Last Updated:November 25 @ 11:06 am

Williams: Liberals, Progressives and Socialists

By Walter E. Williams

In Europe, especially in Germany, hoisting a swastika-emblazoned Nazi flag is a crime. For decades after World War II, people have hunted down and sought punishment for Nazi murderers, who were responsible for the deaths of more than 20 million people.

Here's my question: Why are the horrors of Nazism so well-known and widely condemned but not those of socialism and communism? What goes untaught -- and possibly is covered up -- is that socialist and communist ideas have produced the greatest evil in mankind's history. You say, "Williams, what in the world are you talking about? Socialists, communists and their fellow travelers, such as the Wall Street occupiers supported by our president, care about the little guy in his struggle for a fair shake! They're trying to promote social justice." Let's look at some of the history of socialism and communism.

What's not appreciated is that Nazism is a form of socialism. In fact, the term Nazi stands for the National Socialist German Workers' Party. The unspeakable acts of Adolf Hitler's Nazis pale in comparison with the horrors committed by the communists in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the People's Republic of China. Between 1917 and 1987, Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin and their successors murdered and were otherwise responsible for the deaths of 62 million of their own people. Between 1949 and 1987, China's communists, led by Mao Zedong and his successors, murdered and were otherwise responsible for the deaths of 76 million Chinese. The most authoritative tally of history's most murderous regimes is documented on University of Hawaii Professor Rudolph J. Rummel's website, at, and in his book "Death by Government."

How much hunting down and punishment have there been for these communist murderers? To the contrary, it's acceptable both in Europe and in the U.S. to hoist and march under the former USSR's red flag emblazoned with a hammer and sickle. Mao Zedong has been long admired by academics and leftists across our country, as they often marched around singing the praises of Mao and waving his little red book, "Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-tung." President Barack Obama's communications director, Anita Dunn, in her June 2009 commencement address to St. Andrews Episcopal High School at Washington National Cathedral, said Mao was one of her heroes.

Whether it's the academic community, the media elite, stalwarts of the Democratic Party or organizations such as the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, Green for All, the Sierra Club and the Children's Defense Fund, there is a great tolerance for the ideas of socialism -- a system that has caused more deaths and human misery than all other systems combined.

Today's leftists, socialists and progressives would bristle at the suggestion that their agenda differs little from those of Nazi, Soviet and Maoist mass murderers. One does not have to be in favor of death camps or wars of conquest to be a tyrant. The only requirement is that one has to believe in the primacy of the state over individual rights.

The unspeakable horrors of Nazism didn't happen overnight. They were simply the end result of a long evolution of ideas leading to consolidation of power in central government in the quest for "social justice." It was decent but misguided earlier generations of Germans -- who would have cringed at the thought of genocide -- who created the Trojan horse for Hitler's ascendancy. Today's Americans are similarly accepting the massive consolidation of power in Washington in the name of social justice.

If you don't believe it, just ask yourself: Which way are we headed tiny steps at a time -- toward greater liberty or toward more government control over our lives?

Perhaps we think that we are better human beings than the German people who created the conditions that brought Hitler to power. I say, don't count on it.


Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University.


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  1. nickster99Comment by nickster99
    August 8, 2012 @ 9:51 am

    Well the saying goes: People that dont remember the horrors and mistakes of History are bound to repeat them. And the way history is taught in our schools today. They will be repeated!

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  2. allenweimerComment by allenweimer
    August 8, 2012 @ 10:21 am

    Williams, it is a scary thought but you are correct. “Social justice” sounds so nice and something we all should want. Problem is what do we have to lose inorder to get it and who defines it for us? I don’t trust Obama and the hoards of leftist friends he has encircled himself with to make that decision for me. They all think politicians, Washington bureaucrats,and liberal university professors are smarter that the average American citizen. They believe that the “masses” have to have them think for us. Such arrogance.

    Now how do we get the word out that Obama and his elitist friends are screwing us over and need to be stopped? The left leaning media has certainly fallen lock step in the Obama forces. They are worthless and can’t be relied upon for telling the truth.

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  3. DudleyComment by Dudley
    August 8, 2012 @ 10:22 am

    Another great article from one of my most favorite people – Professor Williams. We must teach these truths to our children and grand children. Communism is Nazism’s demented older brother kept in the attic in chains. If he is let loose on the world again it will be a blood bath.

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  4. nhpollackComment by nhpollack
    August 8, 2012 @ 11:01 am

    Anyone who hasn’t read, “It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis, should. Anyone who read it long ago, should reread it now.

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  5. PATRIOTComment by PATRIOT
    August 8, 2012 @ 11:10 am

    Williams — your article clearly provides all the evidence necessary to justify the founding fathers rationale for inclusion of our Constitutional 2nd amendment. An armed citizenry cannot be murdered into submission by an out-of-control socialist/communist government. Did you ever wonder why progressive liberals hate private firearms ownership? It is not about crime as they would like us to believe. It is all about their ability to control the American people. The progressives are now telling us what we can eat or drink. They are using political correctness to control our speach. What will be next?

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  6. normComment by norm
    August 8, 2012 @ 11:55 am

    A great article and a current reminder that people in Germany were enthralled by the rhetoric of Hitler and followed him blindly. Does this seem familiar at this time in this country? Don’t vote blindly. If you can’t educate yourself on what obama is doing to this country, or can’t listen to the truth from conservative voices, or don’t care about your children and grandchildren’s future then don’t vote. Be absolutely sure you know whom you are voting for and what he will do to this country given another 4 years. God help us!

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  7. mcoryComment by mcory
    August 8, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

    Liberals alway stick their heads in the sand to the damage that they cause. It is always someone else’s fault, or a program wasn’t done right. They never realize that their musing on toilet about how human society works and their prescriptions to fix it are all fantasy; humans don’t operate in the real world as their musings on the toilet do. When humans don’t work according to their fantasies, then liberals get nasty and start forcing everyone to their will. Their latest fantasy, gay marriage, will go the same way as all of their ill conceived fantasies; just look at Canada, the UK and San Francisco.

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  8. BillzillaComment by Billzilla
    August 8, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

    Sadly, Dr. Williams is absolutely correct. Today’s liberal/progressive/socialist does not want to hear that the Nazi were socialist also. Today the “main stream media” and the liberal/progressives call the Nazi right wingers, as opposed to left wingers such as they are, but the truth is that the Nazi’s were also left wingers. Calling something by a different name doesn’t change what it’s fundamental characteristics are.

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  9. mtamericanComment by mtamerican
    August 8, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

    See if this doesn’t sound familiar, from the book ‘Evil Genes’. “….[Hitler] was a master at turning people’s best traits against them. ‘He confided the secret of his approach to an intimate. “When I appeal ….for sacrifice, the first spark is struck. The humbler the people are, the greater the craving to identify themselves with a cause bigger than themselves.” ” Think: Save the Planet, Save the Whales, Save anything and everything at the expense of yourself. To score a double-header, combine it with an appeal for ‘fairness’.

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  10. jmccarthy1Comment by jmccarthy1
    August 8, 2012 @ 6:48 pm

    Communists NEED Nazis’ so they, Marxist’s, can point their bloody fingers at them and scream-look at how bad THEY are, pay No attention to US. One of the main tactics of Marxist’s is to accuse their opponents of the exact same thing that they, Communists, are doing. That’s why there is non-stop programs on T.V. about Hitler and the Nazis where HOLLYWOOD trys to make the viewer’s believe that Hitler was a “right-wing Christian Conservative”, in reality he was a Socialist another form of Communist, AND YET ABSOLUTLY NOTHING on T.V. or any other media outlet on the EVILS of COMMUNISM! WHY? Because the NETWORKS are owned and operated by, you guessed it, Communists. If EVER there were enemies of Traditional America you see them every time you turn on the T.V. or go to a Hollywood “movie” ie. Propaganda, where Capitalism,those who believe in God, White Male Conservativ’s, Traditional America and the U.S. Military are ALWAYS the BAD guys. Walter Williams knows it and it’s too bad that more “conservative” commentators don’t use the “C” word (Communist) more often!

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