Dr. Paul Kengor, a professor of political science at Grove City College in Pennsylvania
When the Bolsheviks seized control of Russia during World War I, the practical result of ideas laid out by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels began to take effect. For the next few decades, communism was on the march around the world, expanding across most of Eastern Europe, China, and large parts of Latin America and Africa.
Dr. Paul Kengor, a professor of political science at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, has studied the rise (and eventual fall) of communism. He came to Midland recently to speak to a full-house crowd of Mackinac Center supporters about the history of Marxism and the power of ideas.
Kengor explained communism, using the actual words of its proponents about the so-called need to eliminate private property and break down family units. Different varieties of communism were adopted in many countries around the world, including the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia and Cuba. Kengor also gave a lesson on those who (unsuccessfully) promoted it in the United States and explained their tactics.
In the 1980s, communism around the world began collapsing, and Ronald Reagan in the U.S. and Margaret Thatcher in the U.K. won election and re-election. By the end of 1991, the Soviet Union was no more, the Cold War was over and capitalism was widely seen as the winner. Today, few counties are still held tightly by the idea Marx had predicted would take over the world.
Despite this, Kengor warned, we shouldn’t forget an ideology that directly lead to the deaths of at least 100 million people in the 20th Century. That’s an imperative at a time of economic fragmentation and when half the primary voters of one of our two major political parties are voting for a candidate openly campaigning for socialism. Freedom is not self-executing, and that’s why the Mackinac Center will always be engaged in the war of ideas.