More from L: A Novel History 4

L: A Novel History is an easy and stimulating read for anyone who is interested in politics and the condition of government oppression prevailing now in almost every country in the West and its sphere of influence.

You may be astonished at how closely the story – though set in another country at another time – reflects what is happening now in America.      


L: A Novel History

Terrible crimes are committed. But criminals are not punished – only those are arrested and tried who dare to express opinions not sanctioned by the regime, or are critical of it.

From mid-December 1987, for the duration of the regime there were no criminal trials held except for “political crimes” (which were often televised). Theft and burglary were no longer considered possible, as all goods were held in common. This meant that those best able to defend what they gained possession of by whatever means, kept it.

As no one, except a political criminal, could be accused of having done something wrong, since guilt was collective, the vocabulary of the courts had to change. If the old police arrested a lone youth for a violent attack, and brought him before the court, they could not say that they had seen him mug, assault, rape or murder his victim; they could only say that he was “involved in a mugging situation”, “an assault situation”, “a rape situation”, “a murder situation”. This turn of phrase hinted that he was not an individual responsible for deciding to do a certain deed and carrying it out, but only one of a group – two people at least – who had been present when something had happened. The victim was as much “involved in the situation” as the attacker. The nature of the incident was “social”, its diagnosis “anti-social behaviour”, its remedy lay in more group participation, the method of  remedy was counselling.

Judges and magistrates were abolished in January 1988. All political trials, as well as all “enquiries” − the name given to civil and “old crime” trials − were heard by a jury. The highest court of appeal was the Council. Top Party officials had direct access to the Council for an “enquiry”. Both prosecuting and defending counsel were appointed by the state. For all important trials they were chosen from among the few dozen members of the League of Leftwing Lawyers. This, the League asserted, helped to guarantee “genuinely unbiased judgment”.

What judges were expected to do was “manifest heart”. The important thing in what had once been called a criminal case was to “arrive at an understanding of the quality of the man” they were judging. If the pursuit of his own ends were perceived to be more important to him than “co-operation with the community”, he was “suffering from a condition of false consciousness” and must be sent to a psychiatric hospital for as long as it took to cure him. Many − the incurable − never returned. Defendants quickly learned to claim motives of the politically-moral kind that the BBC had been drumming into its listeners for years: “I wanted to help the young / old / handicapped”; “I heard this person make a racist / sexist / ageist / faithist remark”, and so on. It was a variation  of the “righteous indignation” ennoblement of violent deeds, held as the highest principle of justice by the state itself. Whether the explanation was accepted or not depended mainly on the political status of the defendant. If he was a “special reservist” of the New Police, he would be acquitted. If he was an official of a trade union, he stood a good chance of acquittal. If he was a member of the Party, he was almost certain to be revealed as a benefactor of society.

In a civil case the rule was that wherever the litigants derived from different classes, the “underdog” had the “right to justice”.


L insists:

The issue of race is the most important moral issue confronting us.


Early in his reign, L emptied the lunatic asylums and hospitals of mental cases, even before he emptied the prisons of criminals condemned in “the last era”. Henceforth the only madness − or crime – was opposition to, dissent from, criticism of communism and the regime: or so it was officially. In actuality many of the former inmates were returned to the wards and cells.

In televised and broadcast speeches delivered by various of the Ministers but written by L, it was frequently explained that madness was simply the clear manifestation of alienation, for which capitalism was responsible. Now that capitalism was abolished, and society was “being treated” and “undergoing therapy”, “true madness”, which is false consciousness, would disappear. And that state of “heightened awareness” which used to be called madness could be turned to creative purposes, for it was no longer needed as a “device of escape” from “the unbearable world of the male-dominated authoritarian family”. Self-healing from alienation and false consciousness was easy enough. One had only to “give oneself wholly to the power and the glory of the new order, become part of it without any reservation, without the least atom of the old self being held back: to choose it because there was no other way to free oneself from the torturing blinding crippling responsibility of choice.” The “victims had become the masters.” The cause of the old mental maladjustments had been cured by the revolution. And L announced the appointment of erstwhile patients to positions of authority in the “mental hospital” prisons, in schools, civil administration and the law-courts, which “proved his faith” in their “essential sanity”.


L wrote in one of the permitted newspapers:

In this country the masses do not choose opulence for themselves in a world of poverty. A man with a social conscience wants the happiness of knowing that he consumes no more than his neighbour consumes. This is moral beauty. If its appearance upsets a visitor from the cruellest nation on earth, a nation of capitalists, exploiters, imperialists and racists, then we shall make no apology for our preference for a log fire over central heating, for a little bread over a superfluity of luxury provisions. As socialists we shall continue to comprehensivize our schools. To take all land into public ownership. To employ every man and woman. Our aim must be to house them all, clothe them all, feed them all, teach them, heal them, organize their leisure. None shall be underprivileged, all shall be made equal. The underprivileged must be freed from all oppression, the oppression of being less lucky, less successful, less energetic or healthy than others. Positive discrimination will liberate women, youth, blacks. Especially the immigrants from those parts of the world which we exploited, raped, robbed and pillaged, who have come to share with us our greater good fortune must be liberated from their oppression. The first duty of the state is redistribution. There is no question of one man earning a reward greater than another. All must be balanced. If one man has a clean job, he must get less money than one who has a dirty job. The state must equalize with due regard not merely to externals but to inner feelings. There must be no prizes for one man to win who was better endowed by the accident of nature with stronger limbs or some fortuitous talent. No one can take credit for anything he does, and no one is to blame for anything he does. As Professor L teaches us, neither achievement nor guilt are individual. Society achieves, society is guilty. …. No man can decide his needs for himself. What he feels are wants and to indulge them is selfish, anti-social. But what others diagnose as his needs, those are his needs. And as his needs are shared with others, the problem of supply is a community problem. …. The state alone must be the source of the satisfaction of all needs. The state must give all, and command all. Nobody must suffer the pangs of doubt as to whether what he is doing is right or wrong. Everyone will have the pleasure of knowing that he is being used. That what he does is what he must do. That therefore he is necessary, and has purpose. And he will be saved too from any temptation to disobedience which could destroy his happiness. For what the state bestows, the state can withhold. He will belong to the state and the state to him, he will be attached to the state as a babe to its mother’s breast. Until the state gives him everything he is not free of purposelessness, he remains alienated, he longs for community and cannot find it. When the state gives him all he has, he will be ready for the last and final stage on earth, the stage of history for which all history has been preparing. He will not rebel. His need to rebel will be gone. But the state has first to conquer the rebel in him. And that it will do. For what the state gives, the state can take away. The state must put them in houses, bring them to school, tempt them with pensions, lure them with kindness. When all have been received inside the shelter of the state, and they know that there is nothing else outside the state, then they will be redeemable. What a harvest will then be promised of men and women for the New Age, the Third Millennium and beyond. But the process of redemption will not be as easy as the gathering-in. They have yet to learn that beyond their material needs there are others, which they have first to discover and then to understand and then to satisfy before they are fit for the absolute community of the human spirit wherein no individual shall have an existence outside of the community, and each will joyfully give up his life at any moment for the preservation of the Greater Life of Universal Man. ….

And –

L wrote in the weekly journal REALITY UPDATE:

There is a reactionary tendency among the working-classes, especially women, and even among blacks who have not yet organized around their own oppression, to try to maintain an anti-social and outdated institution, the Family, one of the chief sources of oppression to women and the young, as a centre of moral indoctrination and the kind of selfish inward-looking support-system which mitigates against the liberation of the community as a whole. The family is a reactionary institution, and only a reactionary will defend it. A radical involved in the struggle will be committed to opposing it as a major hindrance to liberation.

Children could be taken from foster-parents and is [soon after that]  from adoptive and even natural parents, by social workers (who had a statutory right of entry into every home), on the grounds that they were too happy!

But no one should  spend any part of their waking hours alone:

If someone kept to himself to write a book or compose a piece of music he was accused of  “extreme selfishness”.

And where did he get that musical instrument, that pen, that paper ? Did he formally apply for it? For how many hours of use? And who gave him permission to shut that door and take sole possession of that space?


There had never been such feast-days for spite. In the first week of the Red Republic three people died in the streets of London as a result of being assaulted by an L-ite “RI” (Righteous Indignation) group. No charges were brought against these “avengers of the people”, as the RED TIMES described them, and this immunity was a green light to other avengers. Over a hundred thousand people were “executed” by RI mobs in the fifteen months of the interregnum.


Read it if you love liberty. It will not disappoint you.


Jillian Becker    October 14, 2021

Posted under communism, tyranny by Jillian Becker on Thursday, October 14, 2021

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Homo nudus 2

The naked human.

That’s the Great Idea of Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive President of the World Economic Forum, would-be Architect of the future of humankind which he describes as the Great Reset.

The richest people on earth fly their private jets up, up, to Davos on its alp. There among the clouds they dream together of how beautiful it will be when no one except themselves owns anything.

It is a dream of global totalitarian Communism with them and their heirs in power over everyone else forever.

They promise the rest of us:

“You’ll own nothing and you’ll be happy.”

“And if you dare not to be happy, we will exterminate you. Resistance is futile.”

You will be assigned food, drink, clothes, bed, transport, schooling, job, duties, leisure, sex sessions (diverse, inclusive, and equitable), health care, vacation, friends, entertainment, opinions, values, death.

Of what type, they will decide. By means of algorithms.

In my prescient book L: A Novel History (first published 2005, new edition 2012), I describe what happens when a totalitarian Communist regime – led by the eponymous hero L – that has come to power in England in the 1980s, brings about, as it must, the day when there is nothing for people to own or to eat.

Here are some passages from it:

To help us learn what many citizens must have felt at that moment when civil life broke down, we have this recollection by a tobacconist and newsagent, a Mr Bruce Waughs, a staunch Conservative by his own account, who had run his own small shop in Brixton until the revolution, and then carried on working in it when it was expropriated like all other businesses big and small, as a licensed distributor of the RED TIMES. It tells what is surely a most surprising anecdote.

My wife Stella appeared at the door, and she just stood there, looking at me with her eyes wide open and saying nothing, like someone who had just seen something happen that could not happen. I said, “What is it?” And she said, “There’s nothing! Nothing to eat. Everything’s just stopped.” It took some time for me to get the story out of her. When I did it took me even longer to grasp what it meant. Then I walked out of the shop, shut the door behind me, and was about to lock it, when Stella said, “What are you doing that for? Who are you going to lock it against?” And then it really came home to me. Well, I pushed the door open again and left it gaping wide, and I took her hand – something I hadn’t done for years − and we started walking along the street. And suddenly I felt − terribly, terribly happy. I can’t explain it. I can only say that I had never felt so happy in my whole life, not even when I was a child. And at that moment I looked at Stella, and she looked at me, and we began to laugh, and we couldn’t stop, we walked along the street laughing and laughing, and then we joined hands and began to dance, skipping round, like children, and if anybody had asked us what we were laughing at we couldn’t for the life of us have told them, not then. And all at once we weren’t alone, not alone in the street and not alone in our happiness, there were others, several others, many others, and then hundreds of others, the streets were full, and everyone was laughing, and dancing, we had seen nothing like it since the day we stood outside Buckingham Palace in July 1981 and cheered the Prince of Wales and his bride. And that was the same month our shop had been broken into and our stock looted by a mob in a riot, and Stella had cried. And I think the royal wedding had been a tonic for us, and Stella felt much better afterwards. But now what were we celebrating? The moment when we knew we might starve? It was only afterwards I could put a name to that feeling. Freedom. Somehow, in the twinkling of an eye, we had been set free. Free of what, you might say, when we were living under a tyranny, and had no notion of how we were going to go on living at all. Exactly. It was irrational. But somehow it happened. It wasn’t just having no more living to earn, no more mortgage to pay, no more bills, no more saving and budgeting, no more being told how much better Stella’s brother was doing with his furniture stores and garages than I was with my corner shop – all those sorts of worries had been lifted one by one when the revolution came eight months before, and other worries had come to replace them, heavier too, by far. Worries about the grandchildren and were they getting enough to eat, and about Stella’s mother who not only had her teeth taken away but even her wheelchair so that she just stayed indoors and we had to carry her from the bed to the chair and back again, and generally worries about whether life would ever again be comfortable and pleasant – as it had been when we had only the mortgage and things like that to worry about. And so what kind of happiness was this, what kind of freedom was it? I can tell you now – it was freedom from hope! Stella and I and all those other people made a strange discovery that day. We discovered that when you truly despair − there’s nothing to do but laugh.

It is perfectly true that on that day many people danced in the street. The New Police, mounted and on foot, descended on crowds wherever they found them, and broke them apart and sent them home. They rode or marched up, thinking that these must be the beginnings of the first genuine and justified demonstrations against a government since the 1930s, after all these years, even before the revolution, of groups playing at protest, playing at suffering, playing at reaction to pretended oppression and pretended deprivation. And the New Police were themselves so surprised at the carnival mood they found in borough after borough, that they were caught by the television cameras smiling, chatting to people in a friendly way, as they asked rather than ordered them to get off the streets. …

Bruce Waughs, the man who had laughed the day civilization stopped, was to write, in after years, this evaluation of L’s “precious gift of anarchy and dissolution”:

I soon enough found that this was not “freedom” after all. It was the extremest form of slavery – slavery of your entire being to the labour of keeping alive, supplying the simplest and most fundamental needs of life, exhausting the body and soul to keep body and soul together, in constant fear of starvation, dread of your fellow man, and a desperate urge to seize and devour whatever you can, by whatever means. For a hunk of meat you would happily kill any man or woman who stood in your way. We descended lower than savages. We became beasts.


Citizens’ lives had been getting increasingly difficult for some time before the day of hunger arrived.

At first the Winsomes had rejoiced in the revolution. It was what they had hoped for, worked for, and, as long as they could, voted for. “I don’t mind not owning my own house if nobody else does,” Ted Winsome had written cheerfully in his Revolution Issue of the NEW WORKER* (which came out six weeks after Republic Day, as his paper, like most others, had been ordered to suspend publication until all newspapers that were to continue had been nationalized, and permits granted to their editors). Had not his wife, in her capacity as Housing Committee chairperson on Islington Borough Council set an example, by compulsorily purchasing more private houses for local government ownership than anyone before or after her (until the revolution made purchase unnecessary)? He was proud that she had been an active pioneer, one of the avant-garde of the socialist revolution.

However, he was less pleased when three families were quartered in his house. And then another was sent by the Chief Social Worker (a sort of district commandant) when his own children, delighted to drop out of school, had left home to join a WSP [Workers Socialist Party] group and vent righteous indignation on landlords, capitalists, individualists, racists and speculators. All of his fellow lodgers were, in his view, “problem-families” – drunken, noisy, filthy, careless, inconsiderate and rude. (“That,” said the Gauleiter, “is why they were chased out of their last lodgings by angry co-residents on a former Council estate.” She had thought the Winsomes would be “more tolerant”.) Before he could hand over his stereophonic record-player to the local community centre – as he assured those he complained to that he had fully intended to do – one of the problem-children broke it, threw his classical records away, and also deliberately smashed his high-speed Japanese camera. His furniture was soon broken too. Precious antiques which he had restored with his own hands in hours of patient labour, were treated like fruit-boxes, to be stood on, and spilt on, and thrown about. When cups and glasses were smashed, it was he who had to replace them if he was to have anything to eat or drink out of; which meant recourse to the black market, against which he had so often fulminated in his editorials in the NEW WORKER. He started hiding things away in his room, taking special care to keep his carpentry and joinery tools from the hands of those who would not understand how he had cared for them, valued them, kept them sharp, adapted some of them to his particular needs. One of the problem-fathers accused him of “hoarding private property”, and threatened to go to the New Police with the complaint, or call in “some RI people” [Righteous Indignation – a violent Antifa-type group].

He confided to a woman journalist at his office how he had begun to suspect that “when a thing belongs to everybody, it belongs to nobody”. And he even went so far as to suggest that “as people only vandalize things they don’t own themselves, there is something to be said for private ownership after all”.


All industry failed after a few months of central communist management.

The bewildering fact was that the first country in the world to have become industrialized, the very home of the Industrial Revolution, the country which had once led the world in manufacturing industry, the erstwhile hub of the greatest empire in history, had become one of the poorest states in the world; a people surrounded not by wild tracts of unused land, with isolated constructions which signify the first frantic efforts to build mills, factories and mines in undeveloped countries, but by the decaying ruins of industrial might, of mills and mines and factories fallen into disuse and decay, rusting machinery, the vast wreckage of a once great industrial civilization, dilapidated monuments of human ingenuity and at the same time to human idiocy; acres of towns and cities deserted, tumbling into rubble, and all this devastation brought about not by war, not by any external enemy, but by a faction among the people treacherous out of intellectual blindness, guilty of a shallow moralistic idealism and economic folly; of a desire to be good, and a failure to be intelligent.

For it was those who had freedom and decried it, pretending they were oppressed; those who had material plenty and despised it, pretending they were poor; those who thus secreted a worm in their own hearts, and so at the heart of civilization – envy: the amazing unforeseen and unforeseeable envy, by the free and comfortable,  of the unfree and wretched of the earth: it was these self-deceiving, would-be lovers of mankind, the Ted and Marjorie Winsomes, the affluent children who squatted in the communes and protested against freedom calling it “repressive tolerance”, and those they elected, who were caught in the trap of their own lies, and brought an end to liberty in the name of liberation; an end to plenty in the name of humanitarianism; and an end to the impersonality of the law before which all were  equal, and the impersonality of the market in which all were equal, and created legal discrimination and class elitism, in the name of equality.

L: A Novel History


Jillian Becker   October 12, 2021


Posted under communism, Totalitarianism by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, October 12, 2021

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Choreographing a revolution 1

Abstract of an article by David Reaboi and Kyle Shideler,

From our Facebook page:

Blue-print for violent revolution in November 2020:

The George Soros-funded Democracy Integrity Project urges Trump’s opponents to wage a “street fight, not a legal one” in the event of a contested election. Antifa and the Left’s other professionally-staffed organizing groups plan to achieve election victory by means of street mobilization. The planners are professionals, working in interlocking organizations funded with tens of millions of dollars. Americans watching videos of activists burning Portland, Seattle and other cities, are seeing the results of a carefully mapped radicalization process for which thousands of training sessions have been given. Most of the action will take place in Democratic cities, including the nation’s capital. In an October 8 update on planning operations, Shut Down DC offered a timeline urging affinity groups to begin scouting targets, and making preparations, beginning this week. Antifa, staffed with professionals, is preparing to engage in totally illegitimate revolutionary street action. What the media will show are streets full of “protestors” who, they will tell us, are normal, patriotic Americans outraged about the election, furious at Donald Trump. Conservatives must be prepared to recognize what they are seeing as a form of theater. An elaborate show is being choreographed right now to play on America’s streets in the case of a Trump victory. It is designed to convince citizens that a scary authoritarian regime has seized power and extraordinary measures are justified in removing it. We must not fall for it.

The scenario was laid out in my novel set in the late 20th century in Britain.

Jillian Becker   October 21, 2020

Posted under revolution, United Kingdom, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, October 21, 2020

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L: A Novel History 4

Posted under Britain, Collectivism, communism, Leftism, Marxism, revolution, tyranny, United Kingdom, Videos by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, April 9, 2019

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“Imagine the UK without Thatcher” 1

We are highly gratified by this splendid review of our editor-in-chief Jillian Becker’s book L: A Novel History, posted today at Front Page, written by Daniel Greenfield, and quoted here in full.

Jillian Becker comments: “There are few writers in the world whose appreciation of a political book is as worth having as Daniel Greenfield’s. Those who regularly read Front Page and his daily essay at his own website, will know this to be true.”

Imagine the UK Without Thatcher

With the recent death of Margaret Thatcher, one novel takes a look at a UK without Thatcher. L: A Novel History by Jillian Becker, the author of, Hitler’s Children: The Story of the Baader-Meinhof Terrorist Gang, is a modern 1984 taking place in an England fallen to the left. A country where the atrocities and horrors perpetrated in the east found their way to the west.

1984 showed us tyranny from the perspective of an ordinary man coping with the tyranny of an omnipresent Big Brother, while L takes us into the mind of Big Brother.

Becker’s L is a child of the modern left, attracted to the violent spectacle of revolution, feeding on blood and pain, gorging on the emotional spillage of the disgruntled, perpetrating riots, terrorist attacks and finally the mass starvation of the United Kingdom.

1984 takes place in the fragments of a lost history, but L develops its history out of the recent past. L doesn’t emerge out of a vacuum. He is the child of privilege, the student of leftist academics and the tyrant who rises out of the class warfare struggles of the burgeoning welfare state.

L abandons his name, going by a single letter, dabbling in dehumanizing Marxist theory while developing a cult of followers, the L-ites, who become the core of a movement that takes over the United Kingdom. L: A Novel History is as much about L, piecing together his inner thoughts from diary entries and newspaper articles, as it is about the milieu of the period and the more moderate figures on the left who hand over power to him and allow him to perpetrate his acts of terror.

As Becker notes in her introduction, there are historical precedents for L, for his associates and the fascist opposition that eventually allies with him. What she has done is transpose the history of various Communist atrocities from Russia and Eastern Europe into an England on the wavering end of the Cold War.

As a fictional history, L: A Novel History assembles painstakingly an entire alternate history in a metafictional narrative composed of newspaper articles, diary entries and historical speculation that combines the perspectives of L, his followers, the L-ites, his opponents, both genuine and disingenuous, and the people of England who react with bewilderment and then horror as the stores are emptied, the food vanishes and they are put through a brutal and degrading process meant to break their spirit.

L’s great obsession is the cultivation of empathy. Like most sociopaths, he is incapable of genuinely empathizing with others, but has a narcissistic obsession with the experience of emotion as spectacle.

Embodying the privileged empathy of the left, L promises to raise up the people, but instead degrades them, robbing them of their dignity, their humanity and finally their lives, in order to force them to identify with the sufferings of the less well off.

L is Big Brother given form, substance and motive. His resentments and narcissism represent all too well the modern left. Obsessed with image, L is driven to be a cult figure and succeeds in achieving true cult status at the expense of millions for his grand experiment in enforced empathy.

The UK has a long literary tradition of dystopias which imagine a descent into fascism, even as in real life it has continued a descent into Socialism. Jillian Becker’s L: A Novel History challenges that fictional narrative with a meta-fictional narrative that warns of what might have been and what may yet be.

May yet be in America …

Calvin: a chapter in the terrible history of Christianity (repeat) 6

Occasionally we repeat articles from our archive. To follow our recent discussion of “religious tolerance” (The curse of religion, December 3, 2012), and in the aftermath of America’s re-election of the would-be dictator Barack Obama, we re-present this burning coal pincered from the still glowing embers of the Christian furnace that burnt so fiercely for so many centuries. Compared to Calvin even the dictator L (see the book ad in the margin) is mild in his cruelty.


Beyond a certain point it is hardly possible to discern degrees of evil or degrees of cruelty. And yet I think it may be said of Jehan Calvin, dictator of Geneva in the sixteenth century, that he was more appallingly cruel and more intensely, intrinsically, through-and-through evil than other great persecutors, dictators and mass murderers of history. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Torquemada are the very names of evil, so what was it about Calvin that can distinguish him as specially terrible in his own nature than even any of these?

He oppressed the subjects of his dictatorship unremittingly and mercilessly; but so, you say, did the others. Not content with killing his enemies, he prescribed extreme tortures for them while they survived to suffer them; and yes, so did the others. But – and here we come to the nub of the case – Calvin was different in that he (often, if not always) personally specified the torments for the particular victim. He gave thought to the minutiae of their sufferings. All the others, even Catholic Inquisitors like Torquemada, issued general orders for terrorizing, torturing, killing. Calvin gave a personal service, tailoring his cruelty to his individual prey.

And that’s not all that distinguishes him among human monsters. Consider this: he was squeamish. He could not stand the sight of blood. He was afraid of pain. He felt horror at the thought of physical suffering – so he made thinking about it into a spiritual exercise, to strengthen by self-inflicted agony, as a monk does with a hairshirt, his resolve to do what was hardest for him in the service of his God. He ordered the infliction of agony, then meditated on the process, imagining it as fully as he could. He nourished his spirit on visions of torture.

This he did in private. The spiritual discipline he forced himself to undergo did not impel him to the prison and the public square to witness the torments and killings that he prescribed. He never attended a racking, a flogging, a breaking on the wheel, a burning to death. That far in the service of his God he would not push himself.

This grooming of his soul by inflicting suffering on others, did not replace general orders of oppression. He gave those too. He instituted a totalitarian reign of terror. He was as convinced a collectivist as Hitler, Stalin, Mao and the rest. He would allow “no liberty, no freedom of the will, for [a] man could only misuse such privileges. … [He, Calvin] must frighten him … until he unresistingly accepts his position in the pious and obedient herd, until he has merged in that herd all that is individual within him, so that the individual, the extraordinary, vanishes without leaving a trace.”

So wrote Stefan Zweig in his devastating dissection of Calvin and Calvinism, The Right to Heresy. He goes on:

“To achieve this draconian suppression of personality, to achieve this vandal expropriation of the individual in favour of the community, Calvin had a method all his own, the famous Church ‘discipline’. A harsher curb upon human impulses and desires has hardly been devised by and imposed upon man down to our own days [pre-Second World War]. From the first hour of his dictatorship, this brilliant organizer herded his flock … within a barbed-wire entanglement of … prohibitions, the so-called ‘Ordinances’; simultaneously creating a special department to supervise the working of terrorist morality … called the Consistory [which was] expressly instructed to keep watch upon the private life of every one in Geneva. … Private life could hardly be said to exist any longer … From moment to moment, by day and by night, there might come a knocking at the entry, and a number of ‘spiritual police’ announce a ‘visitation’ without the citizen concerned being able to offer resistance. Once a month, rich and poor, the powerful and the weak, had to submit to the questioning of these professional ‘police des moeurs’. “

The moral police poked into every corner, examined every part of every house, and even the bodies of those who lived in it. Their clothes and shoes, the hair on their heads, was inspected. Clothes must be dark and plain; hair must not be artificially curled.

“From the bedroom they passed on to the kitchen table, to ascertain whether the prescribed diet was not being exceeded by a soup or a course of meat, or whether sweets and jams were hidden away somewhere.”

They pried into bookshelves – only books approved by the Consistory were permitted.

“The servants were asked about the behaviour of their masters, and the children were cross-questioned as to the doings of their parents.”

Visitors to the city had their baggage examined. Every letter, in and out, was opened. Citizens could not write letters to anyone outside the city, and any Genevan permitted to travel abroad was watched in foreign lands by Calvin’s spies.

Spying became universal. Almost everyone, in fear of being thought heretical in the least degree, and to prove himself clean and upright, spied on everyone else.

Whenever a State inaugurates a reign of terror, the poisonous plant of voluntary denunciation flourishes like a loathsome weed … otherwise decent folk are driven by fear to play the part of informer. … After some years, the Consistory was able to abolish official supervision, since all the citizens had become voluntary controllers.”

As far as he could, Calvin put an end to pleasure. Music – except for what Calvin deemed to be sacred – was forbidden. So was dancing, skating and sport. Theaters and all other public amusements including popular festivals, were prohibited. Wheeled carriages were not allowed. People had to walk to wherever they needed to go. Guests at family celebrations, even weddings and baptisms, were limited in number to twenty. (The names parents could give their children had to be from an approved list.) The red wine of the district could be drunk in small quantities, but no other alcohol. Innkeepers were not allowed to serve their guests until they had seen them saying their prayers, and had to spy on them throughout their stay and report on them to the authorities.

Punishments included imprisonment in irons, hanging, decapitation, burning to death.

“Everything was forbidden which might have relieved the grey monotony of existence; and forbidden, of course, was any trace of mental freedom in the matter of the printed or spoken word.”

The first thought,” Stefan Zweig declares, “of any one of dictatorial temperament, is to suppress or gag opinions different from his own.”

One man who dared to argue with Calvin was a Spaniard named Miguel Servetus. A child of the Reformation, he innocently thought he could express his own boldly Protestant opinions. He thought Calvin was the very man to hear him expound his personal interpretations of Holy Writ. He could not have been more mistaken. For having the effrontery to send them to him, Calvin had the man thrown into prison. “For weeks … he was kept like a condemned murderer in a cold and damp cell, with irons on his hands and feet. His clothes hung in rags upon his freezing body; he was not provided with a change of linen. The most primitive demands of hygiene were disregarded. No one might tender him the slightest assistance.”

Finally, for daring to disagree with Calvin, Servetus was condemned to death by the dictator’s order. The death Calvin chose for him was “roasting with a slow fire”.

‘The prisoner was brought out of prison in his befouled rags. … His beard tangled, his visage dirty and wasted, his chains rattling, he tottered as he walked. … In front of the steps of the Town Hall, the officers of the law … thrust him to his knees. The doomed man’s teeth chattered with cold … In his extremity, he crawled on his knees nearer to the municipal authorities assembled on the steps, and implored that by their grace he might be decapitated before he was burned, ‘lest the agony should drive me to repudiate the convictions of a lifetime’. This boon was denied him. Relentlessly, ‘the procession moved on towards the place of execution. … The wood was piled round the stake to which the clanking chains had been nailed. The executioner bound the victim’s hands. … The chains attached to the stake were wound four or five times around it and around the poor wretch’s wasted body. Between this and the chains, the executioner’s assistants then inserted the book and the manuscript which Servetus had sent to Calvin under seal to ask Calvin’s fraternal opinion upon it. Finally, in scorn, there was pressed upon the martyr’s brow a crown of leaves impregnated with sulphur. … The executioner kindled the faggots and the murder began.

“When the flames rose around him, Servetus uttered so dreadful a cry that many of the onlookers turned their eyes away from the pitiful sight. Soon the smoke interposed a veil in front of the writhing body, but the yells of agony grew louder and louder, until at length came an imploring scream: ‘Jesus, Son of the everlasting God, have pity on me!’”

Needless to say, neither Jesus nor an everlasting God did anything to relieve the roasting man.

‘The struggle with death lasted half an hour. Then the flames abated, the smoke dispersed, and attached to the blackened stake there remained, above the glowing embers, a black, sickening, charred mass, a loathsome jelly, which had lost human semblance. …

“But where was Calvin in this fearful hour? … He was in his study, windows closed. … He who had really willed and commanded this ‘pious murder’, kept discreetly aloof. Next Sunday, however, clad in his black cassock, he entered the pulpit to boast of the deed before a silent congregation, declaring it to have been a great deed and a just one, although he had not dared to watch the pitiful spectacle.”

To this day, Jehan Calvin is regarded as a great Christian whose teaching continues to shape the lives of millions of citizens in the Western world through the Presbyterian and various “Reformed” churches. People are no longer burnt to death for disagreeing with the master. But dictatorship, in the name of similarly dogmatic collectivist faiths, is not absent from the modern world, not even from America now, in 2010. A much vaster community has fallen under an organizer of dictatorial temperament. His consistory has made it plain that they wish to control what you eat, how you live in your homes, and what you say. Children are being urged to impress the leader’s messages on their parents. The names of those who disagree with him are blackened, and the silencing of broadcast dissent is openly advocated.

What should be done about it? There are conservative voices maintaining that the way to resist incipient totalitarianism is to “return to Christian values”.

Our hope is that this reminder of how Christian values affected life in the past may serve not only as a cautionary tale against collectivism and dictatorship, but also as a rebuttal of the idea that Christianity can be a counterforce against them.


Jillian Becker   April 25, 2010 and December 6, 2012

Against equality 1

In a comment on the post immediately below, The state is imposing a religion, Jack wrote in part (see the comment in full):

I think Environmentalism is a sub-ideology of egalitarianism. I think it is egalitarianism which is the Left’s secular civic religion. Egalitarianism is expressed in all the Left’s major ideologies: feminism, multiculturalism, socialism (welfare-statism in the watered down form), environmentalism, and pacifism. All of them revolve around the destruction of absolute standards and thus the denial that there are better and worse or good and evil. Egalitarianism mandates relativism. How this egalitarianism rose to conquer the West is an interesting historical and philosophical question. I think it occurred in the process of secularizing Christianity.

I agree with all of that. And to take up the point of Socialism being secularized Christianity: the colossal shipwreck of Socialism in Russia in the last century, and the painful flop of the European welfare-states now, demonstrate wonderfully why not only Socialism but its sentimental parent  Christianity are both recipes for misery. Both ignore the truths of human nature. Both demand self-sacrifice. Both require of humankind what is humanly impossible, and by no means desirable to the whole human race. We do not, cannot, and should not love our fellow human beings indiscriminately. Not to make moral judgments is immoral.

People are not equal in the gifts of nature. Nor can they be equal in wealth, however much force is brought to bear to make them so. (And always those who bring the force to bear exempt themselves from its consequences.)

My novel L: A Novel History illustrates what happens when  force is brought to bear in an attempt to create an egalitarian utopia. 

L – a Marxist philosopher and theater director – articulates the absurd, romantic, egalitarian dream, thrilling millions of citizens who consequently vote for their own doom:

As socialists we shall continue … to take all land into public ownership. To employ every man and woman. Our aim must be to house them all, clothe them all, feed them all, teach them, heal them, organize their leisure. None shall be underprivileged, all shall be made equal. The underprivileged must be freed from all oppression, the oppression of being less lucky, less successful, less energetic or healthy than others. Positive discrimination will liberate women, youth, blacks. Especially the immigrants from those parts of the world which we exploited, raped, robbed and pillaged, who have come to share with us our greater good fortune must be liberated from their oppression. The first duty of the state is redistribution. There is no question of one man earning a reward greater than another. All must be balanced. If one man has a clean job, he must get less money than one who has a dirty job. The state must equalize with due regard not merely to externals but to inner feelings. There must be no prizes for one man to win who was better endowed by the accident of nature with stronger limbs or some fortuitous talent. No one can take credit for anything he does, and no one is to blame for anything he does. As Professor L teaches us, neither achievement nor guilt are individual. Society achieves, society is guilty. …. No man can decide his needs for himself. What he feels are wants and to indulge them is selfish, anti-social. But what others diagnose as his needs, those are his needs. And as his needs are shared with others, the problem of supply is a community problem. …. The state alone must be the source of the satisfaction of all needs. …

No one will ever again have to suffer envy for another man’s greater wealth, industriousness, enterprise, energy, cleverness, reward, or even luck. We shall be there to smooth out the random rewards of luck, like the random rewards of hard work, inspiration, inventiveness, or any gifts of nature. How comfortable it must make the majority, the “overwhelming majority” as [the socialists of] the Labour Party like to say, “at the end of the day” as they say so often. Their policies have been designed to give not just survival and material welfare to those who cannot look after themselves, but comfort to their feelings too. They must be given what they cannot get for themselves, “because they need it”. But must they not also be spared the feeling that others can get whatever it is for themselves, while they cannot? Of course they must. …

“The pursuit of equality requires the handicapping of the many in the interests of the disadvantaged few,” he said; “no man can be allowed to feel inferior to his neighbours.” …

The dream is turned into reality, and regret sets in.

The affluent children who squatted in the communes and protested against freedom calling it “repressive tolerance”, and those they elected, were caught in the trap of their own lies, and brought an end to liberty in the name of liberation; an end to plenty in the name of humanitarianism; and an end to the impersonality of the law before which all were equal, and the impersonality of the market in which all were equal, and created legal discrimination and class elitism, in the name of equality.

How L brings the nation to misery in an amazingly short time, how he choreographs anguish and doom, is the surprising part of the story which I won’t give away.

But I will give away part of the ending. England recovers from its historical episode as a Red Republic.

Americans have recently voted to set themselves on the path down which L led the English to ruin. America has yet to discover what it leads to. And eventual recovery cannot be predicted.


Jillian Becker   December 2, 2012

Posted under Collectivism, Commentary, communism, Philosophy, Religion general, Socialism by Jillian Becker on Sunday, December 2, 2012

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The smell of the future 1

Here is an extract from Jillian Becker’s book L: A Novel History. (Find out more about it through the link in the margin. Click on the image of the book cover.)



On the 3rd June, 1979, at about 6 o’clock in the evening, members of the Theatre of Life, arriving for an audition, pushed open the doors of the dark auditorium and saw a hooded figure standing in a spotlight on the otherwise bare stage. He stood as still as a dummy. They thought at first it must be L, “because he was dressed in the sort of overalls that L usually wore in the theatre, a kind of tailored boilersuit made of blue suede.” The hood was of black cloth, like a hangman’s, with a pair of eyeholes. The would-be performers, some thirty of them, took their seats silently, and when they were all settled, the man spoke. It was not L’s voice.

In a loud, harsh, unvaried tone, he repeated what L had often said about life and art being indistinguishable. He said that violence was “the goal, the climax, of all action”, and that it was “right at this time for the compelling violence of the most significant action to spill over from the stage into the world.”

The light then spread over the whole stage. Another man was standing near the back, dressed in a policeman’s uniform. All round them, on the boards, armaments were laid out, in neat order: rifles, pistols, machine-guns, grenades, “looking very like the real things”. There was also a heap of wooden staves, iron bars, rocks, broken railings, pickaxes and spades. The hooded man took up an iron bar, lifted it with both hands above his head, whirled about and rushed towards the other man, swinging the bar down and forwards with the utmost speed and strength into his face. The watchers gasped, some screamed, some rose from their seats, as the man fell. But he fell straight backwards, with a soft plop, like a bundle of laundry being dropped. He was a dummy.

The hooded man took up a large cardboard box, came down from the stage and handed out knitted balaclava helmets. The lights came up over the auditorium and there was L, sitting on an aisle seat towards the back, “dressed in a dark suit, looking very Savile Row elegant, and watching without saying a word”.

“Put them on!” the hooded man commanded.

The knitted helmets were old, grubby and stained, and smelt of unwashed human bodies, underarms, feet and worse.

“Breathe in deeply,” they were ordered when they were all hooded, sitting in their rows (“like so many gagging turtles,” as one of them said).

“Again! Again!”

They breathed in the stink of the dirty wool.

“That,” the hooded man said, loudly and harshly, “is the smell of the armed proletarian struggle. It is the smell of the future. It is the smell of your dedication to that future. You will learn to love it.”

Which of them, they were asked, had any experience of or training in wrestling, self-defence, armed combat, or marksmanship, and those who claimed to have either or both were asked to remain. The rest were told that classes were to be organized in “fighting techniques”, and they were advised to attend, as there was to be a season of plays in which they would need such arts. They would also learn “to understand the liberating emotions which accompany the response of violence against the oppression of air-conditioned boredom”. Upon which, “a sigh went through the group, like the sigh of release from tension when something promised and yet almost given up has at last been delivered,” as one of the would-be actresses there that day has recalled. “I felt as if I suddenly knew what I had been waiting for and expecting, why I had been coming here.”

Posted under Britain, Collectivism, communism, Miscellaneous, revolution, Socialism, United Kingdom by Jillian Becker on Sunday, November 25, 2012

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