There was a brief flurry of excitement among conservatives last summer as a new opinion poll came out with this stunning news: Fifty-five percent of likely voters thought President Obama could best be described as a socialist. For conservatives, for older voters who remember the Evil Empire and Americas 45-year Cold War with the old USSR, it seemed that that would be all Americans would have to know: Socialism is bad. Socialism was a colossal failure. Socialism was the watered-down version of Marxist-Leninism, that poisonous old hammer-and-sickle snake oil.

That early summer poll was viewed as all the more important because it was done by the Democracy Corpsa reliably left-wing outfit run by former Clinton White House hands, James Carville and Stan Greenberg. Nobody could say this was a questionable poll done by Human Events or National Review. This poll was done by and for liberals.

Some conservative blogs pounced. The one-word description of the poll results for liberals was: DOOM. Our friends could hardly contain their glee.

Not so fast. How many Americans who have come of age in the 21 years since the Fall of the Berlin Wall really know the record of Socialism? Did we expect them to learn it in their public high schools? Check out the social studies textbooks. The late Howard Zinns Peoples History of the United States has been a required text in hundreds of advanced placement history courses at the high school and college levels. Zinn was a proud Marxist whose analysis of our past was arguably even more anti-American than that of old Joe Stalin. (Zinn blamed the U.S. for forcing Japan to attack us at Pearl Harbor; Soviet dictator Stalin welcomed the U.S. entry into World War II and agreed at Yalta to go to war against Japan.)

Consider last weekends big labor union rally on the National Mall. It was big for organized labor, but it was a pale shadow of Glenn Becks August rally to Restore Honor. Nonetheless, what was notable about the labor rally was the openness with which thousands of young Americans proclaimed their allegiance to Communist and Socialist causes.

Watch this video, helpfully provided for us by Americans for Prosperity (AFP). The background music was added by AFP, the now-almost-forgotten Stalinist anthem of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Think of that name when you see these naive young Americans appearing in broad daylight on our National Mall, advocating for a socialist America:

Marxism enjoys a continuing prestige in the red-bannered halls of academe. It might even be argued that Marxism got a new lease on life with the collapse of the old Soviet Union.

No longer do campus reds have to defend that empire built on bones. They dont have to make excuses for a political system that walled its people in, that shot workers as they tried to escape the Workers Paradise. Moscows Communist rulers deliberately starved millions through state-sparked famines, sent millions more to die in the Gulag, suppressed all civil liberties over 1/7 of the globe, and consigned dissidents to mental hospitals, where they were drugged into silence.

One hundred million people were killed by world Communism in the 20th Century. These are not wild charges hurled by right-wing zealots. They are the sober, carefully discounted figures produced by Stephane Courtois and a group of French leftists. Their 912-page compendium is titled The Black Book of Communism.

Courtois and company are careful to analyze the numbers of victims widely reported in the West. The very numbers of victims of Communism defy comprehension. These unimaginable numbers have a numbing effect. Dictator Stalin acknowledged shrewdly: A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.

I would like to share this passage from the Black Book with some of those young Marxists-on-the-Mall:

What moved us most [said a former Cambodian government official who miraculously survived] was the fate of twenty young children, most of whom belonged to people who had been evacuated after 17 April 1975. These children stole because they were too hungry. They had been arrested not so that they could be punished, but so that they could be put to death in an extremely savage manner:

  • Prison guards hit them or kicked them to death.
  • They made living toys of them, tying up their feet, hanging them from the roof, swinging them, then steadying them with kicks.
  • Near the prison there was a pond; the executioners threw the children into it and held them down by their feet, and when they started to thrash about they would let their heads up, and then start the process all over again.

We, the other prisoners, cried in secret about the fate of these children, who were leaving this world in such an atrocious manner.

Earlier that year, in March, 1975, Congressman Don Fraser (D-Minn.) chaired a House Committee hearing. Do you want Cambodia to fall [to the Communists?] an official of the Ford administration asked. Yes, said the liberal Fraser, under controlled circumstances to minimize the loss of life.

If you watched network TV coverage of last Saturdays rally, you would have seen none of the red banners, the Communist and Socialist broadsides and literature. Can you imagine what the reaction of the media would have been if theyd been able to find even one banner from the Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan at Glenn Becks rally?

Those of us who lived through the Cold War have a duty to bear witness to the young. We have a holy obligation to warn them not to go down that bloody path again. There is nothing any young American should admire or seek to emulate in the bloody record of Communism.