By Christina Grattan
Genocide is defined as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group." 1 Although modern socialists decry many of these oppressive regimes in the 20th century who are guilty of this crime disassociating themselves with it, their ideology cannot exonerate them. Not all socialist countries are genocidal by any means, but it is easier for genocide to be carried out under socialism. The fact that genocide in the 20th century was committed in socialist countries is not a coincidence. No country with an unhampered free market is capable of the coercion and mass murder inflicted by the socialist state upon certain groups.
The underlying reason for modern genocide being a socialistic phenomenon is due to the immense power that socialism grants the government. In socialism, the government expands its sphere into the private individual's lives, assuming responsibility for their life and "well being." The government must exert economic control over society to achieve this, determining the allocation of specific resources and deciding who gets what. This can inevitably lead to the power of life or death over the populace if resources are mismanaged. If the economy's fate is to lie in the state's hands, they will go to drastic measures to control the population to carry out their plan. This is precisely what happened in the 20th century, as socialist governments who found certain groups undesirable could efficiently exterminate them since they had power over their property, occupation, food supply, and basic material goods.
Under Stalin, the USSR aimed to increase industrialization by 250% and eradicate any vestiges of capitalism, implementing Five Year Plans to meet this goal. 2 One of the plan's main initiatives was the collectivization of agriculture, which transferred individual ownership of farms to large state-controlled collective farms, basically outright seizure of private property. 3 Collectivization was inflicted to punish the middle-class kulaks, a thriving group of small farmers, in Ukraine—the "breadbasket" of Russia. 4 To achieve this, Stalin instigated a famine by seizing more grain from those who did not meet their quotas and opposed his policies. 4 A communist party official even reported that a Soviet brick storage facility was hiding the past year's grain harvest, while millions were dying scrambling for manure and dogs to eat. 4 Although the Russian government denies it was genocide, at least 16 countries, including the US, recognize it as genocide. 5
In Nazi Germany, the state exerted an unprecedented amount of economic control, adopting the German pattern of socialism, enabling the mass extermination of Jews to become a reality. 2 Ludwig Von Mises, an Austrian economist, explains how under Hilter, "Market exchange is but a sham. All prices, wages, and interest rates are fixed by an authority...authoritarian orders determine each citizen's income, consumption, and standard of living. The authority, not consumers, directs production." 2 Although many think the Nazis were capitalists, free trade was their archenemy, desiring Germany to become economically self-sufficient on its own, without reliance from other countries. 3 Instead of trading with other countries for resources they could not obtain to sustain their population, they resorted to the conquest of neighboring countries for more living space (lebensraum), to secure natural resources. 3 Mises argues that it was the lebensraum, which made Hitler's ardent anti-semitism come to complete fruition, murdering 6 million Jews. 3 His desire to eliminate the Jews came from a fear of the German people not being able to sustain themselves in their homeland, concomitantly creating a need for territorial expansion and mass murder. If the Nazis would have embraced free-market capitalism, the horrific genocide of the European Jewry may have been avoided.
In Cambodia, the Communist Khmer Rouge regime led by Pol Pot terrorized the country from 1975-1979, leading to more than 2 million Cambodians' deaths. 6 He was inspired by the writings of Marx and viewed capitalists as class enemies wanting to eradicate them. 4 His plan was to revert Cambodia to a "communist style agrarian utopia." 7 To meet these ends, he drove people out of cities to the countryside, forcing them to become farmers where they died of hunger, and banned "money, religion, property, cities, law, and romantic marriage." 4 His socialist mentality urged him to believe it was the state's duty to instigate a violent revolution, uprooting capitalism. Without the ability to determine each individual's economic outcome, that Pol Pot seized, mass genocide would not have been possible. It is evident how one's plan for humanity can become the suffering of millions against their will.
Today, genocide is still being inflicted in countries such as China by the Chinese Communist Party. This is manifested through the forced sterilization and abortions of the Uyghur minority group, subjecting them to inhumane and cruel treatment to enforce their two child policy. 8 Their justification is built on the economic philosophy of Neo-Malthusianism, believing that the government has a responsibility to control population growth when resources are scarce and to combat climate change 9. Thomas Malthus was a British economist who believed that the output of food supply could never keep up with a growing population, so “preventive checks” were needed to control the growth of the populace. 1 In his view, he envisioned “preventative checks” as getting married later and having fewer children. 1 The Chinese Communist Party took his idea of “preventative checks” and adjusted them to these genocidal coercive measures towards the Uyghurs as an excuse to keep their population in check.
Amidst this young generation, many become disillusioned, believing capitalism and freedom are incompatible and that socialism is the utmost expression of justice. History and modern-day socialist countries prove that when an authority is put in charge of the economic decisions, instead of the individual, totalitarianism ensues. If the state has the power to determine who makes a living, they can decide who lives or dies. Genocide is carried out through starvation, seizure of private property, forced labor, manipulating the food supply, and coercive population control measures. Socialism makes the decimation of certain groups feasible since mass murder can be executed through the deprivation of state-controlled resources. Socialists must come to realize that freedom is only possible through capitalism, where exchanges are voluntary rather than coerced by a central authority.
1. Buchholz, T. (2007). New Ideas From Dead Economists. Penguin Group. pp. 49, 51, 50
2. Mises, L. (1974). Planning for Freedom. Libertarian Press. pp 4, 4-5 3. Mises, L. (2011). Omnipotent Government. Liberty Fund. pp. 1, 87
4. Murray, W. (2016). Utopian Road to Hell. WND Books. pp. 73, 73, 77, 77-78
Christina is currently a junior political science major at Biola University, who has a genuine heart to help the world. Her strong faith in God drives her to pursue justice to create a freer and better world, which starts with fighting the lies of socialism. In her free time, you can find her reading books to inform herself, discussing politics, and making frozen yogurt runs.