Nate Hochman of National Review Online takes MSNBC host Joy Reid up on her offer to explain Marxism “like I’m five.”

Well, let’s see. Marxist theory prescribes a violent revolution by one class (the proletariat) against another (the bourgeoisie). The Communist Manifesto, penned by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848, argued that the proletariat’s “ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.” In a newspaper article published the same year, Marx argued: “There is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terror.” Now, if we do what Reid suggests — replacing “class” with “race” in the Marxist framework — what, precisely, would that look like? Would that qualify as a “bad thing”?

The first successful attempt to put Marxism into practice — Marxism-Leninism, named for the Bolshevik leader of the Russian Revolution — was carried out not just with violence along class-based lines (what would later be dubbed a “war of maneuver” by the Italian Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci), but also via the subsequent establishment of a “dictatorship” of one class over the rest of society. Again, let’s replace class with race in this scenario. I’ll leave it up to Reid to determine if that might be a “bad thing.”

From there, the most famous and influential practitioners of Marxism were often prone to send members of the “wrong” class to gulags and forced labor camps, inflict man-made famines that led to the death of millions as retribution for opposition to the ruling class, and utilize mass torture and terrorism to cleanse their populations of disfavored factions. Mao Zedong alone, the Marxist chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, “was in some way responsible for at least 40 million deaths and perhaps 80 million or more,” the Washington Post reported in 1994.