Why Do We Tolerate Communism?

National Socialism, better known as Nazism, is a totalitarian ideology responsible for the murder of over 17 million people between 1933 and 1945, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. That’s a figure which does not include the Allied troops who fought and died to defeat Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. Having been defeated, there is next to no tolerance of National Socialism ideology in the United States today. Those who espouse Nazism are (correctly) anathema, outcasts and oddballs at best. You do not see people wearing t-shirts adorned with swastikas, or stylized t-shirts with well-known Nazis on them. Political figures don’t have portraits of Adolf Hitler on the walls of their offices. There aren’t self-professed Nazi teachers and professors teaching our children in schools and universities.

But Nazism is not the only totalitarian ideology the United States fought in the 20th century.

There is another ideology responsible for even more pain, suffering, and deaths–Communism–with an estimated death count of over 100 million worldwide.

The United States and the rest of the free world waged a Cold War for half a century, fought major wars, brushfire wars and conflicts from Korea to Vietnam to Malaya to Grenada and El Salvador and dozens of places in Asia and Africa to stop the spread of this ideology. Hundreds of thousands gave their lives in this noble cause. The US, and its allies spilled precious blood and treasure to stop Communism. But why there is a tolerance (and outright advocacy in some instances) for Communism?


Che Guevara t-shirts are commonplace, despite the fact Guevara was a brutal terrorist and a racist. Guevara is probably one of the world’s most famous murderous psychotics, due to the large number of people who have romanticized him, many of them on college campuses.

Of course, there are more than a few Marxist college professors on our college campuses, pushing toxic communist-originated doctrines such as Critical Race Theory. Some research shows that there are more Marxists among faculties in some fields than there are conservatives.

Even outside of academia there are many in America who still espouse the so-called features and benefits of Communism—as well as other branches of the same poisonous Marxist vine. Prominent American politicians who are self-proclaimed socialists, enjoying the fruits of our free enterprise system while declaring the superiority of socialism. Such politicians are often celebrated in the media and it’s no wonder; we have self-proclaimed socialists there too.

And who can forget the portrait Mao hanging on the wall in the home of former Tennessee Democrat Congressman Harold Ford.  Or Anita Dunn, senior advisor to President Joe Biden, who described Mao as one of her favorite political philosophers. That’s Mao Tse-tung, the greatest mass murderer of the 20th century and father of Communist China, estimated to be responsible for the deaths of up to 70 million people.

While Mao’s death toll was unparalleled, it was the rule, not the exception. Everywhere Communism surfaces, it is accompanied by mass murderhuman miseryoppression and failure.

Soviet leader Josef Stalin killed as many as 11 million people through the forced implementation of communist agricultural policies alone. But that was just part of his reign of terror. Some estimate that he was responsible for the deaths of as many as 60 million people. Time magazine put Stalin on its cover 11 times.

Pol Pot of Cambodia, leader of the communist Khmer Rouge, killed somewhere between 1.5 million and 3 million people in establishing communist rule in Cambodia.

Cuba’s Fidel Castro is particularly romanticized. While Castro didn’t kill millions, he did kill tens of thousands, ruling Cuba with a brutal oppressive hand that is too often overlooked today.

The continued tolerance of Communism, despite its record–which is every bit as abhorrent as Nazism–is not an accident, and it is a travesty.  Souvenirs and memorabilia celebrating communism should be ridiculed and as rare as those that celebrate Nazism. You can’t find a Nazi flag on Amazon and that’s a good thing. But you can find the flag of another evil empire, the Soviet Union.

Why do we continue to tolerate it?


Christopher Holton

Senior Analyst and Director of State Outreach

EDITORS NOTE: This Center for Security Policy column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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