Via Instapundit comes this surprising op-ed from the New York Times that admits that the People's Republic of China's 'Great Leap Forward' caused truly frightening numbers of deaths: looking at the actual source material, its author is now estimating a death toll of 45 million (50% more than previous estimates). That works out to about 6.5% of its population, based on the 1960 census: to put that in perspective, the equivalent for 2010-era USA would be 20.15 million, or just over the entire population of New York State.
Now, this op-ed is not surprising because said famine (which was largely deliberate) is unique in the annals of world Communism: it's not. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had deliberate famines in the Ukraine in the 1930s and a general one just after World War II. The Khmer Rouge of Democratic Kampuchea likewise had a general one in the 1970s, as did the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in the 1990s. Half the famines in Africa over the last fifty years involved either civil wars started by Marxists, or started against them. In short, it's long been known that the only thing that Communism is good at is in turning large numbers of live peasants into large numbers of dead ones. That's because - as I have noted before - Marxism is intellectualism for stupid people; it tends to attract the sort who can't understand that an economic system that cannot feed its own population reliably has failed at the game of Life. Literally.
No, this article is surprising because it got published in The New York Times. Do you know that they still list Walter Duranty's Pulitzer on their awards page? Apparently, they think that it's enough to declare that the deliberate framing and hiding of widespread deliberate famines was a 'failure' on Duranty's part. Personally, if I was running the NYT I'd be demanding that the Pulitzer people revoke that prize as a blot on my paper's good name, but I suppose that the current owners have different priorities...
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: Ah, Glenn got a irate email from somebody throwing out the 'But their motivations are noble!' apology. Yes, of course: when I get a bullet in the back of the head from somebody for the 'crime' of believing in property rights I so totally will feel better about it because the shooter and I 'merely' disagree on the best route to Utopia.