I think Mr Jacoby is a bit over the top here, but I will grant you that there are few who have been deeply involved in running "communist" governments, or providing them with support, who are worthy of praise. Those who stood by Joseph Stalin through all he did, or who stood with Mao through the loss of 100 million people, who who said that Pol Pot was a good leader have shamed themselves. They stand with those who stood by Adolph Hitler as he killed 12 million people in death camps.
There are many sincere socialists out there. The idea of the Government working to set prices and terms of exchange is unattractive to me, but it is a way to organize an economy. I think Tony Benn is wrong, but I respect him. There are even sincere communists, albeit people who have not thought through the implications of communism over the long run for their fellow human beings.
What we should all distain are the Walter Duranty's of the world. They either allow themselves to be deceived on a massive scale or are so innured to human suffering and the denial of basic freedoms that they are prepared to lie and cover up with no boundaries. But, worse, through the written word, or film or some other medium they try to convince us that communism is good.
It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea...So, Mr Jacoby gets it partly right.
Regards — Cliff