The left’s long romance with tyranny and terror is manifesting itself in the Obama administration once again. Having experienced the high of putting $900 million of American taxpayers’ money into Hamas’ blood-soaked hands, some Obama advisers are now getting a new fix by offering thanks and praise to the late communist mass murderer Mao Zedong.
President Obama’s White House communications director, Anita Dunn, recently praised Mao Zedong in a videotaped speech to high schoolers by calling him “one of the two people that I turn to most.” When confronted on it, she said she was just joking. It remains a mystery what is laughable about extolling the greatest mass murderer in human history who slaughtered 70 million of his own people. In any case, Dunn was clearly not joking, as is evident in the detailed and earnest explanation she gave the high schoolers in her references to both Mao and Mother Teresa while emphasizing the importance of perseverance and choosing one’s own path.
Dunn’s veneration of Mao is shared by another Obama insider, “manufacturing czar” Ron Bloom, who, it appears, has been quoting the communist mass murderer with great approval. At a 2008 Union League Club meeting in New York, for instance, Bloom explained to his audience that:
“We know that the free market is nonsense. (…) We kind of agree with Mao that political power comes largely from the barrel of a gun.”
And from the barrel of a gun Mao’s political power did come indeed. Let’s for a moment reflect on the crimes that Mao perpetrated:
After capturing power on Oct. 1, 1949, in the immediate postrevolutionary period alone, Mao murdered as many as 15 million Chinese citizens. In 1958, Mao launched the Great Leap Forward, an industrial and agricultural program intended to make China the world’s largest steel and grain exporter. Involving demented economic schemes and brutal forced collectivization, the Great Leap was an unparalleled human disaster, exterminating approximately 38 million people through government-engineered famine.
Mao’s starving victims were reduced to eating grass, dirt, leaves and tree bark in the attempt to survive. They picked through horse manure for undigested grains of wheat, or cow manure for worms. They also resorted to cannibalism, digging up freshly buried corpses. Mad from hunger, parents ate their own children – or swapped children with other parents in an attempt to ease the horror of the act. Children were also killed, boiled and used as fertilizer. Desperate villagers who abandoned their homes and traveled to other towns in search of food were mowed down by machine-gun fire.
This horrifying tragedy – the greatest famine in all human history – was created intentionally by Mao. While millions starved, plenty of food existed in state granaries. The army, however, guarded these granaries under strict order: “Absolutely no opening the granary door even if people are dying of starvation.” In their biography, “Mao: The Unknown Story,” authors Jung Chang and Jon Halliday conclude that if food had not been exported and instead had been distributed among the Chinese people, “very probably not a single person in China would have had to die of hunger.”
In 1966, Mao launched the Cultural Revolution, designed to purge the country of all dissent and bring it completely under the dictator’s vicious rule. Millions of schoolchildren became the infamous Red Guards, whose task was to destroy anything connected to traditional culture and philosophy. As Paul Johnson put it, the Cultural Revolution became “a revolution of illiterates and semiliterates against intellectuals, the ‘spectacle-wearers’ as they were called. … It was the greatest witch-hunt in history, which made the Zhdanov purges in postwar Russia seem almost trivial.”
In the Cultural Revolution, almost every expression of human emotion – and every cultural ritual whose purpose was to honor the sanctity of human life and relationships – became illegal, including weddings, funerals and even the simple act of holding hands. The Red Guards humiliated, beat and murdered teachers, school administrators, bureaucrats, foreign diplomats, technicians, artists, intellectuals and, eventually, anyone and everyone. “Class enemies” experienced every humiliation the Red Guards could think up; the Guards smeared their faces with ink, forced them to get down on all fours and bark like dogs, and made them eat grass. The Red Guards also literally feasted on those they had murdered. In Guangxi, where at least 137 “animals” (“class enemies”), mostly teachers and college principals, were killed, the Red Guards cooked and ate them.
An immense concentration-camp system, the laogai, spread through China like a cancerous growth. It operated under the pretense of “reform” or “re-education” through labor and self-denunciation. The horrors of the laogai almost defy description. Harry Wu, who spent 19 years in the “laogai,” has given an account of its vicious dynamics in “Laogai: The Chinese Gulag.” Bao Ruo-Wang has done the same regarding his seven years in the laogai in “Prisoner of Mao.” Wu and Bao did for China what Armando Valladares did for Cuba in “Against All Hope,” and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn did for the Soviet Union in “Gulag Archipelago”.
Between 1949 and 1980, some 50 million Chinese people passed through this system of terror. Like Stalin’s Gulag, Mao’s laogai took on a life of its own, continuing its bloody work unabated until Mao’s death from Parkinson’s disease in 1976. In all, Chinese Communism would extinguish the lives of over 70 million people in the 20th century.
Mao biographers Jung Chang and Jon Halliday also document how this horror represented the natural order of things for Mao. Indeed, while millions of his people were starving to death, the dictator habitually informed his inner circle that it did not matter if people died and that, in fact, death was to be deemed a cause for celebration and rejoicing. This was because, naturally, destruction was necessary in order for the earthly heaven to be built. Mao wished destruction not only for his own country, but for the entire universe. As he explained: “This applies to the country, to the nation and to mankind. … The destruction of the universe is the same. … People like me long for its destruction, because when the old universe is destroyed, a new universe will be formed. Isn’t that better!” Mao stated that it would be ideal to sacrifice about 300 million Chinese lives for the world revolution, since “it’s best if half the population is left, next best one-third. …”
Thus, as in Castro’s Cuba, mourning for the dead was forbidden. Mourning implied that there was something wrong with death – a notion that a death cult obviously couldn’t allow. Moreover, grieving for a dead person singularized the individual and his private reality. Mao therefore outlawed the shedding of tears at funerals and even ordered peasants to plant crops over burial grounds – since he believed that deaths “can fertilize the ground.”
With all of these barbarities in mind, it is completely no surprise that Obama insiders such as Anita Dunn and Ron Bloom would pick a genocidal dictator like Mao to be the object of their affection. These leftists are simply continuing the left’s long tradition of showering adulation upon Mao – as well as other communist mass murderers.
Indeed, as I have documented in my new book, “United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror,” leftists worldwide were, and have continued to be, exhilarated by Mao’s horrifying reign of terror – and the philosophy it was based on. From the likes of American journalist and activist Anna Louise Strong and the French “feminist” intellectual Simone de Beauvoir, from American journalist Edgar Snow to the “Red Dean” of Canterbury Hewlett Johnson, from British filmmaker Felix Greene to Orville Schell, the dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley, there was never a shortage of leftists who genuflected in the direction of Mao’s killing fields.
Anita Dunn and Ron Bloom prostrating themselves before the memory of the greatest mass murderer in human history is to be totally expected. It’s just another chapter of the left’s long history of bowing down in front of adversary regimes and despots who devote themselves to inhumanity, oppression and death.
Jamie Glazov is editor of Frontpagemag.com and author of “United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror”