Guest Opinion: The most important weapon we can give our children | News, Sports, Jobs

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As Putin invades Ukraine, more than 8,000 high school students in Utah are being shown that Marxism really isn’t so bad.

The Springville Museum of Art’s (SMOA) permanent exhibit, “Soviet Histories – Layers of Reality,” has, for years, showcased alluring Soviet propaganda as art. As such the exhibit fails to warn of the enormous scale of death and human suffering of Marxism for the young people who may soon be called upon to fight it, their SMOA may steal their most powerful weapon.

The SMOA was once a beacon of our Western heritage, much like the Booth Western Museum now offers, oh so beautifully, in Cartersville, Georgia.

But now SMOA shows this clearly collectivist propaganda as art, not politics and not history. It celebrates tyranny, not freedom.

Ironically, under tyranny, culture is the first victim. Slaves dance to the tune of the tyrant, not Cole Porter, Bernstein, Monet, the Beatles, John Hafen or even Woody Allen. The fashion and style is khaki green with small red stars on the reverse, no flowers or prints. Under this slavery, the creative words of love, beauty and fidelity are reserved for the state (please google Yeonmi Park’s interview, “Escape from North Korea” on PragerU). SMOA art would die under the very lie that these paintings promote.

As such, we require the SMOA to perform four achievable actions:

1) Update the plaque on the right side with an image glorifying Vladimir Lenin:

FROM: For Vladimir Lenin, children represented the future of the Soviet Union. He created the “Children’s Cult” to ensure that children learned his ideals. Children all over the Soviet Union called him “Grandfather Lenin”. Although Lenin presented himself as a benevolent grandfather, his policies led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

FOR: For Vladimir Lenin, children represented the future of the Soviet Union. He created the “Children’s Cult” to ensure that children learned his ideals. Children all over the Soviet Union called him “Grandfather Lenin”. Although Lenin described himself as a benevolent grandfather, he and his successor, Joseph Stalin, imposed a famine on the Ukrainian people that killed 5-7 million people, far more than Hitler’s Holocaust. Stalin’s policy killed 40 to 50 million people. Lenin’s Marxism in the world killed more than 100 million people.

This plate is false by a factor of 1,000.

2) List the death toll of Marxism in the docent manual SMOA.

This way, docents can accurately answer all student questions.

  • China: 82 million
  • USSR: more than 21 million
  • North Korea: 4.6 million
  • Vietnam: 3.8 million
  • Cambodia: 2.4 million
  • Afghanistan: 1.5 million
  • Yugoslavia: 1,172,000
  • Laos: more than one million
  • Germany: 815,000
  • Mozambique: 729,000
  • Ethiopia: 725,000
  • Romania: 435,000
  • Czechoslovakia: 262,082
  • Venezuela: more than 252,000
  • Poland: more than 235,000
  • Hungary: 210,000
  • Angola: 125,000
  • Colombia: 105,419
  • Albania: 100,000
  • 120 million deaths in total.

3) Publicize all SMOA funding.

In particular, any money from Confucius Institute “classrooms” (its influence was warned by State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo and Education Secretary Betsy DeVoss in 2020) or oligarchs should be clearly given to parents and educators in Utah.

This action would dispel any hint of financial motivation for the Soviet permanent exhibition.

SMOA Director Rita Wright (an incredibly shrewd, capable, patriotic, and knowledgeable leader) nails it:

“I was recently called by a university president and a museum director who wanted to bring more Russian art to Utah from a donor (I assume an oligarch) and advised them to do so with great caution and wisdom because Soviet plays are very difficult to justify to our conservative and very religious audience in Utah. Paperwork and contracts are also very scary, perpetuating a reign of control, ambiguity and veiled threats. The disregard for all property rights (land and objects of art and culture) is a huge challenge to Western ideals of freedom and sovereignty. At any time, they may request our paintings or their paintings without notice, so I advise them to exercise a lot of care and caution before proceeding.

4) Add two never-before-seen, child-friendly photographs to either side of the “Soviet Stories” introduction – one of the Korean Peninsula at night showing the illuminated South and the pitch-black North, and another in which a small ship filled of Cuban refugees through shark-infested waters on a trip to Florida.

These photos with background details were donated to SMOA.

At the opening of the Springville Museum of Art (SMOA), on July 5, 1937, David O. McKay named the SMOA “a sanctuary of beauty and a temple of contemplation”.

SMOA staff have a unique opportunity to instill in young minds the essence of beauty and discernment of the truth of good or evil. But David O. McKay also said, in an official statement from LDS (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints):

“The position of this Church on Communism has never changed. We consider it the greatest satanic threat to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God’s work among men that exists on the face of the earth.

Yet the SMOA is so drawn to the undeniable beauty of Soviet paintings that it has been promoting this communism to our youth for years.

We do not offer any paint removal. Students must learn to derive truth from fiction, but to do so truth must be offered. It’s not.

We pray for Ukrainian bravery to stop the invasion of Putin (an ex-KGB thug). But their bravery stems from an accurate knowledge of his horrible past, not from a soft and serene “conversation”. For centuries, Ukrainians felt the heavy Soviet boot on their necks and watched their loved ones crumble to dust. Knowledge of this horrific brutality is perhaps their most powerful weapon.

Our children deserve the same.

We challenge SMOA to protect our precious Utah youth from the Marxist plague with these four easy and doable actions.

Dave McFarland is a software engineer who grew up in Provo and graduated from BYU. He lives and works in Georgia.



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