Should people in western democracies fear the far right or the far left more? In this previous article I tried to answer this.
However that argument was longer than I think most people are willing to read. So here is shorter version.
Fascism is a Danger to Democracies, Communism Isn’t
Communism only ever took power in poor undemocratic countries. Rich democracies in contrast have never experienced communist takeovers. However rich democracies have suffered under Fascism, Nazism and other extreme right ideologies. In the cases where parties with socialist or communist ideologies have taken power in democratic elections this has usually led to social democracy. We’ve seen this in e.g. Scandinavian countries.
The Gulags did not represent a new cruelty by Soviet socialism, but rather a continuation of a limited form of serfdom, practiced in Czar Russia. The US applied the same sneaky approach to perpetuate black slavery after the civil war, using the convict lease system.
Revolutions Are Bloody and The Nazis Killed More People
The numbers shown for communism suggests they were the worst. However a lot of the numbers regarding the Soviet Union was inflated for propaganda purposes. Recent analysis suggest the Nazis killed more people than Stalin:
Today, after two decades of access to Eastern European archives, and thanks to the work of German, Russian, Israeli, and other scholars, we can resolve the question of numbers. The total number of noncombatants killed by the Germans — about 11 million — is roughly what we had thought. The total number of civilians killed by the Soviets, however, is considerably less than we had believed. We know now that the Germans killed more people than the Soviets did.
A point often overlooked is that Hitler managed to kill more than Stalin, despite the fact that he gained power without bloodshed through a peaceful, democratic takeover. Communists fought an oppressive regime to gain power, which mean it was a bloody affair. That is not an attempted excuse for communists. This has happened with all revolutions, regardless of ideology.
The people who started the French revolution had liberal democracy as their ideology, yet Robespierre of the French revolution is famous for his reign of terror.
Double Standard In Associating Atrocities with Socialism
The horrors of Stalin and Mao are blamed on Socialism. Yet the extermination of native Americans is not pinned on capitalist democracy. It has been claimed the British Empire was responsible for killing 35 million Indians. Yet once again capitalism is not saddled with blame for this.
The British let 1 million Irish die in the potato famine, others were forced to emigrate, causing the country to lose upto a quarter of its population.
The deaths in the potato famine can actually be tied to capitalism, in particular libertarian ideology. The belief was that government should never intervene in markets. Thus the UK government did nothing to stop the famine.