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Toxic fruit of the Communist tree

Never bite an apple the serpent offers you, no matter how delicious he claims it is.

Lenin everlasting
On the totalitarian’s continued relevance.

Later in this issue, Gary Saul Morson writes about Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s masterwork The Gulag Archipelago. Much of that book is devoted to the details of the dehumanizing brutality of the Stalinist regime: its terrifying sadism and staggering assault on basic human dignity. The Stalinist horror show, in which terror was perfected in the forge of deliberately arbitrary deployment, had its roots in the brief but brutal reign of Vladimir Lenin. This year marks the centenary of Lenin’s death. In January 1924, the consummate communist, having blighted as many lives as he could in his two years of rule, finally shuffled off his mortal coil, aged fifty-three. “That was young,” you may say. But we reply, “Not nearly young enough.”

It is worth pausing to remember the hideous legacy of that ice-cold totalitarian. What we have in mind is not so much Lenin’s butcher’s bill as his more general modus operandi. Estimates of the number of people Lenin had tortured, maimed, and murdered vary, but are always well into the millions. But what may be just as creepy is his model of government.

We were reminded of this when, late last year, Miguel Cardona, President Biden’s secretary of education, gave a talk to explain education-department priorities. Promoting a kinder, friendlier department, he said, “I think it was President Reagan [who] said, ‘We’re from the government. We’re here to help.’”

We suppose that was intended to be reassuring. What Reagan actually said, however, as was pointed out about ten thousand times on social media, was the opposite. “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’”

Lenin would have known exactly what Reagan meant. The difference is that Reagan’s observation was meant as a warning, an admonition about the dangers of overweening bureaucracy. Lenin, by contrast, regarded the terrifying side of unlimited government as a feature, not a bug. He liked the terror. It has always been thus with budding totalitarians. While Maximilien de Robespierre was a piker by comparison with Lenin, he nonetheless sang from the same chorus sheet, doing his best to disfigure France in the brief time allotted him. An ardent student of that supreme political narcissist Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Robespierre was always going on about “virtue,” though he conflated the emotion of virtue with what a Marxist might call “really existing” virtue. Above all, Robespierre knew that achieving the utopia of his dreams would not be easy or painless, which is why he spoke frankly about virtue and its “emanation,” terror.

At the center of the totalitarian impulse is the belief that ultimately freedom belongs only to the state, that the individual should not be treated as a free actor but rather, as Lenin put it, “ ‘a cog and a screw’ of one single great Social-Democratic mechanism.” Of course, few canny bureaucrats quote Lenin today, his association with tyranny having knocked him out of the great game of political PR.

But is he completely gone? One of the most depressing recent spectacles has been the rehabilitation of people and movements that, just a few years back, seemed safely consigned to the underworld. But watching Eloi-like college students praising Hamas, chanting genocidal formulae such as “From the river to the sea,” even excusing the incontinent maunderings of Osama bin Laden, makes us wonder whether any enormity is sufficiently grave to overcome the moral anesthesia of the entitled class. Someone once described the on-again, off-again socialist Philip Rahv as a “born-again Leninist”—their number, it turns out, is legion.

Which is why we predict an effort, perhaps sotto voce at first, to rehabilitate Lenin. After all, he articulated exactly the desire of everyone, from the creepy Doyen of Davos, Klaus Schwab, on down, who tells you that he’s from the global government and he’s here to help. What socialism implies above all, said Lenin, is “keeping account of everything.” Could the covid police, the bureaucrats pushing a cashless society to gain complete control over your spending, or the climate-change fanatics who want to limit your travel and impound your gas stove have put it any better?

Mebbe so, mebbe not, but it’s a lead-pipe cinch they’ll try to put it differently, the better to disguise their true totalitarian ambitions.

There isn’t really any need to speculate on whether the Goosesteppin’ Left might attempt to “rehabilitate Lenin” someday, as the author frets, because they already did it. Pulled the hocus-pocus off quite handily too, with astonishing ease—so much so that they’ve managed to drag us to the very brink of Civil War II with it. Lenin may have departed this vale of tears a century ago in the strictly physical sense, but his monstrous spirit lives on in Amerika v2.0. Truth is, he’s running things from beyond the grave right here, right now.

As the old saw warns, those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it. ADDENDUM: Those who don’t trouble themselves to learn history in the first damned place will never even know they’re repeating it, and probably wouldn’t care anyway. Unlike the dozens of failed efforts across the globe in half-assed loser-nations, they solemnly guarantee that True Communism is gonna WORK, this time for SURE, and will be implemented fully, correctly, and competently, to the enormous benefit of all. And if you don’t believe it, just ask ‘em, they’ll tell ya—at excruciating length, repeatedly, until the droning Commie mantra makes you want to retch.

In what might be the most eye-tearing example of irony ever, these asstards somehow missed completely the fact that Adolf Hitler, the abominable right-wing (!!!) dictator, said pretty much the exact same thing upon coming to power: to wit, that his Thousand Year Reich would teach the stupid Russians—who, being stupid Russians and all, had stupidly wrecked the reputation of a superlative German intellectual, one Karl NMI Marx, with their wretched, stupid-Russian rendition of the Great Man’s Sooperdoopergenius© theories—how Marxism ought really to be done, leaving the stupid Russians behind to choke on a thick, swirling cloud of History’s Own Dust, a defeat for the stupid Russians accomplished courtesy of universally-acclaimed Aryan racial superiority.

Herr Hitler, of course, wasn’t at all “right-wing,” never was (nor was he Aryan*). That specious notion just another successful Leftard rewrite of history—a deception, shorn of the most threadbare scrim of truth to cover it up. Der Feuhrer hated Christianity, capitalism, and Slavs above all else except possibly (((DemPeskyJOOOOOZ!!))), and said so explicitly times beyond number, in both his speeches and his writings. The Nazi Party’s name is an acronym for “National SOCIALIST German Workers’ Party,” after all, and was by no means intended to be taken as either a sly misdirection or some kind of in-joke at the time. It means what it says and says what it means—period, full stop, end of fucking story.

Anyhoo, “rehabilitate Lenin”? No way, man; Our Fellow Americans of the Loyal Opposition are way too honest and above-board to ever even think of trying to pull such a lowdown dirty trick. Right? RIGHT? RIIIGHT?!?

Yeah, you just keep right on telling yourself that. If you do so long enough, eventually the headache from having reality smack you upside the noggin over and over trying to wake your dumb ass up will just go away. As a mantra of a somewhat different type than the puke-inducing Commie one mentioned earlier, it’s a more effective painkiller than a fistful of Ibuprofen. Maybe Demerol, even, or so I’ve heard.

* Aryan, in Nazi Germany, was a nebulous, ever-shifting categorization, a perversion of a field of study whose definitional criteria, from its origins and continuing over many years, were centered not on race, but language. A further irony involves the concept of “race” itself, which, through continual re-definition and politically-useful modification, eventually became every bit as flexible, malleable, and impossible to nail down as “Aryan” was, both terms reduced to little more than meaningless absurdities by the close of the war, of use only to historical archivists, mid-level bureaucrats “just following orders,” and sundry other sub-species of paper-shuffling rumpswabs.

For instance, according to Hitler the French had their own separate racial category—as he said, close to the German “race” but not quite their peers, respectable but still inferior to the Germans. The Italians, southern Eyeties in particular, he felt were the second “sickest” race in Europe (the quasi-human Hungarian knuckledraggers occupied the Number One slot on Hitler’s “Inferior” race card), informing his Axis co-swine Mussolini in 1934 that all the Mediterranean “races” had been “tainted with Negro blood.”

As every student of history well knows, Adolf Hitler was a truly sick, twisted whackjob, crazy as a shithouse rat. His mental condition steadily deteriorated throughout the course of the war, getting worse in sync with Germany’s gradual collapse until he was observably delusional by the time of its defeat: hysterically barking out orders for the re-positioning and re-deployment of phantasmagorical divisions, Luftwaffe squadrons, and naval flotillas which had long since surrendered, been transported en masse to Allied POW facilities, or otherwise obliterated—orders that shocked his more-rational subordinates (most if not all of whom were fully cognizant of the bleak reality outside their Supreme Commanders cramped, noisome bunker HQ) into a state of horror, fright, and indecisive stupefaction.

Hitler’s obssessive fixation on “race” distinctions—distinctions based not on genetic science (at that time in its infancy and scantily understood) but on the vagaries of nationality alone—is just one more piece of evidence confirming his deeply-disturbed mind.


4 thoughts on “Toxic fruit of the Communist tree

  1. They say Putin’s a vicious dictator.

    Compared to what?!

  2. Putin is a vicious dictator, also incompetent, also corrupt. Incompetent because he blew two of his best generals – Prigozhin and Utkin – out of the sky, and arrested two more – Surovikin (who designed the defensive lines in Donetsk, Zaporhizhzhia, and Kherson Oblasts that stopped the Ukrainian counteroffensive cold) and Popov. Putin did finally replace Shoigu, but with a Stalinist bean-counter economist whose planned economy schemes never worked (but they will *this* time…) and that old incompetent Gerasimov is still running things, because Gerasimov is an old buddy of Putin’s. Also, Putin threw the designer of Russia’s hypersonic tech in jail for 14 years for reasons unknown – that’s a life sentence, the guy is 77 now. And Putin’s oligarchs still rake in the cash, now aided by a doubling of income taxes on the middle and working classes. Of course, Zelenskyy’s government is shot through with incompetents and crooks, too. Both sides are losing, the question is which side loses fastest and most effectively – and right now it’s a dead heat. See for trenchant commentary…

  3. Here’s an excerpt from one of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s writings which I’ve found useful in the last few years:

    “Our way must be: Never knowingly support lies! Having understood where the lies begin (and many see this line differently)—step back from that gangrenous edge! Let us not glue back the flaking scales of the Ideology, not gather back its crumbling bones, nor patch together its decomposing garb, and we will be amazed how swiftly and helplessly the lies will fall away, and that which is destined to be naked will be exposed as such to the world.

    And thus, overcoming our timidity, let each man choose: Will he remain a witting servant of the lies (needless to say, not due to natural predisposition, but in order to provide a living for the family, to rear the children in the spirit of lies!), or has the time come for him to stand straight as an honest man, worthy of the respect of his children and contemporaries? And from that day onward he:

    · Will not write, sign, nor publish in any way, a single line distorting, so far as he can see, the truth;

    · Will not utter such a line in private or in public conversation, nor read it from a crib sheet, nor speak it in the role of educator, canvasser, teacher, actor;

    · Will not in painting, sculpture, photograph, technology, or music depict, support, or broadcast a single false thought, a single distortion of the truth as he discerns it;

    · Will not cite in writing or in speech a single “guiding” quote for gratification, insurance, for his success at work, unless he fully shares the cited thought and believes that it fits the context precisely;

    · Will not be forced to a demonstration or a rally if it runs counter to his desire and his will; will not take up and raise a banner or slogan in which he does not fully believe;

    · Will not raise a hand in vote for a proposal which he does not sincerely support; will not vote openly or in secret ballot for a candidate whom he deems dubious or unworthy;

    · Will not be impelled to a meeting where a forced and distorted discussion is expected to take place;

    · Will at once walk out from a session, meeting, lecture, play, or film as soon as he hears the speaker utter a lie, ideological drivel, or shameless propaganda;

    · Will not subscribe to, nor buy in retail, a newspaper or journal that distorts or hides the underlying facts.

    This is by no means an exhaustive list of the possible and necessary ways of evading lies. But he who begins to cleanse himself will, with a cleansed eye, easily discern yet other opportunities.

    Yes, at first it will not be fair. Someone will have to temporarily lose his job. For the young who seek to live by truth, this will at first severely complicate life, for their tests and quizzes, too, are stuffed with lies, and so choices will have to be made. But there is no loophole left for anyone who seeks to be honest: Not even for a day, not even in the safest technical occupations can he avoid even a single one of the listed choices—to be made in favor of either truth or lies, in favor of spiritual independence or spiritual servility. And as for him who lacks the courage to defend even his own soul: Let him not brag of his progressive views, boast of his status as an academician or a recognized artist, a distinguished citizen or general. Let him say to himself plainly: I am cattle, I am a coward, I seek only warmth and to eat my fill.”

    It’s worth your time to read the whole essay – and commit the important parts to memory…

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