As professor of European History at Colorado Christian University, I regularly teach courses on Communism. Last week my students turned in their book reports on History of the Russian Revolution by Harvard professor Richard Pipes. While grading their papers, I noticed that my students drew many comparisons between Lenin and Obama.
The Bolshevik government:
1) was run by intellectuals who didn’t understand economics, despised capitalism, never knew how to run a business, never had any money, and had never earned money.
2) stirred up the masses promising hope and change; specifically “Peace, Land, and Bread”, but all the people got was violence, confiscation of their land for collective farms, and starvation.
3) took over private enterprises by the state, especially “the commanding heights”, the major industries like banking and heavy industry, and those most influential like media and education.
4) massively expanded the money supply to inflate the currency and destroy personal wealth; in the process they destroyed the economy, caused massive unemployment, shortages, and poverty.
5) redistributed wealth in the name of social justice, actually it was confiscated from the productive (forcibly taking grain from peasants, who then starved), resulting in less productivity the next year.
6) in the name of the working class took away the secret ballot from union members, forced labor on the entire populace, paid them in worthless paper money with nothing in the stores to buy. A common saying in Soviet controlled areas was “we pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us.”
7) Government failures were blamed on the previous administration, the war, and political enemies, but never on their bankrupt political philosophy, economic stupidity, or inept administration.
As I read my students; papers, I was reminded of the old maxim, that “those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
Watson worked with Army Intel in Cold War Berlin specializing in Eastern Europe, has graduate degrees in European history from the University of California, and recently taught Free Markets and the values of Western Civilization in a former Soviet republic as a Fulbright scholar. He is now a professor at CCU and a fellow of the Centennial Institute.