Communism's creep on the anniversary of the Battle of Chosin Reservoir
A recent survey conducted by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation found that many millennials — 42 percent — would rather live in a communist or socialist country than a capitalistic one. Unsurprisingly, the survey also found that 27 percent of millennials don’t understand what capitalism actually is and 10 percent even confused capitalism for socialism.
“Millennials now make up the largest generation in America, and we’re seeing some deeply worrisome trends,” Marion Smith, executive director of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, said in a statement. “Millennials are increasingly turning away from capitalism and toward socialism and even communism as a viable alternative.”
This shocking information it timely as we remember the anniversary of the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, one of the bloodiest battles of the Korean War, where 1,000 U.S soldiers died fighting against the Chinese counteroffensive in the bitter November cold.
In a time where communism is staging a sort of comeback through the widespread Black Bloc movement, the communist student groups spread among college campuses, and Marxist professors, there is a need to explain why communism is a deadly ideology that has killed tens of millions throughout its short history.
The United States has fought against communism for most of the 20th century. Since the end of World War II, Americans have rightfully seen communists as enemies to freedom, progress, and western ideals of self-determination and individualism. There was a reason why the United States fought the communists in North Korea and why South Korea is one of the most prosperous nations today.
The United States lost more than 35,000 men fighting the Korean War, ensuring that South Korea was not overtaken by a murderous regime (which has killed millions in the last two decades alone). Though South Korea is not without its faults, the country has grown from a backward, non-industrial nation to a global economic powerhouse, ranking high in personal and economic freedom, while North Korea lags behind.
Yet, there are still groups today that spread North Korean propaganda or make light of the victims of North Korean communism. Caleb Maupin, a communist political commentator and analyst, has held rallies in support of North Korea, two of them while he was a student at Baldwin-Wallace College. Anti-Trump groups such as Refuse Fascism and Workers World Party have spread North Korean propaganda, as reported by the Daily Caller, in an effort to “make America’s leaders lose ‘international legitimacy’ as a way of ultimately bringing down the Trump presidency.”
There was, of course, the University of Delaware professor who made fun of Otto Warmbier, the University of Virginia student who died after being sentenced to 15 years of hard labor before being released. His crime? Allegedly stealing a propaganda banner in his North Korean hotel. The group that sponsored the trip, Young Pioneer Tours, has called North Korea “probably one of the safest countries on Earth to visit,” ignoring the U.S State Department’s warnings about the risk of detention or “unduly harsh sentences for actions that would not be considered crimes in the United States.”
With President Trump’s recent visit to China, in part to discuss growing tensions with North Korea, let us hope that we can finally solve the North Korean problem that has plagued East Asia for over half a century. Let us hope that we can finally forge a lasting peace that will one day unify a long-divided country. And most importantly, let us be mindful of what has lead North Korea down such an unwanted path: its dangerous ideology.
Today, on the anniversary of the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, let us not forget about the sacrifices of those who died to defend South Korea from the tides of communism.
Elias J. Atienza is a history major at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.