Over at Phi Beta Cons, David French highlights one of the most ludicrous statements of the day, a letter from Professor Gerald Horne entitled "Stalin Was No Worse than the Founding Fathers." Such nonsense merits quoting in full:
Jonathan Brent expresses surprise—if not shock and disgust—at what he sees as the rehabilitation of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in contemporary Russia ("Postmodern Stalinism," The Chronicle Review, September 25).
Pray tell: Is there any analytical difference between the phenomenon he perceives and the glorification and hagiography that bedeck the slaveholding "founding fathers" of his own United States (not to mention those that founded the settler colonies upon which this slaveholding republic was based)? Or is the difference that in this latter case, after all, we are discussing the brutalization of only Africans, and in the former case, non-Africans—and we all know that the lives of one are worth more than the lives of the other? Or is the difference that Stalin's rule lasted 30-odd years while North American enslavement was a process that stretched over centuries?
The obvious absurdity of this "moral equivalency" becomes all the more vivid when one considers the magnitude of the horrors that Stalin and his comrades unleashed during the 20th century. But when faculty members like Professor Horne dominate academia by ratios between 8-to-1 and 30-to-1, outlandish statements like this sadly become standard university fare.
Update: Apparently, Professor Horne is actually just regurgitating Vladimir Putin’s arguments from several years ago. In refuting Putin (and thus Horne), Dr. Paul Kengor of Grove City College draws from recently declassified KGB documents and the work of one of Mikhail Gorbachev’s aides to place the wave of Soviet atrocities that claimed the lives of 60 to 70 million Russians in its proper context.
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Even when we disagree, we need to support the right of others to live and work consistently with their beliefs without fear of losing their job.