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Forget the past, and lose both eyes.

A Hidden History of Evil by Claire Berlinski, City Journal Spring 2010:
“I know the time will come,” Stroilov says, “when the world has to look at those documents very carefully. We just cannot escape this. We have no way forward until we face the truth about what happened to us in the twentieth century. Even now, no matter how hard we try to ignore history, all these questions come back to us time and again.”

The questions come back time and again, it is true, but few remember that they have been asked before, and few remember what the answer looked like. No one talks much about the victims of Communism. No one erects memorials to the throngs of people murdered by the Soviet state. (In his widely ignored book, A Century of Violence in Soviet Russia, Alexander Yakovlev, the architect of perestroika under Gorbachev, puts the number at 30 to 35 million.)

Indeed, many still subscribe to the essential tenets of Communist ideology. Politicians, academics, students, even the occasional autodidact taxi driver still stand opposed to private property. Many remain enthralled by schemes for central economic planning. Stalin, according to polls, is one of Russia’s most popular historical figures. No small number of young people in Istanbul, where I live, proudly describe themselves as Communists; I have met such people around the world, from Seattle to Calcutta.

We rightly insisted upon total denazification; we rightly excoriate those who now attempt to revive the Nazis’ ideology. But the world exhibits a perilous failure to acknowledge the monstrous history of Communism. These documents should be translated. They should be housed in a reputable library, properly cataloged, and carefully assessed by scholars. Above all, they should be well-known to a public that seems to have forgotten what the Soviet Union was really about. If they contain what Stroilov and Bukovsky say—and all the evidence I’ve seen suggests that they do—this is the obligation of anyone who gives a damn about history, foreign policy, and the scores of millions dead.

The problem, of course, is that socialists and communists all believe that "This time will be different!" But it never is.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 13th, 2010 06:06 pm (UTC)
No, it never is. A quick perusal of the history of the 20th century will tell anyone (who is honest) that.
May. 13th, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC)
Well, that's the thing, isn't it?
May. 13th, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC)
If only there were a pathogen that would only target people who keep their heads buried in the sand, and had a 99.985% kill ratio among those it did target! The world would be a lot less nasty place for it.
May. 14th, 2010 03:59 pm (UTC)
You should excoriate Socialists for the things that you object too, rather than for being mistaken for Communists. The word "socialist" appears once in the article, in a quote, and is never used by the author in describing the villains of the piece.

If I were to take your part in a discussion about socialism and communism, I'd say that socialism will fail as national policy because it is financially unsupportable; in fact, that would be it's chief evil from your perspective, because it is a primrose path that leads farther into fiscal chaos.

Communism has a much deeper fundamental flaw - it goes against human nature. It only works for small communities, because in a small community people form personal ties that allow them to transcend the basic animal attitude that what's mine is mine and what's yours is mine too if I'm bigger than you.

But, getting back to the point, the author did not write about socialists, unless they wrote with the unspoken assumptions (which seems unlikely, given the care the article seems to have been written with) that Communist=Socialist, and that the reader will also make the same assumption without any explicit mention of it. The introduction of the idea that socialist=communist was not introduced by the author.
May. 14th, 2010 04:38 pm (UTC)
You are correct that I see Socialism as just a stop on the road to serfdomCommunism or one of the other totalitarian political systems. The fact that it leads to the welfare state and the weakening of the military is important, but the most important thing is that it leads to totalitarianism, sooner or later, unless the people rise up and reverse the trend. Which they appear to be doing in some parts of Europe, and hopefully here as well.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )



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