Communism Through Rose-Colored Glasses
“How many intellectuals have come to the revolutionary party via the path of moral indignation, only to connive ultimately at terror and autocracy?”
The emergence of political leaders in the Anglosphere, from Bernie Sanders in the United States, Justin Trudeau in Canada, and Jeremy Corbyn in the U.K. has surprised an older generation who thought that the allures of Communism had long abated.
But it is hardly surprising to those who observe what has been taught to the young in schools about history. In most accounts, the ills of Communism have largely been airbrushed from history.
I suspect that the extraordinary refusal among progressives to denounce Communism lies less in its embrace of Marx than in their shared commitment to human homogeneity, a homogeneity made possible by the success of Western technology and communications. These days it is more of a cultural phenomenon, related to identity politics.
The effect is rather similar. In both cases, the state is a sort of immanent deity.
Rejecting their accountability to a transcendent God, Western nations, much like the Communists of old, compel a sort of public unity upon their populaces that removes all privacy, all the ‘space’ which distinguishes persons and which allows for individuality to appear in public.
In the place of individuals and recognition of families as a prepolitical unity, progressives assert the ‘rights’ of groups.
Pagan forms of monism are becoming more and more evident by the day. The danger to a generation that has grown up ignorant of the ills of Communism is very real.
‘Why is it that people who know all about the infamous prison on Robben Island in South Africa have never heard of the prison on Cuba’s Isle of Pines? Why is Marxism still taken seriously on college campuses and in the progressive press? Do the same people who rightly demand the removal of Confederate statues ever feel even a shiver of inner revulsion at hipsters in Lenin or Mao T-shirts?’
What else can explain what this writer in the New York Times observes?
‘It’s a bitter fact that the most astonishing strategic victory by the West in the last century turns out to be the one whose lessons we’ve never seriously bothered to teach, much less to learn. An ideology that at one point enslaved and immiserated roughly a third of the world collapsed without a fight and was exposed for all to see. Yet we still have trouble condemning it as we do equivalent evils. And we treat its sympathizers as romantics and idealists, rather than as the fools, fanatics or cynics they really were and are.’
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