Harvard student scorns casual communism of classmates
A Harvard University student whose father escaped Romanian Communism recently called out her liberal classmates for casually endorsing the murderous ideology.
In an essay for The Harvard Crimson, sophomore Laura Nicolae warns that widespread student sentiment on campus paints communism as an “idealistic or revolutionary” ideology, glossing over the fact that millions of people have died as a result of it.
“Roughly 100 million people died at the hands of the ideology my parents escaped,” she writes. “They cannot tell their story. We owe it to them to recognize that this ideology is not a fad, and their deaths are not a joke.”
Nicolae argues that for many students, “casually endorsing communism is a cool, edgy way to gripe about the world,” citing the rise of students wearing Ché Guevara shirts, the formation of student clubs dedicated to Marxism, and noting that her campus is “saturated with Marxist memes and jokes about communist revolutions.”
In an interview with Campus Reform, Nicolae explained that she was inspired to write the piece because she hopes to “remind people of the historical truth that every time communism has been tried, it has resulted in misery, starvation, and violence.”
Students don’t learn this in school, she explained, adding that “communist theory and rhetoric have been separated from communism’s historical consequences.”
“College culture generally looks favorably upon the idea that we should be mindful of the historical context and consequences of our political speech,” she said. “It’s a mystery to me why political speech about communism doesn’t get that same treatment. That’s a double standard.”
While Nicolae noted that many students whom she met “actually do have a deep understanding of communist theory,” they often remain too “hopeful and idealistic.”
The fact that communism has resulted in over 100 million deaths, Nicolae argued, “should be a warning bell that this view is wrong.
“As responsible scholars, we shouldn’t just ignore communism’s long and robust correlation with oppression, starvation, and violence,” she continued. “Overlooking that history in order to exclusively focus on the idealist theory omits a huge part of communism’s story.”
According to Nicolae, students who embrace communism are “gambling with people’s lives on the hope that sometime in the future it will be ‘done right.’’
“That kind of political calculus is opportunistic, and in my view, immoral,” she told Campus Reform. “But we can’t have a discussion about whether making that sacrifice is worth it if we simply ignore that the sacrifice exists.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen
Disclosure: Ms. Nicolae is a Campus Correspondent for Campus Reform.