I was invited recently to participate in a debate on this very topic. Ultimately I declined because I couldn’t make up my mind which is the more harmful of the two, and a waffling debater is a sad sight.
After some consideration, I’ve come to the conclusion that communism is undoubtedly a greater threat. It’s easy to make superficial comparisons based on numbers and say that communism has ultimately killed more individuals, or that fascism killed more individuals in a shorter period of time.
The operative phrase there is “a shorter period of time”. Fascism is more quickly recognized for the terror that it is. To someone without a firm grasp on economics, or in possession of a willingness to ignore history, communism can take root with its demons completely unnoticed. It can continue on committing its evils while the populace remains relatively sedate.
As C.S. Lewis said:
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
The proponents of communism are so despicable, so unrelenting in their evil they will unleash Marx’s recommended despotism upon landlords, bankers, and business owners without a second thought. They will do so with great passion and when they have a moment of self-doubt, their conscience will press them to go yet even further.
As the economy deteriorates, their lack of understanding concerning economic issues causes them to take only greater comfort in their attempts at alleviating economic woes. The more they see economic suffering arising from their schemes, the more they become devoted to the schemes that have deluded them into believing they’re fighting economic injustices.
Fascists had the opposite problem. Himmler once gave a speech to the SS where many of their members were having ethical protestations from their conscience. Himmler was addressing those who had a Jewish colleague, friend, family member, and this naturally carried with it the objection to the notion that Jewish people are evil, “but this particular one is a splendid Jew.”
Their ethics were condemning them, even among their anti-Semitic geopolitical enemies, who thought they were going too far. It’s easy to raise up an army against that which is clearly identified as hatred. But not the communists. Their evil doesn’t have limits. Their mob mentality cries out and demands lynchings and their conscience demands even more.
This raises another evil to communism – the mob. Where people with extremely weak justifications have their confidence boosted because they have friends who share their opinions. Irrational validation is the death of critical thought. The fact that so many university professors, journalists, empty-minded artists, and actors share these views gives unintelligent people comfort for their shared barbaric evils.
Communism is so much worse than fascism, especially in our climate, precisely because we know people that believe in this evil. The mob mentality urges otherwise good and rational people to adopt horribly evil and irrational policies.
Communism is undoubtedly the greater evil. It’s more seductive to the uneducated. It’s more seductive to the educated. It carries with it the promise of prosperity for the poor. It carries with it the promise of environmental protection. And even after a century of broken promises, famines, rivers of blood, total impoverishment, and environmental catastrophes, it’s still seducing people. Communism is by far the greater evil.
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