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Red flags and swastikas
I have posted before, most recently here, about the way that Nazi and other Fascist memorabilia are regarded as beyond the pale, yet Communist memorabilia are, at most, disapproved of, and are generally seen as rather amusing. This despite Communism’s much higher murder toll. I admit to sharing this inconsistent reaction – I can’t summon up the same revulsion for a hammer and sickle as for a swastika.
Charles Moore echoes my opinion in this week's Spectator:
When Lord Turnbull said last week that Gordon Brown was like Stalin, the lack of outrage was interesting. If he had said that Mr Brown was like Hitler, many would have accused him of grotesque exaggeration and bad taste. This did not happen, partly, perhaps, because people really do think that Mr Brown is like Stalin, but also because, subliminally, people do not think of Stalin as nearly as bad as Hitler. Yet he was. The two are morally indistinguishable, though their characters were not the same. Stalin was probably personally the crueller of the two, but Hitler, being more fanatical, was probably even more destructive. Both loved death and absolute power and mass suffering. It is one of the great and subtle successes of the Left that they have managed to prevent Stalin from completely contaminating their cause, when really the red flag should inspire as much fear and disgust as the swastika.
Nobody seems to be able to explain why it doesn't. Perhaps it is simply that the Germans have – officially at least – acknowledged the evils of Nazism. Supporters of Communism have yet to admit, that they were wrong. Sadly, we in the free world take them at their word. The Chinese under Mao, in particular, have got away with murder on a scale that makes the Nazis seem quite puny, for motives no less hateful, and, like the Germans, with the enthusiastic participation of ordinary people. Even the sensible Charles Moore seems unwilling to knock a hole in the Great Wall of Silence.