The Human Cost of Socialism in Power

Sep 8, 2015

The attempt to establish a comprehensive socialist system in many parts of the world over the last one hundred years has been one of the cruelest and most brutal episodes in human history.

Some historians have estimated that as many as 200 million people may have died as part of the dream of creating a collectivist "Paradise on Earth." Making a better "new world" was taken to mean the extermination, the liquidation, the mass murder of all those that the socialist revolutionary leaders declared to be "class enemies," including the families, the children of "enemies of the people."

The Bloody Road to Making a New Socialist Man

We will soon be marking the hundredth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia (November 1917) under the Marxist revolutionary leader, Vladimir Lenin. In Soviet Russia, alone, it has been calculated by Russian and Western historians who had limited access to the secret archives of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the KGB (the Soviet secret police) in the 1990s, that around 68 million innocent, unarmed men, women and children were killed over the nearly 75 years of communist rule in the Soviet Union.

The communist revolutionaries in Russia proudly declared their goal to be destruction and death to everything that existed before the revolution, so as to have a clean slate upon which to mold the new socialist man.

The evil of the Soviet system is that it was not cruelty for cruelty's sake. Rather it was cruelty for a purpose – to make a new Soviet man and a new Soviet society. This required the destruction of everything that had gone before; and it also entailed the forced creation of a new civilization, as conjured up in the minds of those who had appointed themselves the creators of this brave new world.

In the minds of those like Felix Dzerzhinsky, Lenin's close associate and founder of the Soviet secret police, violence was an act of love. So much did they love the vision of a blissful communist future to come that they were willing to sacrifice all of the traditional conceptions of humanity and morality to bring the utopia to fruition.

Thus, in a publication issued in 1919 by the newly formed Soviet secret police, the Cheka (later the NKVD and then the KGB), it was proclaimed:

"We reject the old systems of morality and 'humanity' invented by the bourgeoisie to oppress and exploit the 'lower classes.' Our morality has no precedent, and our humanity is absolute because it rests on a new ideal. Our aim is to destroy all forms of oppression and violence. To so, everything is permitted, for we are the first to raise the sword not to oppress races and reduce them to slavery, but to liberate humanity from its shackles . . .

"Blood? Let blood flow like water! Let bloodstain forever the black pirate's flag flown by the bourgeoisie, and let our flag be blood-red forever! For only through the death of the old world can we liberate ourselves from the return of those jackals."

Wiping out Class Enemies

Death and Torture as Tools of Winning Socialism

The famous sociologist, Pitirim A. Sorokin was a young professor in Petrograd (later Leningrad, and now St Petersburg) in 1920 as the Russian Civil War that firmly established communist rule in Russia was coming to its end. He kept an account of daily life during those years, which he published many years later under the title, Leaves from a Russian Diary – and Thirty Years After (1950).

Here is one of his entries from 1920:

"The machine of the Red Terror works incessantly. Every day and every night, in Petrograd, Moscow, and all over the country the mountain of the dead grows higher . . . Everywhere people are shot, mutilated, wiped out of existence . . .

"Every night we hear the rattle of trucks bearing new victims. Every night we hear the rifle fire of executions, and often some of us hear from the ditches, where the bodies are flung, faint groans and cries of those who did not die at once under the guns. People living near these places begin to move away. They cannot sleep . . .

"Getting up in the morning, no man or woman knows whether he will be free that night. Leaving one's home, one never knows whether he will return. Sometime a neighborhood is surrounded and everyone caught out of his house without a certificate is arrested . . . Life these days depends entirely on luck."

This murderous madness never ended. In the 1930s, during the time of the Great Purges instituted by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin to wipe out all "enemies of the revolution" through mass executions, there were also sent millions to the GULAG prisons that stretched across all of the Soviet Union to be worked to death as slave labor to "build socialism."

Before being sent to their death or to the forced labor camps, tens of thousands would be interrogated and cruelly tortured to get confessions out of people about non-existent crimes, imaginary anti-Soviet conspiracies, and false accusations against others.

Stalin personally sent instructions to the Soviet secret police that stated that in obtaining confessions from the accused, "the NKVD was given permission by the Central Committee [of the Communist Party] to use physical influence … as a completely correct and expedient method" of interrogation.

When Stalin was told that this method was bringing forth the desired results, he told the NKVD interrogators, "Give them the works until they come crawling to you on their bellies with confessions in their teeth." Then, in another purge, this one after World War II, Stalin simplified the instructions even more: "Beat, beat and, once again, beat."

Thousands of the victims wrote letters to Stalin from their exile and hardships in the labor camps, all of them persuaded that it had all been a terrible mistake. If only Comrade Stalin knew, he would set it all right and they would be freed and restored as good, loyal Soviet citizens ready to once again work to "build socialism."

Read the full story at epictimes.com.

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Richard Ebeling

Dr. Richard Ebeling is currently the BB&T Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Free Enterprise Leadership at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. He is the author of several best-selling books on politics, finance and government, and received the “Franz Cuhel Award for Excellence in Free Market Education”, as well as the “Liberty in Theory: Lifetime Award” for contributions advancing the case for classical Liberalism.

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