November 9th is the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and even if news stations like CNN and ABC do not, other people worldwide will be celebrating this defeat of communism.
November 9th marked “the effective death of the Cold War,” Dr. Lee Edwards said at the Heritage Foundation Bloggers’ Briefing earlier this week. The Cold War was “a war which America participated in for forty-six years—it’s the reason why we fought in Korea, the reason we fought in Vietnam: fighting and opposing communism,” he explained, noting that most bloggers present were likely not old enough to remember the days of the Cold War.
“What is communism?” Dr. Edwards asked. “If you pick up Webster’s Dictionary, you’ll see that it is defined as a social system, and there’s no mention there of the gulag, or of tyrants like Lenin and Stalin and Mao… Communism is still with us,” he said.
Indeed, there are currently five communist countries: Cuba, China, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam. This means that over 1.4 billion people are living under communism today—over twenty percent of the total population of the world. Dr. Edwards explained that this is “not by their choice,” stating that “if [the people living under communism] were given a choice, it would be going in a different direction.”
Dr. Edwards argued that most Americans do not have a strong understanding of what communism was or is. To educate Americans, Dr. Edwards launched an online Global Museum on Communism in June. The online museum features country exhibits, a hall of heroes, a hall of infamy, and more, taking extra care to explain who Karl Marx is, his theories, and how they have impacted humanity.
Unfortunately, Marx has impacted humanity in a big way—to the tune of almost 100,000,000 civilian deaths. “Between eighty-five and one hundred million people died under communism,” Dr. Edwards said. “I’m not talking here about soldiers; I’m not talking about those who were fighting in wars—I’m talking about men, women, and children who died in forced famines, who died in purges, who died in the gulag archipelago because they resisted communism.”
We still face the problems of communism in America today; the philosophy that has killed a hundred million people has not truly been stopped. Even now, there are thirty million adult Americans “who come from ex-communist or communist countries,” Dr. Edwards noted. This is a huge number.
“It is not likely that you’re going to have communism as we knew it in the past come back, like Marxism and Leninism and all that,” Dr. Edwards said. “But there are some people who are using political power and using communist principles, and we need to keep watching to make sure that communism doesn’t come back… We should make sure that this doesn’t come around again.”