Never in the history of the world has there been a more destructive weapon actually deployed than socialism with power. With the end of the Cold War and the collapse of communism in eastern Europe, the West looked to be rid of this most destructive ideology for good. Recently, however, an increasingly large faction within the Democrat party in the United States has embraced the tenets of what is called “democratic” socialism. It is unclear how democratic — or, indeed, how socialist — this movement is in practice, but whatever its relationship to traditional Marxism, adopting the socialist moniker is reason enough for concern.

If democratic socialism is truly socialist — in the traditional sense of enforcing government ownership of the means of production — then it is a rebirth of morally and intellectually bankrupt ideology and should be treated as such. If democratic socialism is a synonym for the welfare states of the Nordic countries in western Europe, then that should be made absolutely clear from the outset, because Nordic “social democracies” are far from socialist, and they themselves have said as much.

Hopefully, the latter will turn out to be the case. But if we are faced with the former, we should know exactly what we can expect when principles are put into practice.

This editorial endorses neither the Republican nor the Democrat party, merely the idea that before the nation votes next week that they should understand the terrible weight behind the descriptor adopted by this surging movement on the political left in this country. That terrible weight was accumulated by the production of 100 million corpses in the 20th century. Communism of one form or another has been the political result of socialist revolutions the world over; it is, both in theory and in practice, the inevitable application of socialist ideals. In Russia and eastern Europe, in China, Vietnam, and Cambodia, in Korea, in South Africa, Somalia, Ethiopia, Angola, and the Congo, in Cuba and Grenada, in all of these countries and their satellite states the result of applied socialism was the same: repression, chaos, starvation, and mass slaughter.

Many young “democratic socialists” were born after the fall of the Soviet Union and the collapse of communism the world over — it is time they became aware of its legacy.

An economically and politically communist People’s Republic of China killed an estimated 70 million of its own citizens from 1949 onward — 38 million of whom perished in the artificial famine of Mao’s Great Leap Forward. The Soviet Union was responsible for an estimated 58 million deaths, including up to seven million in one year (1932-1933) from the man-made Holodomor famine in the Ukraine, and millions more in gulags and purges across the empire. An estimated seven million have died in the People’s Republic of Korea since 1948, either from starvation, or purges, or literally working themselves to death trying to subsist under the amoral and idiotic feudal socialism of the Kim regime. Two and a half million died in 12 years in Cambodia under the terror of Pol Pot. One and a half million have died in Vietnam since the mid-1970s. Over one million deaths in socialist Ethiopia were attributed to political assassinations, the murder of children in their schools, forced famine, and terrible conditions in relocation camps. And these are only the top offenders. Dozens of other regimes in Germany, Cuba, Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Yugoslavia and elsewhere add millions more to the death roles.