The most important battle in the second half of the 20th century was the West’s ideological war against Communist totalitarianism.
While Hitler and fascism have rightly earned its place among the most evil ideologies of the past century, Communist inspired regimes – The Soviet Union, Cambodia, China and many others – were actually responsible for a greater total number of civilians killed in order to advance its political aims.
As I’ve noted previously, Communism’s death count approaches 100 million – a staggering 45-72 million (depending on various historical accounts) of which are attributed to China under the leadership of Mao Zedong – which include various political purges of undesirable classes, mass starvation due to his “Great Leap Forward”, and the millions killed in his labor camps. Mao, like Stalin, can reasonably be compared to Hitler in terms of his record of mass murder.
Yet, strolling back to the Guardian’s obituary upon Mao’s death in 1976, you find this:
The “Great Helmsman”, as the Guardian put it, was characterized in the story as follows:
“Mao has left his mark on China. He shattered traditional restraints and urged Chinese to stand up and struggle for Socialism.”
It further referred to Mao’s “cultural revolution” without even hinting at the tens of millions killed along the way to the “Helmsman’s” Communist Utopia.
Then there was this:
“Mao was a complex man behind simple slogans. He led China on a difficult but successful path, particularly in the latest years of Cultural Revolution. He has commanded admiration more than love. Respect as much as affection.”
“Mao’s general line of economic development with its emphasis on agriculture as the base for industrialization is widely accepted despite arguments over ways and means.”
The article concluded:
“‘So many deeds cry out to be done….‘ Mao wrote in his most famous poem, ‘Ten Thousands Years are too long. Seize the day, Seize the hour!‘ Much of the strength of the China which Mao has left behind lies in this confident assertion for the future.”
In contextualizing the Guardian’s continuing assault on Israel’s legitimacy, and its propensity to tolerate and often advance anti-Semitic narratives, it’s necessary, in addition to monitoring such commentary each day, to see their polemics as part of a broader ideological orientation.
The Cold War was the moral test of a generation and it is important to note that, just as many today posit a false moral equivalence between radical Islam and the West and, closer to home, Hamas and Israel, there were those during the post WWII years – till the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 – who, often only implicitly, but sometimes more explicitly, advanced a similar equivalence between Communism and the West – a dangerous intellectual tick by some on the left which Jean Kirkpatrick so adeptly characterized in her landmark essay, “Dictatorships and Double Standards.“
Richard Landes summarized Kirkpatrick’s principle, as:
“Refusing to accept a wild moral equivalence between the misdeeds of civil [democratic] societies committed, however imperfectly, to defending human rights, with the behavior of totalitarian regimes.”
It is the Guardian’s stunning failure at this urgent moral requirement which lies at the root of their antipathy towards the Jewish state, and their failure to condemn, without qualifications, terrorist movements which seek her destruction. This dynamic at the Guardian may not have started with the their 1976 hagiography of the Chinese mass murderer, but the obituary does allow us to gleam some insights into the trajectory of their stunning moral decline.