After the First World War, most intellectuals were Socialists of one shade or another, the spectrum ranging from pale pink Fabianism (the equal-sharing classless society must gently evolve) to blood-red Marxism-Leninism (the inevitable victory of the proletariat must be achieved by violent revolution).
As a great many Jews were intellectuals, there were a great many Jewish Socialists. Quite a lot of them lived in the lower-rent parts of New York. They were the children and grandchildren of immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe. Because America was an open society where it was possible for free enterprise to be rewarded with prosperity, many did well enough to afford a college education for their sons. Yet they (not all of them, but the ones we’re concerned with here, who were probably the majority) did not approve of the open free-enterprise society which gave them the opportunities they had seized successfully. Not at all. They and their sons had an ideal, and they clung to it: an equal-sharing classless Socialist society – like, if not necessarily exactly like, the Russians had under Stalin.
Strange “cognitive dissonance”? Yes. But that’s how it was.
Bernie Sanders is one of those sons. To read about his family, his early life, his education, his political opinions is to read about thousands like him.
Now that he is a candidate for the presidency of the United States, he expresses opinions that belong to the pink end of the spectrum; but those he has expressed in the past would place him at the blood-red end – and he has never repudiated them.
Daniel Greenfield writes at Front Page that when Bernie Sanders was mayor of Burlington, Vermont, between 1981 and 1989, …
[He] enumerated detailed — and radical — foreign-policy positions and explained his brand of socialism.
[He believed that] “the basic truth of politics is primarily class struggle”; that “democracy means public ownership of the major means of production”. …
Politics is primarily class struggle is classic Marx. Government control of the means of production, think Communism. … Bernie Sanders is still touting the support of Marxist economists. …
Sanders was a big fan of the Sandinistas … [He] marveled that he was, “believe it or not, the highest ranking American official” to attend a parade celebrating the Sandinista seizure of power.
It’s quite easy to believe, actually, when one wonders what elected American official would knowingly join a group of largely unelected officials of various “fraternal” Soviet dictatorships while, just a few feet away, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega bellows into a microphone that the United States is governed by a criminal band of terrorists.
And Sanders vocally defended the Marxist murderers.
The lesson Sanders saw in Nicaragua could have been plagiarized from an editorial in Barricada, the oafish Sandinista propaganda organ.
“Is [the Sandinistas’] crime that they have built new health clinics, schools, and distributed land to the peasants? Is their crime that they have given equal rights to women? Or that they are moving forward to wipe out illiteracy? No, their crime in Mr. Reagan’s eyes and the eyes of the corporations and billionaires that determine American foreign policy is that they have refused to be a puppet and banana republic to American corporate interests.”
President Reagan had deplored an atrocity committed by the Sandinistas: forcing Indians into a church and setting fire to it. He had also objected to their driving the Jews out of the country. The Sandinistas’ henchmen attacked a synagogue with firebombs while shouting “Death to the Jews”, “Jewish Pigs” and “What Hitler started we will finish”. And …
The president of the synagogue that the Sandinistas had attacked was forced to sweep the streets, a scene reminiscent of Nazi behavior in occupied Europe, before being forced to leave the country with [nothing but] the clothes on his back.
The synagogue was seized and transformed into a Sandinista youth center decorated with Anti-Zionist posters.
The Jewish community of Nicaragua fled to Miami and Costa Rica.
But that is …
Nothing Bernie Sanders cares about. …
All of which re-raises a question often asked: Why do a majority of American Jews go on voting for the Democratic Party when it has become openly anti-Israel and is sliding ever nearer to the blood-red end of the Socialist spectrum?
Answer: Because their Leftism is their religion.
The great ex-Communist authority on Communism, Sidney Hook, writes interestingly on this question:*
The political fortunes of the Communist Party in the United States began to decline precipitously as the war continued. It took another nose dive after the Soviet Union invaded Finland … Meanwhile the the details of the close collaboration between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were beginning to percolate to the West. Even radical circles critical of the Kremlin’s duplicity were stunned by the news that Stalin handed over to the Gestapo scores of German-Jewish Communists. …
The comparatively large following the Communists had among the Jews gradually dried up, but a sizable segment remained [who were] professionals, especially teachers. One who found this phenomenon puzzling was John Dewey. I remember him once asking me to explain how after the Nazi-Stalin Pact so many Jews could still be numbered among the Communist faithful. I explained it in part as an expression of their idealism. Most of them did not identify themselves as Jews. They were citizens of the world – the ideal Communist world of the future. To them what was happening to the Jews as a consequence of policies adopted by the Kremlin for raison d’état was part of the cost of historical progress.
There were other reasons why so many Jewish Communists remained faithful to the Communist Party line despite Stalin’s willingness to placate and appease the author of Mein Kampf. The political life of the Communist faithful was their whole life. It defined not only their intellectual allegiance but a network of social, emotional, and personal relationships that constituted a vibrant community. To break with the Party was tantamount to a self-imposed exile from its sustaining warmth into a cold, hostile world, in which they could hardly be integrated.
For many of the older generation of Jewish Communists, there was perhaps a deeper reason. Most of them had been reared in the orthodox Jewish religious faith, in which the whole of life from rising to retiring at night is organized around its central dogmas. These determine a complex pattern of prayers and ritual pervaded by a spirit of piety and unquestioning acceptance of the Divine Presence. Emancipation from this mode of life meant at first a gradual and then ultimately a total rupture, culminating in a conversion to the atheism of Marxism and a total rejection of Judaism as a parochial and confining creed. Yet psychologically those who still remained faithful to some of the ideals of prophetic Judaism were drawn to a movement that, despite its militant secularism, provided a mode of life every whit as integrated and sustaining as the religion they had abandoned. They could feel themselves once more, even if persecuted, a chosen people not of God but of history, a vanguard, liberated from the exclusionist and chauvinist prejudices of their forefathers, preaching a salvation open to all mankind.These Jews were naturally reluctant to break their ties with the Communist movement, hoping against hope that the Kremlin would mend its imperial, totalitarian, and racist ways. When at last they were compelled to disavow the Soviet Union, they were for a long time bereft, psychologically akin to to those who after a crisis of belief surrender their religion. At the time of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, despite the shock, many of the faithful could not yet make the excruciating wrench with their past.
Sidney Hook may be right. Those may be the (emotional) “reasons” why Jews cling to the Left even as Jews are ever more abused by their fellow Leftists. Because it’s their religion. Because, as their religion, it’s their whole life. Because it would be painful to break with it.
But we are talking about intellectuals. People who are supposed to be devoted to Reason. How would it really hurt them to switch their votes to the side where every candidate has emphatically declared his and her support for Israel?
Those “reasons” look more like excuses. And at this point in history, they are unacceptable.
It is a simple matter for anyone who can think to see the way the wind blows, how the land lies … and change his mind.
Bernie Sanders is a relic of a bygone age. How nice it will be when everyone can see that so is the far-left Democratic Party, and the entire ideology of Socialism, in all its shades of red.
*Out of Step by Sidney Hook, Harper and Row, New York, 1987, pp.306-307.
(Hat-tip for the Hook quotation to Robert Kantor)
Afterword: We have written that Communism is Secular Christianity (see under Pages in our margin). Now we declare it to be the The other Jewish religion. We deny that there is any contradiction between the two statements. Communism is secular Christianity, and it is the other Jewish religion. Only neither Christians nor Jews (as far as we know) are generally aware that it is both those things.
The enthusiasm among the expensively under-educated first-time voters for old-time socialist Bernie Sanders, is probably stoked by his (fingers-crossed-behind-his-back) promises to give them “free” college education. Among other goodies. All absolutely free, dropping from the heavens as it were. And as he calls himself a “democratic socialist”, and tells them that Denmark, Sweden and Norway are extremely happy democratic socialist countries with perfectly sound economies – why, what could go wrong if they put him in power and he has that wonderful system do for them what it’s done for those happy Scandinavians?
Margin note: Since politicians seldom if ever fulfill their promises, and never have to pay any price for not doing so, but know that promises always garner votes, we wonder why every ambitious candidate doesn’t offer free everything-he-can-think-of. Free college education for all of course – and free iPhones and free computers. That much goes without saying. But why not also: free houses, free cars (two for a family), free month-long vacations twice yearly … ? And … mmm … what else? Free yachts? No. Perhaps that would be going too far. Might raise a little twinge of doubt. But for the slightly older voter, what do you say to guaranteed paid paternal leave of say a month? Maternal leave of say six months? And who’s for a guaranteed income of [pause to think of a fairly preposterous figure] say $100,000 per annum? You see? That guy has your vote, hasn’t he? What fools we’d be not to vote for him. And if he doesn’t take everybody in, if some pause and wonder how the funding would actually be worked (absent bounty from the lord of the universe), his pitch will have the excellent result of getting the doubters at least to start asking the questions that lead men in desperate times to Real Economics.
But to return to Bernie Sanders and “democratic socialism”. It’s not what he would have them think it is.
Ray DiLorenzo writes at Canada Free Press:
Since democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and, to a lesser degree, Hillary Clinton, point to Sweden, Denmark and Norway as models of democratic socialism, let’s examine where they are today. …
Denmark has the highest level of private debt in the world. More than half of Danes use the black market to obtain goods and services. The number of people below the poverty line has doubled in the past 10 years. Denmark’s schools, according to the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) lag behind even the UK’s. If you need emergency medical service, you need to make an appointment. Cancer rates are among the highest in the world and [the Danes’] use of anti-depressants is the 2nd highest on the planet. Denmark has become a quasi police state. Police are not required to display their ID numbers or give you their names. Denmark has plenty of racists, pedophiles, crooks, drug addicts, you name it … and, the trains don’t run on time. Denmark, as of late, has tilted to the right. With welfare abuse, an eroding work ethic and social order, something had to be done.
Sweden had been poor for much of the 19th century until they turned to free-market capitalism around 1870. They became rich, and, in fact, between 1870 and 1936, they had the highest growth rate in the industrialized world. By the 1960s, Sweden made a hard left turn, raising taxes, welfare payments and discouraging entrepreneurship. In 1975, Sweden was the 4th wealthiest nation on earth; by 1993, it had dropped to 14th. In Sweden, the effective tax rate, in some circumstances, had reached 100%. IKEA founder, Ingvar Kamprad, fled Sweden in 1973. Sweden came up with a scheme to confiscate corporate profits and give them to labor unions. The idea was to have a market economy without entrepreneurs and capitalists. Of course, job creation, wages and opportunity plummeted.
Until recently, Norway has resisted change to a market economy. In 1999, the former social democrat Minister of Business, Bjorn Rosengren, called Norway, “the last Soviet state”. But Norway now is gradually shifting from a full-boat welfare state to a system that rewards work and investment.
What Bernie Sanders has failed to mention, in his sales effort for democratic socialism, is that almost all European nations, including Scandinavia have seen a dramatic fall of support for socialism and now have adopted policies of free-market capitalism and individual responsibility. Sanders’ and Clinton’s idea of democratic socialism and its illusion of prosperity peaked about twenty years ago. The affluence, high levels of income equality, long life and good health, all pre-date the welfare state. Much of what Scandinavia had enjoyed is now at risk due to the welfare state, not because of it.
Generous welfare programs can stifle the work ethic, honesty, innovation and entrepreneurship of even the most ambitious among us. The Democratic Socialists, in essence, have run out of other people’s money, and ideas.
Here’s an excellent discussion of the idiocies that pass for “socialist economics”, by Peter Schiff, who describes himself – to our pleasure – as a “Godless Conservative Libertarian”.
The video is published today as a warning to Bernie Sanders voters.
(Hat-tip to our Facebook reader Chris Spellman)
Universities in South Africa are afflicted with the same sickness that’s killing the academies in the US.
It may even be worse there. Perhaps terminal.
Dr. James E. Martins, who lives in South Africa and keeps us informed about it, writes today:
Student violence is erupting on most campuses, and a headline in today’s evening paper, the Star, declares quite rightly that universities may well close down.
Pretoria University had to call in the police. And the University of the Orange Free State, with the admirable Professor Jonathan Jansen at the helm, had to allow riot police to intervene to prevent students from destroying a statue of General Martinus Steyn [president of the Orange Free State 1899-1902 -ed]. Jansen is a truly good and intelligent man – a firm and forceful black academic – and the students are “demanding” his resignation.
It is believed that these riots are politically engineered. Many suspect the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) – a revolutionary party led by the firebrand Julius Malema – is behind it. Whatever the causes, they will ensure the demise of higher education in South Africa pretty soon, I fear.
Demands for “decolonized” syllabi are really only demands to be permitted to read nothing at all and to get inflated grades – for vandalism and shrieking abuse at lecturers.
The numbers of rioting students are quite small, but, then again, Lenin’s Bolsheviks were hardly a majority party in the early days.
Philosophy students demand to be taught “philosophers” like Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko [political activist killed by police action in the apartheid era- ed]. Literature students want to ban Western classics.
I predict that wealthy South Africans will send their offspring to study at universities abroad, and poorer students will suffer at academic institutions that have become inferior to inadequate high schools. A very bleak scenario!
Will those wealthy parents find universities abroad still offering a higher education worth paying for?
Many stories like this one (dated April 19, 2012) can be found on the Internet:
A Sri Lankan woman is currently facing decapitation by sword on a witchcraft charge in Saudi Arabia …
Who brought the charge, and why?
A Saudi man complained that in a shopping mall his 13-year-old daughter “suddenly started acting in an abnormal way, which happened after she came close to the Sri Lankan woman,” reports the daily Okaz.
After the local man denounced the Sri Lankan for casting a spell on his daughter, police in the port city of Jeddah found it sufficient cause to arrest the woman.
She was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to death by decapitation.
Witchcraft and sorcery imply only one measure in Saudi Arabia – beheading. And it works this way in practice: last year in the kingdom at least two people – a woman in her 60s and a Sudanese man – were beheaded on witchcraft charges.
Hugh Fitzgerald writes today at Front Page:
From Saudi Arabia comes the news that the mutaween, the feared religious police under the control of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, who patrol the streets and regulate the daily life of the populace, are now being given five-day courses in how to recognize, and then how to neutralize, a small army of wizards, witches, ghosts, demons, fortunetellers in the Magic Kingdom. Apparently it’s a big problem. Why, there have even been reports of leprechaun-like creatures – possibly they’ve wandered down from the Old Sod to end up in the Empty Quarter – who find it great fun to persuade innocent Saudis to break the rules of Sharia. All these dealers in the magical and supernatural will be hunted down, and dealt with sternly, by the Saudi religious police — “sternly” can mean anything from long prison sentences to decapitation.
Such worries are not new to the Saudis, however — the official anti-witchcraft unit within the Ministry of the Interior was first formed in May 2009.
The reason the Saudis are so worried about wizards and witches is that the Saudi people, like other Muslims, are especially vulnerable to the appeal of the occult. Muslims learn from the Qur’an that there exists an intelligent creature (the only other intelligent creature in the universe, according to Islamic doctrine, aside from humans and angels), called the Djinn (or Jinn), whose meddling with humans explains Evil, as well as health and illness, wealth and poverty, that Man as a creature of fate – where everything may be inshallah but is not necessarily hunky-dory — may enjoy or endure.
Evil djinn — not all djinn in Islam are bad – can take possession of people and cause them to behave in wicked ways.
This is not foreign to, but part of, orthodox Islam. Fortunately, there are those who, after appropriate training, can become qualified exorcisers of the evil djinn, using special Qur’anically-approved healing methods. There are also those who have not undergone training to be exorcists and who use methods which have not been approved, and this gets them into trouble with officials even if their methods prove effective. The Saudi witchcraft-hunt offers us a glimpse of the Bizarro-World that we enter whenever we penetrate the world of Islam.
In the West, we hardly bother to denounce those who claim to be witches and wizards, exorcists and fortunetellers, that is, all who lay claim to supernatural powers, because we know, as rational creatures, that they are frauds and fakes, they cannot possibly have these powers. And because we don’t believe any of that stuff, we don’t worry about them in this, our Western world, the dutiful child of the Enlightenment and rationalism. If we punish any fortunetellers or magicians at all, it’s only because they have charged for services we know are worthless and we want them to disgorge their ill-gotten gains. Witchcraft has not been taken seriously, i.e. as effective, since Salem, when outside it was 1692.
But in the Islamic world, magic (bad or black magic and good magic) is everywhere and taken very seriously – i.e., thought to be effective – indeed. In the Islamic world, belief in witchcraft, magic, sorcery of all kinds, is widespread. Fear of black magic is pervasive. Fortunetellers, witches and wizards, exorcists of bad djinn are to be found everywhere. And this is because Magic and the Occult are very much a part of Muslim teachings and Muslim life.
The Occult – the Djinn – transmitted by the Qur’an, helps to explain the widespread belief in other kinds of sorcery and magic in the Muslim world. But it is not the whole explanation for that belief. The heightened vulnerability of Muslims to the promise and threat of assorted wizards, fortunetellers, sorcerers, and exorcists, as compared to the sturdy resistance of rational Western man, is to be explained also by the more general effect of Islam’s encouragement of the habit of mental submission, and its punishment of skepticism. A good Muslim never questions any of the teachings of Islam, and the observant Muslim state (as Saudi Arabia certainly is) punishes those Muslims who dare to demonstrate the least display of skepticism (the end-point of that skepticism is apostasy, punishable by death). The result is that Muslims, even without the whole business of the Djinn, inhabit a mental universe of encouraged credulity.
Well, not all of that is true. While it is important to remember that the Enlightenment was confined to the West – and that it did not touch Islam – it did not abolish Western superstition. Christians continue to believe the impossible. They believe that a virgin gave birth; that God is both One and Three, and all-human at the same time as being all-divine; that “Jesus” walked on water, brought a dead person back to life, and performed various other impossible feats; that he himself came back to life after being dead for three days; that he now lives eternally in a physical heaven … The list of magic events and conditions in which Christians believe could be very long.
In addition to which, many Christian denominations, including Catholics, do practice exorcisms. So do most of the organized religions. Commonly, a ritual is performed, a priest says this and that, and at the end of it a claim is made (often if not always ) that “an evil spirit” has been expelled from a person who was “possessed” by it.
Christianity and Judaism draw a firm distinction between “magic” and “miracles”.
We fail to see the difference.
Be there? 14
Much can be said against Donald Trump. And much is said against him.
But what if he is the force – the only force on the horizon – that can and will smash “political correctness”? And ISIS? And keep savage Islam from any further invasion of America? And restore the borders?
Roger L. Simon looks on the bright side of a Trump presidency, writing at PJ Media:
Now that Donald Trump has wiped the floor yet again with the other Republican candidates in the Nevada caucuses, it’s time for the GOP to face reality — barring force majeure, they have a presidential candidate, like it or not. The so-called establishment has a choice: Get on the Trump bandwagon or try some desperate maneuver to stop him. But what would that be? A Rubio-Cruz ticket, assuming they would do it? At the time of this writing, the two men added together don’t equal the Trump vote in Nevada — and that’s even assuming their voters would hold, which is a risky assumption, given the current momentum. I mean — Donald won 46% of the Hispanics! Enough already.
A lot of my Republican friends are depressed about this situation. They worry that Trump is not a real conservative. They cringe at his vulgarity. They are concerned he’s a bully, even totalitarian. I’m not. And I am not depressed, even though I admire many of the other candidates in the race. Given the gravity of the situation, what Obama has done to this nation and the candidates being offered by the Democrats, a world class liar and a Eugene V. Debs retread, a personality as large as Donald may be necessary to revive our country. In fact, I think I’ll take the “may” out of that.
This is what I think the electorate senses and what the Republican establishment fears. Rather than being afraid that Donald will lose, many establishment folks, I suspect, are afraid he will win. It will not be business as usual and most human beings seek business as usual, especially successful ones. What, for example, is more conventional and unchanging than the Democratic Party? They have patented stasis under meaningless junk terms like “liberal” and “progressive”. Nothing ever changes. Republicans are at risk of doing the same thing with the word “conservative”. If I hear another candidate claim to be the most “conservative”, I think I’ll bang my head against the table. I can’t be the only one who feels that way.
So if I were a member of the Establishment, whatever that is, I would quit bellyaching, embrace Donald and make him my friend. He’s ready and willing. If you bother to check that ultimate news source the Daily Mail, you’d see that already he is hobnobbing with such Republican stalwarts as Rudy Giuliani, Arthur Laffer and Steve Moore. Unless I missed it, I didn’t notice the article mentioning David Axelrod or James Carville.
And listen to what Trump is actually saying. He’s for lower taxes and a strong defense and he’s not really against free trade. He just wants a better deal. Who wouldn’t and who wouldn’t assume he’d get a better one than the Obama crowd? Or the Bush crowd for that matter, on just about anything. He’s also pro-life, despite soreheads … screaming that Trump supports Planned Parenthood when he has said explicitly he does not support what they do on abortion, only on other women’s health issues. …
Don’t fight Donald. Be smart, co-opt him. Or, as we used to say, be there or be square. Next November depends on it.
Arguments pro and con are invited.
(And please do follow the link to the Daily Mail article, which is worth reading.)
In this video published December 11, 2015, Ezra Levant, the highly reasonable Canadian who calls himself a “rebel”, argues that Donald Trump’s ideas about stopping Muslim immigration into America are not shocking, not “unhinged”, but perfectly sensible.
In case you need a “trigger warning”, there is one annoying section starting at 8.26 minutes and ending at 9.01 minutes, in which Obama talks bilge about climate change.
Khieu Samphan was president of Cambodia in the late 1970s, when a quarter of the population was murdered by his regime, but he was “not aware” of his nation’s “great suffering”.
Or so he claimed to the court he appealed to against his sentence to life imprisonment.
He only learnt what was happening to his nation from news reports, like President Obama?
The story comes from Daniel Greenfield (to whom we owe much gratitude for many an interesting post). He writes at Front Page:
One of the Khmer Rouge’s top surviving leaders on Wednesday (Feb 18) challenged his life sentence for crimes against humanity and said he had only fought for “social justice” in Cambodia, in rare comments made to a UN-backed court.
Pause to gasp at the news that a UN-backed court would consider trying such a monster! Most unusual. Most irregular.
He and other other perpetrators of the massive slaughter had been convicted in 2014 …
… for their pivotal role in the communist government that oversaw the deaths of up to two million Cambodians from 1975-1979 – nearly one-quarter of the population.
“What I want to say today and what I want my countrymen to hear is that as an intellectual I have never wanted anything other than social justice for my country,” Khieu Samphan told the court’s seven judges on the final day of the appeal hearing.
Khieu Samphan was a graduate from a fine European university who spent a lot of time hanging out in Paris and talking about what the world should be like. He became a journalist still advocating leftist policies. Then he got the opportunity to make it happen.
When they take over government control, Khieu Samphan becomes the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence until 1975, when he becomes President. He begins putting the ideas from his thesis into practice. He clears cities of their inhabitants, thereby provoking a vast human tragedy with hundreds of thousands of deaths. …
“Two (Khmer Rouge guards) would hold a prisoner tight and another would slit the throat of the prisoner,” said [a witness, Meas Sokha], adding that the Khmer Rouge played music through a loudspeaker “to hide the sounds of the killing”.
The witness added that soldiers killed small children by throwing them against a tree before dropping their bodies into the mass grave at the prison.
He also told the court that Khmer Rouge cadres would eat the gall bladders of executed prisoners after drying them in the sun.
“Whenever there were killings, the guards would drink wine together with gall bladders,” Meas Sokha said.
“I knew these gall bladders were from humans. There were many gall bladders dried in the sun near the fence.”
Gall bladders! Gall is bitter. There’s even a saying: “As bitter as gall.”
Well, it’s suitable. The bitter taste of “social justice”.
Scenes of cannibalism committed by Khmer Rouge soldiers have previously been described by other witnesses at the tribunal during the leaders’ first trial, including of cadres eating the livers of murdered inmates.
During his trial, Khieu Samphan expressed a “sincere apology” but said that he was not aware at the time of the “great suffering” of the Cambodian people. “I was not aware of the heinous acts committed by other leaders that caused tragedy for the nation and people,” he said.
Daniel Greenfield adds this perfectly apt, thoroughly justified comment:
And our great leftist intellectuals, folks like Noam Chomsky, helped cover it up for as long as they could. Don’t think they wouldn’t do what they did in China, Russia, Cuba, North Korea, El Salvador and Venezuela [and Cambodia – ed] here if they could.
Here are pictures of the “Killing Fields“, where the bones of millions of Cambodians lay, slaughtered by order of Khieu Samphan and his prime minister, Pol Pot. They were leaders of the Khmer Rouge, the Cambodian Communist Party, which came to power in 1975.
Some quotations from Wikipedia:
The new regime modelled itself on Maoist China during the Great Leap Forward, immediately evacuated the cities, and sent the entire population on forced marches to rural work projects. They attempted to rebuild the country’s agriculture on the model of the 11th century, discarded Western medicine and destroyed temples, libraries, and anything considered Western.
Estimates as to how many people were killed by the Khmer Rouge regime range from approximately one to three million; the most commonly cited figure is two million (about a quarter of the population). This era gave rise to the term Killing Fields.
Forced repatriation in 1970 and deaths during the Khmer Rouge era reduced the Vietnamese population in Cambodia from between 250,000 and 300,000 in 1969 to a reported 56,000 in 1984. However, most of the victims of the Khmer Rouge regime were not ethnic minorities but ethnic Khmer.
Professionals, such as doctors, lawyers and teachers, were also targeted, [and people who wore] eyeglasses … as they were seen as a sign of intellectualism.
No one can hate “intellectualism” as much as a Leftist intellectual.
This too is from Wikipedia:
During the 1950s, Khmer students in Paris organized their own communist movement, which had little, if any, connection to the party in their homeland. From their ranks came the men and women who returned home and took command of the party apparatus during the 1960s.
Pol Pot, who rose to the leadership of the communist movement in the 1960s, went to Paris in 1949 to study. He failed to obtain a degree, but acquired a taste for the classics of French literature as well as a taste for the writings of Karl Marx.
Another member of the Paris student group was Ieng Sary, a Chinese-Khmer born in 1925 in South Vietnam. He attended the elite Lycée Sisowath in Phnom Penh before beginning courses in commerce and politics at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris.
Khieu Samphan, considered “one of the most brilliant intellects of his generation” … specialized in economics and politics during his time in Paris.
In talent he was rivalled by Hou Yuon who was described as being “of truly astounding physical and intellectual strength“, and who studied economics and law.
Son Sen studied education and literature; Hu Nim studied law.
The doctoral dissertations written by Hou Yuon and Khieu Samphan express basic themes that were later to become the cornerstones of the policy adopted by Democratic Kampuchea. The central role of the peasants in national development was espoused by Hou Yuon in his 1955 thesis, The Cambodian Peasants and Their Prospects for Modernization, which challenged the conventional view that urbanization and industrialization are necessary precursors of development.
The major argument in Khieu Samphan’s 1959 thesis, Cambodia’s Economy and Industrial Development, was that the country had to become self-reliant and end its economic dependency on the developed world. In its general contours, Khieu’s work reflected the influence of a branch of the “dependency theory” school, which blamed lack of development in the Third World on the economic domination of the industrialized nations.
They were wrong. As all Leftist theory is wrong.
But they had the power to act on their wrong theory, and here’s more of what they wrought:
A Dane talks about the disaster that is Sweden, and warns that Denmark could be going the same way. We like the video, but do not agree with him that the answer to the catastrophe that the Muslim invasion and colonization of Scandinavia has caused is “assimilation”. Muslim immigration needs to be stopped. Deportation on a vast scale needs to become immediate policy and implemented pronto. None of that will happen. So what will? Either the total Islamization of – not just Scandinavia but – all Europe, or civil war.
This fable – an obvious allegory of Socialism – was first posted on September 7, 2012. It was topical then because of the possible re-election of Obama. It is topical again now because of the popularity of Bernie Sanders as a candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination as its presidential candidate.
The Tsoig is unique as a species in that it is both animal and plant, and also sapiens: animal in its beginning, plant in its maturity, and in both conditions able to think and talk much like us.
Tsoigs had been known on the Mainland for centuries, but at last one came to the Island.
It arrived on some raft, it was thought, since though Tsoigs can walk until the age of about one hundred they cannot swim; and had this one merely been cast on the waves, the tides would have carried it in quite a different direction. So from the very beginning, one must assume, this particular Tsoig had a positive intention of coming there – a design on the Island, one might say.
On arrival it walked at once to what it judged to be the center of the Island, and there sent down its roots which were already fairly well grown and needed only to be burrowed in for the Tsoig to attain a firm grip and commence its thenceforward vegetable life, spreading very slowly at first.
Contrary to many a tale now told of it, it never did demand that it be ‘worshipped like a God’. To attribute such an idea to it is to give it at once a totally mistaken character. It never ‘demanded’. It never ordered. It had no peremptoriness, no shortness of tone, no sharpness of expression. It had so much self-confidence that it never needed to resort to a commanding or an oracular manner. It always used a tone of gentle persuasion; it wooed, it soothed, it sympathized. There was a touch of the mournful in it at all times, to the point at last of reproachfulness, but never the least trace of insistence or officiousness.
‘Confide in me,’ it would plead, in a rather bland, not very deep voice. ‘Let me be a comfort to you in your trouble.’ That sort of thing. ‘You can rely on me.’ ‘Come and tell me all about it.’ And when you had told it what you had to tell, when you had confided in it, it would say little but ‘There, there, I am sorry.’ For it was not a solution-giver. It hardly seemed to want troubles to end or ills to be cured. Indeed, some biologists are of the opinion that Tsoigs need human sorrow for survival as they need air, water, light and the salts of the earth: that they thrive on sadness, regret, heartbreak; that human sighs are the food of its spirit. And of course if a Tsoig by its spiritual nature could take in our unhappiness, transmute it, and give out happiness, as by its ordinary vegetable nature it takes in the carbon-dioxide of our breath and changes it daily into the oxygen we need, the species would surely be among the most valuable of earthly creatures. However, they do nothing of the kind.
Still, this particular Tsoig was much valued for its mere willingness to absorb whatever was complained to it. Valued by women, that is. Men did not take to it.
The women liked to sit on its root-humps, leaning up against the rather soft ‘bark’ of its trunk (known in the timber and hide trades as Sorgderm, or, more colloquially, Soigeen), and telling it all sorts of nonsense that women can fortunately seldom find anyone to listen to. What the Tsoig gave them, apart from soothing sounds and plenty of attention, were its flowers – rather small, of a dullish pink, and of a slightly unpleasant scent if any at all. It shed them lavishly on these ladies, who persistently expressed their gratitude and insisted to their indifferent husbands that it was ‘a kind old thing’.
But most of all it was sought by the children. And to confound the theories of biologists it seemed to require nothing of children but their delight. It tossed them in its branches, gently and tirelessly, and set them down again lightly on the ground. ‘Climb me, jump on me, play all over me,’ it invited them, and they did. ‘I love, love, love you, little ones,’ it would say, in a phlegm-thick voice, so that it sounded like ‘I l-huv, l-huv, l-huv you, l-hittle ones’.
And on them it showered its all-the-year-round fruits, luscious things, over-ripe as soon as formed, full of juice (known as Tsoigdrain), thin of skin, so that they always burst, you could never find one whole, and the flavour was sickly-sweet, relished by children – and at first by the women, who soon got tired of it. Certain medicinal properties were attributed to Tsoigdrain, but were never proved. The children would overeat of course, and sometimes get sick on the stuff. And all of them, as they grew up, would begin to find the fruit too cloying, and it was seldom that anyone over the age of fifteen would touch Tsoigsimmon (as the fruits of the Tsoig are called).
And when a boy reached the age of fifteen or thereabouts – a little later if he was backward, a little sooner if he was forward – he would not only stop eating the plenty which the Tsoig provided, but would even start shunning the tree, as he might an aunt who continued to treat him as a child too long: and even perhaps developed some sort of unconfessed fear of the thing – its reaching branches, its spreading roots, its ‘come hither’ tones, its ‘I I-huv you so, why don’t you come close and let me I-huv you, I don’t ask anything of you but that you let me l-huv, l-huv, l-huv you’. It moaned too, and got rather moist round the joins where the branches came out of the bole, and gummy in the ‘eyes’ where lesser branches had dropped off.
But the children continued to play on it, and women to confide in it until the men began to notice that the Tsoig was spreading too far and taking up too much space.
‘You must stop spreading,’ they told it, ‘or you will grow right into and through and over our houses, and take up so much of the land that we shall not be able to use it.’
‘I only want to please you all,’ it replied in a hurt tone, ‘and protect you all, and shelter you all, and feed you all … if you have me to do all this for you, you do not need houses or land.’
‘Stop!’ they begged it. But the Tsoig shed gummy tears, and spread a little further, saying, ‘Why do you retreat from me, and speak to me so roughly? Why do you want to hurt my feelings? I only wish for your good. I do everything for you. I l-huv you. Come near and let me embrace you. Here, here, here are flowers for you. Here is fruit – eat, eat!’
‘Just don’t go too far,’ the men said, who didn’t really want to be hard on the Tsoig. And grumbling a bit they went away and left it to the women and children.
But the Tsoig spread further yet, and went on spreading, until at last the men had to tell it, ‘You must go. Get up if you can, and leave the Island. If you can’t we’ll help you. But you must let go with your roots, and take them up, and let us lift you and put you on a raft and take you to the Mainland. There is not enough room on the Island for you and us. Either you must go or we must go, and as we are many and you are one, we suggest that you go somewhere else, where there is more space for you.’
The tree moaned and wept. But it told the Islanders that it would forgive them their cruelty. And the children were full of compassion for the Tsoig, and sat in its branches, and leant their cheeks against its soggy derm, and stroked the oozy bumps and humps of the good old Tsoig.
So the tree stayed, and spread. And it shed so much fruit on the earth that the rank smell of the Island was detectable far out at sea, and even on the Mainland.
‘The Island has been cursed with a Tsoig,’ the Mainlanders said. ‘They should have killed it before it rooted itself firmly. Once a Tsoig has established itself there’s no way to destroy it. The Islanders will soon be putting out to sea.’
‘Tsoig,’ the people of the Island pleaded – this time the women too, ‘please, please go, or else we must leave our homes, and leave the Island, and leave you here all alone. We know that you like to be where there are people. You love people, don’t you? Well, if you went to the Mainland and took root there, all the people of the Mainland would come and see you, and there are many more people there than here, and plenty of room for all. You could spread and spread for another hundred years. And you would not be lonely. But on the Island there is not enough room for you and us. We are many and you are one. You should go. If we go we shall be scattered, separated from one another. We shall have to go to strange new lands and work hard for years to build new houses and recover what we have lost. And we shall be lonely, and homesick for the Island we were born on.’
But the Tsoig only wept, and spread faster, further and further, and splattered its round wet fruits on them.
Then the women took the children into the houses and shut the doors and drew the curtains and the men fetched axes and saws. Ignoring the sobs and cries of the old tree, they hacked furiously at it. But they soon found there was no way of cutting it down or cutting it back; for as fast as a Tsoig is wounded it heals itself, and as fast as its limbs are cut off it grows more, stronger than before, and it had grown too tough to be poisoned. Whatever was poured on its roots and leaves seemed only to nourish it.
So the people had no choice but to get into boats and put out to sea.
Because of the tides those who left from one side of the Island never again found those who left from the other side. Families were broken, and friends lost each other. And worst of all some of the smaller children were snatched up at the last moment by the Tsoig, swung up high, and held fast and unreachable in the embrace of the tree they had trusted. Their parents could not rescue them, and had to abandon them to the Tsoig.
To these young children, clasped helplessly and desperately weeping in the coils of the wet, fruit-erupting branches of the ever more lovingly, closely holding, the ever growing, ever more tightly tangling tree, the Tsoig expounded the moral of its story: ‘L–huv Conquers All.’