For many years those of us in academia who have criticized the multiculturalism that pervades American colleges and universities could console ourselves that after they graduated, students exposed to it would reject its principal assumption – that the United States is irredeemably racist, sexist, homophobic, and misogynistic, and thus warranting condemnation far greater than what any other nation deserves.
But the presidency of Barack Obama has shown that we were wrong. The policies the president pursues and the arguments with which he defends them demonstrate that the hostility to all things American he absorbed at Columbia and Harvard Law School persists. What else could explain the spectacle of the president, on his “apology tour,” seeking absolution from foreign dictators and tyrants for the sins he believes America committed during the Cold War, which he said, absurdly, was ended by the moral force of public opinion — rather than because America’s policy of containment limited Soviet expansionism and aggravated the systemic weaknesses of the Soviet state. The president’s visceral dislike of Israel, which of all the countries of the Middle East most resembles America in the liberties it guarantees its citizens, is another regrettable consequence of the multiculturalism he absorbed in college.
But perhaps the most telling manifestation of Obama’s belief that America and its allies are uniquely evil was the preference he seemed to suggest when he said recently that being China’s president would be “so much easier” than his current position. The reason for the president’s statement, as explained by one of his advisors, was that in China people are not allowed “to scrutinize” the president’s words.
The authoritarianism implicit in the president’s comment is certainly lamentable. But the ignorance it reveals is staggering. Since 1949 China has been ruled by a Communist dictatorship that, according to The Black Book of Communism, an effort by French scholars in the late 1990s to quantify the human cost of communism, has destroyed the lives of approximately 65 million people. The principal reason for this is inherent in communism itself. As an ideology that claims humanity will achieve perfection in a classless society, it implicitly sanctions whatever force and coercion are necessary to create this utopia; in Stalin’s formulation, “you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.” In China this was called the Great Leap Forward. In the Soviet Union it entailed not only industrialization, as occurred in China, but also the collectivization of agriculture, which caused famine so horrific that parents literally ate their own children.
In both countries the discontent these policies caused required the application of terror to keep the communist dictatorships in power. In China, during the so-called Cultural Revolution, student cadres acting on orders from Mao Zedong wreaked havoc in Chinese society by terrorizing, and sometimes murdering, persons deemed insufficiently enthusiastic in their support of communism. The chaos that resulted wrecked much of the progress the country had made in recovering from the Great Leap Forward.
Even today, when the Chinese economy is thriving because the communist leadership has realized that capitalism is superior to communism in generating wealth and providing prosperity, the regime seeks to perpetuate its monopoly of power. Political dissent is of course forbidden, and the few dissidents who challenge the regime, such as Obama’s fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Liu Xiaobo, are punished severely.
This, then, is the country whose leader President Obama, in a moment of self-pity, said he would like to be. Since there is no evidence that the president himself is capable of the crimes of which the Chinese Communists are culpable, the only explanation for his wish is his ignorance of these crimes, or at least of their magnitude.
And for that one can surely hold his university education responsible. Instead of listening to professors reciting a long litany of America’s supposed failings and transgressions, Obama would have been better off learning about the death and devastation communism caused in China, the Soviet Union, Cuba, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Eastern Europe. If he had, he might now be able to comprehend the comparable threat radical Islam – not just Al Qaida — poses to our civilization, and to take the necessary steps to defeat it.