Opinion: Opposing communism


Published: 05-10-2023 7:00 AM

State Representative Mike Moffett of Loudon is a former Marine Corps officer and retired professor.

On March 24, 1984, my Marine Corps infantry company took off on a night training mission in South Korea. Tragically, the CH-53 helicopter behind mine lost altitude and slammed into a mountaintop. Thirty-three Marines died. Memories endure of helping carry bodies down that mountain.

At a memorial service, our battalion commander spoke about the tragedy and said the many lost lives had special meaning. “They died for their country,” LtCol Jack Kelly said.

They also died for South Korea, casualties in a conflict first precipitated by North Korean Communist aggression in 1950. Thirty-six thousand Americans were killed there from 1950-53. In southeast Asia over 58,000 Americans died countering similar communist aggression. Their names are engraved on a shiny black granite memorial in Washington D.C.

But the American death toll in these Asian conflicts pales next to the millions of civilian victims of communism. We should never forget the Cambodian genocide or the Vietnamese boat people. Imagine facing a communist regime so horrific that you’d take your chances on the high seas with storms, sharks, and pirates on flimsy crafts just to probably die and drown on your own terms. And estimates of the number of victims of the Communist Chinese revolution range from 40 to 70 million souls, lost not only in battle but to starvation, persecution, prison labor, and mass execution.

According to researcher R.J. Rummel, an incomprehensible 62 million civilians were murdered by communist authorities in the former Soviet Union between 1917 and 1987. Four million Ukrainians were purposely starved to death just from 1932-33.

Communism is a political and economic ideology that positions itself in opposition to liberal democracy and capitalism. Atheist and ostensibly classless, it calls for state ownership of means of production and generally forbids ownership of private property. Inspired by the writings of Karl Marx, communism has long had an intellectual appeal to leftist statists, an attraction at odds with the reality that communism doesn’t work (except for party leaders) and can’t be maintained without a vast police state with little individual freedom.

Although the Soviet empire finally imploded in 1991, proponents of its deadly Marxist dogma still survive on college campuses and in leftist enclaves like Concord. And ponder that current Russian dictator Vladimir Putin once headed the KGB, the Soviet secret police.

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Communism is the mortal enemy of Western liberal democracy, where freedom and wealth creation create such a stark contrast with Marxist failures. Consider Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, et al. Indeed, Communist China today represents an existential threat to American interests, values, and way of life.

So why does Concord now have a new historical marker, a plaque, honoring the memory of a felonious local traitor?

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was an avowed communist who spent time in prison after being convicted of advocating for the overthrow of our American government. She died in 1964, in Moscow, of all places, where she was given a state funeral in Red Square by sworn American enemies. Progressives who railed against statues of some of our founders are in high dudgeon as they sing the praises of Flynn. Just let that sink in.

Pressed by these misguided leftist activists, local decision-makers are guilty of a colossal misjudgment vis-à-vis the marker. So now what?

The good news is that perhaps there will be teachable moments. This being Concord, the usual activist suspects will continue to sing Flynn’s praises. But this time discussion will go beyond local left-wing echo chambers and involve a broader population while hopefully raising some awareness about actual history and ideological reality.

Earlier this year I introduced a bill (HB 102) to the New Hampshire House of Representatives requiring that Granite State high school students receive at least one hour of instruction on the nature and history of communism. Other states, like Florida, already have similar requirements in place. One of my co-sponsors was a refugee from Communist Cuba. But sadly, the measure was tabled. Go figure.

Time will tell as to how all this plays out. Tellingly, the biggest opponents of communism are those who’ve actually experienced it. Like my co-sponsor, as opposed to the so-called “useful idiots” that the Soviets exploited in “fifth columns” in democratic countries.

It doesn’t take much courage in our free nation to “take a knee” or to support our enemies. But one wonders how many of our local left-wing activists and Marxist apologists have ever been starved, imprisoned, persecuted, or threatened by Communist apparatchiks?

Or carried dead bodies down off a Korean mountain?