Red October 1

It is a hundred years today since the October Revolution (October 24-25, 1917) plunged Russia into Communism.

Bruce Thornton writes at Front Page:

To mark the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution The New York Times has been running a series called Red Century. In the spirit of its Pulitzer-Prize winning Moscow correspondent and fellow-traveler in the thirties, Walter Duranty, the articles in the main are an exercise in rehabilitation rather than historical evaluation. Given communism’s historically unprecedented and copiously documented record of slaughter, torture, mass imprisonment, brutal occupation, and utter failure to achieve its workers’ paradise of justice and equality, the question why the Times would attempt to mitigate the evil of a totalitarian ideology that led to 100 million dead cries out for an answer.

Communism … was taken not as a political philosophy, but as a scientific discovery that only the irrational, the evil, or those blinded by bourgeois “false consciousness” would reject. … Communism was about progress, optimism for the future, and the liberation of humans from social and political bondage by improving the economic and social conditions of human life. It had “an inherent optimism for the future”, as one Times article gushed. This notion that humans can be shaped and improved by rational technique still remains a dominant sensibility in the West, which explains the continuing hold of leftist ideology. From Obama’s 2012 campaign slogan “Forward”, a traditional leftist motto, to the fads of “behavioral science” like “implicit bias,” our world is still enthralled to this superstition that “human sciences” can improve life …

Of course, this optimism is predicated on a category error. Humans, each a unique individual endowed with a mind and free will, lie beyond the “complexity horizon”,  and so cannot be reduced to mere matter determined by the laws of physics or economic development, as Marx believed. Communism fails because it must diminish this human complexity so that people can be shoe-horned into the theory. It is reductive and simplistic, and necessarily dehumanizing. And dehumanization has ever been the precursor to mass murder and totalitarian tyranny. In the case of communism, its followers’ fanatical certainty that their beliefs were the fruit of objective “science” and the vehicle of universal human improvement, made it easier to ignore their own destructive passions and flaws, particularly their lust for power and domination; and to remove “by any means necessary” the stiff-necked opponents of humanity’s glorious future––the “eggs” that must be broken to make the communist “omelet,” as Walter Duranty reported in the Times in 1933.

But as the history of communism has shown, its road to utopia runs over mountains of corpses.

So far, fairly good. But the writer goes on to mourn the passing of the old-time religion. He calls the increasing secularism of the Christianized countries “radical”. Radical secularism? Can there be a “moderate secularism”?

The second cultural transformation that has kept a failed and murderous ideology alive is the radical secularism of the last two centuries. The decline in faith created a vacuum of disbelief intolerable to human beings.

We are largely human, and do not find disbelief intolerable.

To us disbelief is freedom, and essential. To us, belief is a prison; doubt is freedom.

However, coming back to ideas on which we can agree with the writer, he goes on to point out the similarities between Communism and Christianity. As we ourselves have written about Communism being secular Christianity, we stay with him for a while.

Substitutes had to be found to explain existence and human nature, provide a meaningful narrative that identifies the good and the evil, and describe the destiny awaiting those who accepted the new revelation. Political religions, whether fascism, “blood and soil” nationalism, or communism, filled the spiritual emptiness of a secularizing age. But communism was more attractive and powerful than fascism, for it was the bedfellow of scientism, the other pseudo-religion of modernity that promised salvation, only in this world rather than the mythic “heaven” of oppressive and irrational religious belief.

It is true that sociology and Marxism are “pseudo sciences”. He uses the term “scientism” for the belief that they are sciences. And Marxism did indeed offer “salvation” – heaven on earth. His “inevitable” revolution – which for all its inevitability would need to be fought for – was the equivalent of the Christian apocalypse; an earthly eschaton, immanent in this world for this world, after which everything would be changed and the earthly heaven would dawn and last forever and ever.

Here is a nice cartoon that jokes about the idea:

 

The similarities between communism and Christianity are numerous …: “consciousness” is the soul, which when enlightened brings salvation; “capitalists” are sinners, “comrades” are the faithful, the “counter-revolutionary” is the devil, the “proletariat” is the chosen people; the “new man” is the born-again Christian, the “classless society” is paradise, and the “proletariat revolution” is the Last Judgement. The God who was once the power behind the providential order of salvation history, is replaced by the new god “History”, which inexorably unfolds according to the Marxist libretto, until history ends in the “worker’s paradise”. Finally, communism promoted the elitist superiority … that comes from possessing the real meaning of events and behavior, a gnosis lacking in the dullard bourgeois and irrational people of faith.

The religious power of communism is apparent from the memoirs of ex-communists who wrote about their experience in the classic The God That Failed. French novelist André Gide said of becoming a communist, “My conversion is like a faith”, and the Soviet Union seems “to point to salvation”. Arthur Koestler, whose novel Darkness at Noon, published in 1940, told the truth about the Show Trials that fellow-travelers denied were even happening, explicitly linked secularization to communism. He wrote that he “converted” because he “lived in a disintegrating society thirsting for faith”.  Like St. Paul on the road to Damascus, Koestler writes, “The new light seems to pour from all directions across the skull, the whole universe falls into pattern,” now there is “an answer to every question”,  and “nothing henceforth can disturb the convert’s inner peace and serenity.”

The intensity of this conversion in part explains the legions of Westerners who refused to credit the concrete evidence of communist tyranny that began under Lenin. In 1908, Lenin threatened “real, nation-wide terror which reinvigorates the country”,  and fulfilled that threat a few years after the revolution in the “merciless war”,  as he put it, against the Kulaks, the more prosperous peasants. When someone protested, Lenin answered, “Do you think we can be victors without the most severe revolutionary terror?” The horrors of Stalin were just expansions of Lenin’s brutal practices already well documented before Stalin came into power. As French historian François Furet has written, “Those who wanted to know, could have known. The problem was that few people really wanted to.” Only a cult-like blind faith can explain such a resistance to facts, one obvious in the comment of Europe’s most famous Marxist, Georg Lukács, who said, “Even if every empirical prediction of Marxism were invalidated, I would still hold Marxism to be true.”

Sounds very like a belief in Christianity or any other religion. Yet Bruce Thornton, who sees the similarity so clearly, wishes religious faith back upon those who have emerged from it.

The horrors of the Communist faith and its capacity to survive despite its proving to be, after all, a recipe for earthly hell, he describes vividly. Did not Christianity create its hells on earth too? Did not believing Christians go on believing despite its centuries of totalitarian terror?

The patent failure of Marx’s theoretical “predictions”, the proven record of mass murder and imprisonment, the pollution of social and family life by an infrastructure of surveillance and lies, the 1939 pact with Hitler that laid bare the true aims of an amoral gangster regime – none has been able to shake the faith of Western communists and fellow-travelers, who today still practice such willful blindness, whether it’s Bernie Sanders honeymooning in the old Soviet Union, Sean Penn shilling for a brutal thug in Venezuela, or Barack Obama cavorting with the Castro brothers in Cuba.

Today this affection does not seem to have the religious intensity of the early communist converts. But the persistence of communist apologetics has turned such unseemly admiration for the greatest killer in history into a mark of status and fashion for the caviar communist, the parlor pink, and the radical chic. These “useful idiots” 2.0 exist because admiration for communism has burrowed deep into high culture, popular culture, and the universities. So it is no surprise that large numbers of millennials prefer socialism – communism’s half-way house – to capitalism, and one-third think George W. Bush killed more people than Stalin did. Obviously, the thrill of being “subversive”, sheer historical ignorance, and moral flabbiness also account for this mysterious attraction to an ideology of murder and tyranny on the part of those who fancy themselves sophisticated intellectuals.

One hundred years after communism burst onto the world stage, it has survived the collapse of its most lethal state sponsor, the Soviet Union, and in modified form lives on in totalitarian regimes like China, and in political parties across Europe. The series in the Times reminds us that the discredited theories and allure of freedom’s greatest enemy must still be attacked and ridiculed.

Indeed yes, Christianity and Communism are similar religions. With their “proven record of mass murder and imprisonment, the pollution of social and family life by an infrastructure of surveillance and lies” – and their horrific tortures – the only significant difference between them is that Christianity offers you happiness in an imaginary There, Communism in an imaginary Here.

Both demand that you make sacrifices for future imaginary gains.

But neither will deliver the promised “salvation”- ever.

Fools! Your reward is neither here nor there!‘ wrote Omar Khayyam, an atheist Persian poet.  

Better far: America, capitalism, rule of law, freedom.

The good old days of Communism 7

The New York Times still praises Communism and American Communists.

The New York Times has always liked Communism.

Its famous Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty denied that Stalin caused millions of peasants to die of hunger in the Ukraine. He denied that there was any famine at all in the Ukraine.

These famous  pictures from that place and that time tell a different story:

Communism is coming into fashion again with intellectuals in the US.

Recently the university press of MIT published a book about it for very small children, to teach them early that Communism is charming, cute, fair, fun, friendly, jolly and good.

Is the whole of the Left soaked through with a longing for totalitarian Communism? Or is totalitarian Islam the more attractive choice for most of their thinkers?

Posted under communism, Islam, Soviet Union, Ukraine, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, May 2, 2017

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The need for religion – a craving for tyranny 2

Why do tens of millions in the West prostrate themselves before advancing, conquering, oppressive Islam?

Why do millions of Americans still vote for the Democratic Party?

This essay offers a chilling explanation.

It is from Jihad Watch, by Alexander Maistrovoy:

“Progressive man” refuses to recognize the crimes of Islam, not because he is naive, fine-tempered or tolerant. He does it because, unconsciously or subconsciously, he has already accepted Islam as a religion of salvation. As he accepted Stalinism, Hitlerism, Maoism and the “Khmer Rouge” before it 

Joseph de Maistre, a French aristocrat of the early 19th century, argued that man cannot live without religion, and not religion as such, but the tyrannical and merciless one. He was damned and hated, they called him an antipode of progress and freedom, even a forerunner of fascism; however, progressives proved him right again and again.

It may be true of most people that they “cannot live without religion”, but it is not true of all. We wonder how, since the Enlightenment, and especially now in our Age of Science, people can live with a religion. We agree, however, that those who need a religion are not put off by its being “tyrannical and merciless”.

Is there a religion, whether deity-worshiping or secular, that is not tyrannical and merciless?  

In their nihilistic ecstasy, Homo progressicus threw God off the pedestal, trampled upon the humanistic ideal of Petrarch, Alberti and Leonardo Bruni, who relied on Reason and strove for virtue, and … found themselves in complete and gaping emptiness. They realized that they could not live without the God-man — the idol, the leader, the ruler, who would rely on the unshakable, ruthless idea of salvation — not in the other world, but in this real world here and now. And with all the passion so inherent to their shallow, unstable, infantile nature, they rushed out in search of their “prince on a white horse”.

The idols of the progressives were tyrants armed with the most progressive ideology: Robespierre, and after him Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, and finally — Islam.

Islam does not, of course, claim to be “progressive”. It derives from – and is stuck in – the Dark Ages. But the self-styled progressives of the West are welcoming it and submitting to it.

In the 20th century, the Western intelligentsia was infected with red and brown bacilli.

Walter Duranty ardently denied the Holodomor.

That is Stalin’s forced famine in the Ukraine that killed many millions. Walter Duranty denied that it was happening in his New York Times reports.

Bernard Shaw and Romain Rolland justified OGPU terror and the kangaroo court in Moscow; Aragon, Barbusse (the author of the apologetic biography of Stalin: Stalin. A New World Seen Through the Man) and Jean-Richard Bloch glorified “the Father of nations”.

“I would do nothing against Stalin at the moment; I accepted the Moscow trials and I am prepared to accept those in Barcelona,” said Andre Malraux during the massacre of anarchists from POUM [the Workers’ Party of Marxist Unification] by Communists in Barcelona in 1937.

Let’s guess: who is writing about whom? “Lonely overbearing man … damned disagreeable”, “friendly and commonplace”, possessing “an intelligence far beyond dogmatism” … “sucked thoughtfully at the pipe he had most politely asked my permission to smoke  I have never met a man more fair, candid, and honest”. Got it? It was Stalin, as portrayed by H. G. Wells.

How many sufferings – Solzhenitsyn recalled — were caused by progressive Western journalists, who after having visited the GULAG, praised Potemkin villages with allegedly heated barracks where political prisoners used to read Soviet newspapers sitting at clean neat tables? Indeed, Arthur Ransome (The Guardian), an American journalist and a fan of Mao, Agnes Smedley, New York reporter Lincoln Steffens (after the meeting with Lenin he wrote,“I have seen the future and it works”), Australian-British journalist Leonore Winter (the author of the book  called Red Virtue: Human Relations in the New Russia) and many others sympathized with the Bolsheviks and the Soviet Union. Juan Benet, a famous Spanish writer, suggested “strengthening the guards (in GULAG), so that people like Solzhenitsyn would not escape”. The Los Angeles Times published Alexander and Andrew Cockburn, who were Stalin’s admirers.

Hitler? Knut Hamsun, Norwegian novelist who won the Nobel Prize, described Hitler in an obituary as a “fighter for humanity and for the rights of all nations”. The “amorousness” of Martin Heidegger for the “leader of the Third Reich” is well known. In the 1930s, the Führer was quite a respectable person in the eyes of the mass media. Anne O’Hare McCormick – a foreign news correspondent for the New York Times (she got a Pulitzer Prize) — described Hitler after the interview with him: he is “a rather shy and simple man, younger than one expects, more robust, taller … His eyes are almost the color of the blue larkspur in a vase behind him, curiously childlike and candid … His voice is as quiet as his black tie and his double-breasted black suit … Herr Hitler has the sensitive hand of the artist.”

The French elites were fascinated by Hitler. Ferdinand Celine said that France would not go to “Jewish war”, and claimed that there was an international Jewish conspiracy to start the world war. French Foreign Minister Georges Bonnet rendered honors to Ribbentrop, and novelist, essayist and playwright Jean Giraudoux said that he was “fully in agreement with Hitler when he states that a policy only reaches its highest form when it is racial”.

The Red Guards of Chairman Mao caused deadly convulsions in China and ecstatic [sympathetic] rage in Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, Jan Myrdal, Charles Bettelheim, Alain Badiou and Louis Pierre Althusser. In Paris, Barbusse and Aragon created “the pocket monster” — Enver Hoxha [Communist dictator of Albania]; at Sorbonne University, Sartre worked out “the Khmer Rouge Revolution” of Pol Pot, Hu Nima, and Ieng Sary. Noam Chomsky characterized the proofs of Pol Pot’s genocide as “third rate” and complained of a “vast and unprecedented propaganda campaign against the Khmer Rouge”. Gareth Porter, winner of the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism, said in May 1977: “The notion that the leadership of Democratic Kampuchea adopted a policy of physically eliminating whole classes of people was … a myth.”

In the 70’s, the whole world already knew the truth about the Red Guards. However, German youth from the Socialist Union of German Students went out  on demonstrations with portraits of the “Great Helmsman” and the song “The East is Red”.

In the USA, they went into the streets holding red flags and portraits of Trotsky and Che Guevara, and dream of “Fucking the System” like their idol Abbie Hoffman. The hatred of “petty bourgeois philistines”, as Trotsky named ordinary people, together with the dream of guillotines, bayonets, and “red terror”, keep inspiring Western intellectuals like Tariq Ali, the author of the revolutionary manual Trotsky for Beginners.

“The middle class turned out to be captured by ‘bourgeois-bohemian Bolshevism’,” Pascal Bruckner wrote.

Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot passed away, but new heroes appeared in their places. Leading employees of CNN – reporter Peter Arnett, producer Robert Wiener and director of news department Eason T. Jordan – had excellent relations with close associates of Saddam Hussein, pretending they didn’t know anything about his atrocities. Hollywood stars set up a race of making pilgrimages to Castro and Chavez. Neo-Marxist professors and progressive intellectuals, such as Dario Fo, Jean Baudrillard and Martin Amis, welcomed the triumph of al-Qaeda on September 11.

The romanticization of  the “forged boot” and “iron hand”, the worship of “lonely overbearing” men with “the sensitive hand of the artist” — this explains the amazing easiness with which recent anarchists, pacifists, Marxists, atheists, after having changed a couple  of ideologies, burden themselves with the most primitive, barbaric and despotic religion of our time: Islam.

Atheists of the Left only, being atheists who dispense with belief in the supernatural but still need a religion.

What they crave for is not religion as such. They don’t want Buddhism, Bahaism, Zoroastrianism, or even the mild Islam of the Sufi or Ahmadiyya version. They want a religion that would crush them, rape their bodies and souls, and destroy their ego — one that would terrify them and make them tremble with fear, infirmity and impotence.

Only bloodthirsty medieval Islam is able to do this today. It alone possesses unlimited cruelty and willingness to burn everything on its way. And they  gather like moths flying to the flame: communists Roger Garaudy, “Carlos the Jackal”, Trond Ali Linstad, Malcolm X, Alys Faiz; human rights defenders Jemima Goldsmith, Keith Ellison, and Uri Davis, the fighter against Zionism for the rights of the Palestinians. Fathers favor Castro, such as Oliver Stone; their sons accept Islam, such as Sean Stone. According to a public opinion poll conducted in August 2014 (Madeline Grant, Newsweek), “16% of French citizens support ISIS”. There are 7% to 8% of Muslims living in France. Who makes up the rest 8% to 9%?

Ken Livingstone, Jeremy Corbyn, John Brennan, Hollywood stars, Ylva Johansson, Sweden’s Integration Minister, who like her boss Stefan Löfven claimed that “there was no connection between crime and immigration”; Michael Fabricant, a former vice-chair of the Tory party, who said that “some conservative Anglicans are the same as ISIS”; German politicians that established a media watchdog to “instruct the press to censor ethnicity and religion in crime reports” (a modification of Soviet censure); the Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Phillips, who believes that it is inevitable to recognize Sharia courts in Great Britain; atheist-apologist for Islam (O my God!) CJ Werleman; Canadian Liberals, who support  the anti-Islamophobia motion; Georgetown professor Jonathan Brown, who justifies slavery and raping of female slaves; Wendy Ayres-Bennett, a UK professor who is urging Brits to learn Urdu and Punjabi to make Muslim migrants feel welcome; Ohio State University, that offered a course on “how Muslims helped build America”; the Swedish state-owned company Lernia encouraging the replacement of standard Swedish with the “migrant-inclusive accent”; American feminists with the slogans “Allahu akbar” and “I love Islam”, who endorse the BDS movement; Swedish feminists wearing burkas in Iran; “proud  feminists” such as Elina Gustafsson and Gudrun Schyman defending Muslim criminals who raped Swedish girls – all of them and thousands of others have already converted to Islam, if not de jure, then de facto.

They appeal to Islam to escape from their fears, complexes, helplessness, and uselessness. They choose the despotism of body and spirit to deprive themselves of their freedom – the freedom that has always been an unbearable burden for their weak souls full of chimeras. They crave slavery.

They are attracted by Islam today, but it’s not about Islam. It’s about them. If Islam is defeated tomorrow and a new Genghis Khan appears with the “religion of the steppe”, or the kingdom of the Aztecs rises with priests tearing hearts from the chest of living people, they will passionately rush into their embrace. They are yearning for tyranny, and will destroy everything on their way for the sake of it. Because of them, “we shall leave this world here just as stupid and evil as we found it upon arrival”. (Voltaire)

Posted under Anarchy, Anti-Semitism, Atheism, Britain, Buddhism, Cambodia, Canada, China, Christianity, Collectivism, communism, Cuba, Environmentalism, Europe, Feminism, France, genocide, Germany, Hinduism, History, Islam, jihad, Judaism, Leftism, Marxism, media, Muslims, nazism, Norway, Pakistan, Palestinians, Progressivism, Race, Religion general, Russia, Slavery, Socialism, Soviet Union, Sweden, Terrorism, Theology, Totalitarianism, tyranny, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela by Jillian Becker on Sunday, April 9, 2017

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Collectivist idealism: an obituary 1

The Marxist movement that tormented the human race for 100 years – 1917 to 2017 – was a Western bourgeoisie revolt against itself.

Almost all its leading idealists came from middle-class well-educated families. (Stalin was an exception.)

Its victims were multitudes of vulnerable individuals in frail societies.

Its last desperate heave for enduring power was the successful campaign of the Democratic Party to get Barack Obama elected to the presidency of the United States.

But America is not a frail society. The people are not poor, helpless, vulnerable. They have been made strong by 240 years of constitutionally protected liberty and property-owning free market capitalism.

Obama weakened America militarily and put it into heavy debt, but he is being constitutionally replaced by a patriotic capitalist, and there is nowhere for the Marxist movement to go now except into oblivion. 

There will still be idealists of collectivism, chiefly in the academies, for some years to come. Communist regimes linger on in a few sad places – North Korea, Cuba. But it is unlikely that there will be new regimes of that sort.

Here’s Milton Friedman explaining, kindly and politely but inarguably, how collectivism is bad for people and freedom is good for them:

Posted under communism, Cuba, Economics, Leftism, Marxism, North Korea, Soviet Union, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, January 5, 2017

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End of an era 3

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 concernedIn 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.

Celebrate the death of Fidel Castro! 13

Obama over. Hillary out. Merkel, Juncker, Hollande soon to go. Maduro done for. FIDEL CASTRO DEAD.

It’s over. The terrible century of Socialist idealism in practice, whether just depressingly as in the United States under Obama, or with totalitarian horror elsewhere under Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, is coming to its end.

There are still a few Socialists in power – to mourn the death of the Monster of Cuba. Instead of abominating him as he deserves and condemning his cruel tyranny, they will heap praise on him.

As does the prime minister of Canada:

Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the death of former Cuban President Fidel Castro:

November 26, 2016

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the death of former Cuban President Fidel Castro:

“It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President.

“Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.

“While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante”.

“I know my father was very proud to call him a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three sons and his brother President Raúl Castro during my recent visit to Cuba.

On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and many, many supporters of Mr. Castro. We join the people of Cuba today in mourning the loss of this remarkable leader.”

This punchinello must fall – and will of course.

The Left has nowhere to go but into oblivion. It has proved its own ideas to be disastrously wrong over and over again. It is utterly discredited.

Hundreds of cheers for the death of Fidel Castro!

*

Fabiola Santiago writes at the Miami Herald:

During the six decades of the Castro brothers totalitarian rule, more than two million Cubans fled their beloved island

One of Castro’s most heinous crimes was the massacre of 41 men, women and children attempting to flee Cuba on a tugboat on July 13, 1994. Cuban authorities sprayed the vessel with water hoses, rammed and sank it. This is not something I read. I interviewed survivors at the Guantanamo Cuban refugee camps months later. The Cuban Coast Guard refused to rescue the drowning, they told me.

There were so many other crimes and human rights abuses, largely ignored or benignly viewed by a world that gave Castro the benefit of the doubt, and only slapped him on the wrist occasionally at some forums like the United Nations.

Fidel Castro, myth and legend to the international left, has died without being brought to justice for his crimes against his people — the passing of the torch and title of president to his brother in 2006 challenged only by brave dissidents who are beaten and detained daily. The Castros have installed their children and grandchildren in government roles, an indication they plan to sustain the family dynasty beyond Raúl’s promised retirement in 2018.

There’s joy, excitement — and hope — at the news of Fidel Castro’s death at 90. I’m skeptical. Castro didn’t govern alone. He had accomplices. …

Still, it won’t be the same without the patriarch. With his death, it feels as if an evil curse — the heaviest of weights — has been lifted on a nation whose children are scattered all over the world. The bogeyman is gone.

At the break of morning, the streets of Havana were deserted. People were told to stay inside, refrain from playing music, close their doors.

Miami never went to sleep, some of the arteries that run through its Cuban heart closed so that people could express the accumulation of 58 years of loss and separation, of disillusionment and never-ending hope.

Cuba , Castro no more.

There will be no farewell comandante from us, only a good riddance.

*

CELEBRATING THE DEATH OF FIDEL CASTRO IN MIAMI

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*

Here is President-elect Trump’s official statement on the death of Fidel Castro. It deserves applause:

“Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights. While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve. Though the tragedies, deaths and pain caused by Fidel Castro cannot be erased, our administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty. I join the many Cuban Americans who supported me so greatly in the presidential campaign, including the Brigade 2506 Veterans Association that endorsed me, with the hope of one day soon seeing a free Cuba.”

A taste of socialist honey 5

Bernie Sanders is out of the running for the presidency of the United States. Millions are disappointed. He stimulated a taste for socialism. The Democratic Party is more socialist now than it was before it watched him entrancing his millions of followers.

He conveyed to crowds of Americans apparently innocent of any knowledge of modern history, that socialism is a benign system for an ideal society in which all are equal, and everyone gets free education from kindergarten to college, and free health care for life.

He has managed not to notice that where the system was tried – as in Russia – it did not established unending human happiness.

Although he went to Soviet Russia himself.  He took his honeymoon there.

He got back home again safely, and has continued to the present day to consider socialism a fine thing.

Other Americans who went there – to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – were just as foolish but not as lucky.

We quote from an article by Tim Tzouliadis, published by the BBC in August 2008:

At the height of the Depression, several thousand American emigrants left New York on the decks of passenger liners waving goodbye to the Statue of Liberty, bound for Leningrad.

Over 100,000 Americans had applied for jobs working in brand new factories in Soviet Russia, ironically built for Stalin by famous American industrialists such as Henry Ford.

Those American emigrants who entered the “workers’ paradise” were certain that they were leaving the misery of unemployment and poverty behind them. They considered themselves fortunate.

Their optimism would prove to be short-lived. Most were stripped of their American passports soon after their arrival.

Considered suspect by Stalin’s paranoid totalitarian state, the foreigners were swept away in the Terror.

The American jazz clubs, the baseball teams, and the English-language schools set up in cities across the USSR, would quickly vanish with them. …

The Metropol Hotel became the weekly venue for the party of rich American journalists, businessmen and engineers who would dance around the circular fountain kept stocked with fish in the middle of the dance-floor.

Diners were encouraged to select their supper, at which point a net would be deftly flourished by the waiter, the fish caught and cooked and brought to their table.

Seventy years later the Metropol is still Moscow’s finest hotel, and the marble fountain is still present in the centre of the dining room. The city has changed radically but the key locations of the American emigration are still there.

In Gorky Park, the American baseball teams would compete against each other in the summer evenings of the early 1930s.

The American Ambassador’s residence, Spaso House, where William C. Bullitt once hosted the “party of the century” in April 1935, still has the Stars and Stripes flying in front and the diplomats still drink cocktails on the terrace.

The original American embassy on Mokhovaya Street is now the headquarters of a Russian investment bank. … At the height of the Terror, the American emigrants had besieged their embassy, begging for passports so they could leave Russia.

They were turned away only to be arrested on the pavement outside by lurking NKVD agents.

Inside, the American diplomats had known about these disappearances almost from the very beginning. But they did little to save their fellow countrymen 

The emigrants began their long journey either into the prison cells and the Gulag camps, or the shorter route to the execution grounds.

In the killing fields at Butovo, a suburb 27 kilometres south-east of Moscow, several of the American baseball players were executed during the Terror, and lie in mass graves stretching for hundreds of metres.

Thousands were killed in this quiet country backwater, surrounded by trees to muffle their screams. …

Wearing leather aprons and protective gloves, the masked NKVD guards had set about their nightly work methodically, killing young and old alike, understanding that they too would be killed if they refused.

But many also acted willingly, as the conscious and deliberate agents of the class struggle.

Stalin’s executioners had been convinced of the need to “kill and kill and kill” for the benefit of all mankind. And then they returned each morning to steady their nerves with their specifically-allotted quota of vodka, and to douse their clothes in eau-de-cologne to remove the stench of death, ready for the next night’s work.

Vladimir Putin was recently quoted as saying that Russians have nothing to be ashamed of concerning the Terror.

The iconography of totalitarianism remains firmly in place in modern Russian society. The entrance to the Lubyanka is still decorated with hammer and sickles.

 

(Hat-tip Robert Kantor)

Posted under Russia, Soviet Union, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, June 12, 2016

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America’s Red Guard 12

We often quote Daniel Greenfield because we often like what he says and how he says it.

Here he is writing about America’s Red Guard (we quote his article in part):

As the 50th anniversary of the Cultural Revolution approaches some of the former students who participated in its Red Guard terror have been trying to make amends to their victims. If China’s former leftist fanatics feel some remorse for the atrocities they participated in, the same can’t be said of their American counterparts.

Even as the Cultural Revolution was dying down in China, it flared up in the United States. The Weather Underground drew inspiration from China’s Red Terror. Their founding manifesto cited the Red Guard as a model for a “mass revolutionary movement.”

Bill Ayers, among others, had signed a letter, “Long live People’s China. Long live Comrade Mao.”

The American counterparts of China’s Red Guard remain largely unrepentant because here the  Cultural Revolution never ended. Instead it went mainstream. Its members were never disavowed and their acts of terror continue to be celebrated, minimized and whitewashed by a left that finds them alternately embarrassing and thrilling.

The terrorists became celebrities and the radicals became part of the system and set the rules. There was less violence, but more authoritarianism. Instead of carrying on a futile campaign of bombings and bank robberies, the radicals used the vast wealth and power of the system to train the next generation of the Red Guard. And that next generation did the same thing.

Each wave of the Cultural Revolution in the United States has eroded civil rights and illiberally undermined a liberal society. Though the Red Guards have chosen to work within the system, they are animated by an unmistakeable contempt and hatred for the country and its institutions. Their endgame has not changed. Only their tactics have.

Barack Obama, a child of the Cultural Revolution, is the very model of a modern Red Guard. The mark of a successful revolution is that the revolutionaries no longer need extreme rhetoric since they can do anything they want. The Weather Underground engaged in extreme rhetoric and actions. Obama dispenses with the extreme rhetoric and gets right down to the extreme actions. He is calculating enough to avoid the verbal vindictiveness of an Ayers or a Wright, but he still chose them as his mentors. …

The virtue of the creative individual was displaced by the Red Guard’s virtue of outrage. Its members mistake the thrill of abusing others for the rightness of a moral crusade. They celebrate the elimination of all restrictions that prevent them from punishing their victims as a revolutionary act.

This form of crowdsourced political terror by elites and their pet mobs isn’t new. It’s only new to the United States.

Political outrage is the supreme virtue of both the American and Chinese Red Guard. The denunciations leading from that outrage show off their revolutionary commitment to everyone.

The lines of scapegoats paraded through the media for some petty crime against political correctness are a modern digital version of the Red Guard’s denunciations and humiliations. The politics and the poisoned power motives are the same. The only difference is that the Red Guard lacks the license to commit real violence, as of now, and must instead settle for economic and social violence.

The virtue of outrage leads to a state of authoritarian lawlessness. Legislatures and laws are replaced with an alliance between the executive authority of Barack Obama and the Red Guard activists. The activists demand, the media manufactures outrage and Obama uses executive orders to deliver. …

When outrage displaces the process of the law, what remains is either authoritarianism or anarchy. And despite the occasional Circle-A embroidered on a pricey jacket, the progressive Red Guard are not anarchists. What they are after is not less authority, but more of it. Not more freedom, but less of it. Their rhetoric about banks and corporations disguises what they intend for the rest of us.

They are not fighting against power. They are fighting for power.

The Red Guard, whether it’s the Occupiers or Barack Obama, abide by no rules except those of their own ideology. The United States Constitution and the rule of law mean nothing to them. The rules of their ideology are expressed formally in private, but publicly as outrage or empathy.  …

The momentum of emotion has no room for argument or dissent. There is no possibility of negotiation or compromise. Everything exists in black and white. Reason is not even a factor. There is nothing to debate. Either you agree or you are the enemy.

Under the rule of the Red Guard … freedom of speech and thought are only provided to those who say and think the right things. The same is true for all else. There are no rights, as we know them anymore.  Only a binding mandate of social justice. The right to speak your mind or donate to a political cause is valid only if it serves that mandate. …

“Social justice” of course means injustice. It means government using its monopoly of force to take wealth away from those who have earned it and give it to those who haven’t.

Justice [to the left] is not blind. She’s a community organizer coming out on the side of the social justice faction against the greedy and ignorant majority. The entire system, political, cultural and legal, is a means of enforcing the mandate. Its administrators are an elitist faction whose contempt for the people leads them to believe that tyranny is the only way to equality. …

The artificial and extraordinary force of the Red Guard is a perverse parody of mob rule. Our Red Guard, like many in China’s Red Guard, are the sons and daughters of the elites. Their violence is a ferocious assault of the top against the middle in the name of the low.

They manufacture an elitist populism in order to call for despotism.

In New York City, the sons and daughters of the elite stopped shaving, set up camping tents opposite Wall Street and clamored for the radical change that their parents were already busy implementing.

Occupy Wall Street, like every modern manifestation of the Red Guard in the United States, and like the original Red Guard, was a cynical power move by a ruling elite. The fake populism of 1 percenter brats shrieking about income inequality while campaigning to destroy the middle class and what’s left of the working class was true despotism.

The new Cultural Revolution is aimed at shrinking the already narrow power and prosperity of the majority for the sake of the minority. Not the minority of racial or ethnic minorities, but the minority of elites that is determined to get its way by any means necessary.

The 50th anniversary of China’s Cultural Revolution will coincide with a national election in the United States that will serve in part as a final referendum on the Red Guard reign of the previous eight years. Like the Chinese, Americans will be forced to confront the ruin of their institutions, the polarization of their society and the victims of the Red Guard’s political inquisitions.  

50 years from now, will the students eagerly tearing down a liberal society and replacing it with outraged denunciations and media purges also regret their role in the new Cultural Revolution?

We doubt they will. Bill Ayers never matured sufficiently to regret his acts of terrorism, or his admiration for the atrocious regime of Mao Zedong. He comes from the wealthy middle class. He owes all he has, including his comfortable living, his freedom and his celebrity to the open system of capitalist America. A softly-reared child of privilege,  prosperity, and tolerance (extended to extreme indulgence in his case), he wouldn’t last long under actual communism as enforced by Mao or Stalin or Castro.

Unless Americans of his sort are brought to want, hunger, physical wretchedness and real political oppression, they will never comprehend the true nature of communist totalitarianism. And their reduction to those conditions is unlikely to happen despite all their blind efforts to bring about the system that would guarantee them. Capitalism will go on looking after its aberrant children for decades yet, even though the Red establishment will do all it can to hinder it and demonize it. As Daniel Greenfield says, the Red Guards in power are of Bill Ayers sort. Barack Obama himself belongs to the “1%” he and his minions denigrate. So does Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, and the Clintons.

As we have often done before, we quote Joseph Conrad on the sort of people they are. He is writing here specifically about women. What he says perfectly describes Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Samantha Power, Susan Rice, Valerie Jarrett, Bill Ayers’s wife Bernadine Dohrn, and Barack Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham. (See our post Daisyville, April 22, 2013).

For all their assumption of independence, girls of that class are used to the feeling of being specially protected, as, in fact, they are. This feeling accounts for nine tenths of their audacious gestures. …

She had acquired all the appropriate gestures of revolutionary convictions – the gestures of pity, of anger, of indignation against the anti-humanitarian vices of the social class to which she belonged herself. … 

She was displaying very strikingly the usual signs of severe enthusiasm, and had already written many sentimental articles with ferocious conclusions.” 

– Joseph Conrad (The Informer)

Conrad’s scornful portrait of privileged women playing with revolutionary ideas applies equally well to the male of the species.

The dying of the light 2

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”.

Rosen explains:

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

What is socialism? 2

What is socialism?

Never mind dictionary definitions. Rather ask, what does a socialist state do?

It controls the resources of a nation and allocates them as it chooses.

More fully: In a socialist state, resources are controlled by an all-powerful central agency, the government, and distributed according to the arbitrary decision of the most powerful person or persons in that government.

Widely, “socialism” is thought of as a creed of equality, as is “communism”.  It is to achieve their high ideal of equality that socialists and communists favor the forced collection and allocation of resources.  If they achieve a kind of equality, it is only and always an equality of misery. For this they have many explanations and excuses, but no remedy.

The difference between socialism and communism is often said to be a difference of degree, or manner of enforcement. In common parlance, at least in the West, “socialism” refers to a similar but milder, less oppressive, system of collectivization.  West European states were happy to call themselves “socialist’, and saw the self-described “communist” states, chiefly the Soviet Union, as their enemies.

In the Soviet Union, however, “socialism” and “communism” were commonly used interchangeably, as synonyms. In Marxist theory, “communism” is an ideal that will be realized when the state – ie government – has “withered away”.  But withering away is not on the agenda of any existing socialist government, nor is likely to be.

In fact, most forms of collectivism can  justifiably be called “socialist”.  (An exception is Islam.) The collectivist idea is that the society, not the individual, is important, so the citizenry must be organized. The organization must be enforced, whether harshly or temperately.  Most self-described “socialist” states consider their rule not only temperate but positively beneficent, while they see “communist” states as cruel and oppressive.

But the word “socialism” cannot bear a connotation of beneficence. Nor does it always imply equality.

Remember that the Nazis were self-described socialists: national socialists. Nazi is the short name for the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.  And of course the Nazis saw themselves as beneficent – to those they counted as worthy of existence, the “Aryan” Germans. They had a tender care for their citizens. In the Third Reich official collections were taken up for the poor to keep them warm in winter (the annual “Winterhilfe” charity drive).  But nobody thinks of the Third Reich as a kindly state, or one that did humankind any good. And its rulers scorned the notion of equality, either between persons or between nations.

So one clear distinction that does exist among socialist states is that some are ideologically egalitarian – eg Soviet Russia, Maoist China, Castroite Cuba – and some are non-egalitarian – eg Nazi Germany.

The Soviet communists considered themselves international socialists – even when Stalin declared his policy to be for a time  “socialism in one country” (the one country being the USSR). The Marxist ideological vision was and remains a world government controlling the world’s resources – a vision now justified in the name of environmentalism.

The biggest political divide comes between collectivism and freedom. Or rather, since a totally free country does not exist, between those who hold collectivism as an ideal, and those who want every individual to be free.

While it is true that a totally free country is nowhere to be found, such a thing could exist. It would not be an anarchy, because freedom is a product of civil order, and  is only possible under the rule of law. Everyone’s freedom should be limited only by everyone else’s, but the protection of every individual, his person, property, and freedom, requires the rule of law.

The USA was as free as any country has ever been, more so than any other large nation. (Small areas have been freer, such as Hong Kong, which was legally under British rule and could rely on the protection of law, but was free of taxes and all the harm that ensues from taxation – such as regulation of trade, and welfare.)

Now Americans are losing their freedom rapidly, since they voted Democratic socialists into power in Congress, and a Marxist-trained “community organizer” to the presidency. He has packed fellow socialists into his administration. Some declare themselves to be “Maoists” or “communists”.  All of them are collectivists.

It will take a hard fight to recover the liberty that has been lost, but for those who want to be free, it’s a battle that must be won.

Jillian Becker    August 13, 2010

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