Sorry legacy

February 27th, 2011

Jonah links to a Corner post of his from last year, and it’s worth the look back:

Anyway, what really interests me is the question of what the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War really was, if it wasn’t the existence of nukes.

Some might say the military-industrial complex or the national-security state. But not me. To me, the most obvious dangerous legacy of the Cold War would have to be the damage the Soviets did to the world. I don’t mean the millions they murdered; those dead do not threaten us now, even if they should haunt us.

I mean the relentless distortion of the truth, the psychological violence they visited on the West and the World via their useful idiots and their agents. I’m thinking not merely of the intellectual corruption of the American Left (which even folks like Richard Rorty had to concede), but the corruption of reformers and their movements around the globe. Soviet propaganda still contaminates, while nuclear fallout does not. Lies about America, the West, and the nature of democratic capitalism live on throughout the third world and in radioactive pockets on American campuses.

The Soviet effort to foster wars of national liberation, to poison the minds of the “Bandung Generation,” to deracinate cultures from their own indigenous building blocks of democracy, to destroy non-Marxist competitors interested in reform, to create evil and despotic regimes that are seen as “authentic” because they represent the “true will” of their subjugated and beaten down peoples: these seem to me to amount to the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War.

Yep, I’d have to agree. And part of what’s dangerous and disturbing about this legacy is that the millions of dead Jonah mentions don’t haunt the Left as they should; they don’t care any more now than they did then.

As if the diseased legacy of the original Progressive movement wasn’t bad enough all by itself.

Update! See what I mean?

‘If one thinker left a major indelible mark on the 20th century,’ Hobsbawm remarks, ‘it was [Marx].’ Seventy years after Marx’s death, for better or for worse, one third of humanity lived under political regimes inspired by his thought. Well over 20 per cent still do. Socialism has been described as the greatest reform movement in human history.

Sick. Just sick. Pejman reminds this douchebag of the inconvenient truths he leaves out:

Note the “for better or for worse” bit, as though there can really be any debate that Marxism’s impact–with all of the poverty, environmental damage, intellectual and artistic atrophy, loss of freedom, and massive human rights abuses and butchery brought about by Marxism and its natural consequences–might not have been “for worse.”

The mind reels. Even if we accept the absurd and convenient argument that socialism was only “most necessary where it was least possible,” such an observation would be sufficient to show the intellectually bankrupt nature of Marxism and socialism. Of course, Eagleton offers us this “argument” as a way of excusing Marxism for its unerring capacity to bring poverty and misery wherever it is instituted. Marxism failed, you see, because it was only tried “in socially devastated, politically benighted, economically backward regions of the globe where no Marxist thinker before Stalin had ever dreamed that it could take root.” Really? Does Eagleton mean that it wasn’t tried in Europe–either through elections, or through outright Soviet imposition–where Marxist thinkers (including Marx himself) fervently hoped and firmly believed that it could and would take root?

Equally absurd is Eagleton’s and Hobsbawm’s dismissal of “the idea that Marxism leads inevitably to such monstrosities.” It’s not an idea. It’s plain historical fact.

And such murderous repression having been repeated in every nation ever to march down the road to socialist Hell, the blockhead historical revisionism of misty-eyed liberal saps notwithstanding, it’s a feature, not a bug.

Plenty more here, and I couldn’t agree more with Pej’s title. Read it all.

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