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Monument to Bureaucracy


 

So for about three years now Jason Kenney has been championing this proposal to build in Ottawa a monument to the victims of communism. But some members of the committee debating the issue worried that it would offend the countless Canadians who identify as communists. So the title was changed to “the victims of totalitarian communism.” That’s when the committee really put their brains to work:

Board member Adel Ayad said the name was troubling for its “very tight definition” and for the presence of the word “communism” in the title, as Canada has a communist party.

“It’s not communism itself that we should be fighting here. It is rather totalitarianism we are against in any form,” he said.

Richard Jennings suggested replacing “totalitarian communism” with the phrase “oppressive regimes.”

Some also suggested that the monument should focus more on Canada as a refuge for victims of oppressive regimes.

The criticism that the monument’s focus is too narrow came as a surprise to Zuzana Hahn of the Open Book Group, who points out that the monument represents people from three of the world’s seven continents.

Cassandra Drudi has the details here. If we’re lucky, Colleague O’Malley will weigh in.


 
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Monument to Bureaucracy

  1. Is that a can of worms I see before me. Hey, lets open it up. What harm can come of that.

    Would victims of oppressive regimes include blacks who were victims of American slavery?

    Oh dear, I didn't anticipate that worm would crawl out of the can.

    • You're right, Robert. It should include harsh words for the Democrats that kept slavery alive for nearly a century after independence.

    • You're right, Robert and nova. It should include harsh words for the Democrats that kept slavery alive for nearly a century after independence, and the pan-Arabists and theocrats that abuse Palestinians by making them a vanguard in ongoing assaults on Israel.

    • What about the Palestinians? They are oppressing themselves, not sure why that deserves a monument.

      • "They are oppressing themselves"

        It should hurt to be this stupid.

  2. Why are we so concerned about hurting the feelings of our own domestic communists, exactly?

  3. Communists have feelings too. Bland, grey feelings dictated to them by the state.

  4. No mention of canned potato chips?

    After all, if that isn't communism I don't know what is.

  5. Political Correctness run amuck. Might as well call it the “Monument for People Who's Feelings Get Hurt Easily”. That should pretty well cover all the lib-lefties out there.

  6. Why do we give a monkey's what Canadian communists think or feel? They support an ideology that is responsible for more than a 100 million deaths over the past century so maybe some introspection by any remaining communists is appropriate.

    • "They support an ideology that is responsible for more than a 100 million deaths over the past century[…]"

      Excuse me? I'm no fan of Communism (or any ideology, for that matter), but that doesn't mean I can bloat the numbers. Stalin killed ~ 30-50 million; the Russian government says 3 million, the most anti- Stalinists say 50 million, but 30 million is the number most historians side with is usually around 30 million. Mao 30 million, Pol Pot killed 2 million. That's 82 million (if Stalin did kill 50 million).

      Thumbs up to your argument otherwise, though.

    • "They support an ideology that is responsible for more than a 100 million deaths over the past century[…]"

      Excuse me? I'm no fan of Communism (or any ideology, for that matter), but that doesn't mean I can bloat the numbers. Stalin killed ~ 30-50 million; the Russian government says 3 million, the most anti-Stalinists say 50 million, but 30 million is the number most historians side. Mao 30 million, Pol Pot killed 2 million. That's 82 million (if Stalin did kill 50 million).

      Thumbs up to your argument otherwise, though.

    • "They support an ideology that is responsible for more than a 100 million deaths over the past century[…]"

      Excuse me? I'm no fan of Communism (or any ideology, for that matter), but that doesn't mean I can bloat the numbers. Stalin killed ~ 30-50 million; the Russian government says 3 million, the most anti-Stalinists say 50 million, but 30 million is the number most historians side with. Mao killed 30 million, Pol Pot killed 2 million. That's 82 million (if Stalin did kill 50 million).

      Thumbs up to your argument otherwise, though.

      • That's like saying Christianity wiped out Mayan and Aztec culture. It wasn't "Christianity" that did that, it was the friggin' Spanish.

        • And the Spanish were…..you guessed it..Christians.

      • "Thumbs up to your argument otherwise, though."

        Your numbers need some revising. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Book_of_Co

        And I am not certain your argument, whatever it may be, is enhanced all that much by arguing that Communists were only responsible for 82 million deaths, not 100 million.

        • I haven't read "The Black Book of Communism," but every historical text I've read about Stalin and Mao provide the numbers I stated. "The Black Book of Communism," from the limited research I've done, seems more intent on taking an anti-Communist approach. There's nothing wrong with that, unless you're using the book as a source for objective means.

          "And I am not certain your argument, whatever it may be, is enhanced all that much by arguing that Communists were only responsible for 82 million deaths, not 100 million."

          I'm just picky. And I do think the monument should go up, by the way, with the words "Communist Repression" in bold capital letters.

      • "Thumbs up to your argument otherwise, though."

        Your numbers need some revising. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Book_of_Co

        And I am not certain your argument, whatever it may be, is enhanced all that much by arguing that Communists were only responsible for 82 million deaths, not 100 million.

  7. There are still Communists in Canada? Who knew?

    The Japan Commuinist Party elected three members in the recent elections there, but it's been decades since the party platform ever admitted to anything resembling communism.

    • "There are still Communists in Canada? Who knew?"

      I am in Guelph and there were two communist parties on my ballot last election. Both received more than a thousand votes, I think, but I don't believe this is typical across Canada.

  8. While imperfect, western liberalism is still the best system we have and is better adapted to navigating a changing world without killing millions to further political interests. It certainly shows that discussion is the best way to further interests.

    I think this monument is a great idea. It is however ironic that totalitarian regimes will be paying for it through taxes paid by Canadian arms trade companies who deal with these regimes and organizations that maintain power and stifle debate through violence and intimidation.

  9. Great. Why don't we just make a monument to Victims of Bad Stuff.

    That should be vague enough to offend no one and completely eliminate any value in the project.

      • Why must you exclude? Can we not simply have "A Monument"? Useful for any and all observances and occasions. A place where fascists and libertarians, commies and capitalists, oppressors and oppressed, can all feel at home.

        • Why do we need "A Monument"?

          The plinth thing seems to be working quite well in Trafalgar Square.

          • I like the progression here.

            1. Monument to victims of communism.
            2. Monument to victims of totalitarian communism.
            3. Monument to victims of bad stuff.
            4. Monument to victims.
            5. Monument to _____.
            6. Plinth.

  10. Or we could go all in and put pictures of a variety of nasty people in a place, you know,
    like a portrait gallery.

  11. Instead of a monument to the victims of communism, how about some program that teaches right wingers what communism really means, so they can challenge it more credibly and perhaps, actually recognize it when surfaces.

    I worry about them. I really do. I can just see them waking up one day in a collective and remarking: "Huh? How did that happen?"

    • Their so-called leader who enjoys to curl up with stories of Stalinesque power pusches would take exception to your assinuation. You Anon are just one of those left-wing fringe group fringers!

  12. Communism?

    Isn't that when Harper stuck it in his jacket pocket?

  13. The Western media, and more-so Hollywood, have done a wonderful job of exposing the ugliness of Fascism. Unfortunately, the job of exposing the ugliness of Communism has been largely ignored, particularly in light of the fact that the death tolls from Communism are staggering, even in comparison to Fascist tolls. The effects of Communism are cloaked by a preoccupation with McCarthyism, excused from any presence in our consciousness due to the fact that there were powerful American bigots in the 50's. They are also cloaked by the fact that Western populations seem disinterested in death tolls outside of the western hemisphere. Communist ideology has inspired atrocities of staggering proportions and shedding more light on the subject is a worthwhile pursuit.

    • To paraphrase Steyn, the politically correct view is that Fascism was the bad evil and Communism is the good evil. Sort of a well-intentioned idea that wasn't implemented correctly rather than the full-scale assault on freedom and human dignity that it actually was. Mass murderers like Che Guevara still have a popular following for this reason.

      • "Mass murderers like Che Guevara"
        …was he in power somewhere?

        • No, he is just a popular Communist figure who murdered thousands of people. Why?

        • No, he is just a popular Communist figure who murdered a lot of children. Why?

    • Who doubts that Stalin and Mao killed a lot of people? But it was deliberate in the first case, while my understanding was the most of the people whose death Mao is responsible for died from titanic mismanagement of the farm system during the Great Leap Forward. (He massacred his opponents too, but not to the tune of 30 million or whatever the figure is.) He was, after all, trying to increase the Chinese birthrate at the same time, so massacring people for the sake of massacring them was not his plan; whereas Stalin really tried to kill the Ukrainians.

      The reason Fascism is special is that it got aligned with Nazism; when we say "Fascism" we don't exactly exclude Germany and talk about Franco and Mussolini and Hitler's puppets. And Nazism is quite different from Communism: Communism was at least notionally about improving the human race, human solidarity, etc., whereas Nazism was about creating a nightmare of death and practically self-conscious evil — nothing motivated the Nazis more than the desire to crush the idea of human brotherhood, ideally once and for all. The word "fascism" is tinged with that nightmare vision.

      Finally, there were many Communist regimes that did not make mass murder their priority, including the Warsaw Pact after Stalin. So it does not follow that Communism inevitably leads to mass murder.

  14. Well, Communists killed people in the name of Communism in order to create the "Communist utopia." The Spanish conquered the Aztec and Inca civilizations in the name of "God, Glory, and Gold" (the Maya wasn't a regional power by the time the Spanish arrived, their civilization having declined in the 9th century).

    The Spanish did conquer, but the spread of the "true" faith of christianity definitely was a driving factor; as it was for the French and (to a lesser extent) the British.

    You do bring up a good point though; Canada was never a Communist country, yet we might erect a monument for the victims of Communism. Why aren't we erecting a monument to the victims of European colonialism/conquest? A period in history that anywhere from 40-140 million people were killed, as well as the destruction of three civilizations as advanced as the Egyptians/Greeks. Not to mention other lesser known advanced civilizations, like the Nazca, Olmec, Teotihuacán, Toltec, and Zapotec, where they were either conquered or their ruins and monuments plundered so that today they cannot be properly studied. Why don't we build a monument for them? Is it because it would require us to admit in having a hand in a genocide with other people of which we had common world-views (christianity)?

  15. Because Jason Kenney never wrote a high school essay about any of that.

  16. Depending on when/where Kenney went to school, I think he was more likely to have written high school essays on evil colonists than on communism.

    • Because all high schools are mindless factories of political correctness? Give me a break.

  17. I think you are demonstrating the good-evil, bad-evil logic that Gaunilon just pointed out: a ready argument that Communism should be excused of its atrocities because 'they meant to do good'.

    If, as you say, Nazism was less ideologically inspired, then Communism is even more culpable than Fascism, but I don't really accept that Nazism was less ideologically inspired; it was simply a much less coherent ideology. The desire to excuse Communist ideology, with its prescription for cultural cleansing through mass genocide to serve its own self promotion, is inhumanitarian.

  18. Jack, you seem to be continually excusing the ideology, which explicitly does target certain people.

    From the Communist Manifesto:
    The "dangerous class," the social scum, that passively rotting mass thrown off by the lowest layers of old society
    and
    Society can no longer live under this bourgeoisie, in other words, its existence is no longer compatible with society
    and
    What the bourgeoisie, therefore, produces, above all, is its own grave-diggers

    These are just a few examples, the ideology abounds with calls for not simply the overthrow, but the annihilation of a whole class of people, genocide is merited and encouraged. Regimes that have followed the ideology have embraced those values and tactics. This is not an ideology of brotherhood of Man, it is an ideology of brotherhood of people-of-the-same-ideology. While you may find this form of genocide noble, I do not. I also disagree on another point, body counts matter. As for crime and corruption, are you suggesting that these problems did not and do not exist in Communist regimes? You think there is a real answer to these problems in Communist ideology? Do you suggest that Communism, in its ideology and practice, does not stifle intellectual freedom and the forced submission of all discourse to a single infallible Idea?

    As for accusations, the only accusation I made was that excusing mass murder in the promotion of an ideology is inhumanitarian. Shedding light on its dangers is a good thing. I am, however, pleasantly perplexed by the notion that you throw me into the politically-correct camp.

    • Those quotations from the Communist Manifesto are not a call for genocide, they are a call to overthrow the existing order of society by violent means. It is true that Lenin shot a lot of bourgeois, but you can't start equating all calls to murde one's political opponents, however distasteful those are, with "genocide." The bourgeois, i.e. independently wealthy, are not a race — for one thing, they hardly exist anymore, not like in the 19th C anyway — they're a social class. There's really no comparison with Nazism unless we're willing to generalise wildly and say that every massacre is a mini-Holocaust. I don't buy that at all.

      Don't forget that the Communist manifesto emerged in Europe in 1848, at a time when child labour was extremely common, when the working class was practically starving to death, and the police were practically an army of occupation in many cities; also, in Germany at least, there was not even the pretense of constitutional rule. Frankly, while I don't justify murder in any situation, I can see why the Communists of 1848 had a point. That Lenin later took to mass-murdering all Russian bourgeois he could get his hands on is a) in part a Russian phenomenon and b) a later development.

      You've misread a few of my minor points, apparently because you're prejudging me as an apologist for Communism.

      "As for crime and corruption, are you suggesting that these problems did not and do not exist in Communist regimes?"

      I was saying exactly the opposite, namely that crime and corruption were essential characteristics of Communism because the whole system was built around lying.

      "Do you suggest that Communism, in its ideology and practice, does not stifle intellectual freedom and the forced submission of all discourse to a single infallible Idea?"

      My point was the exact opposite, Ed, as is quite plain if you take 1 minute rather than 5 seconds to read what I wrote.

    • Those quotations from the Communist Manifesto are not a call for genocide, they are a call to overthrow the existing order of society by violent means. It is true that Lenin shot a lot of bourgeois, but you can't start equating all calls to murde one's political opponents, however distasteful those are, with "genocide." The bourgeois, i.e. independently wealthy, are not a race — for one thing, they hardly exist anymore, not like in the 19th C anyway — they're a social class. There's really no comparison with Nazism unless we're willing to generalise wildly and say that every massacre is a mini-Holocaust. I don't buy that at all.

      Don't forget that the Communist manifesto emerged in Europe in 1848, at a time when child labour was extremely common, when the working class was practically starving to death, and the police were practically an army of occupation in many cities; also, in Germany at least, there was not even the pretense of constitutional rule. Frankly, while I don't justify murder in any situation, I can see why the Communists of 1848 had a point. That Lenin later took to mass-murdering all Russian bourgeois he could get his hands on is a) in part a Russian phenomenon and b) a later development.

      You've misread my post rather badly, apparently because you're prejudging me as an apologist for Communism.

      "As for crime and corruption, are you suggesting that these problems did not and do not exist in Communist regimes?"

      I was saying exactly the opposite, namely that crime and corruption were essential characteristics of Communism because the whole system was built around lying.

      "Do you suggest that Communism, in its ideology and practice, does not stifle intellectual freedom and the forced submission of all discourse to a single infallible Idea?"

      My point was the exact opposite, Ed, as is quite plain if you take 1 minute rather than 5 seconds to read what I wrote.

  19. I like the monument to the volunteers from Canada who fought the fascists in the Spanish Civil War better (many of them were communists, incidentally, and were opposed to oppression. Some of them, although not all, would have been opposed to what happened in the Soviet Union, China and elsewhere, in the name of communism.)

    The proposed monument by anti-communists, on the other hand, would prefer a blanket condemnation of "communism" and "communists" for their own reasons. Why?

    I'd be interested in knowing about the background of those organizing this project — I mean aside from Jason Kenney. We know about him.

    Start with a google search of the board of the Tribute to Liberty organization. See what you find.
    Start with Gerald Kokodyniak, Philip Leong…

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