A spectre is haunting the minds of millennial youth – the spectre of communism. History’s greatest killer has been softened for the digital age with kitsch Twitter banners, “Sassy socialist” meme pages, and the infamous West Point cadet. We are seeing the beginning of the endgame of what F.A. Hayek predicted in his seminal work Intellectuals and Socialism; the prevalent ideal among the ruling class, socialism, has now so thoroughly wormed its way into legislation, education, and the media that the Overton window of what can be done to control the nature of man has shifted almost irredeemably left.
The horrors of Holodomor and Stalin’s Great Purge have been “justified” in the minds of young Communists and other “tankies” as a mere stepping stone in the great Marxist struggle of the 20th century to ensure that the Party remained ideologically pure and effective. Any other construing of their mass murders are simply “bourgeois propaganda”. While Holocaust deniers are (appropriately) lit aflame on social media for their ignorance, supporters of Mao’s disastrous Great Leap Forward enjoy comfortable writing careers at VICE.
Communism’s attraction has always been the appeal of a new, firm identity. For the avowed Communist, any horror, lie, theft, and espionage is morally forgivable in the long run so long as the workers finally seize what is properly theirs from their capitalist masters. A moral enlightenment occurs in the mind of a young Communist – they are now something greater than they were before their entrance into the party: A wholly new person with the answers for the world’s woes.
It is not hard to see that in a world where even our moral gray areas have confusing moral gray areas, that Communism offers a simple alternative and a new life. As Whittaker Chambers writes in Witness: “Marxism-Leninism offers and oversimplified explanation of the causes of [moral confusion]. The vigor of the project appeals to sheltered middle class intellectuals.”
The revival of Communism and its allies can be attributed to a lost generation seeking guidance. Millennials, especially American millennials, have spent their lives living under a government that has constantly been at war. In their disgust and dissent, these lost souls begin to see the appeal of Marx’s anti-imperialist tracts. In a changing economy rigged by crony capitalists, they misdiagnose the problem of growing and ineffective government subsidies as an entire market failure. Socialism, if not “full communism”, is the only solution. Coming out of an education system that has lost the value of in-depth study and critical thought, all of the world’s ills can be wholly attributed to the actions of a few bourgeois industrialists.
We should pity today’s young communists and socialists, as they are the unwitting pawns in a game that has been played for over 100 years. When they march with their Worker’s Party posters, we should meet them in the streets and engage them in dialog. Their flippant dismissal of the horrors of communism must be met with the same vigor that we meet Holocaust deniers.
Whittaker Chambers rightly believed that what is good and true will ultimately prevail in the long struggle of history. Now, we all must be a witness for the Godly and the good, or we will bear witness again to the loss of innocent lives under a new heyday of socialist and Communist rule. The Cold War may have ended with the dissipation of the USSR, but Marxism-Leninism is on the rise and only poised to grow stronger unless young people are clued in to the path that they are walking and where it ultimately leads.