Dear Mr. Maverick,

Rex, buddy—if I may—we need to talk.

First off, let me just say that I do think that there is a legitimate discussion to be had surrounding our current relationship with the Hammer & Sickle. I would still say that that our modern usage of the symbol is generally fine, although the Soviet Union committed a menagerie of atrocities, and the question as to whether or not we can and should reclaim their iconography is worth asking, and a counter point—as you clearly intended to put forth—would certainly have elements of validity behind it. But that’s not the case you made. Was it?

You started with the claim that, “The Hammer & Sickle is just as bad as the Swastika,” a radically untrue statement, and from there still journeyed far beyond your thesis, weaving a series of ill-faithed soliloquies bemoaning socialism in general, a subject you have displayed an increasingly poor understanding of in each sequential article! The argument you really seemed to be making was that socialism is just as bad as Nazism, a stance which—as demonstrated by your articles—can only be founded on incredulously false information. I am sorry if my assessment of your writings seems needlessly cruel, but this is the opinions section, after all, and such is my opinion of your work. Now, let’s talk about all the ways in which you are wrong.

Part I: The Swastika Is That Bad

I never thought I’d have to say this to a rational adult, but the Hammer & Sickle is not as bad as the Swastika! The f*cking Swastika! My instinct is to jump straight into a counter argument in favor of the image you detest so much; however, in the interest of sifting through all of your garbage, let’s first refute your actual case from parts I and III. The Soviet Union was neither as bad, or worse, than the German Nazi Party. Classism is not as bad as racism. Racism is worse.

You see, while both racist and the more violent communist ideologies fixate on hatred of a specific category of people, not all categories of people have equal resonance. When one hates a person for being too wealthy, it is not the person, but the wealth that is hated. One might go so far as to hate the person for what they have done—or, more often, have chosen not to do—with their wealth, but in a true socialist revolution, the person can be redeemed if a substantial enough quantity of their wealth is spread across the masses—be the exchange voluntary or not. Yes, many violent communist revolutions—including the one in Russia which led to the establishment of the Soviet Union—result in a retributive execution of the defrocked class, but here you must differentiate between communism and demagoguery. Such instances cannot be taken as exemplary of socialism in its entirety.

To the point, unlike communism with its possibility of redemption, racism offers no escape for its maligned people. The “parasites” villainized in the Russian revolution were vile because of their actions; actions which they could have changed to assuage the people's hunger. The Jews reviled in Nazi Germany had done nothing harmful with their Jewishness, and at no point could they stop being Jewish in an attempt to appease the racists. A wealthy person can cease to be wealthy, a Jew cannot cease to be a Jew. Although I do not agree with the violent means used by the Russians in their revolution, I recognize—and you should too—that there was great suffering within the proletariat which was not felt, and could have even been cured by the bourgeoisie. Nazi violence against the Jews, conversely, was not provoked, unless you count the crucifixion of Christ.

Furthermore, when a society exterminates a class, the effect is mostly economic. The local and global economies will shift, as economies are won't to do, but the culture itself continues to be. When a society exterminates a race, it is not just the people, but their culture which is harmed. Their language, music, art, architecture, dance, customs, and literature are all victims of such genocide. Yes, they won’t vanish entirely, but the culture and all her components certainly stagnate. Such elements of culture as I have listed above are concepts which I fervently consider more important than any state of any economy, as they are the qualities that give us our humanity; and if you share such sentiments, if you value the existence of any art, you must also find racism to be the vastly worse evil.

You also claim that the Hammer & Sickle is worse because more people died under its banner than that of the Swastika. The factual claim in this statement may be true, but I don’t think you really want to make the case that whichever symbol has the most bodies buried beneath it ought to be obliterated. Forget the Hammer & Sickle, how many people do you think have died under the Cross? It’s hard to find records from Constantine’s time as exact as the ones covering the USSR, but I’m willing to bet that the body count of nearly two thousand years of violence is at least comparable, if not greater. Should contemporary Christians (or at least those Christians who oppose violence) then abandon the Cross? I don’t think so, but it would certainly be in line with your argument. Or is it that a symbol’s violent history only counts for you if the political ideology behind it differs from your own? For what it’s worth, Jesus was politically left of Marx.

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