May Day and Historical Obliviousness

russia-lenin-stali_2207960k Yesterday was May Day, the day when people around the world who benefit from the effects of capitalism in ways too numerous to mention, spend one day denouncing capitalism and arguing for policies that will lead to the immiseration of billions if implemented.

When I write about “historical obliviousness” in the title of this post, I’m not kidding. That is why I have long supported marking May 1 as Victims of Communism Day. The effects of marking such a day can be quite salutary, as Ilya Somin points out:

Our relative neglect of communist crimes carries a real cost. Victims of Communism Day can serve the dual purpose of appropriately commemorating the millions of victims, and diminishing the likelihood that such atrocities will recur. Just as Holocaust Memorial Day and other such commemorations help sensitize us to the dangers of racism, anti-Semitism, and radical nationalism, so Victims of Communism Day can increase awareness of the dangers of far left forms of totalitarianism, and extreme government control of the economy and civil society.

In the meantime, note that May Day celebrants spent yesterday trying to damage local economies–as is their wont:

Crowds clashed with police during May Day marches in several U.S. West Coast cities late on Friday, as officers responded with stun grenades and pepper spray, police and media said.

Anti-capitalist protesters hurled wrenches and rocks at officers in Seattle, police said. Demonstrators in Oakland, California, and several other cities, rallied against a series of police killings of unarmed black men, local media reported.

Footage on social media showed protesters smashing shop windows in Seattle and crowds scattering as police in riot gear threw in “flashbang” grenades. Demonstrators set fire to garbage and damaged at least two dozen vehicles, police said.

“This is no longer demonstration management, this has turned into a riot,” Seattle Police Captain Chris Fowler said in a statement.

No wonder that cartoons like this one have such resonance:

Relatively Tame

(Photo Credit. Cartoon courtesy of The Independent Institute.)