Thursday, August 05, 2004

Why Stalinism is more evil than Hitlerism

The official line among western intellectuals is that Naziism is uniquely evil and Stalinism is a distant runner up. I reject this line of thought. The usual reasons given are special pleading. That is that the Nazis targeted Jews whereas the Soviets merely targeted people. Or that the Soviets had lofty goals of equality whereas the Nazis were just plain racists. Of course the Soviets also targeted a number of groups for destruction which they defined in racialist terms. Some like the Chechens lost about a third of their population due to government repression in the 1940s. The Russian-Germans, Crimean Tatars and Meskhetian Turks all sufferred from various forms of official and unofficial discrimination until the very end of the Soviet Union. The Moscow Helsinki Group even compared this discrimination to apartheid in South Africa. I certainly don't buy the idea that somehow proclaiming progressive goals justifies evil means. In fact I think it makes it a lot worse. It is the very fact that the Soviets claimed to be acting in the name of laudable ideals and that tens of millions of otherwise bright people in Europe, the Americas and Australia went along with this crap and still do that makes Stalinism several magnitudes of order more evil than Naziism. Even today a lot of people don't think Stalin's murder of 15 million people was nearly as bad as Hitler's killing of 5 million Jews. Minimizers of Stalin's crimes still hold quite a bit of influence in US academia. Nobody would wear a shirt with a Swastika on it around London. But, I see lots of sickle and hammer shirts. This ability to maintain a positive PR spin decades after his death is an accomplishment of evil by Stalin that Hitler could never have dreamed of accomplishing. It also allows his evil to continue. Right now Putin is busy trying to finish Stalin's dream of physically eliminating the Chechen people. It would be quite absurd to imagine modern day Germany ever persecuting its growing Jewish population.

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