The year 2017 approaches, and with it the centennial of the Russian revolution that first brought Marxists to totalitarian power.
For the last hundred years Marxism has been destroying human life, liberty and happiness on a vast scale. Far from ushering in paradise on earth as the Marxists proclaimed they would do, they used power wherever they acquired it to create earthly hells.
By reasonable reckoning, 23 Communist regimes had killed (at least) 149,469,610 people by 2006. R. J. Rummel, who was professor of Political Science at the University of Hawaii, is the authority most cited for the statistics of deaths caused by Communist governments by means of executions, deliberate mass starvation, and forced labor. For mass slaughter of this sort, he invented the word “democide“.
In one of his papers titled How Many Did Communist Regimes Murder?, Professor Rummel wrote:
How can we understand all this killing by communists? It is the marriage of an absolutist ideology with absolute power. Communists believed that they knew the truth, absolutely. They believed that they knew through Marxism what would bring about the greatest human welfare and happiness. And they believed that power, the dictatorship of the proletariat, must be used to tear down the old feudal or capitalist order and rebuild society and culture to realize this utopia. Nothing must stand in the way of its achievement. Government – the Communist Party – was thus above any law. All institutions, cultural norms, traditions, and sentiments were expendable. And the people were as though lumber and bricks, to be used in building the new world.
To many communists, the cause of a communist utopia was such as to justify all the deaths. The irony of this is that communism in practice, even after decades of total control, did not improve the lot of the average person, but usually made their living conditions worse than before the revolution. It is not by chance that the greatest famines have occurred within the Soviet Union (about 5,000,000 dead during 1921-23 and 7,000,000 from 1932-3) and communist China (about 27,000,000 dead from 1959-61). In total almost 55,000,000 people died in various communist famines and associated diseases, a little over 10,000,000 of them from democidal famine. This is as though the total population of Turkey, Iran, or Thailand had been completely wiped out. And that something like 35,000,000 people fled communist countries as refugees, as though the countries of Argentina or Columbia had been totally emptied of all their people, was an unparalleled vote against the utopian pretensions of Marxism-Leninism. …
But communists could not be wrong. After all, their knowledge was scientific, based on historical materialism, an understanding of the dialectical process in nature and human society, and a materialist (and thus realistic) view of nature. Marx has shown empirically where society has been and why, and he and his interpreters proved that it was destined for a communist end. No one could prevent this, but only stand in the way and delay it at the cost of more human misery. Those who disagreed with this world view and even with some of the proper interpretations of Marx and Lenin were, without a scintilla of doubt, wrong. After all, did not Marx or Lenin or Stalin or Mao say that. . . . In other words, communism was like a fanatical religion. It had its revealed text and chief interpreters. It had its priests and their ritualistic prose with all the answers. It had a heaven, and the proper behavior to reach it. It had its appeal to faith. And it had its crusade against nonbelievers. …
[A]t the extreme of totalitarian power we have the greatest extreme of democide. Communist governments have almost without exception wielded the most absolute power and their greatest killing (such as during Stalin’s reign or the height of Mao’s power) has taken place when they have been in their own history most totalitarian. As most communist governments underwent increasing liberalization and a loosening of centralized power in the 1960s through the 1980s, the pace of killing dropped off sharply.
Communism has been the greatest social engineering experiment we have ever seen. It failed utterly and in doing so it killed over 100,000,000 men, women, and children, not to mention the near 30,000,000 of its subjects that died in its often aggressive wars and the rebellions it provoked. But there is a larger lesson to be learned from this horrendous sacrifice to one ideology. That is that no one can be trusted with power. The more power the center has to impose the beliefs of an ideological or religious elite or impose the whims of a dictator, the more likely human lives are to be sacrificed.
We contend that the recent death of Fidel Castro, the Communist dictator of Cuba, marks the end of the terrible Marxist era. Cuba will continue for a while yet to be under the cruel Communist regime he established. And North Korea is still under Communist dictatorship. But no new such regimes are arising. Democracy is replacing dictatorships in South America. And with the defeat in 2016 of a second* Alinskyite presidential candidate nominated by the Democratic Party of the United States, the grip of Marxist ideology through government is loosening everywhere and – we contend – unlikely to strengthen again.
It is still, however, dominant in the academies of the Western World. What can be done about that rottenness in higher education?
With this question, Robert Conquest, one of the greatest historians of Communist Russia, was concerned. In a review of his book Reflections on a Ravaged Century in the American Spectator Online, Josh London wrote:
The clearest picture to emerge from these pages is that the history of Communism is, at its simplest, little more than the history of an all-out assault on society by a series of conspiratorial cliques. These groups have, invariably, been led by excruciatingly cruel dictators who were revoltingly drunk on their own foolish ideology and power. …
Nobel Laureate F.A. Hayek pointed out over fifty years ago that “Socialism has never and nowhere been at first a working-class movement. It is by no means an obvious remedy for an obvious evil which the interests of that class will necessarily demand. It is a construction of theorists, deriving from certain tendencies of abstract thought with which for a long time only the intellectuals were familiar; and it required long efforts by the intellectuals before the working classes could be persuaded to adopt it as their programme.” Though unquoted by Conquest, Hayek’s insight is exactly what worries him most about the 20th century and the prospects of life in the 21st century. Conquest’s work in this section constitutes an inquiry into the intellectual’s temperament and, in particular, the intellectual ingenuity required to go on believing when all is lost.
There follows an excellent and absorbing chapter on what is happening in education: A great many just swipes are taken at the academic intelligentsia who subvert it. Conquest reviews the rise of pseudo-science, and the application of quantitative methods and measurements in social science. Conquest also laments the influence of half-baked, trashy European ideas in Western, specifically American, academic thought: “At a recent seminar on the much resented influx of certain American movies in France, my old friend Alain Besancon remarked that a hundred soft-porn products of Hollywood did less harm in his country than a single French philosopher had done in the United States.” …
[Robert Conquest] laments the academic unwillingness to be seen to criticize colleagues or step outside of the many and varied leftist solidarities rampant throughout academia. …
As Conquest’s essays demonstrate, we, the victors of the Cold War, have thrown away a great part of what should have been a victory for Western values. The Cold War has been won, but the ideas that produced Communism still go marching on in their well-organized, corrupting way, even though the people advocating them are a minority.
The Historian Edward Gibbon once wrote that “There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and to magnify the evils, of the present times.” Yet, standing from his vantage point at the end of the 20th century, surveying the history of the last 100 years, Conquest is probably right to end his book, as he soberly does, with a warning. Although we are now living through an exceptionally optimistic historical moment, he reminds us that the “past is full of eras of progress that ended in darkness.” We should not fool ourselves: “The power of fanaticism and of misunderstanding is by no means extinct.”
Nor will it ever be as long as humanity exists. Chriss W. Street, writing at Breitbart, warns that the Marxist aim of imposing Communism on the whole world is still being pursued with fanatical resolve:
Donald Trump winning the presidency based on his promise to torpedo globalism came exactly 27 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and represents the second leg down for “World Socialism”.
Although U.S. history books declare capitalist United States the victor in World War II, it was World Socialism that ended up dominating most of the globe. [The] Soviet Union and China carved out massive communist states, India adopted extreme socialism, and communist insurgencies were ascendant in Southeast Asia, Africa and South America.
Socialist governments controlled Western Europe and the idea that the state should play some kind of role in economic life was not seen as strange or unusual. Socialists differed on just how extensive the role of the state should be, but all agreed that “natural monopolies” like the railroad, phone service, health and electricity should be nationalized.
Paul Samuelson’s Economics was the top selling U.S. economics textbook from the 1960s through the 1980s. It proclaimed world socialism’s more efficient use of resources would allow the Soviet Union’s Gross National Product to pass the U.S. economy by 1984.
But mainstream economists failed to recognize that President Ronald Reagan’s policies of doubling down on capitalism through tax cuts and strangling the regulatory state in the 1980s would end the West’s inflationary spiral that had allowed communist resource-based economies to flourish. After the Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989, Russia was forced into a U.S. bailout and China adopted “Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics”.
But rather than accept a permanent home in the “dustbin of history”, socialists in Western Europe passed the Maastricht Treaty, which formed the 27 nation European Union. Meanwhile, Democrat President Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement and gave Most Favored Nation status to China.
Robert Wolfe, in the book SocialistGlobalization, calls this “internationalist movement”, a system of planning and production that transcends the boundaries of the individual nation-states:
The goal of socialist globalization should be the treatment of the entire world as a single economic unit within which the provision of necessary goods and services would be maximized and the [alleged man-made] damage to the environment minimized.
Leftist economist Joseph Stiglitz in January 2015 announced that “The American Century” had ended and “The Chinese Century” had begun, following the ‘World Bank’s International Comparison Program’ declaring China’s gross national product surpassed the U.S in 2014.
Stiglitz stated that the “rise of China also shines a harsh spotlight on the American model, due to capitalist economic and political “systemic deficiencies — that are corrupt”. He demanded that America must “pivot” to accept that the economic interests of China and the U.S. are now “intricately intertwined” in the new global order.
China would boast that it played a “crucial role” in formulating a new global development pact called “Agenda 2030,” which was signed by 193 members of the United Nations on September 28, 2015. The world socialist and corporatist pact aimed at re-engineering civilization through that imposition of 17 “Sustainable Development Goals” and setting 169 accompanying targets in what was referred to as a “Great Leap Forward”.
China said that to “combat inequality domestically is simply not enough — international socialism is needed to battle inequality even among countries”.
But, like us, the writer thinks that the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency marks a turning-point; that the zealots for international socialism are aware that their path to world domination, for so long all too smooth, could now be made impassable.
The election of Donald Trump now represents an existential threat to World Socialism across the planet.
Socialists know that when President Reagan went rogue with his muscular capitalist policies, communism quickly imploded. Trump has already torn up the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would have internationalized the law covering $28 trillion in trade and investment, about 40 percent of global GDP.
Trump seems determined to destroy “Socialist Globalization” with the same capitalist tax cuts and regulatory relief that President Reagan used to destroy communism.
Though not yet dead, Marxism/Communism/International Socialism has had its day. Its era is over. It will not go quietly. It will howl, it will grumble, it will whimper – but it will go. Perhaps as a minority secular religion it will linger, but as a power in the world it is done.
The Marxist professoriate remains to be muzzled. Agenda 2030 must not only be stopped, but the damage it has already done (under the name originally given to it by its parent the UN, “Agenda 21”) needs to be reversed. The prophets of doom by human beings overheating the planet need to be discouraged to the point of despair, because they are using “climate change” as a pretext for imposing world socialist government. But the Age of Marx is over.
That does not mean that “the power of fanaticism” – to use Robert Conquest’s words – is “extinct”. As we have said, it never will be.
We face another enemy of mankind. Islam.
As Marxism was to the last century, Islam will be to this century. Islam is an equally crippling totalitarian ideology, another mass killer and bringer of darkness.
Will a new era of American greatness save the world from it?
Footnote: * Barack Obama was the first Alinskyite to stand – in his case successfully! – for election to the US presidency.
The Obama administration is growing ever longer arms and ever more grasping fingers, to reach into every aspect, activity, and setting of our lives: our homes, our possessions, our habits, our tastes, our choices, our minds; to regulate, manipulate, constrain, constrict, direct, control us. Their aim? For them, power beyond the imaginations of all former tyrants; for us, helpless dependence, obedience, submission.
An exaggeration? Let’s see.
Among the people he has appointed to “czardom”, the unelected ideologues who have real executive power, are “behavioral scientists” and “behavioral economists”, who are actively trying to “usher in an era of profound social reform by getting us to change the way we behave, little by little, every day”, to quote an article by Christine Rosen in the July/August issue of Commentary, titled Now Behave. She names in particular Cass Sunstein, co-author of Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness, whom Obama has appointed his “regulation czar”. What he and his fellow philosophers now governing the Republic are doing is, in Rosen’s words:
.. reconciling political theory with the scientific study of human behavior since, they argue, the old categories of political theory no longer apply. … Personal responsibility? Impossible in a complicated world governed by complex ‘systems’ and limitless choices. The result is a kind of [Pavlovian] stimulus-response politics that promises to liberate citizens from having to make complicated choices in exchange for limiting their freedom.
Promises to liberate us from liberty?
It’s all for own good, of course, as every tyranny has ever been for the good of the tyrannized. But it’s not just for our own individual good. No – as always it’s for the good of “society”.
The new behaviorism isn’t interested in protecting people’s freedom to choose. Its core principle is the idea that only by allowing an expert to limit choices can individuals learn to break their bad habits. … Contemporary behaviorists want to nudge us, but not merely to make us happier, better people. They have specific hopes for the social effects this nudging will achieve: fewer smokers, thinner Americans, higher savings rates.
Now we see the dream in detail. It’s not exactly the same as the grand, vague, Marxist utopian dream of a proletarian paradise. It’s a more mundane, banal projection, concerned with correcting trivial behaviors that insult the puritan eye, nose, and tight fist. A largely aesthetic ideal based on parsimony, satisfying a taste for sparseness and austerity, with everyone skinny and no more unsightly fatties impeding passage through the mall. The venting of a petty and stingy enviousness that cannot endure the sight of abundance. A drive for conforming discipline, with a Spartan adulation of rude health, conjuring up images of medicine-ball, gym-slip, girls’ organizations in the early twentieth century.
The intelligentsia of the Western world, the elite that always classes itself with the rulers rather than the ruled, think all this is wonderful, great, brilliant. If you doubt it, read what distinguished critics and academics say about Cass Sunstein’s book Nudge, quoted proudly in it. Eg: “a wonderful book”; “this gem of a book”; “insightful and amusing, practical and deep … a must-read for anyone who wants to see both our minds and our society working better … it will make the world a better place“.
They see no contempt in it. No evil will. After all, it’s not a plan to force us, the masses; just to plant certain ideas in our minds so we can mull them over and come to accept them as better ideas than our own.
Not forcing us? Are they not already taking steps to regulate how much salt and fat we eat? To limit how much credit we may have so we don’t go and buy something just because we want it? The way you live in your own home will be scrutinized and corrected. Think you can cheat? They have technologies unavailable to earlier totalitarians, and they’ll use them to mold us to their heart’s desire.They are putting X-ray vans on the streets from which they can look into your house and see if you’re just lolling about when you should be working out (in either sense of the phrase). Complain about it? They’ll know. They’re working on censoring your internet communications.
Let’s look at an example of government interference in our home lives, at one way our betters are limiting the choices we can make in small and necessary things.
Ed Feulner, president of that splendid stronghold of conservative principles, the Heritage Foundation, writes today in Townhall:
So, are you ready to comply with the federal government’s ban on incandescent light bulbs? Me neither.
Starting in January 2012, a little over a year from now, the phase-out begins. Simple, inexpensive lighting will become a time-capsule item. Compact-fluorescent lights, or CFLs — the bulbs that look like a twisted ice-cream cone (and won’t fit in many light fixtures where space is tight) — will become the new norm.
Anyone who has priced CFLs knows they’re not cheap. Supposedly they’re worth the extra money because they’ll last longer. That’s cold comfort, though, given the dull, unnatural glow that these bulbs throw off.
Worse, CFLs are full of mercury. If one breaks — and who hasn’t dropped a light bulb now and then? — you have an elaborate clean-up process ahead of you. It’s on the EPA’s website, and it involves evacuating the area of all people and pets, and using duct tape and damp paper towels to get everything up. (Go to www.epa.gov for complete details.) And no vacuuming, or you may disperse the mercury – which, after all, is a toxic substance.
So why are we making the switch? … The theory, of course, is that we’ll consume less energy. It’s all part of the green agenda. The same agenda that the president insists will produce scads of high-paying, earth-friendly “green jobs.” Tell that to the 200 workers in Winchester, Va., who are losing their jobs as General Electric closes its incandescent-bulb factory there. Or to the Americans who work in other plants that have been shuttered.
Yes, some jobs will be created, thanks to the ban. Unfortunately, those jobs won’t be here in the U.S. — they’ll be in China, where CFLs can be made cheaper. …
But at least we’ll be saving energy, right? Not according to a recent study sponsored by Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. It found that energy use under newer “efficient” lighting will actually go up rather than down.
But their will be done.
One of the most profoundly troubling things about all this is that it’s being done to us so easily. Who is crying out against it? Even those who are aware that it is happening are not raising a hullabaloo, not threatening – let alone taking – action to prevent it. Christine Rosen, though she reports, explains, and objects to it, does not seem appalled by it. Ed Feulner, a champion of individual liberty, says of the light-bulb diktat: “This whole affair is a prime example of bad ‘unintended consequences’ resulting from well-intentioned plans — plans imposed by devotees of big-government solutions for nearly every problem.”
Well-intentioned? Can no one see that what we are being subjected to, stealthily nudged into, is a subservience more absolute than Orwell visualized, or Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, and Kim Jong Il achieved?
Or are these absurd comparisons? True, no cruel punishments, no forced starvation, no mass killings are written into the scenario. The program wears a smiley face. Its authors, the rulers, wish only the happiness of all mankind.
Didn’t they all?
Jillian Becker September 28, 2010
In the vocabulary of the militant international Left, the word “peace” is a code word for “pro-tyranny” and “anti-freedom”.
This comes from a must-read article, titled The Peace Racket, by Bruce Bawer in City Journal (reprinted in the current issue from Summer 2007):
We need to make two points about this movement at the outset. First, it’s opposed to every value that the West stands for—liberty, free markets, individualism—and it despises America, the supreme symbol and defender of those values. Second, we’re talking not about a bunch of naive Quakers but about a movement of savvy, ambitious professionals that is already comfortably ensconced at the United Nations, in the European Union, and in many nongovernmental organizations. It is also waging an aggressive, under-the-media-radar campaign for a cabinet-level Peace Department in the United States. Sponsored by Ohio Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich (along with more than 60 cosponsors), House Resolution 808 would authorize a Secretary of Peace to “establish a Peace Academy,” “develop a peace education curriculum” for elementary and secondary schools, and provide “grants for peace studies departments” at campuses around the country. If passed, the measure would catapult the peace studies movement into a position of extraordinary national, even international, influence.
The Peace Racket’s boundaries aren’t easy to define. It embraces scores of “peace institutes” and “peace centers” in the U.S. and Europe, plus several hundred university peace studies programs. …
At the movement’s heart … are programs whose purported emphasis is on international relations. Their founding father is a 77-year-old Norwegian professor, Johan Galtung, who established the International Peace Research Institute in 1959 and the Journal of Peace Research five years later. Invariably portrayed in the media as a charismatic and (these days) grandfatherly champion of decency, Galtung is in fact a lifelong enemy of freedom. In 1973, he thundered that “our time’s grotesque reality” was—no, not the Gulag or the Cultural Revolution, but rather the West’s “structural fascism.” He’s called America a “killer country,” accused it of “neo-fascist state terrorism,” and gleefully prophesied that it will soon follow Britain “into the graveyard of empires.” …
Fittingly, he urged Hungarians not to resist the Soviet Army in 1956, and his views on World War II suggest that he’d have preferred it if the Allies had allowed Hitler to finish off the Jews and invade Britain.
Though Galtung has opined that the annihilation of Washington, D.C., would be a fair punishment for America’s arrogant view of itself as “a model for everyone else,” he’s long held up certain countries as worthy of emulation—among them Stalin’s USSR, whose economy, he predicted in 1953, would soon overtake the West’s. He’s also a fan of Castro’s Cuba, which he praised in 1972 for “break[ing] free of imperialism’s iron grip.” …
His all-time favorite nation? China during the Cultural Revolution. Visiting his Xanadu, Galtung concluded that the Chinese loved life under Mao: after all, they were all “nice and smiling.” While “repressive in a certain liberal sense,” he wrote, Mao’s China was “endlessly liberating when seen from many other perspectives that liberal theory has never understood.” Why, China showed that “the whole theory about what an ‘open society’ is must be rewritten, probably also the theory of ‘democracy’—and it will take a long time before the West will be willing to view China as a master teacher in such subjects.” [See our post, Mao in the White House, October 15, 2009, for glimpses of what Mao’s China was really like.] …
Galtung’s use of the word “peace” to legitimize totalitarianism is an old Communist tradition. …
The people running today’s peace studies programs give a good idea of the movement’s illiberal, anti-American inclinations. The director of Purdue’s program is coeditor of Marxism Today, a collection of essays extolling socialism; Brandeis’s peace studies chairman has justified suicide bombings; the program director at the University of Missouri authorized a mass e-mail urging students and faculty to boycott classes to protest the Iraq invasion; and the University of Maine’s program director believes that “humans have been out of balance for centuries” and that “a unique opportunity of this new century is to engage in the creation of balance and harmony between yin and yang, masculine and feminine energies.” (Such New Age babble often mixes with the Marxism in peace studies jargon.)
What these people teach remains faithful to Galtung’s anti-Western inspiration. First and foremost, they emphasize that the world’s great evil is capitalism—because it leads to imperialism, which in turn leads to war. …
Students acquire a zero-sum picture of the world economy: if some countries and people are poor, it’s because others are rich. They’re taught that American wealth derives entirely from exploitation and that Americans, accordingly, are responsible for world poverty.
If the image of tenured professors pushing such anticapitalist nonsense on privileged suburban kids sounds like a classic case of liberals’ throwing stones at their own houses, get a load of this: America’s leading Peace Racket institution is probably the University of Notre Dame’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies—endowed by and named for the widow of Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s, the ultimate symbol of evil corporate America. It was the Kroc Institute, by the way, that in 2004 invited Islamist scholar Tariq Ramadan to join its faculty, only to see him denied a U.S. visa on the grounds that he had defended terrorism. [He has since been granted a visa by Hillary Clinton – JB.] …
What’s alarming is that these [peace studies] students don’t plan to spend their lives on some remote mountainside in Nepal contemplating peace, harmony, and human oneness. They want to remake our world. They plan to become politicians, diplomats, bureaucrats, journalists, lawyers, teachers, activists. They’ll bring to these positions all the mangled history and misbegotten ideology that their professors have handed down to them. Their careers will advance; the Peace Racket’s influence will spread. And as it does, it will weaken freedom’s foundations.
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are disciples of the left-revolutionary Saul Alinsky. Hillary Clinton encountered him personally and wrote an academic essay on his theories. Obama never met him but is his political child, faithfully following his intructions for changing the world. To what? An explicit answer cannot be found in the works of radical leftists, but what one gathers and gleans from them is this: an entirely different world in which human beings will not be as they are but transfigured, their nature so utterly changed that they will commit no crimes, never desire to have one thing that everybody else doesn’t have, and will have no aggression, envy, or hate in them. Or something along those lines. The picture of what will be is never apparently clear even in the revolutionary mind itself. A Marx, a Lenin, a Mao, an Alinsky can describe in any amount of detail what hell is – life as it’s lived now, especially in America; but they cannot describe their heaven (see our post Heaven and Hell, December 16, 2009). They require the utter destruction of this world so that the amorphous fantasy, the new world that they cannot visualize will arise on the ruins of the old. All they are sure of is the first step: destroy this world. This they can and will strive to do with fanatical passion. Anything may be done, however unjust, however cruel. Any number of the living may be sacrificed, for their suffering will buy the bliss of that far more worthy future human race.
Alinsky lays out practical steps for achieving the total destruction in his book Rules for Radicals. David Horowitz, the doughty fighter for freedom in general and especially for free speech in the academies, has written a booklet titled Barack Obama’s Rules for Revolution: The Alinsky Model *, in which he explains fully what the Alinsky ethos is, and what tactics Alinskyites will use to create not heaven on earth but chaos.
Here are some quotations from the booklet:
Alinsky’s advice [to his followers] can be summed up in the following way. Even though you are at war with the system, don’t confront it as an opposing army; join it and undermine it as a fifth column from within. To achieve this infiltration you must work inside the system for the time being. Alinsky spells out exactly what this means: “Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people.” In other words, it is first necessary to sell the people on change itself, the “audacity of hope”, and “yes, we can”. You do this by proposing moderate changes which open the door to your radical agendas: “Remember: once you organize people around something as commonly agreed upon as pollution, then an organized people is on the move. From there it’s a short and natural step to political pollution, to Pentagon pollution.”
There is no real parallelism in the war which radicals have declared. One side is fighting with a no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners battle plan against the system, while the other is trying to enforce its rules of fairness and pluralism. This is the Achilles heel of democracies and all radical spears are aimed in its direction.
At first it might seem paradoxical that an American president who has been the beneficiary of an electoral process second to none in its openness and inclusion should have been a veteran advocate and functionary of an organization like ACORN, which has been convicted of the most extensive election fraud in American history. But this is perfectly intelligible once the Alinsky method is understood. ACORN activists have contempt for the election process because they don’t believe in the electoral system as it is constituted in a capitalist democracy.
The really serious revolutionaries, the ones prepared to burn down the system and put their opponents up against the wall, have never had a plan. What they had – and still have – is a vague idea of the kingdom of heaven they propose to create, in Marx’s case “the kingdom of Freedom”, in Alinsky’s case “the open society”, in the case of the current left, “social justice”. These ideas are sentimental and seductive enough to persuade their followers that it is all right to commit fraud, mayhem and murder – usually in epic doses – to enter the promised land. But otherwise, revolutionaries never spend two seconds thinking about how to make an actual society work. How to keep people from committing crimes against each other; how to get them to put their shoulder to the wheel; how to provide incentives that will motivate individuals to produce wealth.
On this passage two points should be noted: The radical left’s understanding of what “the open society” means is the opposite of what the philosopher Karl Popper meant by it in his great work The Open Society and Its Enemies. Popper meant a society in which individuals are free to strive for their own ends, a society in which Adam Smith’s “natural order of liberty” (or what Karl Marx called, with contempt, “capitalism”) prevails. George Soros, who has benefitted hugely from the real open society of America, spends part of the fortune he has made in it on promoting collectivism with Alinskyite strategems through his “Open Society Institute”. And it should always be remembered that “social justice” is the opposite of justice. “Social justice” means endowing those who have not earned anything with the hard-won gains of those who have.
It must seem simply incredible that the chief enemy of a country should be its own elected president; that the man entrusted to lead it should be waging war on it. Many conservatives cannot bring themselves to believe even in the possibility that Obama – even though he is universally acknowledged to have been an Alinskyite in the past – is still of a mind to wreck the America he’s been elected to lead.
“Chaos”? “Wreck”? – don’t these words vastly exaggerate what’s happening? But look at what he’s done: set the people against Congress, the states against the federal government, former allies against America; let enemies become dangerously strong; and loaded such a burden of debt on the people as will crush generations to come. Isn’t wrecking and chaos well underway?
Today in Townhall, Michael Medved writes a plea to conservatives not to characterize Obama as a revolutionary, or a radical of any sort. While never actually saying that Obama is not a radical revolutionary, he pleads that it’s politically unwise to say that he is. Here’s how he ends his column (but it’s worth going to the source to read the arguments):
If conservatives persist in characterizing the President of the United States as vicious and radical, insanely bent on the destruction of the Republic, we may find reassurance from the already like-minded but we’ll lose nearly everyone in the persuadable middle. As a result, we could spend the next decade or more as an increasingly impotent, irrelevant and angry opposition, howling in the political wilderness.
We don’t agree in this instance with Michael Medved. Horowitz’s booklet explains at length why it is just such fears that Alinskyites take advantage of. We think it’s time to fight seriously (though not unscrupulously as the radicals fight), and nothing can be won if the enemy isn’t recognized and named.
*Order it from The Freedom Center, PO Box 55089, Sherman Oaks, Ca 91499 Tel: 800-752-6562.
In this article, at Pajamas Media, Jamie Glazov does five things that we applaud:
He reminds all of us who are free – and trying to remain free under a government that prefers collectivism to liberty – how terrible it is to live under collectivist totalitarian oppression. Specifically he writes about how it was in the Soviet Union.
He exposes the feminists for what they are – indulged, self-absorbed, ignorant, silly, and petty.
He condemns the leftists, who are blind to the value of the freedom they have and strive to destroy it.
He accuses Islam of threatening us with totalitarianism now.
He praises Glenn Beck and his outstandingly excellent film The Revolutionary Holocaust, that conveys, entirely adequately in a very shot space of time, an enormously important lesson to an American generation who are not taught it in their schools, their universities, or by the mass media.
The tortures included laying a man naked on a freezing cement floor, forcing his legs apart, and then an interrogator stepping on his testicles, applying increasing pressure until the confession surfaced. Imagine the consequences of no surfacing confession. Indeed, many people refused to confess to a crime they did not commit. Daughters and sons were raped in front of their fathers and mothers — for the sake of extracting “confessions.”
These are just some of the delicacies that the Stalinist machinery inflicted on its citizenry in the hope of bringing socialism into earthly incarnation. …
Both of my grandfathers were exterminated by Stalinist terror. Both of my parents, Yuri and Marina Glazov, were dissidents in the former Soviet Union. They risked their lives for freedom; they stood up against Soviet totalitarianism. They barely escaped the gulag, a fortune many of our friends and relatives did not share. I come from a system where a myriad of the closest people to my family simply disappeared, where relatives and family friends died under interrogation and torture for their beliefs — or for simply nothing at all.
Now try to imagine me sitting in the company of left-wing “intellectuals” in the West who think they are oppressed. This is my lifelong experience. I remember one radical feminist, whom I sat next to in a graduate student lounge, lecturing me sternly about how women in the West are oppressed because they wear bikinis on beaches; with a reprimanding tone, she explained to me that this represented the way capitalism objectifies women, marginalizes them from spheres of power, and metaphorically decapitates them as human beings. I remember asking her what she thought of female genital mutilation and honor killings in the Muslim world. To this I received a stone-cold silence and a frightening hateful stare, a stare with which I have become accustomed: I would be confined to a gulag or a psychiatric hospital if this particular individual had the power to place me there. This would be done for the good of society of course. My question was heresy: she could not, naturally, admit that evil adversarial cultures and ideologies existed — under which women truly suffer real oppression — for if she did, then she would have to sacrifice her entire worldview and personal identity. …
My family’s nightmarish experience in the Soviet Union was followed by a providential escape from totalitarian hell. We were among the lucky ones, the ones who got away. The United States gave us a safe and protected home — a home of unbelievable material well-being (in comparison to Soviet starvation) and human liberty. I will never forget the awe I felt experiencing my first taste of freedom, even as a young five-year-old boy who wasn’t completely sure what it was. My parents could now, for the first time, speak out without fear of brutal repercussions in defense of Soviet citizens who were being persecuted for their political and/or religious beliefs. For the first time, we lived without the dread to which I had been accustomed throughout my young life.
I remember while we were cherishing our newfound freedom, we encountered a strange species: intellectuals in the universities who reviled my parents for the story they had to tell. For the first time in their lives, my father and mother confronted an intelligentsia that was hostile to them. Back in Russia, dissident intellectuals risked their lives when they pronounced one word of truth about the horrible history (and reality) of their country under communist rule. In America, most of the intellectuals who surrounded us scoffed at the importance of real intellectual freedom and dismissed my parents’ experience; they demonized their own society, wished for its defeat, and supported the communist enemy that muzzled free speech and tortured millions of human beings.
As a very young boy, I learned that these intellectuals were “leftists.”… While my family agonized about the relatives and friends we had left behind, and as we kept the memory of their suffering alive in our hearts, our leftist acquaintances reprimanded us for our views, instructing us to see America — our personal liberator — as the most evil entity not only in the Cold War, but in all of human history. They wanted us to dedicate our lives — as they had done — to the victory of the West’s totalitarian adversaries.
But … today we have a best friend in the West … We aren’t orphans anymore. There is a certain individual in this land, by the name of Glenn Beck, who has a television show on the Fox News Channel with a mass following; he is masterfully exposing this phenomenon that we experienced — and are still experiencing. He is telling the truth about the Soviet regime and about communism and he is beaming a light on leftists and liberals for their long romance, which continues till this day, with communist systems and the ideologies that brought them into place. Just recently, Beck’s program featured his profound documentary, The Revolutionary Holocaust, which powerfully illustrates the evil of communism and the leftist ideals that brought its horrors into existence. Beck’s documentary exposes the crimes against humanity perpetrated by mass murderers such as Che Guevara and Mao Zedong, who, till this day, enjoy great idolization in leftist milieus and, as we know, in the Obama White House itself. …
Mr. Beck, thank you for having the courage and integrity to tell the truth about communism, despite the price you have had to pay for doing so. …
Because of people like you, the millions of victims of communism will not be pushed into the invisible sphere of historical amnesia — where the liberal left has perpetually tried to confine them. Mr. Beck, by producing documentaries like your recent The Revolutionary Holocaust, you are bringing personal affirmation to myriads of families like my own — and to all victims and survivors of communism — by validating our experiences and by telling the whole world that, despite the left’s attempt to impose gulag denial on our culture, we did live what we lived, we did endure what we endured, and we did see what we saw. And you are crystallizing the pernicious socialist idea that comes in the form of humanitarianism, but culminates in mass terror.
Glenn Beck, you are leading the crucial fight of the 21st century. In battling on the front lines for moral clarity on the issue of communism, you are setting a firm terrain on which free men and women will be able to fight the new jihadi totalitarians who seek to destroy our freedom and lives… Thank you.
Among free people there will always be many who hold absurd beliefs, such as those of Christianity. Some will hold beliefs that are not only absurd but cruel, such as those of Islam. The beliefs should be argued against. The people who hold them should not be persecuted, though they must be stopped from harming others. That remains in any case the most important function of law.
From an article by Luke Goodrich, Director of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, in the Wall Street Journal:
The view of religion as a threat is, of course, common. “New atheists,” such as Richard Dawkins, are one manifestation of that view; he dubs the Catholic Church a “disgusting institution,” one of the “greatest force[s] for evil in the world.” But new atheists are not the only ones. Others cite a history of religious wars, Muslim oppression of women, or Christian skepticism of science as proving the dangers of religion. Backward, superstitious, and bigoted, a threat to science and progress: religion is a divisive, intolerant force that governments should tame.
There are two possible responses to this view. One is to attack the premise, arguing that, no, religion really is a force for social good. Religion motivated 19th century abolitionists; religion gave us Mother Teresa; religion permeates the Louvre.
But might there be reasons to protect religious freedom even assuming religion is harmful? I offer three.
First, a practical one: suppressing religion may exacerbate the very problems it is designed to solve. History shows that religion does not disappear when governments try to suppress it. It goes underground, sometimes erupting more violently than if it were not suppressed.
Second, empowering governments to deem religion harmful, and therefore suppress it, opens the door to tyranny. Freedom of religion and freedom of expression are inextricably linked. If the government can deem religion harmful and suppress it in the name of public order, it can do the same to other ideas. It is no coincidence that many of the 20th century’s most tyrannical governments—Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia—made suppression of religion a centerpiece of their administration.
[Third] Finally, suppressing religion—even when done in the name of freedom and equality—strikes at the heart of human dignity, which is the foundation of all human rights. Every human being is born with a “religious” impulse—the urge to seek truth, to embrace the truth as one finds it, and to order one’s life accordingly. As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says, “All human beings are born free” and are “endowed with reason and conscience.” Absent a serious threat of violence or imminent harm, suppressing religion interferes with people’s ability to be fully human, to seek and embrace the truth as they understand it. A serious commitment to human rights requires governments to respect the religious impulse—even if much of society thinks religious beliefs are wrong, silly, or even harmful. If the European Court of Human Rights cannot get past its fear of religion, its jurisprudence will only become more incoherent, and all human rights more fragile.
On the second and third points we agree. They are in defense of freedom.
To the first point – that persecution can strengthen an undesirable movement – we would add this maxim from our own Articles of Reason:
Many a belief can survive persecution but not critical examination.
All religions have a foundation myth.
The foundation myth of the religion of Environmentalism is man-made global warming.
Its Old Testament consists of the books of Karl Marx and the lesser prophets who came after him: eg Lenin, Trotsky, Gramsci, Mao, Marcuse … Its New Testament consists of the Gospel according to Michael Mann and Al Gore, and the E-pistles of the Climatic Research Unit Apostles.
This is part of an article on the (priestly and inquisitorial) powers of the Environmental Protection Agency, by Jonah Goldberg:
Tim Wirth, a former Senator and now chairman of the United Nations Foundation, once said: “We’ve got to ride the global-warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing, in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.” New York Times columnist and prominent warm-monger Thomas Friedman has repeatedly said (most recently this week) that he doesn’t care if global warming is a “hoax” because even if it is, the fear of it will force us to do what we need to do.
And it just so happens that … global warming fuels nearly every progressive ambition. Wealth transfers from rich to poor nations: Check. The rise of “global governance” and the decline of American sovereignty: Check. A secular fatwa not only to erode capitalism but to intrude on every aspect of our lives (Greenpeace offers a guide to carbon-neutral sex): Check. Weaning us off of oil (which, don’t let the Goregonauts fool you, was a priority back when we were still worried about global cooling): Check. The checks go on for as far as the eye can see, and we will be writing them for years to come.