Millions of highly-educated Americans still defend Planned Parenthood. Forty years ago, the same kind of people defended Communism. They might have regretted its excesses, and cringed at some of its methods, but its astronomically high ideals inspired them, especially next to the gritty reality of free competition under law.
The Bolsheviks in Russia, then Mao’s cadres in China, and Castro’s in Cuba, were striving to free men of 10,000 years of historical baggage, to rip up the structures of exploitation that had encrusted us over the centuries, to tear out selfishness from its root in the human heart and replace the squabbling, grasping consumers in the marketplace with a stark and ascetical species: Socialist Man. The Party would use its absolute power for good, and not for evil. It would fill the earth with mandatory Franciscans, men and women forged in the blast furnace of struggle until they were happily poor, proudly chaste and perfectly obedient. They would dwell in the happy paradise that Marx had sketched out for them, free of shortage and strife, dabbling at work in the morning, then writing poetry or hunting as the sun went down. There are colorful icons depicting this heaven on earth which Stalin commissioned, in the style he named “Socialist Realism.”