By Joe Keysor
Most people think that the events in Cambodia of less than 50 years ago are not relevant to us today, but this is a mistake. There are lessons to be learned from the catastrophe Pol Pot and the Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK) brought upon the Cambodian people. Nearly or perhaps even all of the top leaders of the Khmer Rouge were Paris-educated intellectuals who were very much in harmony with deeply destructive Western utopian and leftist ideas. Adherents of some of those same ideas are now diligently working to destabilize the wealthiest and most powerful nation on the face of the earth.
One familiar aspect of Khmer Rouge tactics was a constant harping on inequality and injustice. Before they came to power, the Cambodian Communists inflamed people’s sense of outrage by pointing to social wrongs and inequities. No matter whether Cambodia was under French colonial rule, an independent monarchy, or the dictatorship of Lon Nol, the aim of socialists, “progressives” and revolutionaries was always to destabilize the government. This was not done because of their love of justice and humanity, but as part of their long-term goal of gaining power for themselves. In the end, however, they introduced a nightmare that made all previous injustices seem benign by comparison.
In the same way, radical leftists in America today do not care about lives lost due to urban crime. Neither do they care about human lives lost to abortion. They do care about acts of violence committed by the police, however, as it suits their agenda to weaken the forces of law enforcement by any means possible. Their sense of right and wrong is not derived from eternal standards that apply equally to all, but rather by the dictates of political expediency, and by revolutionary goals and strategies that are cynical, opportunistic and amoral.
Another characteristic of the Cambodian Communists was their deceitfulness. They deliberately presented a moderate front and worked in feigned cooperation with temporary political allies, while behind the scenes they worked to seize power. Nourished on the writings of Lenin, Stalin, Mao and others, they purposefully disguised their real aims and sought to gain broader appeal by telling various groups what they wanted to hear.
This also is relevant to our current political situation. There are Americans who have a sincere concern for advancing the cause of civil rights and abstract ideas of justice, but they are being manipulated and deceived by people who are more cunning and devious in their approach than many can imagine. Radical political activists, like swindlers and con men, know how to appear convincing, and can cleverly appeal to people’s better instincts, all the while aiming at distinctly different ends. Those ends are often beyond the understanding of simple-minded people who think that anyone who agrees with them must be basically harmless like themselves.
Another parallel trait was violence. Like all Marxists and radical leftists, revolutionary groups in the United States today consider violence to be a valid political tactic to destabilize society and eliminate or intimidate opponents. At the same time, they object to violence, threats of violence, or even criticism by their adversaries. Extreme callousness and virtuous hypocrisy are common traits among secular utopians for whom human life has no value. They believe killing, even on a large scale, is justified for the “good” of the humanity.
Two other characteristics that link the Khmer Rouge to so many of our leftists today were ignorance and incompetence. The Cambodian Communists had no idea of how wealth was created or how an economy was managed and – like Lenin, Mao, Stalin, Castro and Hugo Chavez – took imperfect but functioning economies and wrecked them through sheer stupidity. They hated rich people but then had insufficient investment capital. They hated intellectuals but then could not properly design or maintain factories or irrigation systems. We are now experiencing the effects in our own country of self-destructive economic policies based on complete ignorance of the basic principles of private property rights and a free-market economic system.
Finally, the Cambodian rulers viewed anyone who disagreed with them as an enemy. This included a deep hatred of religion, because it offered an alternative worldview that nullified revolutionary aspirations. They sought an earthly paradise which the Bible teaches is impossible, a world in which liberty, risk, success, achievement, failure and even normal human emotions themselves were to be eliminated to create a uniform and to them harmonious mass of robots and unthinking slaves.
The foundations of America are being steadily eroded by those who inflame things like class envy or racism; who hate religion; who violently blacken legitimate opponents with ridiculous and irresponsible rhetoric; who have complete confidence in their ability to remake the world and to save the planet, if only they can first get their hands on the levers of power by any means, fair or foul. They fancy themselves as agents of progress when in fact they are agents of corruption and decay, and harbingers of disaster.
We Americans imagine that we will never experience the miseries that have afflicted so many other nations. We imagine that we are special, that prosperity and peace are our natural birthright and heritage that we deserve just because we are Americans – but some can see the dark waters rising, as demagogues hungry for power offer solutions to a gullible and simple-minded populace. Their plans for radically reorganizing society and reshaping mankind will, if put into practice, destroy the very bases of our previous prosperity, eliminate our freedoms and place us under the power of those who have contempt for God and religion, as well as contempt for common people.
Joe Keysor is a retired English teacher who has worked overseas (25 years in China, Oman and Saudi Arabia). He has published several books as well as book reviews and articles, including “Hitler, the Holocaust and the Bible” (Athanatos). His latest book is “Light in the Darkness of Postmodernism” (self-published).
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