Free Markets, Free People


Cambodia: Remembering the Killing Fields and the Communist drive for “equality”

Douglas Levene takes a look back at what happened in Cambodia under Communist leader Pol Pot.  He makes the point that although some would like to label it “genocide”, it simply doesn’t fit the definition.  Cambodia is 95% Khmer and what happened was “Khmer on Khmer” violence.  It wasn’t genocide:

Rather, what happened in Cambodia is what happened in the French Revolution, and in Stalin’s purges and mass collectivization campaigns, and in Mao’s Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, only on a proportionately larger scale. It was mass murder in the name of equality. It wasn’t “genocide”; it was Communist utopianism carried to its logical extreme. The Khmer Rouge, who called themselves Maoists, believed that the most important social and political value was equality and that in order to create their new, classless society in which everyone was equal, it was necessary to exterminate anyone who might be smarter, or better educated, or wealthier, or more talented than anyone else. Thus, they killed the educated, the bourgeoisie, the middle classes, and the rich; movie stars, pop singers, authors, urban residents, and workers for the former government; and anyone who protested — as well as the families of all the above. Towards the end, they also killed cadres who were thought to be a political threat. Whatever their crimes were, the Khmer Rouge do not seem to have been motivated by racial, ethnic, or religious hatred.

The standard leftist cause these days is “equality”.  We’re seeing it play out right here in this country today with the demonization of the rich, corporations and other capitalists entities.  And while it is easy to attempt to wave away what happened in Cambodia as an extremist example carried out by a splinter Communist group, in fact Stalin’s and Mao’s purges were driven by much the same goal.   All were striving for a “communist utopia” and they murdered extensively in its name.  Certainly there were other reasons, such as Stalin’s paranoia, but the murder regime had already been established and was functioning when those victims were added to the collective total.

Given that, Levene wonders why the world insists then on claiming “genocide” as the reason for Cambodia’s Killing Fields:

However, I suspect that the most important reason for the usage worldwide is that many people in the international media, international agencies, and international NGOs (not to mention academia) are reluctant to face up to the crimes committed by Communism in the name of equality. To do so might call into question the weight attached by them to equality as the most important social value and undermine the multicultural faith that evil is predominantly the product of inequality, racism, ethnic hatred, or religious fanaticism. That cannot be permitted, so such crimes must be either ignored or mislabeled. And, of course, the remaining Communist regimes in the world are only too happy to cooperate in characterizing the killing fields as the products of irrational paranoia on the part of Pol Pot and his gang rather than the perfectly rational result of the quest for perfect equality.

While there certainly are examples of “evil” driven by “racism, ethnic hatred or religious fanaticism”, few match the scale of the evil perpetrated by Communist regimes.  Marx called for it in his “Communist Manifesto”:

‘The violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie lays the foundation for the sway of the proletariat.’

And they simply carried out his instructions:

‘What the bourgeoisie, therefore, produces, above all, is its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.’

Cambodia unfortunately saw a communist group take Marx at his word:

‘The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.’ … ‘When, therefore, capital is converted into common property, into the property of all members of society, personal property is not thereby transformed into social property. It is only the social character of the property that is changed. It loses its class character.’

The Khmer Rouge attempted to impose these dicta in the quickest and most basic of ways – through murder of all those who represented the hated “bourgeoisie” in an attempt to make society “equal”.  As Leven says, they carried out the “perfectly rational” pursuit of Marx’s utopia.  A violent overthrow of the existing culture, the murder of those who weren’t politically and ideologically pure or were members of the bourgeoisie class and the abolition of private property in favor of common property in order to equalize society.  And, of course, it yielded the horror that became Kampuchea, with its killing fields, mass graves and torture rooms.

While certainly not on the obvious scale of the Khmer Rouge, the left continues the same sort of pursuit here.  Equality has become its ideological banner, and it constantly touts it as its cultural goal in the West.  Stealth Marxism – not really so stealthy to those who have bothered to look. 

Ironically, it is as much a religion to those who believe in it as any featuring a deity.  It requires an abiding faith that at its base the Marxist principles are sound and will someday be “properly” implemented despite the numerous examples of the horror and death it has consistently brought.  As much as they deride the faith of Christians and their belief in “heaven”, Marxists and Maoists and all the assorted different communists still pursue their “heaven” on earth and as a result continue to fill the mass graves its pursuit requires.

Cambodia was not genocide.  Cambodia was just the timeline of Communism (and all the other Marxist “isms”) in other countries speeded up for the convenience of the self-declared proletariat. 

All in the name of “equality”.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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31 Responses to Cambodia: Remembering the Killing Fields and the Communist drive for “equality”

  • “This is one of the biggest things I’m going to be pushing back on this year, this notion that this is somehow class warfare, that we’re trying to stir up envy,” Obama said. “Nobody envies rich people, everybody wants to be rich. Everybody aspires to be rich, and everybody understands you’ve got work hard to be successful. That’s the American way.”
    Obama continued, “We’re going to push hard to make sure someone making over a million dollars a year aren’t getting tax breaks and tax subsidies they don’t need, not out of envy, but out of a sense of fairness and a sense of mutual responsibility and a sense of commitment for the country’s future, and that’s what we’re fighting for. The American people understand that.”

    Fairness, mutual responsibility and country’s future, I guess are the new codewords for “equality.”

  • Hard to beat that one, McQ. We have a radical Collectivist in the White House, who’s smart enough to play as Alinsky taught, and not as Bill Ayers did early in his career. People need to know.

  • No no no. I know for sure that this sort of thing is caused by intolerance of “others” and that it has been “scientifically” proven that this intolerance is a feature of “conservative” lizard brains. So whatever you are saying here is not the consensus scientific view and therefore must be wrong.

  • This is why I have several firearms and many thousands of rounds.

    • @TheOldMan And I never let idiot poly-sci professors to approach me holding a plastic bag.

  • I don’t know anyone who thinks Pol Pot’s activity was genocide. It was political like Stalin and Mao. Say it was genocide is a ‘red herring’. If he wrote a book on this premise, he wasted his time.

    • @tadcf Google is your friend:

      http://tinyurl.com/7n33aem

      • @McQandO Only to the extent that religious that religious and non-native Cambodians (Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, etc.) were included in the deaths can it be considered genocide. But the killing was more widespread:

        “Throughout Cambodia, deadly purges were conducted to eliminate remnants of the “old society” – the educated, the wealthy, Buddhist monks, police, doctors, lawyers, teachers, and former government officials. Ex-soldiers were killed along with their wives and children. Anyone suspected of disloyalty to Pol Pot, including eventually many Khmer Rouge leaders, was shot or bludgeoned with an ax. “What is rotten must be removed,” a Khmer Rouge slogan proclaimed.” http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/genocide/pol-pot.htm

        I guess for that reason, I never considered the circumstances to be principally motivated by genocide—but I guess some people do.

      • @McQandO @McQandO Only to the extent that religious that religious and non-native Cambodians (Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, etc.) were included in the deaths can it be considered genocide. But the killing was more widespread: “Throughout Cambodia, deadly purges were conducted to eliminate remnants of the “old society” – the educated, the wealthy, Buddhist monks, police, doctors, lawyers, teachers, and former government officials. Ex-soldiers were killed along with their wives and children. Anyone suspected of disloyalty to Pol Pot, including eventually many Khmer Rouge leaders, was shot or bludgeoned with an ax. “What is rotten must be removed,” a Khmer Rouge slogan proclaimed.” http://www.historyplace.com/worldhistory/genocide/pol-pot.htm

        I guess for that reason, I’ve never considered the circumstances to be principally motivated by genocide—but I guess some people do—although it’s not clear that the references provided by you are claiming that the entire slaughter can be considered as genocide, or just that aspect resulting because of some people’s religious or ethnic background.

        True, in my initial comment, I over-generalized. I believe that most people who are informed do not believe the entire Pol Pot killing fields was not based on genocide—although that was a motivation of some of killing. So, I still don’t understand the value of the book—although I agree with the author’s conclusion—unless it is simply to give conservatives more fodder to show how the communist intention has again been whitewashed by liberals as genocide, when it was actually an attempt to eliminate dissent.

  • “We’re seeing it play out right here in this country today with the demonization of the rich, corporations and other capitalists entities. And while it is easy to attempt to wave away what happened in Cambodia as an extremist example carried out by a splinter Communist group, in fact Stalin’s and Mao’s purges were driven by much the same goal.”

    You’re right. It is easy to wave away what happened there to what you believe might happen here. We’ll call it “McQ’s paranoia.”

    • @PogueMahone Being contrary just to be contrary without any basis in fact doesn’t usually end up making your target look bad, Pogue … if you get my drift. You’re about 0 for 25 in that department lately.

      • @McQandO Right, you’re drawing no comparisons here when you write “we’re seeing it play out right here in this country today…” Got it.

        • @PogueMahone Didn’t say a thing about not drawing comparisons … just not the one’s you’re trying to draw.

        • @McQandO Well what are they then? If you’re not saying “Hey, let’s look at those murderous regimes and how they became muderous regimes, and how they compare to what’s happening here in this country today,” then what are you comparing?

        • @PogueMahone Try reading the blog more than once a week after you wander out of a bar. If you did, you wouldn’t have to ask.

        • @McQandO Shorter McQ: I got nothin’

        • @PogueMahone Is it your thesis that the softer Collective in America has NOT filled its share of graves? Really, Poque? You MIGHT want to think of the DDT ban. Or SOMETHING…

        • @Ragspierre Right, because the DDT ban is just like the Khmer Rouge. You’re not helping McQ’s case here, counselor.

        • @PogueMahone But you are showing the stupid, true to form. As “just like” we’ve come to expect.

        • @PogueMahone Marxism. You comfortable with being part of the greater collective, even if it doesn’t mean they send you off for a permanent stint in the fields because they don’t like some of the things you think?

        • @PogueMahone I got plenty, just not going to do your homework for you. Try the search of the blog. Type in “communism” and start from there.

        • @PogueMahone I got plenty, just not going to do your homework for you. Try the search of the blog. Type in “communism” and start from there.

    • @PogueMahone Maybe McQ’s example may be a bit on the extreme side of things but the slippery slope is still there – Have you been to a school sport’s day lately? Everybody gets a trophy. Ain’t no losers out here! Some states, California is one, is trying to eliminate the grade of “F” – can’t have anyone fail in this society. If you take that type of nonsense to its most illogical extreme, it is possible to see the correlation. I didn’t say it was obvious to see the correlation, just the possibility. But then again I have never heard anyone describe Pol Pot’s regime as logical.

  • Its interesting that the Khmer Rouge went that way, while North Korea went the other way.

    The Cultural Revolution in China is also on this list…denouncing “landlords” and people who have improper thought.

    Pogue, i think will agree we do have some denouncing of the 1% at least.