Communism

and fascism:

One of the features that distinguished Bolshevism from Tsarism was the insistence of Lenin and his followers on the need for a complete overhaul of society. Old-fashioned despots may modernize in piecemeal fashion if doing so seems necessary to maintain their power, but they do not aim at remaking society on a new model, still less at fashioning a new type of humanity. Communist regimes engaged in mass killing in order to achieve these transformations, and paradoxically it is this essentially totalitarian ambition that has appealed to liberals. Here as elsewhere, the commonplace distinction between utopianism and meliorism is less than fundamental. In its predominant forms, liberalism has been in recent times a version of the religion of humanity, and with rare exceptions – Russell is one of the few that come to mind – liberals have seen the Communist experiment as a hyperbolic expression of their own project of improvement; if the experiment failed, its casualties were incurred for the sake of a progressive cause. To think otherwise – to admit the possibility that the millions who were judged to be less than fully human suffered and died for nothing – would be to question the idea that history is a story of continuing human advance, which for liberals today is an article of faith. That is why, despite all evidence to the contrary, so many of them continue to deny Communism’s clear affinities with Fascism. Blindness to the true nature of Communism is an inability to accept that radical evil can come from the pursuit of progress.

And like “progressive,” “progress” is in the eye of the beholder.

2 thoughts on “Communism

  1. Mitch H.

    I dunno, I’m reading Pipes’ Russia Under the Old Regime, and he’s laying a fairly strong emphasis on continuity, especially in regards to the willingness of the old princes and Tsars to treat their subjects as blocks of wood, to be flung hither and yon upon the landscape as suited the needs of the Gosundar’. Peter the Great’s willingness to waste lives by the thousands in order to build St. Petersburg, Ivan IV’s mad experiments with the oprichniki, earlier Muscovite princes’ Assyrian-esque population transfers between various new-conquered territories – forget Lenin, a lot of Stalin’s nasty little games have recognizable old-regime precedent. And Peter’s technophilic, militarist social innovations were as wild and radical in his time as Lenin’s. If they did less, it was only for lack of the resources and innovations in evil that the Bolsheviks were able to command.

  2. Der Schtumpy

    Blindness to the true nature of Communism is an inability to also accept that while many people will live together without causing problems, many others can’t or won’t and there’s a minority who see that willingness as weakness enough that they SHOULD be an under class.

    Communism assumes that everyone is in the game for everyone’s good, and will work toward a common good. But just looking at how ‘communist’ leaders have treated those within their own countries will show that few people are in the game for the common good.

    My reading of history shows that for every Mohandas Gandhi, there are 4 or 5 Hitlers, Stalins or Idi Amins. I don’t see that ‘regular’ people are much different. So depending on the goodness of the leaders, goes out the window for me on living a Communist Uptopic Lifestyle. I’ll take our screwed up Republic instead, we at least get an opportunity to un-screw it every two years.

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