4:37am July 26, 2013

“As it became clear that the West, in order to bring communism to ruin, didn’t have to do anything except exist, the French left became more vindictive, and not less, against liberal democrat commentators of Revel’s stamp. The left actually intensified, instead of diminishing, its insistence that the Communist world was besieged by hostile forces. Revel got his answer into a nutshell: ‘The Communist world is indeed a fortress besieged, but from within.’ His critics might conceivably have one day forgiven him for thinking like that. But they have never forgiven him for writing like that.”

— Continuing today’s communism-themed posts: Clive James on Jean-François Revel. Really just posting it for the last two sentences.  (via johnthelutheran)
4:35am July 26, 2013

“The twentieth century gave something new to history when societies nominally dedicated to human betterment created a climate of universal fear. In that respect, the Communist despotisms left even Hitler’s Germany looking like a throwback. Hitler was hell on earth, but at least he never promised heaven: not to his victims, at any rate. It’s the disappointment of what happened in the new Russia that Nadezhda captures and distils into an elixir.”

— Clive James on Nadezhda Mandelstam, in Cultural Amnesia.  (via johnthelutheran)
2:13pm June 30, 2013

“Optimism ran amuck. Every new statistical success gave another justification for the coercive policies by which it was achieved. Every setback was another stimulus to the same policies. The slogan “The Five Year Plan in Four Years” was advanced, and the magic symbols “5-in-4” and “2+2=5” were posted and shouted throughout the land… . Under their pseudo-scientific exterior of charts and blueprints the planners were mystics in a trance of ardor.”


Eugene Lyons in "Two Plus Two Equals Five," from Assignment in Utopia (1937),

The Brussells Journal | Thought Control In The Name Of Mother Earth - Part 3:

…Eugene Lyons offers what were at the time perhaps the best eye-witness accounts of Stalinism as a state religion. He was UPI’s journalist in Moscow during the early years of Stalin’s rule (1928-34), which coincided with Stalin’s first Five Year Plan, and, despite all we have learned since then, his first-hand observations remain both vivid and strange to this day. Among several websites that I chose at random, for example, all give 1928 -1932 as the official dates of the plan, but none comments on the transformation of five years into four. Lyons literally saw how it happened.
5:47pm November 25, 2012

“Although it is difficult to determine the exact number of individuals murdered during the Stalinist terror of the 1930s, the most recent figures indicate that more than 100,000 religious leaders were executed between 1937 and 1941. […] Alexander Yakovlev, a former advisor to Gorbachev, explained the extent of the terror in the early days of the Soviet Union:

The offical term execution was often a euphemism for murder, fiendishly refined. For example, Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev was mutilated, castrated, and shot, and his corpse was left naked for the public to desecrate. Metropolitan Veniamin of St. Petersburg, in line to succeed the patriarch, was turned into a pillar of ice: he was doused with cold water in the freezing cold. Bishop Germogen of Tobolsk, who had voluntarily accompanied the czar into exile, was strapped to a paddlewheel of a steamboat and mangled by the rotating blades. Archbishop Andronnik of Perm, who had been renowned earlier as a missionary and had worked as such in Japan, was buried alive. Archbishop Vasily was crucified and burned.

— Paul Froese, The Plot to Kill God : Findings from the Soviet Experiment in Secularization (2008)  (via zerogate)
3:50am October 8, 2012

“What communism does is to carry the liberal principles to their logical and practical extreme: the secularism; the rejection of tradition and custom; the stress on science; the confidence in the possibility of molding human beings; the determination to reform all established institutions; the goal of wiping out all social distinctions; the internationalism; the belief in the welfare state carried to its ultimate form in the totalitarian state. The liberal’s arm cannot strike with consistent firmness against communism, either domestically or internationally, because the liberal dimly feels that in doing so he would be somehow wounding himself.”

— James Burnham, Suicide of the West : An Essay on the Meaning and Destiny of Liberalism (via zerogate)
4:39am December 23, 2011

The death of Kim Jong-Il also nicely illustrated the principle of how curious it is that liberals, despite taking great offense if anyone as much as suggests that there is any similarity or even outright co-operation between liberalism and communism, always instinctively take the side of communism in any dispute. Since liberals tend to be utterly ignorant of science and have never even heard of Friedrich Hayek and the role that free market prices play in relaying information required to make the billions of daily decisions of how to allocate various resources, they proclaim that communism is “beautiful in theory” and fails in practice only because people are too selfish. They are too smug and dumb to understand that communism is no different from believing that if you have to get a group of people through an obstacle course, you should tie their hands together and make them obey the random commands of a blindfolded central planner who, frustrated by your lack of progress, occasionally randomly shoots one of you for being a “saboteur”.”

— Illka. The Fourth Checkraise | Two of a mind
9:47pm December 21, 2011

No one questions that Havel, who went to prison twice, was a brave man who had the courage to stand up for his views. Yet the question which needs to be asked is whether his political campaigning made his country, and the world, a better place.

Havel’s anti-communist critique contained little if any acknowledgement of the positive achievements of the regimes of eastern Europe in the fields of employment, welfare provision, education and women’s rights. Or the fact that communism, for all its faults, was still a system which put the economic needs of the majority first.


Neil Clark. Václav Havel: another side to the story (in The Guardian’s Comment is Free)

Only a pampered socialist idiot of the West would think that Communism put the needs of the majority, rather than the needs of the Nomenklatura, first. Perhaps a few years in a Gulag would change his mind about the “achievements” of Communism.

4:37am October 7, 2011

Issue five of the communist periodical ‘The Red Banner’, 1906.


Issue five of the communist periodical ‘The Red Banner’, 1906.

8:46pm September 1, 2011

“In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.

— Theodore Dalrymple (emphasis mine)
4:24pm June 7, 2009

What is Communism?