In trying to appeal to centrist liberals, American apologists for communist regimes and movements deliberately downplayed the aspects of Marxism-Leninism that liberals found repugnant - one-party dictatorship, class genocide, censorship, and the repression of intellectual and religious dissent. Instead, the pro-communist left emphasized truths, and untruths, that would appeal to American liberal values. Thus liberal opposition to European imperialism was enlisted in the service of Soviet and Chinese imperalism; liberal rejection of authoritarian dictatorship was enlisted in the service of totalitarian dictatorship; and liberal loathing of the horrors of war and conscription was enlisted in the service of the most militarized and regimented societies in the world. The tragedy of liberal perfectionism lay in the ease with which all too many sincere liberals were deceived and manipulated by a totalitarian left whose ultimate goal was the eradication of liberalism both as a philosophy and as a way of life.
Michael Lind, in Vietnam: The Necessary War