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                          a series of speeches and lectures honoring the virtues of a free and democratic society

                                                                      Is Communism Dead?
                                                                                   By Lee Edwards

                                            This year The Fund for American Studies honored Dr. Lee Edwards with its annual Walter Judd
                                            Freedom Award. What follows is Edward’s acceptance speech.

                                            The Walter Judd Freedom Award has been conferred on some extraordinary Americans,
                                            including President Ronald Reagan, William F. Buckley, Jr., Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick and
                                            Chinese dissident Harry Wu. All recipients of this award are bound by a common thread of
                                            service to principle: That human liberty is an absolute right and that it is America’s responsibility
                                            to inspire and to foster efforts to realize it.

                                            Edwards studies history, often in exquisite detail, with an eye on discerning its lessons not just
Dr. Lee Edwards is widely regarded as       to better understand the past, but to help shape the present and set a morally grounded course
the chief historian of the American con-    for the future. He has worked tirelessly to ensure that communism’s crimes will not be forgotten.
servative movement, having published
more than 15 books on the subject. He is
The Heritage Foundation’s Distinguished     I thank The Fund for American Studies for          I am often asked how an Irish-German-Welch
Fellow in Conservative Thought, an ad-      this distinguished award. I accept it most         American like me became so interested in
junct professor at Catholic University      humbly on behalf of the many many people           and opposed to communism.
and chairman of the Victims of Commu-       who worked for more than a decade to make
nism Memorial Foundation. The Founda-       the Victims of Communism Memorial a real-          The answer lies in the influence of three peo-
tion reached an important goal in 2007      ity.                                               ple – my father Willard Edwards, a reporter
with the dedication of a memorial in                                                           for the Chicago Tribune for nearly 50 years;
Washington, D.C. to the more than 100       I want to single out six individuals for           William F. Buckley Jr., the fabled author,
million victims of communism.               their indispensable help: Ambassador Lev           commentator and founder of National Re-
                                            Dobriansky, the first chairman of the Victims      view, and Dr. Walter Judd.
Edwards was a founding director of The      of Communism Memorial Foundation; Ed
Fund’s Institute on Political Journalism    Feulner, president of The Heritage Founda-         Starting in the late 1930s my father covered
and a fellow at the Institute of Politics   tion; Randal Teague, chairman of The Fund          every important congressional hearing about
at the John F. Kennedy School of Gov-       for American Studies; Karl Altau, manag-           communism, developing a wide network of
ernment at Harvard University. He is a      ing director of the Joint Baltic American          experts and sources that was unmatched
past president of The Philadelphia Soci-    National Committee; Tom Phillips, president        among Washington journalists. I met many
ety and has been a Media Fellow at the      of the Phillips Foundation, and Anhthu Lu          of these experts – most of them former
Hoover Institution.                         of the National Congress of Vietnamese             communists – at our home. I never tired of
                                            Americans.                                         their stories of how they were first attracted
Edwards holds a bachelor’s degree in                                                           to communism but rejected it when they
English from Duke University and a doc-     I also accept the Walter Judd Freedom Award        realized it was all a web of lies.
torate in world politics from Catholic      on behalf of the more than 100 million
University.                                 victims of communism.                              I was also strongly influenced by the writing
  Learn more about the Victims of                                                              of Bill Buckley who agreed with Whittaker
Communism Memorial Foundation at:
    Chambers that in communism, America            The failure to get straight the rights and   and women; and in China, the land of the
    faced a transcendent not a transitory          the wrongs, the myths and the realities      Laogai – a system of one thousand forced

    crisis – a crisis not of politics or econom-   of communism explains, in part, why it       labor camps.
    ics but of faith.

    I was privileged to work with Dr. Judd
                                                      In a world where                          “The fall of the [Soviet] empire,” Vaclav
                                                                                                Havel wrote, “is an event on the same
    for more than two decades, first with the             Castro is a                           scale of historical importance as the fall
    Committee of One Million and then with                                                      of the Roman Empire.” And yet what do
    the American Council for World Freedom.        “revolutionary premier,”                     many historians say about the collapse of
    His insights into communism – especially
    that it was doomed to fail because it be-
                                                       Stalin a “leader”                        Soviet communism?

    lieved that communists could create a             and communism a                           That it was inevitable. That it happened
    new man without regard for human na-                                                        in spite of and not because of President
    ture and natural law – profoundly affected     “social system,” it is not                   Truman’s historic policy of containment
    my understanding of the “ism” respon-
    sible for the deaths of more than 100 mil-
    lion people.
                                                   surprising that a popular
                                                    nightspot in New York
                                                                              “                 and President Reagan’s prudential policy
                                                                                                of peace through strength.

                                                                                                Historians like Leslie Adler and Thomas
    The political scientist Joshua Muravchik         City is the KGB Bar.                       Patterson, for example, write that Soviet
    has written that “if we cannot get straight                                                 communism “was a system proclaiming a
    the rights and wrongs of the struggle                                                       humanistic ideology” that only “fail[ed] to
    between Communism and anti-Commu-              persists in Cuba where the regime silences   live up to its ideal.”
    nism, itself perhaps the greatest moral        any opposition; in North Korea where the
    struggle of [the twentieth] century, then      people live in a totalitarian nightmare;     In truth, the Bolsheviks failed to deliver
    it is hard to see what other issues we will    in Laos and in Vietnam where the most        in every way. They promised bread but
    ever be able to address intelligently.”        elementary human rights are denied men       produced food shortages and rationing.

                                             The FUND for AMERICAN STUDIES                            MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR
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                                                                                                          2008 LEADERSHIP NETWORK
                                                                                                                Scottsdale, Ariz.
                                                                                                             November 14 & 15, 2008

                                                                                                          2009 ANNUAL CONFERENCE
                                                                                                                Washington, D.C.
                                                                                                                April 16 & 17, 2009

                                                                                                         TOUR OF ENGLAND & FRANCE
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                                                                                                              de Tocqueville and
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                                                                                                         August 28 - September 5, 2009

                                                                                                          2009 LEADERSHIP NETWORK
                                                                                                           Tour the Reagan Ranch, and
                                                                                                     dine at the Air Force One Pavilion at the

             2008 LEADERSHIP NETWORK                                                                   Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
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                                      THE FUND FOR AMERICAN STUDIES • WWW.TFAS.ORG • 202-986-0384

They pledged peace but sacrificed young
men in wars in far-off lands.

They guaranteed the peasants land but
delivered them into collectives.

Some historians cannot bring themselves
to call Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot what
they truly are.

I refer you to the current edition of Web-
ster’s New College Dictionary in which

                                                                                                                                                        Photo: Andrew Blasko/The Heritage Foundation
Hitler and Mussolini are described as
“dictators” while Lenin and Mao are called
“leaders.” Fidel Castro is given special
status as “Cuban revolutionary premier.”

In a world where Castro is a “revolutionary
premier,” Stalin a “leader” and commu-
nism a “social system,” it is not surpris-
ing that a popular nightspot in New York
City is the KGB Bar. The club is report-
edly crowded most nights especially on        President George W. Bush recognizes Lee Edwards during the Victims of Communism Memorial dedication.

Sundays when Marxists read their works
under the club’s symbol – the hammer
and sickle.
                                                     There were, first, the epic costs in human life,
I wonder: How long would a New York
nightclub named The Gestapo last?
                                                      estimated in the authoritative Black Book of
                                                     Communism to be between 85 and 100 million
When asked the true price of communism,
the award-winning foreign correspondent
                                                              men, women and children.
Eugene Lyons had a ready answer. “It is
a price,” he wrote, “paid in the coin of
terror, forcible collectivization, man-made    world swarming with invisible eyes and                     whether in any country of the world – not
famine, slave-labor camps, blood-purges,       ears,” wrote the Soviet defector Victor                    even in Hitler’s Germany – have the mind
thought control, brutal exploitation of        Kravchenko. It was a world where a knock                   and spirit ever been less free, more bent,
workers and farmers, persecution of            on the door in the night was not that of a                 more terrorized and indeed vassalized –
religion, political oppressions, genocidal     family member or neighbor but the KGB.                     than in the Soviet Union.”
massacres and deportations.”                   Millions of Soviet citizens experienced
                                               the gehenna of the slave-labor system –                    There were the political costs of commu-
In his classic work, Workers’ Paradise         the Gulag Archipelago.                                     nism, including the denial of open elec-
Lost, Lyons listed the costs of commu-                                                                    tions, multiple parties, free assembly, a
nism in six major areas. There were, first,    There were the costs in thought control,                   free press, an independent judiciary… all
the epic costs in human life, estimated in     echoing the darkest passages of George                     the institutions that make representative
the authoritative Black Book of Commu-         Orwell’s prophetic work, 1984. No book,                    democracy possible. Under Soviet com-
nism to be between 85 and 100 million          no song, no poem, no play, no radio or                     munism, the individual had no role in
men, women and children.                       television program, no newspaper, no                       decision-making – the Communist Party
                                               lecture, no scientific paper or experiment                 was all.
That is more than died in all the wars of      was immune from ideological scrutiny
the 20th century.                              and censorship.                                            There were the terrible costs to the world.
                                                                                                          It is impossible to consider a major crisis
There were the costs in terror among           After visiting Stalin’s “paradise,” the leftist            of the last 70 years – from World War II
those who survived. “We lived in a             French writer Andre Gide wrote, “I doubt                   to Korea to Vietnam to the continuing

                                        1706 NEW HAMPSHIRE AVE. NW, WASHINGTON, D.C. 20009

“         All these truths about communism must be recorded and passed on.
                  That is the mission of the Victims of Communism Memorial
          Foundation: to educate this generation and future generations about
                          the history, philosophy and legacy of communism.

conflict in the Middle East – in which the     Wherever they came to power, Com-
territorial and ideological ambitions of the   munists killed – in the “killing fields” of
Communists were not involved and were          Cambodia where one-sixth of the civilian
often the major cause of the crisis.           population perished, in the “reeducation”
                                               camps of Vietnam, filled with an estimated
There is the latest and perhaps most in-       one million people out of a population of
sidious cost of communism – terrorism.         20 million; with the tragic famines that
                                               have decimated the population of North
The author J. Michael Waller examined the      Korea for half a century.
links between international terrorism and
communism. He concluded, “The USSR             They found their justification in Lenin,
and its proxies armed and built the inter-     the revered father of Marxism-Leninism
national terrorist networks of the 1960s       who, in the words of the late Russian
through the 1980s.” If the communist-          historian Alexander Yakovlev, created a sys-
coordinated terrorists had been quashed        tem “based on the ideology of violence.”
or had never existed, Waller wrote, in all
likelihood the world would not be plagued      All these truths about communism must
today by al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and        be recorded and passed on. That is the
the other violent organizations that com-      mission of the Victims of Communism
mit mass murder “in the name of God.”          Memorial Foundation: to educate this
                                               generation and future generations about
An image that came to the historian Rob-       the history, philosophy and legacy of com-
ert Conquest when considering Stalin was       munism.
Goya’s horrific painting, “Saturn Devour-
ing His Children.” But Stalin was Saturn       The first step in our educational plan
magnified a hundred times, for the Soviet      was to build and dedicate, on June 12,
dictator devoured millions of men, women       2007, the world’s first Memorial to all the
and children, the equivalent of entire na-     victims of communism.
                                               The memorial features a 10-foot-high
Yet Stalin’s crimes against humanity           bronze replica of the Goddess of Democ-
were surpassed by another despot, Mao          racy statue erected by Chinese students in
Tse-tung, the so-called Great Helmsman         Tiananmen Square in the spring of 1989
of China. The Black Book of Communism          and later destroyed by Chinese Commu-
                                                                                                    Photo: Andrew Blasko

estimates that from 1949, when the Chi-        nist tanks.
nese Communists seized power, through
1978, when the pragmatic Communist             We selected the Goddess of Democracy,
Deng Hsiao-ping took control, an estimat-      based on the Statue of Liberty in New York
ed 65 million Chinese citizens died.           City harbor, because it is a graphic remind-

                                  THE FUND FOR AMERICAN STUDIES • WWW.TFAS.ORG • 202-986-0384

    (l.-r.) General Edward L. Rowny, past Walter Judd Freedom Award winner; Edwin Feulner, president of The Heritage Foundation and past Walter Judd Freedom Award winner; Roger
    Ream, Fund president; Fund Trustee Emeritus Hon. Phil Crane, past Judd Freedom Award winner; Randal C. Teague, Fund chairman; Lee Edwards, 2008 Walter Judd Freedom Award
    winner; Michael Thompson, Fund vice chairman; Fund Trustee Emeritus Paula Dobriansky, under secretary of democracy and global affairs at the U.S. Department of State; Dr. George
    Viksnins, long-time Fund economics professor and past Walter Judd Freedom Award winner.

    er of how communism suppresses anyone                         picting those who led the struggle against
    who challenges its authority, and because                     communism; (4) a Hall of Infamy show-
    the statue has become a global symbol of                      ing the instruments of repression used by                             If the communist-
    man’s innate desire for freedom.                              communists such as the Berlin Wall, the
                                                                  Gulag, the KGB, the stasi and the Laogai;                        coordinated terrorists
    I am pleased to report that the memorial                      and (5) oral histories of the brave men and
    has become a routine stop for visiting for-                   women who suffered and survived under                             had been quashed or
    eign leaders who after going to the White                     communism.
    House and the State Department come to
    our memorial to lay a wreath and pay their                    While building the virtual museum –
                                                                                                                                       had never existed,
    respects to those who died under commu-                       which will be launched in early 2009 –
    nism.                                                         the Foundation will build a network of                       Waller wrote, in all like-
                                                                  museums, libraries and organizations in
    The second step in our educational plan                       America and around the world with a core                       lihood the world would
    is to build the Global Museum on Com-                         interest in the crimes and victims of com-
    munism on the Internet, the first Inter-                      munism.                                                       not be plagued today by
    net museum that will tell the complete
    story of communism from Karl Marx’s The
    Communist Manifesto to current events
                                                                  The launching of the Global Museum on
                                                                  Communism will be the first of a series of
                                                                                                                                    al Qaeda, Hezbollah,
    in China, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos and North                       events we will organize in 2009, the 20th
    Korea.                                                        anniversary of the fall of communism in
                                                                                                                                    Hamas and the other
                                                                  Eastern and Central Europe and the disin-
    The Global Museum on Communism will                           tegration of the Soviet empire.                                   violent organizations
    include (1) compelling histories of the 37
    nations that suffered under communism;
    (2) a multi-media Timeline of Communism
    from the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 to
    the present; (3) a Gallery of Heroes, de-
                                                                  The third step in our program is to
                                                                  construct a bricks-and-mortar museum
                                                                  and library in the Washington, D.C., area,
                                                                  similar to the highly successful United
                                                                                                                               that commit mass murder
                                                                                                                                     ‘in the name of God.’
                                                           1706 NEW HAMPSHIRE AVE. NW, WASHINGTON, D.C. 20009

                                                                                                                           Teaching Freedom
Fund Trustee Emeritus Paula Dobriansky, under secretary of democracy and global affairs at the U.S. Department of State,
presents Lee Edwards with the Walter Judd Freedom Award.

States Holocaust Memorial Museum,                              “member of an enemy’s family” or the
which attracts more than two million visi-                     children who grew up in orphanages and
tors annually.                                                 joined criminal gangs or the uncles and
                                                               aunts and cousins who cut off contact
This is admittedly a highly ambitious pro-                     with each other for fear of also being sent
gram, and sometimes I am asked: “Why                           to the camps.
do you bother? Communism is dead and
gone.” My answer is always the same.                           In their many different languages, the vic-
                                                               tims keep saying, “Remember us, remem-
Communism is not dead but alive and                            ber us.”
all too well in China, Cuba, North Korea,
Vietnam and Laos. Its pernicious influ-                        We cannot, we must not, we will not for-
ence can be seen in Western countries.                         get those who died – and are still dying
                                                               – under communism.
Those who use communism to maintain
political power would like us to forget the                    The Victims of Communism Memorial,
crimes and victims of communism, past                          the Global Museum on Communism on
and present. This we will not do.                              the Internet, and the United States Mu-
                                                               seum and Library on Communism will all
We will not forget those who were tried                        serve to remind us that never again must
and shot as an “enemy of the people” or                        nations and peoples permit so evil a tyr-
the wives who were sent to a camp as a                         anny to terrorize the world. Thank you.

Teaching Freedom is a series of remarks on freedom published by The Fund for American
Studies, a nonprofit educational organization in Washington, D.C. The speakers featured
in each issue of Teaching Freedom delivered their remarks at a TFAS institute or

The speakers who participate in our educational programs contribute greatly to the purpose
and mission of our programs. We publish these speeches in an effort to share the words
and lessons of our speakers with our friends, alumni, supporters and others throughout the
country and world who are unable to attend our events.

                                                         1706 NEW HAMPSHIRE AVE. NW, WASHINGTON, D.C. 20009

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