March 3rd, 2014

Dmitri Volkogonov, political changer

What a sad and terrifying story of another political changer: Dmitri Volkogonov. Ultimately it’s also a story of great courage and integrity, although that courage and integrity came late in the game:

Volkogonov entered the military at the age of seventeen in 1945, which was common for many orphans. He studied at the Lenin Military Academy in Moscow in 1961; transferring to the Soviet Army’s propaganda department in 1970. There he wrote propaganda pamphlets and manuals on psychological warfare and gained a reputation as a hardliner…

But even as he was indoctrinating troops in Communist orthodoxy, General Volkogonov was struggling with private doubts based on the horrors he discovered hidden in the archives”. Volkogonov also had the opportunity to view the conditions of various client states during the Cold War. While these countries received military aid, Volkogonov later recalled, “…they all became poorer; their economies were collapsing everywhere. And I came to the conclusion that the Marxist model was a real historic blind alley, and that we, too, were caught in a historic trap.”

For a while Volkogonov did nothing—rather, he continued on his path as a dedicated Communist, while entertaining profound private doubts that grew and grew and finally erupted in a book:

Only with the most impeccable communist credentials did Volkogonov access the most secret Soviet archives. While reading in the archives during the Brezhnev years, Volkogonov “found documents that astounded him — papers that revealed top Communists as cruel, dishonest and inept”. Thus, while Volkogonov was actively writing and editing Soviet propaganda materials for troops, “Volkogonov was engaged in a lengthy, tortured but very private process of re-evaluating Soviet history.”

Volkogonov began writing the biography of Stalin in 1978. He completed it by 1983, but it was banned by the Central Committee. It was published under Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy of Glasnost before the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The publication of the book on Stalin within Russia made Volkogonov “a pariah among his fellow senior officers”…

“Volkogonov admitted publicly that, like many senior Soviet officials, he had lived two mental lives, rising higher and higher in his career while burrowing deeper in the archives, as if symbolically undermining the system that had nurtured him.”

Later, Volkogonov wrote biographies of Lenin and Trotsky that exposed their own cooperation in terror and repression, and in devising policies that facilitated even greater terror and repression under Stalin. It was all a seamless whole:

Volkogonov always used to say “that in his own mind, Lenin was the last bastion to fall.” He said that the turning point was when he discovered one of Lenin’s orders calling for the public hanging of Kulak peasants in 1918:

“Hang (hang without fail, so the people see) no fewer than one hundred known kulaks, rich men, bloodsuckers…Do it in such a way that for hundreds of versts around, the people will see, tremble, know, shout: they are strangling and will strangle to death the bloodsucking kulaks.”

Perhaps the most poignant statement Volkogonov ever made—and probably the one that prompted me to write this post—was this [emphasis mine]:

…[I]t was only late in my life, after long and tortuous inner struggle, that I was able to free myself of the chimera of Bolshevik Ideology. I felt enormous relief, and at the same time a sense of deep regret that I had wasted so many years in Utopian captivity. Perhaps the only thing I achieved in this life was to break with the faith I had held for so long…Disillusionment first came to me as an idea, rather like the melancholy of a spiritual hangover. Then, it came as intellectual confusion. Finally, as the determination to confront the truth and understand it.

Late in life Volkogonov drew strength from the fact that he had been baptized as a Christian. He later said:

…that when he would enter the Russian Parliament (where he had held a seat as a liberal since the Gorbachev era), he would be met by Communist legislators who would “line up at the door and shout insults.” Of this Volkogonov commented at the time, “I take these shouts as sounds of historical praise.”

Volkogonov died of cancer in 1995. Despite his illness, in his final years he had picked up the pace of his writing.

You might say of Volkogonov that he lost the requisite Soviet ability to say that 2+2=5. He finally had to shout out that 2+2=4!

[NOTE: One of the most interesting things about this story is how it indicates that many Soviet higher-ups understood their own hypocrisy and cooperation in a system they knew to be corrupt and even evil. Volkogonov was unusual in that he finally was determined to expose it, even at some personal cost. The time was right, or he would never have gotten as far as he did with it; Stalin would have murdered him and all his family in a heartbeat.

Another thing that strikes me is that the incriminating letters and material about Lenin and Trotsky were kept in the archives and never destroyed. Was it because the Soviets knew that only the most hard-line Communists would be looking at them, and that they'd be able to handle the revelations without experiencing remorse? Or were the archive-keepers just lazy and unaware of what was in the papers? Or was it because they didn't even realize such material would compromise Lenin's saintly image, because (for example) the only good kulak is a dead kulak?]

22 Responses to “Dmitri Volkogonov, political changer”

  1. Ymarsakar Says:

    Perhaps the only thing I achieved in this life was to break with the faith I had held for so long

    If he had done this while learning to think in a foreign language, pre programming his brainwashed faith would have taken less time and effort.

    Reading the propaganda in his native language, when his faith was based around his native language, makes for an extremely hard fortress to invade and destroy. Far easier to replace the fortress with a lesser construct and invade from inside and outside.

    Was it because the Soviets knew that only the most hard-line Communists would be looking at them, and that they’d be able to handle the revelations without experiencing remorse?

    The Germans, the Russians, and the Chinese were all on the side of Western progress in the 20th century. They were children of the Enlightenment, although deviant to a certain extreme.

    They kept meticulous records, attempted to supplant the traditional culture, and met with the occult like Hitler’s Aryans, in order to become the next best thing for human progress. As a result, keeping a solid record of the glory was part of that process. Intellectual and scientific strength was what they believed they had. And only barbarians would burn critical records.

    Although, that record was heavily edited, like the NYTimes.

    because (for example) the only good kulak is a dead kulak?

    That may be true for some, but it doesn’t explain how various papers and records got released after the Cold War. Even in 1930 something, the new records released from Russia destroyed much of the American Left’s belief in communism, shattering their locally funded hydra movements to the point where in 1960 they called themselves the “New Left”, belittling their parents’ lost faith.

    Germany kept meticulous papers and records. While the Russian experiment was different, they had to follow along certain intellectual lines. Infiltration of America started with the writers and intellectuals, not because they were the weakest of the bunch but merely because Totalitarian Utopianism appeals to tin pot gods and people who think they are smart. It was designed for them, after all.

  2. DNW Says:

    Another thing that strikes me is that the incriminating letters and material about Lenin and Trotsky were kept in the archives and never destroyed. Was it because the Soviets knew that only the most hard-line Communists would be looking at them, and that they’d be able to handle the revelations without experiencing remorse? Or were the archive-keepers just lazy and unaware of what was in the papers? Or was it because they didn’t even realize such material would compromise Lenin’s saintly image, because (for example) the only good kulak is a dead kulak?]

    It was because they did not see anything wrong with or incriminating about what was being said and done.

  3. DNW Says:

    Sometimes, I wonder if the people we call conservatives or classical liberals, can really accept, or even intellectually comprehend the fact that when the people we call leftists deny a human nature or intrinsic rights or even an objective right and wrong, that they mean it.

    Why is this so hard for so many on the pro-liberty side to grasp? They sometimes act like monkeys with their hands over their ears; not regarding evolution, and not even concerning the reality and urgency of the existential threat they face. No, conservatives by and large have plenty of courage when it comes to that. But when it comes to what the adversary himself says about his ethics, his views on meaning and his concept of reality, they just cannot seem to process it.

  4. I Callahan Says:

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Communism is one of the two greatest evils on the face of the earth today (the other being militant islam).

    That there are people in this very country who would argue with me about these choices is depressing.

  5. I Callahan Says:

    Why is this so hard for so many on the pro-liberty side to grasp?

    It’s projection, and I think this is just human nature. Conservatives assume that the other side has honest motives, and liberals assume that the other side doesn’t. In both cases, projection, and both cases explain a lot.

  6. DNW Says:

    I Callahan Says:

    March 3rd, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Why is this so hard for so many on the pro-liberty side to grasp?

    It’s projection, and I think this is just human nature. Conservatives assume that the other side has honest motives, and liberals assume that the other side doesn’t. In both cases, projection, and both cases explain a lot.

    It probably explains a lot; but I am not sure the question of the honest motives of the other party goes to the question I saw as at issue.

    The question I am asking is why conservatives seem to have so much trouble in processing what leftists themselves say about their own beliefs concerning the status of the concepts of right and wrong, and the nature of ethical statements, and the nature of reality itself.

    Conservatives cannot seem to grant the leftist the dignity of taking him seriously, when the leftist in more general contexts makes very plain that the ideas of an objective right and wrong, or an inherent human nature, or an intrinsically meaningful reality, have no part in the progressive’s worldview.

    Thus the conservatives keep sputtering “How can they do this!? How can they justify it?” when the progressives have already and repeatedly told them how. They, the progressives, think that the very ground of your conservative morals is an illusion. How much plainer do they have to be before it sinks into conservative heads that the issue is not really about competing policies directed to the same ends, but the shaping of human existence based on radically variant assumptions about the existence of objective limits?

    Conservatives don’t seem to be stupid; but it is almost as if they fear to look into the abyss from which progressive’s moral universe emanates, and won’t accede that when the progressive says all ethics are radically relative or expedient, that they do mean it and believe it themselves.

    So then, when Lenin says “kill the Kulaks”, why would any of his like-minded supporters, on their way to building a new socialist man with the free hand a godless universe has granted them, see that as in any way incriminating?

    And why would conservatives think that they would?

  7. Ann Says:

    Martin Amis made use of those Soviet archives in his Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million. The letters between Lenin and Trotsky and others were horrifying and revealed those men to be monsters. I gave the book to a Democratic friend and recommended it to several other liberal types. Their response was mostly “meh”. Utterly depressing.

  8. Mike Says:

    “…top Communists as cruel, dishonest and inept”.

    We have one in the White House and others inside every corner of our bureaucracy and one of our political parties.

    What will the result be?

  9. Gringo Says:

    Neo asking why the Soviet archives hadn’t been sanitized :

    #1. Was it because the Soviets knew that only the most hard-line Communists would be looking at them, and that they’d be able to handle the revelations without experiencing remorse?

    In part, yes. The Nomenklatura had access to Western media and information that the masses did not, because the Nomenklatura figured they could “handle” the information, whereas the masses could not. For example, Stalin liked John Wayne movies and Tarzan movies. Uncle Joe could “handle” those movies, but the masses could not. I imagine that Uncle Joe was correct in concluding that the masses could not handle access to Western media. East Germany, where much of the population had access to West German TV, shows that Uncle Joe was correct.

    #2.Or were the archive-keepers just lazy and unaware of what was in the papers?
    #3. Or was it because they didn’t even realize such material would compromise Lenin’s saintly image, because (for example) the only good kulak is a dead kulak?]

    Because of my going for #1, I discount #2. However, re #3, I imagine that most of the Nomenklatura believed that the only dead kulak was a dead kulak- an attitude which would probably have also been ingrained in those permitted to manage the archives.

    IIRC, some of Gorbachov’s grandparents had bad experiences with the de-kulakization, so he probably had a different view on that issue than his predecessors did.

    I go for #1 and #3.

  10. blert Says:

    Stalin had a routine policy of keeping ALL papers.

    They permitted him to keep his fellows in the Party on their toes.

    At any time, they could be brought to light — massaged — to damn the wayward apparat.

    Stalin would keep himself above the fray — god-like — invincible in his ignorance of their cruelties and follies.

    &&&

    Adolf eventually adopted a similar tick. In his case, he started using stenos — in relays — usually two to three at a time — so that every utterance could be used to shame and embarrass his generals.

    This proved almost immediately effective. It stopped all of them from having an unsullied reputation of insight and vision.

    Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. So when these rare events occurred — Adolf being right, the general staff, wrong — the stenographic record was brought back to haunt the staff.

    ***

    In both cases, these damning records were control mechanisms against the one crowd that might be able to terminate the despot.

    And, of course, both tyrants made sure that cross-communication was difficult at best — and normally prohibited.

    Famously, at Zossen, Adolf had his twin HQs ( OKH and OKW ) separated by a solid wall — bunker to bunker. There was only one door linking them — for Adolf’s personal use. It was guarded 24/7 by a die hard SS guard — with orders to shoot to kill — any rank — if anyone else tries to force the passage.

    This partitioning is exactly why Stauffenberg had to get himself transferred across the barrier — from Army Group Center (always the heart of the conspiracy) to Panzer Armee Afrika in Tunisia. (Rommel’s command) Obviously, their conversation was off the record, but the sole reason for the transfer was so that Claus could detail the atrocities committed in the east and get Erwin on board. Instead, Claus was injured, severely, setting the plot back massively.

    (BTW, it was most uncommon for east front STAFF officers to be transferred like this — for all of the reasons just spelled out here. Obviously, staff officers carried around too much information in their heads — and had the big picture. They were the backbone of command continuity when commanding generals were swapped out. — Strings were pulled for Claus, no doubt.)

    &&&

    The other reason for holding onto all records: Stalin’s paranoia. He didn’t want his subordinates to even have the capability of destroying their own records. Thus, he had political officers up and down the ranks. (Stalin had been just such an official during the war with Poland, 1918-1919)

    While pitched as morale officers, their true function was to be finks all the way back to STAVKA. They’d always keep duplicate command records. These became the basis for shooting officers. No courts martials were deemed necessary.

    %%%

    To show you how powerful the concept is: Montgomery used the exact same fink system in 8th Army and 21st Army Group. British ‘observers’ were stationed even with Bradley’s 1st Army in Normandy. Monty even commanded that all aircraft reccee flights be performed by the RAF where the Americans were concerned. (!) To make this go down easy, he reciprocated: the USAAF provided all of the reccee flights for the British 2nd Army — later the 21st Army Group. As a practical matter, Monty didn’t care what the USAAF came up with. Between his finks and his photos, he was on top of everything — but deniably so. (!)

    This was shown during Operation Market-Garden. The RAF was flying reccee like crazy. Yet Monty was able to sell to everyone that LtG Brown (corps commander) was the fall guy,
    Monty was such a control freak that Brown had no freedom of action at all. The entire plan emanated from 21st Army Group from soup to nuts, of course.

    The use of finks was extended to MACV. Westmoreland copied Monty’s scheme. (Westy made it big in WWII as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne. This outfit came under Mony’s command three times: D-Day, Market Garden, and the last days of the war when it raced to save Denmark. So, Westy knew all about the command advantages of finks and double records.

    In the film “Patton” George immediately gets Bradley put on staff — so that he’d be less likely to fink to Marshall. (Fat chance, Bradley was sent to fink on Ike and Patton.)

    In all of these antics, everyone follows Cardinal Richelieu’s dictum: don’t throw away a document.

  11. Ymarsakar Says:

    For most patriots, they have never had to issue up killing force or intent in their lives.

    It’s difficult to understand the enemy’s language when you don’t speak it.

    Without a basic comprehension of the use of violence, they cannot understand the Left’s ethics or justifications. They mostly think the Left has no morality or ethics, because it’s incomprehensible.

    The exception are those who have seen things from both sides of the elephant: defectors or traitors.

    Republicans born as Republicans or to a Republican family or environment, do not see with the same eyes as the 3% and do not comprehend the Left’s language as well as a native born Leftist. But a native born Leftist not only understands the language but feels no need to enlighten the rest of us to what it really means when the Left speaks of concentration camps, force, and redistribution of totalitarian ideology.

    We need a translator. Someone who speaks the Left’s language but is willing to also communicate in the language of patriotism and human qualities.

    In the realm of violence, a killer is needed to understand the Left’s killing force.

    In the realm of thievery, a thief is needed to help us understand the Left’s thuggery and stealing.

    Since most conservatives are neither killers nor thieves, they do not understand the language. Without the language, the Left’s dogma and religious doctrines are un transparent and incomprehensible. Much as Latin script was incomprehensible to Europeans that didn’t read Latin, even though the Bible was an important element in life.

    For a person that has never had to usher enough will to kill a mouse, let alone a pet or higher form of life by their own hands, comprehending the level of willpower Leftists must have to do what they do, is difficult. It’s much like regular Americans trying to understand how their microwave works. It requires specialized knowledge or at least general curiosity.

  12. Ymarsakar Says:

    The funny thing is that if bureaucratic records can serve as personal assassination orders to justify kill shots, why is the Leftist Regime in the US building so many data centers to store open source and encrypted source data mined material?

  13. Eric Says:

    But even as he was indoctrinating troops in Communist orthodoxy, General Volkogonov was struggling with private doubts based on the horrors he discovered hidden in the archives”.

    This reminds me of my comparatively mini-change experience, except mine worked in the other direction from General Volkogonov: I changed from skeptic to believer.

    My 1st duty station as a soldier was Korea. Before serving in Korea, I was skeptical about the US military’s purpose in Korea, and elsewhere, in the leftist fashion.

    My job in Korea included working with top secret go-to-war plans. There, I discovered that, contrary to my youthful doubts, the stated USFK mission – to defend the ROK from nK aggression – is genuine. All the plans were defensive and triggered only by an nK attack on the ROK. Coupled to the war plans on paper, from a practical standpoint, I knew any US military attack or defense in Korea would only be done by us, and we were only trained to defend the ROK.

    It wasn’t stated as such in the war plans, but I (and all the soldiers with access to the war plans) could add 2+2:

    I realized that my unit’s advanced position astride the main avenue of approach for a mass armored attack across the DMZ to Seoul meant our real job was to blunt nK’s 1st attack wave in order to buy (hopefully) enough time to evacuate Korean civilians from Seoul and for USFK/ROK/UN reinforcements to deploy. In other words, my fellow soldiers and I were going to die if nK attacked, but if we did our jobs well enough before we died, we (and the ROK soldiers to our left and right) would pay with our lives to save millions of Korean lives.

    Since then, I have understood US military role in the world, particularly in the War on Terror, through the lens of what I know to be the honorable mission of US soldiers in Korea.

  14. Eric Says:

    As far as the Soviets keeping meticulous records, despite their provocative content, that’s not a mystery. It’s bureaucracy. And practical.

    Why do you think we kept the provocative records released by Snowden, Manning, and whoever did the Abu Ghraib leak? The Soviets had a big nation, plus a bigger confederation, to run. They were actually doing stuff besides propagandizing us and themselves. At some level, bureaucrats and operators on the ground need to work with information based on something real.

    For propagandists, their job is to spin narratives that are, at least theoretically, plausible for witnesses on the ground. As any novelist can tell you, creating compelling historical fiction requires knowledge of the historical truth.

    For advocates, of whom propagandists are a subset, understanding opposing arguments is part of the job. Every trial lawyer is responsible for knowing the ins and outs of opposing counsel’s arguments as well as he knows his own. That’s a main reason lawyers make good politicians. Criminal defense attorneys are ethically bound to zealously defend murderer clients. Knowing the cost of Communism will not stop ethically committed Communist advocates from advocating for the benefits.

    Finally, ambitious visionary enterprises, including noble endeavors that work out in the end, normally aren’t all rainbows, sprinkles, and sunshine.

    Context matters.

    As I said earlier, I believe the US mission in Korea is honorable. The US soldiers who killed and/or died in the Korean War did so in a noble cause. The various accounts of awful acts committed by US soldiers in the Korean War doesn’t change that. The Abu Ghraib and other US military scandals don’t change the essential nobility of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    Does anyone believe that *many* good people weren’t harmed unjustly – though justifiably in the big picture – in order to found our American nation? That the hands of our founding fathers weren’t both noble and bloody?

    I have no doubt most of the Americans loyalists, many of whom had long generational roots in America, were good people who did not deserve what was done to them by our founders and were disenfranchised then-illegally by covetous neighbors. But our founding fathers did what was needed to be done, and harmed who they needed to harm, in order to found the enduring free and independent American nation.

    As I’ve said, America’s founding fathers were Marxist-method activists – and radical ones at that – before Marx. The Marxist-method activist game is a fundamentally American social-political game.

    In the real world, the ends do justify the means.

    Achieving visionary goals normally necessitates a steep cost in order to realize the vision. Changing the world does not come cheap. Depending on the scale of the vision, people will get hurt and even die. Things will get damaged and destroyed.

    If you succeed in your visionary goal, then the harm you caused while displacing the status quo will be justified. If you fail in your goal, as the Soviets failed in theirs, then only the harm remains and your punishment will be deserved.

    That’s the risk you accept if you want to make a difference in this world.

    Soldiers who kill and destroy, and perhaps thereby condemn their Christian souls to hell, for a good cause understand and accept this trade-off.

    The key is whether you believe the cause is worth the price. Benedict Arnold, hitherto a trusted general and a hero of the revolution, didn’t believe American independence was worth the price. Manning didn’t believe our peace operations countering the mass-murdering insurgents were worth the price. Snowden didn’t believe Homeland Security is worth the price. General Volkogonov didn’t believe the Communist undertaking of the Soviet Union were worth the price.

  15. George Says:

    Neo and DNW – Thanks for the great post and comments. To (I think) illustrate what DNW said: Before I quickly switched it off, I heard about a minute of the Hugh Hewitt show today in which Hugh and his guest (sorry, I don’t know who it was) were talking about Russia and Ukraine and their heartfelt advice to Barrack that strategically placed sanctions would be just the thing and what a fine way for him to exercise his role as commander in chief. As if he cares in the same way that they care about our standing and security! There must exist some sort of denial of reality after five years of this to not want to acknowledge that Barrack see the U.S and its institutions as the problems to be fundamentally weakened and transformed and that he as a Marxist is not terribly upset when the KGB guy behaves the way KGB guys behave.

  16. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    What a sad and terrifying story indeed, yet also triumphant in the fullest meaning of the term.

    “many Soviet higher-ups understood their own hypocrisy and cooperation in a system they knew to be corrupt and even evil”

    Yes they did, though hypocrisy assumes an objective standard but essentially the justification as always was that the end sought justified whatever means were necessary.

    “Sometimes, I wonder if the people we call conservatives or classical liberals, can really accept, or even intellectually comprehend the fact that when the people we call leftists deny a human nature or intrinsic rights or even an objective right and wrong, that they mean it.” DNW

    I too, suspect that many do not and I suspect the reason is because of differing premises, which are far more profoundly consequential than many credit. Conservative and classical liberal beliefs extend from the premise that reality consists of objective parameters outside our personal perceptions. The left posits that objective reality does not exist, at all…

    At base, for objective reality to exist something must have created it because it could not have arisen spontaneously and without direction. Scientists are in agreement that our universe’s basic physical parameters (speed of light, gravitational constant, etc) are exquisitely constructed and interrelated to a mathematical precision so far beyond chance as to make the lottery a sure thing by comparison.

    But if, as post modernistic relativism posits, all is subjective, then the divine cannot exist and “If there is no God, then nothing is forbidden” becomes the ‘subjective’ reality within we each exist and then indeed, the end sought justifies the means.

    We’re speaking the ‘King’s English’ and they’re speaking Mandarin Chinese and there simply is no frame of reference.

    Eric,

    I can’t agree that “America’s founding fathers were Marxist-method activists” they were certainly revolutionaries who mostly acted within the laws of war as practiced in Europe at that time. They did not practice the atrocities that were common among Indian tribes of the time. Nor was the injustices that occurred justified by victory but rather to some extent unavoidable in a time of war.

    “In the real world, the ends do justify the means.”

    No, some things cannot be justified no matter the value of the end sought. If I could, I would not take away Obama’s freedom of speech to win the argument. Truth stands on its own, it has no need for deceit. Deceit may carry the day but it can never erase the truth. If nothing else, Volkogonov’s life proved that.

  17. Matt_SE Says:

    The cold, calculating nature of totalitarianism necessitates meticulous record keeping. It’s like OCD to these people, and both Nazis and Commies engaged in it.

    You could look at possession of forbidden knowledge as a status marker for the elites, but then any recognition of that status would be confined to other elites.

    I think as agents of History, Communist leaders felt obliged to record the truth *somewhere*. The archivists continued this pattern with the added flavor of documenting historic leaders’ thoughts on specific subjects.

  18. Eric Says:

    Geoffrey Britain,

    There was more to fomenting the Revolutionary War than Thomas Jefferson at his desk burning the midnight oil with his schoolboy notes on John Locke and well-dressed gentlemen posing just so in Independence Hall.

    For example, part of my alma mater’s lore is student activists who hounded British soldiers in NYC, likely their age, who were innocent of anything other than being British soldiers stationed in NYC – legally, peacefully, on British soil – in a manner foreshadowing the Vietnam War radicals who hounded and vilified servicemen, likely their age. Both in the 18th and 20th centuries, the student activists deliberately acted provocatively, antagonistically, and at times, violently, with deliberate purpose: transform the social-political ecosystem from a cohesive, stable environment into a fractured, revolutionary environment. It worked both times.

    There just aren’t many solemn portraits of roving gangs of students ambushing scared young British soldiers for some guerilla theater to turn them into enemies, rile up the crowd, and create grist for the pro-independence propagandists. Maybe rough them up a little as justice for grievances real and invented – same difference.

    That’s how we became a free and independent nation. The tree of liberty was planted by activists. That’s also how we lost the Vietnam War.

    It is just a method. Anyone can use it. Either use it to win a nation or don’t, and have it used it against you, so you lose your nation.

  19. Eric Says:

    What’s the difference between John Kerry and Daniel Ellsburg and General Volkogonov?

  20. blert Says:

    Eric…

    The Medals Discus Event.

    JFK threw the Silver.

    &&&

    Ellsburg intended to shame LBJ — but the historical onus fell on RMN.

    (The Pentagon Papers were drafted as a critique of the LBJ-McNamara era of the Vietnam War. You never hear of that in the Press. Instead, It’s his run-in with RMN and his status as a listed opponent of America — by RMN.)

    Volkogonov had the gift of timing. The result is that he looked ever better as time passed; Kerry and McNamara, not so much.

    Why the Socratic query?

  21. artfldgr Says:

    funny

    but i note that you like strangers with no association, rather than associated ppl whose family are similar people, and could answer questions…

    then again, i note that women follow the advice of strangers and books and magazines, and generally ignore their family, and those concerned for them…

    the stranger you dont know has an appeal that familiarity only breeds contempt… (And the idea that “if you know them, then they are not great, cause you dont know great people”… a common formulation)

    weird…

  22. blert Says:

    Ymarsakar Says:
    March 3rd, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    The funny thing is that if bureaucratic records can serve as personal assassination orders to justify kill shots, why is the Leftist Regime in the US building so many data centers to store open source and encrypted source data mined material?

    &&&

    Well, it worked on Justice Roberts, didn’t it?

    In this new era, it’s unnecessary for a tyrant to operate concentration camps or any sort of gulag.

    Data mining permits the Big Man to economically coerce most — and socially coerce the rest.

    This explains why you’re seeing so feeble an assault against his reign.

    Those media figures that see the light of reason — have yet other reasons to shut down their word processor. Everyone’s on notice that their career in the media is at hazard.

    Since said careers are being terminated all over the nation by the digital retrenchment — economics is keeping the faithful in line — and on the party-line.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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