OPINION

George W. Bush, deadlier than Stalin?

Paul Kengor

According to a stunning new report by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, one-third of millennials (32 percent) “believe more people were killed under George W. Bush than under Joseph Stalin.”

And it isn’t just those silly millennials that many like to view as clueless. One in 4 Americans generally (26 percent) believe more people were killed under Bush than Stalin.

That sickening finding was just one by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, which has the noble objective of trying to correct America’s ignoble ignorance of the crimes of communism.

Among the basic facts that every American should know: At least 100 million people have died under communist governments. That ghastly number, tabulated two decades ago in “The Black Book of Communism,” the seminal work on the subject by Harvard University Press, is actually conservative.

For instance, the “Black Book” recorded merely 20 million dead in the Soviet Union. Alexander Yakovlev, one of Mikhail Gorbachev’s top aides, was given the official task of trying to quantify the victims. In a 2002 book, “A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia,” Yakovlev estimated that Stalin alone “annihilated ... sixty to seventy million people” — figures consistent with those estimated by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, among others.

Similar levels of bloodshed were wrought by China’s Mao Tse-tung, who was responsible for the deaths of 65 million, according to the “Black Book,” and possibly more than 70 million, according to more recent biographical studies. And then there were the killing fields of North Korea, Cambodia, Cuba, Ethiopia, Eastern Europe, Africa, and more.

The death generated by communist governments over the last 100 years is likely closer to 140 million.

For a sense of proportion, Hitler’s mad genocide against Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, the mentally disabled, the elderly, the handicapped, and others he deemed “misfits,” was about 10 million (six million of them Jews). The combined dead from World Wars I and II — the most destructive conflicts in human history — was 50 to 60 million. Communism’s body count surpasses both world wars combined and probably doubled.

Death tallies aside, not only do Americans not see Stalin for the killer he was, but as the Foundation found, their views on communism are not terribly negative.

Just 37 percent of millennials had a “very unfavorable” view of communism. One quarter (25 percent) of millennials have a “favorable” view of Vladimir Lenin, namesake of Marxism-Leninism, the vicious architect and godfather of the Bolshevik totalitarian state. And 42 percent of millennials are flatly “unfamiliar” with Mao Tse-tung.

This is not a failure to teach history; it is a failure to teach communist and socialist history. We haven’t neglected to teach that Nazism was evil, that Hitler was a mass-murderer, that fascism is bad. We long ago failed when it came to communism, Marxism-Leninism, Bolshevism, the USSR, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Che, Pol Pot, North Korea’s crazy Kims, and on and on.

That failure is often the result of ideological biases, especially among leftist teachers and professors. Progressives seem to do a bang-up job with Hitler’s crimes, but not Stalin’s. And the result is seen in this study.

More death under George W. Bush than Joseph Stalin? Good grief, comrade.

Dr. Paul Kengor, author of “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century,” is professor of political science and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.