The Fruits of the Left
By Michael Kleen
October 21, 2009
From Leon Trotsky, to Mao Zedong, to Hugo Chávez, leftists have long claimed to champion the interests of the poor and oppressed. In the United States, the left routinely trots out horror stories in order to frighten people into supporting their agenda, and to paint their opponents as unfeeling monsters who have no compassion for the common man. History, however, paints a different picture.
No one incident illustrates the hollowness of this leftist narrative more than the murder of Saint Elizabeth the New Martyr. Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, as she was known in life, was a German princess who married into the Russian royal family in 1884 and was renowned for her beauty, charm, and compassion. When a socialist revolutionary named Ivan Kalyayev assassinated her husband in 1905, she asked Tsar Nicholas II to forgive him. Kalyayev would not accept a royal pardon, however, and was executed for his crime.
Elizabeth sold all of her possessions, including her wedding ring, and opened a convent in Moscow that included a hospital, pharmacy, and orphanage. She dedicated her life to helping Moscow’s poor. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Vladimir Lenin, leader of the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, allowed Elizabeth to continue her work with the convent, but as soon as it was expedient, Lenin ordered her arrest.
In July 1918, communist police took Elizabeth, along with other members of the royal family, to an abandoned iron mine outside the village of Siniachikha. They beat the prisoners and pushed them into the mine, afterwards throwing in a few grenades for good measure. Only one of the prisoners died immediately. Elizabeth and the others began to sing hymns, at which point the secret police shoved dry brush into the mine shaft and lit it on fire. By the time forces loyal to the monarchy arrived, all of the prisoners were dead.
The Russian Orthodox Church formally canonized Elizabeth in 1992.
The murder of Elizabeth, as ordered by Vladimir Lenin, was nothing short of cold blooded murder. She was not accused of any crime, but she was considered an enemy of the communist regime simply because she was a respected member of the Orthodox Church and of the royal family.
As a strong and independent woman who abandoned wealth to help the poor, Elizabeth represented everything Lenin and other leftist revolutionaries claimed to be fighting for. She was the epitome of social justice: her nuns elevated both men and women and administered to their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. She provided healthcare to the poor and took in abandoned children. Yet Lenin believed her very existence was a threat to his new socialist utopia.
When White House Communications Director Anita Dunn recently praised both Mao Zedong and Mother Teresa as her two favorite political philosophers, she was either displaying a gross ignorance of history or deliberately distorting it. One of the aforementioned persons was a secular devotee of Karl Marx who oversaw the deaths of 40-60 million Chinese, the other a devout Roman Catholic who devoted her life to serving the poor in India.
Like Vladimir Lenin, Mao Zedong—after he took power—ordered the murder of religious officials, landowners, businessmen, and any intellectuals who failed to fall in line with the new state ideology. Anita Dunn’s comparison of Mao Zedong and Mother Teresa was a deliberate attempt to obscure these historical facts, and to wrap leftism in an aura of good intentions. No amount of rhetoric can obscure the truth, however.
Lenin and the Bolsheviks promised Russia “peace, land, and bread,” but they delivered the Gulag, the Ukrainian famine, and a reign of terror. They abolished private enterprise and confiscated private property. Mao Zedong followed a similar path in China. Through lies, dissimulation, and rhetoric, leftists come to power promising to use the state to remake the world into a paradise, but their social change always comes at the expense of the very people they claim to help.
The language and the goals of the left have not changed in 92 years. It is not social justice they seek, but power: power over the lives of each and every one of us. They will do whatever it takes to achieve this power, even if it means something as extreme as killing a woman like Saint Elizabeth, or as absurd as equating Mao Zedong with Mother Teresa.