Canada to fund tribute to communism?

August 23, 2013 by  

Imagine a golden memorial to the victims of concentration camps being built buy those who ran the camps, and made by melting down the gold teeth of the victims. Such a memorial would not be possible but for the theft, imprisonment and murder involved in its creation. Such a grotesque and pain-invoking memorial would, in fact, stand not for the wrongfulness of letting people starve in concentration camps, but for the fact that the oppressors got away with their evil deeds. If you share my view of this, I can only hope you regard today’s news as being a stunning example of the same sort of perversion (though less graphic): today, the federal government of Canada announced that up to $1.5M taxpayer dollars will be given to a private group astonishingly titled “Tribute to Liberty”, so that it can erect a “Memorial to Victims of Totalitarian Communism” on crown land near the Supreme Court of Canada.

Tribute to Liberty announced its intention to build the memorial in or about 2009. At that point, it was not clear whether or not the group would succeed in its then-plan to raise the $1.5M it needed to erect the memorial. Three years later, it is clear that the group was unable to obtain the funds by way of voluntary contributions. So the group resorted to having the government take from all Canadians – under threat of fine or imprisonment (i.e., by way of taxation) – the money it wanted for the statue. Somehow, neither the federal government nor the Tribute to Liberty group minds resorting to the founding communist principle of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” when the purpose is to condemn that very principle.

Because it will stand as a taxpayer-funded monument, in the nation’s capital, on government land, this has got to be one of the biggest affronts to freedom and capitalism I can think of. When erected, it will not be a memorial to the victims of communism: it will be a giant middle finger to those victims, and to all who paid for the memorial. It will be a monument that screams: “Here are 1.5 million reasons why the advocacy of freedom and capitalism is pointless. Give up all hope for freedom, comrade. The fix is in.”

Of course, that this was going to be another example of “With friends like these, who needs enemies” was apparent from the time the title of the monument was released, years ago. A “Memorial to Victims of Totalitarian Communism” implies – loudly – that there are forms of communism that are not ultimately totalitarian. Or, at the very least, it implies – even more loudly – that: “Communism’s just dandy, provided it’s not totalitarian”.

Then there was the memorial’s subtitle, added when Canadian communists complained about the proposed memorial: “Canada, a Land of Refuge.” Again, if a country uses communist means to erect a purportedly anti-communist memorial, what sort of refuge can it actually offer? If Canada is the only “land of refuge” from communism then, clearly, this memorial tells the onlooker that there is no refuge from communism, anywhere. A monument that could have inspired hope and pride will stand only for hopelessness and the shameful defeat of freedom and capitalism.

I have little doubt that both the Tribute to Liberty group and the federal government fully intend quite the opposite to be the effect of this memorial. I do not doubt for a second that those involved in the project sincerely reject communism and that they or their friends and families have suffered under communism. But I call upon both the government, and the Tribute to Liberty group, to reconsider what a taxpayer funded anti-communism monument actually does to the victims of communism. Taxpayer funding is, in effect, a re-victimization of those people, as well as the taxpayer. If they really want to make an anti-communist statement, the federal government should revoke its offer, and the Tribute to Liberty group should announce that, upon further reflection, it refuses to accept taxpayer dollars.

And, while they’re at it, they should drop the “totalitarian” qualifier. That, perhaps more than anything else, would be a show of common cause with the victims of communism.


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