Op-Ed By Meghan Peterson, Ph.D.
The views stated here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the staff or other editors of this newspaper.
(August 25, 2020) — This has been a whirlwind summer in our nation and state. Health pandemic and political pandemonium have reigned. Homicides and violence in general have skyrocketed in cities. It has also become a season of speech censorship – one in which the Covid-19 mask may symbolize the political muzzle.
In Minneapolis, MN, ground zero for protests and riots in the wake of George Floyd’s death, police are simultaneously dealing with fewer officers on the ground (down at least one hundred or about 10% of the force) and a surge in violence. According to an Aug. 3 Daily Mail report, “75 officers have taken medical leave for post-traumatic stress disorder in the wake of the riots.”
In Seattle, WA, where the CHAZ/CHOP experiment debuted (it failed after three weeks, with the mayor ordering police to disband it after nighttime violence spiked), Department of Homeland Security sent federal agents there as a precautionary step to quell the violent rioting impacting local businesses, property, and lives.
In Portland, OR, protests have raged for more than 80 days, sometimes inflected with violence and assaults on law enforcement as well as on civilians.
Closer to home, WFSB reports that the New Haven, Conn. police department recently launched an aggressive recruitment effort to attract new officers during a time when law enforcement is hated, targeted, and attacked.
On another front, we have heard about college professors, such as Iowa State University Professor Chloe Clark, warn students of expulsion if they express pro-life views or positions that counter the Black Lives Matter narrative in their class assignments.
Law and order appear on the precipice. Free speech is faltering.
How did we arrive at this moment? I turn to my millennial peers for answers.
70% of millennial respondents to a 2019 YouGov survey said they are likely to vote along socialist lines. 36% of those respondents also said they approve of communism.
Does my generation understand what communism and socialism are? Or do they think these political ideas entail a woke (read: progressive, cutting-edge) re-structuring of society in which everyone is equalized and by extension, humanity’s differences and variations are neutralized? Do they know that communism always seems to be a panacea on the surface, but is something that can and does kill in the end?
What does communism have to do – if anything – with attacks on law enforcement, violent rioting, and the demise of free speech? I argue: everything. In order to make that case, we need to know a) what communism is; b) what it does. Let us turn to Karl Marx, the father of communism, for insight. Marxist communism centers on some of these core principles (the Communist Manifesto delineates 10, but there is space for just a few here):
- Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes
- heavy progressive or graduated income tax
- confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels (Marx means political rebels – i.e., those who does not comply with the communist agenda)
- centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State
- gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country
We now have an idea of what communism is. What does communism do? It kills. Millennials typically demand data – which is not a bad thing. Here are some facts.
Mao Tse-tung, founder of the Chinese People Republic, is estimated to have killed 70 million under his regime. Stalin’s regime was responsible for 40 million dead. Pol Pot’s Cambodia saw about 1.3-3 million dead in under 5 years. During Ethiopia’s communist regime under Mengistu, 1.5 million died as a result both of genocide and drought-induced famine.
In total, communist regimes murdered 100 million people in the last century. 100 million people are dead – human casualties of a political ideology rooted in complete and total abuse of power.
In Connecticut’s Aug. 11 primary, a WTNH report shows that socialist candidate Bernie Sanders garnered 11.6% of the state’s registered Democratic votes. Joe Biden won 84.7% of the share. Don’t these numbers indicate support for a more mainline Democratic candidate, rather than the Leftist, socialist-communist one? Not so fast. Consider that under a Democratic presidential administration, the State would occupy center stage with proposed federal take-overs of housing, health care, education, criminal justice, and transportation infrastructure, as outlined in an Aug. 19 New York Times piece. It is possible that the mainstream Democratic presidential candidate has become more socialist-communist over time. It is also possible that the Democratic Party is trending more Left. In either case, the outcome is the same.
When a generation finds destruction and abolition of private property; totalizing power of the State; and other items of a communist platform appealing, it is no stretch to see the logical endpoint materialize in the form of lawlessness on the one hand and erasure of constitutional rights to private property and individual speech on the other.
To my millennial friends both in the Nutmeg state and beyond, it is your decision: freedom and liberty or chaos and communism.
Perhaps the autumn season will end this summer of hatred and violence. Perhaps it will also bring an end to the seedlings of communism that attempted to get their start in the soil of anti-freedom.
 Marx, Karl. The Communist Manifesto in The Marx-Engels Reader, 2nd ed., p. 490.