Yesterday we posted about Yeonmi Park, who escaped from Stalinist North Korea only to find the same kind of propaganda, indoctrination, and censorship at an American university.
Really, though, this should not be surprising. Leftist radicals just do not believe in freedom or human rights of any kind. They also believe in advancing their cause by means of mass propaganda, indoctrinating young people in schools, and forcing dissidents into re-education camps.
This is true EVERYWHERE leftist radicals have ruled–The Soviet Union and its empire in eastern Europe; Cuba; the People’s Republic of China; North Korea. And, here today in the United States, leftist radicals rule academia, the educational establishment, and woke corporations.
I am not referring to “liberals,” as in the political liberals in the F.D.R. tradition. They generally do believe in civil liberties. I’m referring to leftist radicals in the tradition of Marxism, including post-Marxists (who substitute race, gender, and other groups for Marx’s economic classes), and the “Socialist Market Economy” of Chinese Communism and, by extension, American corporations committed to leftwing causes.
Leftwing radicals, in fact, denounce traditional American liberals, whom they associate with “liberal democracy” and “liberal”–that is, free market–economics. Both American conservatives and American liberals have historically held to those principles and both opposed Communism during the Cold War.
For those in the Marxist tradition, though, the very concept of individual rights and individual liberties is “bourgeois.” It is a function of the middle class, which prizes individualism, democracy, and freedom. These notions are middle class values, which make possible capitalism and thus, the oppression–for Marx–of the working class. Interestingly today’s post-Marxists are speaking in the same terms, renaming such “bourgeois” values (including also things like rationality, being on time, etc.) as “white” values.
In contrast, the Marxist and post-Marxist values are collectivism and group solidarity. People should surrender their individual identity to class consciousness (Marxism) or racial, sexual, or gender identity (post-Marxism). Freedom belongs, at best, to groups, not individuals. Civil liberties pertain to groups, not individuals. And in a fully-realized political order, they are only what is granted by the collective for the good of the whole, not something an individual can appeal to over against group conformity.
Opposition to individualism in favor of collectivism and the rejection of civil liberties, such as freedom of speech, are just part of the ideology. Again, this is not a bug, but a feature.
Leftwing intellectuals can make a case for this. They don’t particularly hide it.
Campus liberals as well as conservatives who invoke such time-h0nored values as “academic freedom” and “freedom of speech” to post-Marxist administrators will not get anywhere. They should look at the universities of the Soviet Union, which managed to turn out some good scientific research, while enforcing ideological conformity. (Though many professors, scientists, and students privately dissented, as they do today, keeping silent to preserve their careers, as in Yeonmi Park’s North Korea.)
Fortunately, Americans still enjoy significant civil liberties as assured by our legal system under our Constitution and Bill of Rights. And not all of American institutions are under the rule of Marxists or post-Marxists.
Still, Cold War survivor that I am, I can’t help but think of Nkita Krushchev’s speech in which he claimed that, because history is on the side of Communism, “We will bury you!” We thought that capitalism and liberal democracies won with the collapse of the Soviet Union. But now I wonder. Maybe it’s America’s turn to collapse. Maybe Kruschchev’s side will bury us.
Photo: Cuba-Russia friendship poster showing Fidel Casto and Nikita Krushchev, stating “Long live the eternal, indestructible friendship and cooperation between the Soviet and Cuban peoples”by Keizers, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons