Elias Atienza is a history sophomore and Mustang News columnist. The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints and editorial coverage of Mustang News.
The phenomenon of punching neo-Nazis reached Cal Poly recently when an idiot passing out pro-Nazi flyers was punched by a masked individual in front of the library. Of course, defenders of neo-Nazi punchers always point out that beating up Nazis is an American tradition. After all, we kicked their asses from North Africa to Germany while bombing their cities and factories and defending our shipping from them in the Atlantic. Captain America smacked Red Skull around, and he even punched Hitler in a comic. The modern day Captain America, played by Chris Evans, saved America from a secret Nazi death cult twice.
But if someone was to punch a member of antifa or a communist, would the defenders of punching Nazis be just as vocal in defending these new throwers-of-hands? After all, the communists were a much more prevalent threat than Nazis — they were our chief enemies for 40 years during the Cold War. We fought a number of underground wars against them, such as overthrowing the socialist government of Chile’s Allende (so what if he was democratically elected?), killing tons of them in Korea and Vietnam and economically isolating Cuba until President Obama decided Castro could come out of his timeout.
Communism was just as much of a threat as fascism, if not more. After all, when you compare the death counts attributed individually to Hitler and Stalin, they are about equal. Though there is a slight difference in motivation, as Stalin had the decency to only murder the millions who opposed him, while Hitler sought to murder entire ethnic and religious groups as well. Both, however, had ideologies that are incompatible with western democratic thought and our republican view of government.
On the topic of death, communism under Mao Zedong murdered tens of millions during movements such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. Suffice to say, they didn’t work so well. Even the low-ball estimates put the death toll at a minimum of 18 million people, while the highest counts total around 70 million. The terrifying thing is that modern day China isn’t even extremely communist due to their rapid modernization and Deng Xiaoping dragging them away communism towards state-controlled capitalism. Unfortunately, this move was too little and a wee bit too late for those already slaughtered, but c’est la vie.
We can continue to tally up the death tolls later, such as Pol Pot’s grand design to murder millions in Cambodia and the murder of millions of people and imprisonment of thousands in labor camps in North Korea. The point here is that communists are just as despicable and deserve just as much vitriol towards them as fascists.
So if you want to punch a Nazi, fine. Do it. I don’t condone it nor would I ever punch someone for their political beliefs, but I won’t shed a tear for an idiot who thinks white people are the greatest thing to walk the Earth and has some deeply seeded desire to deport me back to the Philippines (even though I was born in the U.S.) But I also won’t shed a tear for the communists who hate private property, think people deserve to be shot for thinking capitalism works, condone mass murder from communist figures and believe in state control of everything.
Communism sucks. Fascism sucks. If you punch one person for holding one ideology, you better be prepared to punch his commie counterpart, too.