Fresh from his continued failure to convince Britons that Brexit is A Very Wonderful Thing, MEP and occasional Tory Dan, Dan The Oratory Man has dashed off a piece for the International Business Times making a number of highly creative claims about Nazism and Communism, as he once more pretends that the Labour Party is in thrall to not just the socialist left, but a clique of unreconstructed Commies.
What am I bid for this whopper? It's with you sir, yes you, the man with the moustache and twitchy right arm
Sadly, Hannan goes wrong at the start, as he tells “We wouldn't celebrate a statue of Hitler. So why Engels? … Nazism killed 17 million people; Communism 100 million”. Warming to his theme, while also displaying his flair for talking well, but lying badly, Dan adds that “Marx [was] a notorious cadger who never properly worked for a living”. Marx, although terrible with money, was paid well for his writing, notably by the New York Tribune. One wonders how Hannan would manage without his MEP’s salary.
Still, back to the tiresome comparison of Engels and Hitler: “As far as we are aware, neither Hitler nor Engels personally murdered anyone”. Wow, David Irving must already have put the cheque in the post. Hitler was the head of a brutal, genocidal and racist régime which systematically murdered and subjugated its opponents.
My dog's got no nose
Engels, on the other hand, was a political theorist who looked for ways in which ordinary people would do rather better than their mid-19th Century lot, which, more or less, consisted of back-breaking toil, poverty, disease, squalor, an early death, and of course no say in the way their society progressed. All those at the bottom of the pile did not have the vote, and the poorest would not have it in Britain until after The Great War.
But let’s return to Hannan’s assertion that Communism killed 100 million people: this may have several flaws, not least that it is one of those suspiciously round numbers, but we can deal with one of them directly. Those killed in Russia during World War 2 are put down in the “Communist Deaths” column. Who kicked off World War 2, and especially Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the then Soviet Union? Clue: not Communism.
Statue of Marx and Engels in Berlin
Moreover, Hannan can’t get his head round the fact that while Hitler was there at the time, and very much in charge of what the Nazis did, all those deaths he ascribes to Engels (and to Karl Marx) were down to régimes they had no influence over, having both been dead for decades beforehand. All he can manage is “Marxism is somehow judged as a textbook theory, unrelated to its real-world outcomes”.
Duly emboldened, he continues “In fact, every Marxist regime ends up being homicidal”. No, some régimes which claim to govern in his name imprison, enslave, torture and kill. But, guess what? So do many other régimes which make no such claims. And when Hannan claims “Marx and Engels taught that the end justified the means”, no they didn’t. But when you truly believe they did, that’s not a big problem.
Daniel Hannan’s numbers are deeply suspect, his comparison of Engels and Hitler is preposterous, and his analysis typically dishonest. So no change there, then.