(by Dennis Prager, NationalReview.com) – The major difference between Hitler and the Communist genocidal murderers, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot, was what groups they chose for extermination.
For Hitler, first Jews and ultimately Slavs and other “non-Aryans” were declared the enemy and unworthy of life.
For the Communists, the rich — the bourgeoisie, land owners, and capitalists — were labeled the enemy and regarded as unworthy of life.
Hitler mass-murdered on the basis of race. The Communists on the basis of class.
Because the Holocaust was unique in its industrialization of death and in its targeting of every Jew, including babies, for death, the post–World War II world has been rightly obsessed with eradicating racism (but not anti-Semitism!), i.e., the hatred of another solely because of race.
But the world has not been obsessed with eradicating the other source of genocide: classism, hatred of others for reason of class.
The reason for this embrace is that class hatred is…fundamental to the Left…, and the Left dominates the media and education.
This is dangerous because there is an ideological continuum from the democratic Left to the Communist Left. Making the “rich” scapegoats for society’s ills unites the Left. The democratic Left believes in democracy, and, before the 1970s, some of its adherents were fierce anti-Communists. But while the decent and the indecent Left differ on democracy-versus-tyranny, and on nonviolence-versus-violence, the nicest Leftists in the world agree with the indecent Left about who the enemy is.
Being on the left means that you divide the world between rich and poor much more than you divide it between good and evil. For the leftist, the existence of rich and poor — inequality — is what constitutes evil. More than tyranny, inequality disturbs the Left, including the non-Communist Left. That is why so many on the Left fell in love with [communist/socialist leaders] Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez, and, at other times, with every left-wing dictator. Non-leftists see these men as thugs; much of the Left sees them as fighters for equality. Yes, leftist dictators extinguish freedom and steal land and businesses from the rich — but none of this disturbs most of the Left. Left-wing dictators are seen by the Left as kindred spirits in hating inequality. In 2009, nine left-wing Democratic congressmen, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, visited Fidel Castro in Cuba and came back awestruck by the dictator. They even refused to meet with one of Cuba’s leading pro-democracy dissidents, Jorge Luis Garcia Pérez, an African Cuban.
Non-leftists who cherish the American value of liberty over the left-wing value of socioeconomic equality, and those who adhere to Judeo-Christian values, do not regard the existence of economic classes as inherently morally problematic. If the poor are treated equally before the law, are given the chance and the liberty to raise their socioeconomic status, and have their basic material needs met, the gap between rich and poor is not a major moral problem. Of course, if the rich got rich through deceitful or violent means, they must be prosecuted. But in America, where the way in which “poor” is defined renders most poor Americans materially equivalent to much of Europe’s middle class, and where the rich by and large acquired their wealth legally, through hard work and entrepreneurial enterprise, the existence of rich and poor is not a problem that demands governmental action.
So, when I see the mostly young people of Occupy Wall Street — a mixture of the bored, the nihilistic, the seekers of excitement, left-wing true believers, confused idealists, and those hoping to engage in violence — railing against the rich capitalists on Wall Street, I get worried. Because the hatred they express toward the rich is similar to that expressed against the rich by Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot. Of course these people are not comparable to those killers. But class hatred must lead to bad things. That is why President Obama is playing with fire with his attacks on the rich.
— Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and a columnist. He may be contacted through his website, dennisprager.com.
Originally published October 18, 2011. Reprinted here on October 20, 2011, for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from National Review. Visit the website at NationalReview.com.
1. a) What political ideology did Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot follow?
b) For what actions were Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot infamous?
c) Which country did each dictator control?
d) What was Hitler’s reason for murdering a specific group of people, compared to Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot’s reason in general?
(scroll down to the bottom of the page for answers to question #1)
2. What is the main idea of Dennis Prager’s article?
3. At the end of his commentary, Mr. Prager states: “But class hatred must lead to bad things. That is why President Obama is playing with fire with his attacks on the rich.” Do you think Mr. Prager’s commentary supports this assertion? Explain your answer.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.
John Stossel says in his commentary about the Occupy Wall Street Protesters,
“Wall Street Protesters Half Right“:
“The protesters are also upset about income disparity. Here again we should make distinctions. To the extent the country’s income disparity is the result of crony capitalism, it’s bad.
Yet even if America had a true free market, there would be income disparity. It’s a byproduct of freedom. Some people are just more ambitious, more energetic and more driven, and some have that ineffable knack of sensing what consumers want. Think Steve Jobs.
But it shouldn’t matter if the income gap between you and rich people grows. What should matter is that your living standard improves.
Your living standard many not have improved lately. Over the past decade, median income fell. But that’s an aberration largely caused by the bursting of the real estate bubble. Despite Wall Street protesters’ complaints about rich people gaining at the expense of the poor, the poorest fifth of Americans are 20 percent wealthier than they were when I was in college, and despite the recession, still richer than they were in 1993.
And income statistics don’t tell the whole story. Thanks to the innovations of entrepreneurs, today in America, even poor people have clean water, TV sets, cars and flush toilets. Most live better than kings once lived – better even than the middle class lived in 1970.”
Watch former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher explaining what a socialist (liberal) wants. She says they would accept the poorer were poorer if it meant more equality.
1. a) communism
b) the mass murder of an entire group of his own citizens
c) Stalin – USSR; Soviet Union
Mao – China
Pol Pot – Cambodia
d) Hitler murdered people based on race; Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot generally murdered people based on class.