The Iron Lady, the Teflon President and the Resurgence of Communism

Thinking about the death today of the Iron Lady, I am left to wonder if Lady Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were the best thing that ever happened to communism.

Before you think I have lost my Mississippi cotton-pickin’ mind, let me explain.

I was born in January of 1959 and one of my first memories is of the riderless horse (with the reversed boots in the stirrups) of President John F. Kennedy’s funeral cortege. My aunt was looking after me because my mom was at work and I can remember that black and white TV picture as clear as day.

I remember the news reports of people trying to escape East Berlin and being shotor accidentally killing themselves while risking all in the attempt to escape the repression of communist East Germany. I remember the Warsaw Pact and images of Soviet tanks rolling into Czechoslovakia in 1968 and the war footing that the US assumed.

That is simply an acknowledgment that I entered elementary school in the shadows of the assassination of a president and the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. I remember the Civil Defense films (there were no videos) and the drills at my schools. I remember getting drilled to remember where the civil defense shelters were in the public buildings in my little town of New Albany, Mississippi.

That one was from 1951 but here is a much longer one from 1969

We were aware of the danger of totalitarian regimes – and those regimes had one unifying factor.

Communism.

It was not the benevolent, munificent communism sold to young skulls filled with mush by today’s fellow travelers and useful idiots (many won’t even understand those terms without clicking on the links), it was a brutal, oppressive communism that destroyed people and families, enslaving and killing hundreds of millions.

The communism of my formative years (and what I believe is the real communism) was antithetical to liberty and freedom and it was practiced by men intent on subjugating populations of entire nations to their will. This leads to those of us who retain memories of those violent and fearful times to conclude that, while it is possible that communism isn’t evil, it provides the perfect delivery system of one party rule that allows narcissistic, self-deluded men to make oppression and evil the new normal.

The end of USSR marked the silencing of the engine of tyrannical global communism. When the Berlin Wall fell via the efforts led by Lady Thatcher and President Reagan, the funding of the satellite communist states in the Warsaw Pact ended – and it wasn’t long before the little tin-pot puppet dictators in these countries started to lose their hold on the people. Without aid from Mother Russia, the evidence was eminently clear that global communism was neither productive nor self-sustaining…and they fell.

Communism was defeated so soundly that it completely disappeared…for a time.

The generations who grew up recognizing communism as the evil it personifies heaved a great sigh of relief, consigned it to the dustbin of history and switched on the telly to watch Survivor, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Jersey Shore and American Idol.

We adopted the Timothy Leary philosophy – we turned on, tuned in and dropped out.

And therein lays our terrible mistake and why Reagan and Thatcher were the best things to happen to communism.

They took communism’s evil out of the news and off the front page and we summarily forgot about it.

But radical communists like Howard Zinn, Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn and Kathy Boudin did not.

They used our lack of vigilance to teach our children that America was imperialist, filled with racists and intent on perpetual hegemony.

Reagan’s historic “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” speech that started the end of global communism was in 1987, the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the USSR collapsed in 1991. Using my level of awareness at three years-old as a benchmark, that would mean that the roughly 40% of Americans born since 1984 (age 30 or under) have no personal knowledge of any of these seminal events and have learned of communism, the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact from history books – many of which were written by modern communist radicals (now called “progressives”).

What was once universally known as evil is now the default setting for many of our uninformed, ignorant and mis-educated citizens.

Manuel Martinez said it so eloquently (via Real Clear Politics):

You people don’t know what freedom is because you never lost it. You haven’t been tortured. You haven’t seen assassinations; you haven’t seen mothers begging for the life of their son not to be killed because the only reason is they wanted to be free.

Evil, tyranny, oppression and their chosen delivery system, communism, never sleep – they never rest –and neither should we.

As John Philpot Curran said (often misattributed to Thomas Jefferson):

“It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.”

10 thoughts on “The Iron Lady, the Teflon President and the Resurgence of Communism

  1. “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
    –George Orwell

    If you understand Utah’s post, then you should understand Orwell was explaining how it happens.

  2. Every citizens of a former communist nation that I have ever met would agree with you 100%. I’ve known several and they all agree that communism was a horrible system that tyrannized people while creating an upper class that lived so much more lavishly than even Bill Gates would dare to live. Gates at least funds charities with his pocket change. These men (mostly men) thought nothing of reaching out and touching their citizens in ways none of us would tolerate — killing, raping, imprisoning.

    What I’ve noticed in talking with my 20-year-old daughter’s friends is that they think perhaps it might be different this time — that the other regimes were just growing pains or corrupted by “capitalists”. I’m not kidding.

    Many of them just can’t accept that the inevitable result of communism is the devaluing of the individual. They see it as a “fair” economic system that is compatible with democracy, even individual liberty. My daughter does understand there’s a difference, but she also says we’re not convincing her generation by yelling at them. She’s met some of those same former communist citizens and she “gets” it mostly, but she’s right. The kids will have to learn it for themselves because that’s how kids are.

    I remind myself often of Churchill’s admonition “The man who is not a liberal when he is 18 has no heart; if that same man is not a conservative by 30, he has no brain.”

    Admittedly, some of these kids are so dumbed down by education that they may be beyond deprogramming, but the fact that many of that age group were intrigued by Ron Paul gives me some slight degree of hope.

    • You are, of course, spot on. Our poor ignorant friend, Zalo will disagree but he is exactly the kind of useful idiot that Lenin counted on.

      I, too, have many friends from the former Eastern Bloc countries. A good friend lived in Poland under communist rule – the stories he relates are terrifying.

      • Two friends who moved to America from Poland …. took me to the Gun shop for the first time 20 years ago and insisted that I buy a gun along with them. They were excercising their NEW rights as Naturalized Citizens … and insisted I should as well.

        They started schooling me on the Rights I had taken for granted …. their stories of Communist Poland were INDEED horrifying.

    • Aurora,

      Once indoctrinated, they don’t grow up — not as a generation, anyway. The people in charge of things now are living proof of this. The baby-boomers are affirming the truism of the second half of Churchill’s quote. 😦

    • I have friends who immigrated from soviet union, china, Cuba, and Africa.

      All have un-speakable horrors of which they survived.

      • I have a friend who escaped USSR, another who escaped Czechoslavokia, two who escaped Cuba, and another who grew up in East Germany and got to experience before and after the wall fell. The stories they tell … I’ve been compiling them and my daughter makes her friends read them.

  3. “And you, of tender years, can’t know the fears your elders grew by.” Crosby, Stills & Nash

    The first thing I remember fearing was “the reds” and I would have nightmares about them as a child. Nikita Khrushchev threatening to “bury us” and the Cuban Missile Crisis, people running for the Berlin Wall only to be shot down as they climbed desperately for freedom. We practiced ducking & covering at school & our parents discussed atomic bomb shelters & radiation.

    Our fathers had fought a long, horrific war, which still haunted them and by extension us too. These men had watched men die and most had faced their own mortality in their late teens or twenties. The young men of today look incredibly childlike in comparison.

    The idea that any American would embrace my childhood boogeyman, the thing that brought so much poverty, war and death to so many people is incomprehensible to me.

  4. Ron Paul has a home-schooling program. As you can imagine, it is based on facts not propaganda. If kids aren’t taught history, how the hello are they supposed to feel fear? Is it any wonder that they do not see where we are headed? We could really use a Reagan or a Thatcher right about now…

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