Sunday, December 13, 2015

The real curse on mankind.

Eugene Genovese, one-time communist Party member:
The horrors [of communism] did not arise from perversions of radical ideology but from the ideology itself. We were led into complicity with mass murder and the desecration of our professed ideals not by Stalinist or other corruptions of high ideals, much less by unfortunate twists in some presumably objective course of historical development, but by a deep flaw in our understanding of human nature -- its frailty and its possibilities -- and by our inability to replace the moral and ethical baseline long provided by the religion we have dismissed with indifference, not to say contempt.

Our whole project of `human liberation' has rested on a series of gigantic illusions. The catastrophic consequences of our failure during this century - not merely the body count but the monotonous recurrence of despotism and wanton cruelty -- cannot be dismissed as aberrations[.]

... They have followed in the wake of victories by radical egalitarian movements throughout history. We have yet to answer our right-wing critics' claims, which are regrettably well documented, that throughout history, from ancient times to the peasant wars of the sixteenth century to the Reign of Terror and beyond, social movements that have espoused radical egalitarianism and participatory democracy have begun with mass murder and ended with despotism.[1]

In short, a feature not a bug. The record of communism is ghastly, plain, and incomparably worse than any of the excesses or abuses of the white bourgeoisie, crusaders, capitalists, or colonialists.[2] The undeniable communist lies, methods, and results – which nonetheless have been vigorously and creatively denied (and ignored) – could not break through the ideals of communism (and socialism and progressivism and liberalism).

Ideals have proved to be the iron wall that conservatives simply could not penetrate, the curse visited upon mankind.

It's more than that though. The real curse is man's infatuation with cheap or incomplete ideas. A beloved friend is a committed Christian but she never fails to affirm that scripture must be interpreted in the light of (other) scripture.[3] The Bible Answer Man I loved to listen to on AM radio similarly performed a vital service in disabusing callers of strange notions about or interpolations from scripture. No, he would say, it's not a useful line of inquiry whether angels can have sex with humans. Just stay focused on the basics.

How successful he was all told, he'd have to say. It seems to me, however, that there is no way to beat these twin defects in human beings -- the tendency to become infatuated by particles of truth (a little learning is a dangerous thing) and the laziness or zealotry that causes us to extrapolate from these particles to the level of galactic truth for which sanity, civilized society, and life itself must, as the "dialectics" dictate, be sacrificed. Classless society? You bet. New Soviet Man? Sounds good. Forced labor? Sacrifice is necessary. Lies in service to the state? Party leaders know best. Distort the historical record? Ends justify the means.

The Yiddish proverb is just classic: "Send a fool to close a window and he'll close them all over town." That particular gem has made clear a lot of human idiocy encountered by the Colonel is his 72 years.

So unbreakable is the grip of this delusional thinking that the man who tells the truth about the terrible threat is himself excoriated and destroyed:

As it turned out, Communism proved to be much more terrible than all but a tiny number realized. And yet, for years America's intellectual and cultural elite routinely vilified staunch anti-Communists as McCarthyites, political Neanderthals, reactionaries, bigots, and so forth. The view of Communism and anti-Communism that prevailed among liberal, supposedly "enlightened" Americans during the 1930s and 1940s was perhaps best summed up by Arnold Forster, for many years a top official of the mis-named Anti-Defamation League. In his revealing memoir, Square One (p. 171), Forster wrote: 'The civilized world was more revolted by McCarthyism than by Communism."[4]
Pol Pot as a student said he wanted to create a "perfect democracy" when he returned to Cambodia. He succeeded admirably if one understands that the murders of the regime he headed were democratic after a fashion. It is more accurate to say, however, that the choice of victims was indiscriminate, arbitrary, and completely devoid of any assessment of individual worth, status, background, hostility to the regime, age, sex, or class. Naked, senseless murder could not be, and was not, restrained by notions of love, friendship, kinship, justice, habit, or reason. So artless and simple an admonition that "decent people do not do such things" was in effect answered by "What is bourgeois morality to us?" In this way the habits of eons of civilized life were smothered or cast off.

The character Koppel Stein says in Isaac Bashevis Singer's "Job":

[In addition to wars and pogroms initiated by capitalists,] I’d seen plenty of wickedness, stupidity, and pettiness among my own comrades, but I answered myself ten times a day with the same refrain: we are products of the capitalist system. Socialism will produce a new man—and so on and so forth.[5]
The by-now classic delusion. Someone relying on politics and happy talk will fix things.

Stein is "denounced by my Jewish and proletarian brothers" in Poland and goes to jail after a farcical trial.

At the time I went to prison, I still believed in revolution, in Karl Marx. I had all kinds of political illusions. Back outside I was completely cured.

* * * *

. . . When I got out of jail, in 1934, and told [my wife] Sonia what I thought about our little world and those who wanted to save it, she attacked me like the worst of them. The fact is that while I sat behind bars I’d become a kind of martyr or hero for the Trotskyists. I could have played the role of a great leader. But I told them: dear children, there is no cure for the human race. It was not the 'system' that was guilty but Homo sapiens itself, in the flesh.[6]

The Awakening. The epiphany.

Stein illustrates something I saw just a day or two ago somewhere.

Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.[7]
We should emulate the fruit inspection stations on the California border. Every person who crosses a state line, applies for a job, seeks entry to a university, or asks for a driver's license should be required to swear or affirm, "I am completely free of ideals and the urge to inflict them on any other human being." Arrivals from overseas should be required to declare to customs, "I am arriving with no dumb ass ideas and have none concealed on my person or in my baggage."

Candidates for office should post a $100,000 bond to be forfeited if Debbie Waspherman-Schultz, Elijah Cummings, or Barbara Streisand like any of their subsequent ideas.

Notes
[1] Quoted in "William Chamberlin: A Man Ahead of His Time." By Mark Weber, from an address at the Twelfth IHR Conference, September 1994, in Irvine, California, published in The Journal of Historical Review, Nov.-Dec. 1994 (Vol. 14, No. 6), pp. 16-18 (emphasis added).
[2] Whether Muslims have approached or exceeded the murder, torture, and enslavement inherent in all communist regimes I can't say offhand. The Muslim conquest of part of the Indian subcontinent alone saw the murder of some 80,000,000 infidels.
[3] I forget what errors caused her to say that at various times but she may have had the Diggers in mind who got out of Acts 4:32 ("The group of believers was one in mind and heart. No one said that any of his belongings was his own, but they all shared with one another everything they had.") the command to organize around a kind of agrarian socialism. Also, long-time readers of the Intergalactic Source of Truth blog know of the Colonel's own fascination with the Adamites who settled on the idea that it is possible to regain the innocence of the Garden of Eden and so, by the irresistible processes of human logic, took to holding services in the buff. Sign me up!
[4] Mark Weber, supra.
[5] "Job." By Isaac Bashevis Singer, The New Yorker, 8/13/12 (originally published 1970).
[6] Id.
[7] Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (1841). By Charles Mackay.

6 comments:

  1. Another great piece my friend.

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  2. Thank you, brother. That one's been in the hopper for a long time. It bears elaborating.

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  3. I think the failure of virtually all collectivist tyrannies lies with their common delusion that they can some how change human nature. That b they canby brute force do away with individual self-interest, familial bonds and group identity. In short they think human perfection can be achieved on earth by force of will rather than understanding that it can only be moved toward by arelationship with God.

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  4. Quite so. The pretty little plans require ever more money to sustain. The costs of the bureaucracy to implement them increase as they did in Sweden. Even they tightened up a little and it might have stabilized for them. The immigration influx, however, was another pretty idea that once may have had some bearable costs but as the true, hideous costs started to rise it wasn't the paper shuffling type of bureaucrat whose influence was felt but the influence of the repressive organs. The natural human antipathy to "the other" (esp. in large numbers) was not allowed to find expression. Thus, the repression of the state had to soar, which it has.

    It's no surprise that the secret police and internal repression and terror have been the hallmark of ultra left regimes. Human nature resists being channeled into the ways dreamed up by people they just don't like.

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  5. Just as every society that has tried communism/socialism/collectivism has failed, usually after the deaths of millions of their own people, every country that has imported or allowed the entrance of large numbers of muslims has developed a cancer - the body of that nation has damaged, toxic, non-functional cells reproduce to the point that the "patient" - a nation formerly composed of native people who were a functioning part of the whole - has sickened and died, leaving the equivalent of an animated corpse behind.

    Two asides: Debbie _Wasserman_ Schultze brings to mind the old medical test for syphillis, known as the Wasserman Test (true, look it up). The tertiary stage of syphillis include dementia caused by the destruction of brain tissue by the infection. I submit that this explains Debbie's almost total flight from rationality and reality.

    Also, services in the buff will cease to be fun when you find yourself sharing them with women who look like Hillary Clinton, Diane Feinstein, Janet Reno, Angela Merkel, and Michelle Obama. (Saw a joke the other day that said doctors treated erections lasting more than four hours by showing the patient a photo of Hillary.)

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  6. Reg, I believe that when the communist tide went out for the last time in Russia and E. Europe it nonetheless left behind a vast layer of scum that continued to affect civilized countries from inside the churches, universities and schools, bureaucracies, the media, and the major parties. Those infected had the deep-seated hatred of their own people and nations that is characteristic of people infatuated with progressive (communist, socialist, liberal) ideas. They also, in their unprincipled desire for political power to implement their utopian ideas and revenge fantasies on the bourgeoisie, were delighted to pander to the foreigner or the outsider inside or outside their countries for financial and electoral advantage over their hated enemies. The Muslims were among those foreigners and were, in fact, the real enemy but the leftists saw anyone who hated the bourgeoisie as an ally. Foresight was not appreciated or sought after.

    I would love to believe that leftist delusion had such an easily-identified organic cause but I fear she likely comes by it naturally. Only the diseased thinking of highly educated and intelligent can be blamed, I fear. Why the lack of perspective and shortsightedness I described above is so powerfully attractive to intellectuals I do not know. Maybe the very flight into the world of theories and abstractions and knowledge of distant events carries with it the seeds of disaster.

    You have ruined my day with your list of possible fellow worshippers. Thanks for the VIsual! :-)

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