To college students in the US: Communism isn’t cool, it’s deadly

By William Wolfe |
Lenin mosaic
Soviet Artefacts/Unsplash

Over the last few decades, there has been a resurgence of interest in — and support for — communism among America’s younger generations.

In 2019, the Independent reported that “More than a third of millennials in the US now approve of communism, while the popularity of capitalism has plummeted since 2018, according to YouGov polling. The survey found just 57 percent of 23 to 38-year-olds believe the Declaration of Independence better ‘guarantees freedom and equality’ than the Communist Manifesto, with only 50 percent viewing capitalism favorably.”

How could this happen? How could the deadliest political ideology of the 20th century, and one of the deadliest political ideologies in human history, be garnering this much support from younger Americans?

Or, as Glenn Beck asked in 2010, “How did communism become cool?”

There’s no doubt that communism has been given a facelift over the last few decades. But behind the glamorized red mask is the same hammer and sickle — and mountains of skeletons.

In this article, I want to consider how communism became cool, remind readers of the truth about communism’s failures, and encourage college students to reject communism — because when you know the truth, you know it’s not cool, it’s deadly.

How Communism Became Cool

For much of the 20th century, communism was rightly recognized as the antithesis of American values. The Cold War pitted the capitalist and Christian West against the communist and atheistic East, and anti-communist sentiment was deeply ingrained in American society. However, with the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the direct opposition to communist ideology began to wane, particularly among those who did not live through the era.

Also to blame are the public education system and mainstream media for not adequately educating young people about the historical and moral failings of communism. A report by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation highlights a lack of understanding among young Americans about the atrocities committed under communist regimes. This lack of history contributes to the romanticized view of communism as a “fairer” system than capitalism.

Compounding their failure to teach the truth about communism, the American public education system and our institutions of higher education have instead brainwashed students into seeing all of life through a critical theory and cultural Marxist lens of the “oppressors” vs. the “oppressed.” This is drawn directly from Karl Marx’s teaching and is the philosophical basis of communism in all of its forms, both economic and ideological.

Other cultural and political influences have helped popularize this disastrous system. Icons like Che Guevara, with his revolutionary spirit and iconic image, have been romanticized and turned into fashionable symbols on T-shirts and posters. The Occupy Wall Street movement, which protested corporate greed and “income inequality,” also drew attention to the flaws of capitalist systems, leading some to seek alternatives like communism.

Moreover, political figures like Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, have gained popularity among young voters by advocating for progressive (i.e. communist) policies such as free healthcare and education. While Sanders’ platform may not be strictly communist, his socialist-leaning ideas have sparked conversations about wealth redistribution and social welfare programs, which are core tenets of communist ideology. Feel the Bern? You definitely will when the famine hits.

Finally, there is a direct link between communism and the growing radical “climate change” agenda, which has captured youth across the world. Climate alarmists have convinced the newest generations that the world is dying (it isn’t) or that it’s “overpopulated (it’s not), and the false perception that capitalism is responsible for these issues has driven many Millennials and Zoomers to consider communism as a viable alternative (it’s not).

To dispel the myth of communism as some utopian, hip, climate-friendly alternative to free-market capitalism, it’s critically important to distinguish between the idealized version of communism presented in popular culture and the harsh reality of its implementation in real life.

The Truth About Communism’s Death Toll

One of the most chilling aspects of communism is its staggering death toll. From the Soviet Union under Stalin to Mao Zedong’s China, communist regimes have been responsible for the deaths of millions of people through forced labor camps, political purges, and mass starvation. The oppressive nature of these regimes, which sought to control every aspect of society, led to widespread suffering and loss of life on an unprecedented scale.

Stalin’s Great Purge in the 1930s resulted in the deaths of an estimated 700,000 to 1.5 million people, including political opponents, intellectuals, and ordinary citizens deemed disloyal to the regime. The forced collectivization of agriculture in the Soviet Union under Stalin’s rule also led to the man-made famine known as the Holodomor, which claimed the lives of millions of Ukrainians.

Similarly, Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward in China, aimed at rapidly industrializing the country, resulted in a catastrophic famine that killed an estimated 15 to 45 million people between 1959 and 1961. The brutal tactics used by the Chinese Communist Party to maintain control and suppress dissent led to widespread human rights abuses and a climate of fear and distrust among the population. This eventually led to the Cultural Revolution, an effort by Mao to “purify the ranks” by manipulating indoctrinated students to inflict a red terror on the populace through struggle sessions, violence, chaos, and mass killings. As many as two million people died as a result, and society gained nothing but “grave disorder, damage, and retrogression.”

The death toll of communism extends beyond these infamous examples to include many other countries that have experienced the devastating consequences of communist rule. From Yugoslavia under Tito to Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge to North Korea’s oppressive regime, the legacy of communism is stained with bloodshed and tyranny. It is vital for college students, who are shaping their political beliefs and values, to be aware of these historical atrocities and reject any romanticized notions of communism.

Why Communism Should Be Rejected by College Kids

Do you like freedom? Affordable food? Good infrastructure? Do you like being alive? Then you should reject communism.

Do you want to be able to raise a family in freedom and prosperity? Own a home? Run a business? Then you should reject communism.

Do you want to be able to speak your mind freely, without fear of being sent to the Gulags?

Then reject communism.

As you embark on your academic and professional journey as a college student, you have a unique opportunity to critically engage with different ideologies and worldviews. While it’s good to explore diverse perspectives and challenge conventional wisdom (while never rejecting biblical truth), communism is not something to flirt with. Or seriously consider. Or celebrate with an edgy T-shirt.

Communism’s commitment to total state control, central planning, and atheistic philosophy are antithetical to the principles of Christianity, individual freedom, innovation, and personal responsibility — all things that are essential for a thriving society. By concentrating power in the hands of a select few, communism invariably stifles freedom of religion, creativity, entrepreneurship, and independent thought, leading to stagnation, economic hardship, purges, and death.

Furthermore, the utopian promises of communism, such as the elimination of social classes and the creation of a classless society, have proven to be unattainable in practice. Instead, communist regimes have perpetuated inequality, corruption, and oppression, creating a privileged ruling class that benefits at the expense of the general population.

As you sit in your university lecture halls, immersed in intellectual discourse, I urge you to consider the weight of the ideas that are being presented to you.

If you’re at a strong, conservative, Christian university, like Liberty, I’m confident that your professors won’t be glorifying communism. But some of your classmates might. And the world around you — TikTok, Instagram, the news media — definitely will.

They will try to sell you false gods and fake saviors, wrapped in the form of new ideas. And one of those ideas will be communism, a system that has been responsible for the suffering and death of millions.

Communism, in theory, promises equality and prosperity for all. In practice, however, it has consistently led to the opposite: oppression, poverty, and death. The history of communist regimes is riddled with stories of people who were stripped of their freedom, denied their basic rights, and even executed for daring to think differently.

Young minds, do not be seduced by the allure of communism’s promises. Instead, embrace the values of Christianity, a biblical worldview, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness. These ideas are what have made our society great.

The Berlin Wall fell for a reason. It would be foolish to consider trying to rebuild it — and all it represents — today.

Communism may promise equality, but it does so at the cost of faith and freedom. So do not let the siren song of utopian ideals lure you into a system that has caused so much pain and suffering — no matter how cool the confused world manages to make it look.

A 10-year veteran of the conservative political movement, William Wolfe served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon and a Director of Legislative Affairs at the Department of State in the Trump Administration. Prior to that, William worked for Heritage Action for America, and as a Congressional Staffer for three different Members of Congress. He has a B.A. in History from Covenant College, and a Masters of Divinity at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Combining his political experience and theological education, William plans to pursue a Ph.D. with a focus on Christian ethics and public theology, enter pastoral ministry, and engage at the intersection of faith and politics, cultural commentary, and Christian worldview issues.

Originally published by Standing for Freedom Center. Republished with permission.

The views expressed in this or any other opinion article do not necessarily reflect the views of Christian Daily International.