 2004

Revolutionary Chic

The reading this week, brothers and sisters, is from The Black Book of Communism by Stéphane Courtois and others. There you will find that, at a conservative estimate and not counting deaths in war, in the last century Communist régimes worldwide have killed 20 million people in the U.S.S.R., 65 million in China, two million each in North Korea and Cambodia and one million each in Vietnam and Eastern Europe. Add to that number 150,000 in Latin America and a million and a half or so in both Africa and Afghanistan and you get a total of about 100 million. That’s a one with eight zeroes after it. 100,000,000. People. Yet no matter how many millions were murdered in its name, no matter how disastrous in human as well as economic terms it has proven to be at every time and in every place it has come to power, Communism still has the power to capture the imagination, especially of the young and idealistic.

So begins James Bowman's review of The Motorcycle Diaries, a movie that lionizes the idealism of the murdering thug Che Guevara. That amounts to about 3 percent of the entire population of the world in 1960, and an obvioulsy much larger percentage of the nations that were actually afflicted with the revolutionary ethos. Compare that to the numbers from the Holocaust, approximately 6 million, and fascism ranks pretty low in comparison as a scourge to humanity. The comparison is a base one, but for the fact that for every victim of the holocaust, there are thousands today who rightly decry the evil of that time, but for every victim of communism, there seems to be a Robert Redford there to produce a movie that treats a communist thug as a hero. Good work, Robert - now tell me again how Bush is bringing about a fascist state - sounds like a considerably more safe alternative to the utopia Hollywood would have in store for us, and I got the whole history of the 20th century to back me on this.


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