Communism sure is scary. How else to explain its continuing deployment as an all-purpose bugaboo (and thoughtful gift), decades after it posed any real threat, an idea so scary that people use it when they really mean Socialism, which sounds a little too Facebooky to strike fear into the hearts of idiots?
But what is it, exactly, that makes Communism so terrifying? The redistribution of wealth? The drab, shapeless uniforms?
As someone who has recently spent a couple of years in the 1950s – when there were actual Reds around to scare – I have a theory. An examination of hundreds of popular movies from the time, which baldly reflected the national psyche, reveals that Americans were less frightened by nuclear annihilation or universal health care than they were by the loss of what was most precious to them:
The Commies were coming to carry away their women.