Mao Zedong became one of the last century’s most powerful dictators by completely transforming Chinese society through a systematic use of violence, coercion, and aggressive propaganda. His method was so unique – and ruthlessly effective – it was codified by historians and political scholars as Maoism.
Today, a new kind of Maoism is developing in the American left, and it is a direct threat to the American traditions of individual rights, the rule of law, the Constitution, and personal freedom.
I was recently reminded how real the threat of renewed Maoism is – and how little it is understood – when a Chinese American woman confronted me at a hotel during breakfast.
She was so emotional, she was shaking. She said, “you must save America.”
Her message resonated with me intellectually and emotionally. As an historian, I have deeply studied Mao and the Chinese Communist dictatorship (see “Trump vs. China,” which I wrote in 2019 with my colleague Claire Christensen).
The Maoist levels of violence and mass murder have not occurred here (thank God), but the patterns of psychological coercion and propaganda are thriving. Maoist-style groupthink and forced confession and coercion have been spreading through our top universities and the corporate news media for decades. They have recently permeated our governmental bureaucracies, military, and even large American corporations.
I was especially impacted by the woman’s warning, because I previously spoke with Xi Van Fleet for my podcast Newt’s World. Xi is a survivor from Communist China who played a leading role in standing up to the Loudon County, Va., school board. Board members were committed to teaching propaganda and ignoring parents’ concerns about transgender policies. Xi’s anger and clarity of message earned a great deal of media coverage and helped oppose the school board position. Now, she has a new book coming out in October titled “Mao’s America: A Survivor’s Warning.”
Dimon wrote, “Our identities are who the usurpers of power say we are, and we get persecuted or rewarded accordingly. … Maoist identity politics has come to America – just switch ‘class’ to ‘races,’ and things fall into the exact same places.”
Mao Tse-Tung, chair of the Chinese Communist Party, on a balcony clapping his hands. (Getty Images)
As my coauthor Christensen wrote to me, you can see new Maoist patterns in America through the left’s radicalization of youth, destruction of history, and widespread use of propaganda.
“Recall the objective of Mao’s Cultural Revolution (in addition to eliminating his opposition) and the aim of the Red Guards was to destroy the ‘four olds:’ old ideas, old customs, old habits, and old culture. Mao made an enemy out of history and tradition,” she wrote.
We need to be clear about the nature of this new Maoism with American characteristics – and take head-on those who use Maoist tactics to dominate our schools, media, bureaucracies, companies, and society.
Our freedom is at stake.