October 14th, 2017

Literary leftists: Bertrand Russell on the Bolsheviks

Betrand Russell was a socialist, but he wasn’t impressed by the Communists:

I am compelled to reject Bolshevism for two reasons: First, because the price mankind must pay to achieve Communism by Bolshevik methods is too terrible; and secondly because, even after paying the price, I do not believe the result would be what the Bolsheviks profess to desire.

In this piece he wrote in 1929 for The Nation, he painted an illuminating portrait of Lenin and to a lesser extent Trotsky. In his description of Lenin in particular, I recognize the type [emphasis mine]:

I have never met a personage so destitute of self-importance. He looks at his visitors very closely, and screws up one eye, which seems to increase alarmingly the penetrating power of the other. He laughs a great deal; at first his laugh seems merely friendly and jolly, but gradually I came to feel it rather grim. He is dictatorial, calm, incapable of fear, extraordinarily devoid of selfseeking, an embodied theory.

“An embodied theory.” I know what he means; I have known political fanatics like that. Very cold-blooded.

I got the impression that he despises a great many people and is an intellectual aristocrat. …

I found in him, as in almost all leading Communists, much less eagerness than existed on our side for peace and the raising of the blockade. He believes that nothing of real value can be achieved except through world revolution and the abolition of capitalism…

He described the division between rich and poor peasants, and the government propaganda among the latter against the former, leading to acts of violence which he seemed to find amusing.

Ha ha ha.

And this is the most important part. After saying that Lenin had no love for liberty, he adds [emphasis mine]:

Perhaps love of liberty is incompatible with wholehearted belief in a panacea for all human ills. If so, I cannot but rejoice in the skeptical temper of the Western world. I went to Russia believing myself a communist; but contact with those who have no doubts has intensified a thousandfold my own doubts, not only of communism, but of every creed so firmly held that for its sake men are willing to inflict widespread misery.

The very same thing happened to the historian Will Durant when he visited Russia. I described his change of mind in this post. In the case of both Durant and Russell, most of the other members of their entourage did not share their disillusionment, and remained enthralled with Russia. Therein lies the difference between the changer and the true believer.

But neither changed all that much, although Durant went further than Russell. Durant remained a liberal; Russell remained a socialist, much as Orwell did during his lifetime of criticizing Communism. This is exceedingly puzzling, I think, and I attempted to explain it in regard to Orwell in this post. With Orwell, I think he just was so disgusted by the inequalities and unfairnesses of life that he greatly desired that it be possible to reconcile socialism and its goal of equality with liberty, although he realized the two were almost certainly incompatible. Russell seemed to realize the same thing, too, but he clung to socialism (intermittently, anyway) despite that fact.

Perhaps he was able to do so because he was something of a political dilettante. You don’t believe me? Russell said so himself:

At various points in his life [Russell] considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had “never been any of these things, in any profound sense”.

People are mysterious, aren’t they?

37 Responses to “Literary leftists: Bertrand Russell on the Bolsheviks”

  1. AesopFan Says:

    http://neoneocon.com/2015/07/02/why-did-orwell-remain-a-socialist/%22

    had a 404 Page not found error

  2. huxley Says:

    I’ve long thought this Lenin quote on Beethoven’s Appassionata quite revealing:

    I know of nothing better than the Appassionata and could listen to it every day. What astonishing, superhuman music! It always makes me proud, perhaps with a childish naiveté, to think that people can work such miracles!

    But I can’t listen to music very often, it affects my nerves. I want to say sweet, silly things, and pat the little heads of people who, living in a filthy hell, can create such beauty. These days, one can’t pat anyone on the head nowadays, they might bite your hand off.

    Hence, you have to beat people’s little heads, beat mercilessly, although ideally we are against doing any violence to people. Hm — what a devillishly difficult job!

    Yes, music can be a drag for the fine unifying human feelings one might experience, when there are so many people who must be killed for the Revolution.

  3. Philip Says:

    Hi, Neo. I went back and read your post on Durant, whose series on history I also have and have very much liked over the years. There are points in his writing where that sense of realism comes through.

    I think that aspect of renouncing the dream of a classless, just, peaceful, idyllic society is really the hard part for a lot of folks, because one has to have something with which to replace that dream. For those of us who have joined Christ, the promise of a world made new after a lot of patience – and by the Lord, not us – fulfills that requirement, at least in part.

    But for someone who can’t or won’t take up faith in God, it becomes harder to find an alternative because any such alternative must be focused on this world, this life. And if an intellectual, say, has nowhere else to go, so to speak – and yet everywhere he looks, the same nonsense goes on among men – it could be quite a trial. Thus the ongoing attempts to reconcile the philosophical conflict of idealized justice and real injustice, to mix oil and water.

  4. parker Says:

    A liberal? There are few liberals these days. The few that remain are a dying species headed for extinction. Socialist? That too is a dying species. It has been driven to the extreme left or as practice in Europe, invaded by Islam. Pacifist? Pacifists are an evolutionary dead end street. To refuse to defend yourself in order to uphold an utopian ideal is insane.

    People like Russell, my intellectual better, and other intellectuals past and present, are dangerous people. They have over time murdered many hundreds of millions. I hang out with the salt of the earth.

  5. Mike K Says:

    I think people like Durant and even Eric Blair lacked the experience we have had since with Socialism. They still could hope that human nature would not destroy the experiment whereas we have seen that every attempt at Utopia fails miserably.

    Adam Smith knew better but perhaps because he knew more human nature in “the world” before progress made it possible to ignore history.

    Apropos of that, I am reading the first of the “Outlander”novels. An interesting fantasy written by a very well educated woman which have become huge best sellers.

    There seems to be a yearning for simpler times. It does take a bit of magic to make it work.

  6. JK Brown Says:

    Mises summed up people like Russel best:

    The fading of the critical sense is a serious menace to the preservation of our civilization. It makes it easy for quacks to fool the people. It is remarkable that the educated strata are more gullible than the less educated. The most enthusiastic supporters of Marxism, Nazism, and Fascism were the intellectuals, not the boors. The intellectuals were never keen enough to see the manifest contradictions of their creeds. It did not in the least impair the popularity of Fascism that Mussolini in the same speech praised the Italians as the representatives of the oldest Western civilization and as the youngest among the civilized nations. No German nationalist minded it when dark-haired Hitler, corpulent Goering, and lame Goebbels were praised as the shining representatives of the tall, slim, fair-haired, heroic Aryan master race. Is it not amazing that many millions of non-Russians are firmly convinced that the Soviet regime is democratic, even more democratic than America?

    von Mises, Ludwig (1945). Bureaucracy

  7. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    I too read the linked article and posts. I found treasure in all of them. IMO, it’s clear from Russell’s description that Lenin was a sociopath.

    Durant came so close when he wrote; ” the socialist call for a warless and classless society seemed doomed by the processes of nature and the resultant nature of man.” [my emphasis]

    It is to this that I refer when I state that all collectivist ‘isms’ on the Left reject basic and key operative principles of the external reality within which we exist, as well as basic aspects of human nature. Any philosophical construct that rejects reality and human nature is unsustainable. Thus, it is inherently coercive.

    “With Orwell, I think he just was so disgusted by the inequalities and unfairnesses of life that he greatly desired that it be possible to reconcile socialism and its goal of equality with liberty, although he realized the two were almost certainly incompatible.”

    Orwell apparently never realized that reality’s inequalities and unfairness is not only necessary but a positive good.

    Durant skirted this realization when he observed that, “Moreover, the study of psychology (?biology?) indicated that variety and inequality are rooted in the needs and method of evolution as a survival of advantageous differences in the struggle for existence.”

    The theory of evolution rests upon the observation that, individual beneficial mutations (how unfair!) are solely passed on to the individual’s descendants (the ultimate unfairness!) and then spread in successive waves through the larger population. Without that evolutionary ‘unfair’ inequality neither individual inventive genius, civilizational progress, nor the leverage that the private amassing of wealth which supports entrepreneurial enterprise can occur, while immunity to formerly deadly diseases among a population and evolution itself are impossible. Thus without life’s “inequality of blessings”, without beneficial individual adaptive mutations… life would never have progressed beyond the stage of the amoeba.

    As for Orwell “greatly desired that it be possible to reconcile socialism and its goal of equality with liberty, although he realized the two were almost certainly incompatible.”

    Here Orwell apparently missed the answer as well. Socialism is coercive and therefore involuntary. Judeo/Christian principles, which are in principle voluntary (if frequently not in practice) are the bridge between socialism’s societal obligation to those less blessed and liberty’s individual freedom from societal coercion.

    Only Judeo/Christian tenets posit that the materially blessed have a moral obligation “to teach a man how to fish”, i.e. “noblesse oblige”.

  8. parker Says:

    “Lenin was a sociopath.”

    Duh! Anyone who wishes death to millions or believes millions must die on the altar of utopia is a monster.

  9. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    parker,

    Duh indeed. Nevertheless, Russell’s observations provide a closer look at the monster’s utter lack of humanity. Words are inadequate to fully convey just how appalling was the man. Perhaps insight can be gained by reflecting upon the fact that Stalin never challenged him.

  10. blert Says:

    By such a date, Lenin’s affliction was well advanced.

    He died of syphilis… something that was denied until the 21st Century… when it was admitted by MOSCOW.

    His last attending physician was the Soviet nation’s leading expert on the disease.

    Lenin’s so-called ‘stroke’ was nothing more than a syphlitic tantrum.

    The party elders packed him off — to keep him out of view — and invented the whole “had a stroke” tale.

    One aspect of late stage syphilis — something that he shared with Adolf — is well nigh universal paranoia.

    ALL of the key decisions of the Revolution were made by a syphlitic.

  11. Ray Says:

    Socialism was always sold as a redemptive creed that could create heaven on earth. There would be no more war, poverty or injustice. Of course, you had to break a lot of eggs to make that omelet.

  12. Stephen Ippolito Says:

    Great post. Lots of important thoughts to take away and think about at leisure.

    Lenin was just a supreme example of a certain type of person that most of us at some stage, have already or will be, “lucky” enough to meet.

    I say “lucky” not because these people are notoriously pleasant or smart or uplifting. Quite the contrary. They are usually real pains. They repay the meeting solely because of the important lesson they impart to a thinking person.

    The people I am talking about are those who idealise and love humanity en masse; that is, as a group or as a notion only – but who have no empathy at all for any individual member of humanity.

    In fact whenever they meet an individual human they treat them with contempt. I have met quite a few of these invariably unpleasant zealots in my time and I am grateful to all of them.

    Such people are especially big in founding charities so they can lead them in working for causes like recycling plastic bags to save the southern humpback or planting eucalypts to house the koala.

    They are also often found in leadership positions in churches and political parties.

    They have the “big idea” and work for it incredibly hard – believing it will benefit “humanity” en masse and that is OK as far as it goes – but they don’t have enough respect for others to entertain the possibility that they may be wrong.

    To see all sides of an issue requires empathy for our fellow human beings and that is something they are just constitutionally lacking.

    That is why Lenin could so readily order the evils he did and why lesser ideologues can so blithely railroad the rights of others – afterall, its for a good cause that must be right because they think it is.

    I will take the imperfect, messy, equivocal but free western liberal model of democracy and my equivocal, doubting, ponderous and ever so slow and frustrating, (but ultimately humane and well-meaning), friends every time. In both groups there is safety from the tyranny of the zealot.

    Yes, there is such a thing as objective truth; absolute right and wrong – but it is not given to any of us to find it in this world. All we can do is grope towards it and for that we each need space.

  13. Stephen Ippolito Says:

    Loving all the thoughtful commentary on this important issue.

    As great as debate is, sometimes a great movie can really nail a point, too.

    I happened the other day to revisit one of the finest movies I have ever seen that depicts just how little there is that is life-affirming, (or of God), in oppressive ideologies and zealotry.

    As an Italophile and fan of Italian cinema may I recommend a viewing of Ettore Scola’s magnificent little film, (“little” because it only features two characters), A Special Day (1977); (In Italian: Una Giornata Particolare).

    Extraordinarily poignant and gentle and, as if that were not enough, it stars Sophia and Marcello.

    Written, directed and acted for grown-ups who don’t have to be hit over the head – so much is left unsaid and all the more powerfully for that.

  14. AesopFan Says:

    Stephen Ippolito Says:
    October 14th, 2017 at 11:44 pm
    Great post. Lots of important thoughts to take away and think about at leisure.

    The people I am talking about are those who idealise and love humanity en masse; that is, as a group or as a notion only – but who have no empathy at all for any individual member of humanity.
    * * *
    Or as a great philosopher once said, “I love mankind. It’s people I can’t stand.”

    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/173107179401503914/

  15. huxley Says:

    I think that aspect of renouncing the dream of a classless, just, peaceful, idyllic society is really the hard part for a lot of folks…

    Philip: Excellent point!

    Sometimes the dream works. Sometimes the naive human feeling that things could be better and fairer and should be better and fairer makes a difference.

    The abolitions of feudalism and slavery, the establishment of liberty, the moderation of raw capitalism, women’s suffrage, the reduction of warfare, the fights for civil rights and gay liberation were all fine, necessary and splendid achievements IMO.

    The problem is those leftie human feelings aren’t the whole story. We have seen the attempts to institute full top-down socialist utopias inevitably lead to ghastly oppression and death, however much proponents such as Lenin rationalize.

    The additional problem is the left refuses to come to terms with its failures and prefers to double-down on its inner certainty it knows what is best for everyone and its willingness to push its agenda by any means necessary.

  16. huxley Says:

    It’s easy to frown on old lefties like Russell and Orwell. But as Mike K. notes they hadn’t seen the full horrors of socialism.

    Furthermore I would add Russell and Orwell had seen the horrors of earlier capitalism and WW I.

    Sometimes overcorrection is more dangerous than the original mistake.

  17. Richard Aubrey Says:

    huxley
    Good point. Consider that the medical guys had gotten a handle on sepsis. So wounds that would not, of themselves, kill could still cause death by sepsis in hospital. But cosmetic and reconstructive surgery were unavailable. So guys who, in earlier wars, would have been dead, were walking around. The French built resorts for those so hideously mutilated that they wouldn’t come out in public.
    There was a lot to correct for.
    However, I suspect that the intellectuals, considering themselves, as today, as a superior class, had no fear of being affected by their ideas as the lumpenproletariat would necessarily be affected.

  18. JFM Says:

    Communism is the theory that if you kill enough people you can build Heaven on Earth.

  19. chuck Says:

    Adam Smith knew better but perhaps because he knew more human nature in “the world” before progress made it possible to ignore history.

    I agree with this. Political thought went badly downhill in the 19’th century after reaching a peak with the Scottish Enlightenment. And I think precisely for that reason: lack of contact with human nature in the wild. And perhaps the success of industrialization fooled people into thinking that society could be as easily engineered. I’ve often had the impression that both Marxism and Freudianism are monstrous mechanical constructs, huge machines with a couple of big gears. I suppose the current metaphorical replacement is cybernetics.

  20. lynndh Says:

    Seems like you could replace “Lenin” with “Obama” and have the same result.

  21. huxley Says:

    At various points in his life [Russell] considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had “never been any of these things, in any profound sense”.

    One might measure this quote by Russell’s commitment as a philosopher/mathematician for which the adjective “profound” is positively light-hearted.

    His mammoth effort with Whitehead to put all of mathematics on a solid, pure foundation of logic in the “Principia Mathematica” — nearly 2000 pages containing much dense logical notation — is one of the most heroic intellectual quests in history.

    Ultimately the Principia project failed but it took a genius mind with an iron will like Russell’s to make the attempt.

  22. The Other Chuck Says:

    Until his dying breath Bertrand Russell was a committed socialist who never missed a chance to denounce the United States as responsible for every evil in the world, this from his biographer Ray Monk.

    Here is part of Russell’s statement to the communist Tricontinental Conference in Havana in 1966:

    In every part of the world the source of war and of suffering lies at the door of US imperialism. Whenever there is hunger, whenever there is exploitative tyranny, whenever people are tortured and the masses left to rot under the weight of disease and starvation, the force which holds down the people stems from Washington.

    And here is what he wrote to Ho Chi Minh in June of 1966:

    I extend my warm regards and full solidarity for President Ho Chi Minh and for the people of Vietnam. I convey my great wish that the day may not be far off when a united and liberated Vietnam will celebrate its victory in a free Saigon.

    Old Bert must have overcome his doubts about Communism before he died. Either that or he was a lying son of a bitch when he wrote contact with those who have no doubts has intensified a thousandfold my own doubts years earlier.

    I choose to believe the latter, and spit on his grave.

  23. neo-neocon Says:

    chuck:

    Please see the Milan Kundera quote in this post.

  24. Gringo Says:

    Both articles refer to Bertrand Russell’s The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism, which is available for the downloading at this link from Project Gutenberg.

    Bertrand Russell wasn’t as easily fooled as George Bernard Shaw or the Webbs.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidney_Webb,_1st_Baron_Passfield

  25. huxley Says:

    My philosopher friend is of the informal opinion that Russell “broke his brain” on the Principia. His later work declined and the thinking was less reliable.

    It is true, as The Other Chuck informs us, Russell became a raving anti-American politically.

  26. Gringo Says:

    Bertrand Russell’s Advocacy of Preemptive War, 1945-1949.

    But far less remembered is the fact that Bertrand Russell, perhaps the greatest British pacifist of the 20 th Century, loudly advocated for preemptive war up to the time when Soviet Russia finally acquired the Bomb.
    In a 1945 article published in Cavalcade and titled “Humanity’s Last Chance”, the great logician argued that asking the United States to disarm “… is Utopian, since it would involve the voluntary surrender of absolute sovereignty on the part of the United States.” What was not Utopian was for the U.S. to use its monopoly to defend nuclear monopoly. These concepts were reiterated in a private letter to Albert Einstein, in which he said:

    “I think the only hope of peace (and that a slender one) lies in frightening Russia”.

    Not long afterwards, in a speech delivered on December 3, 1947, Russell developed these concepts further:

    “If the whole world outside of Russia were to insist upon international control of atomic energy to the point of going to war on this issue, it is highly probable that the Soviet government would give way (…). If it did not, then if the issue were forced in the next year or two, only one side would have atomic bombs, and the war might be so short as not to involve utter ruin”.

    Similar was the speech delivered at about the same time at the Royal Empire Society

    “I should like to see (…) as close a union as possible of these countries who think it is worthwhile to avoid atomic war. I think that you could get so powerful an alliance that you could turn to Russia and say: ‘It is open to you to join this alliance if you will agree to the terms; if you will not join we shall go to war with you’. I am inclined to think that Russia would acquiesce; if not, provided this is done soon, the world might survive the resulting war and emerge with a single government such as the world needs”.

    After Russia acquired the ability to make the bomb, Russell no longer advocated such a preemptive war, as his advocacy was predicated on a monopoly of the bomb.

  27. chuck Says:

    > Russell “broke his brain” on the Principia

    Not to mention that the work is pretty much irrelevant to mathematics. No one cares 😉 Heck, Ramanujan was a great mathematician who had only the vaguest idea of proof.

    Russell himself was a bit of a monster.

  28. Stoffer Says:

    Fascinating post. I would love to see a post on Jordan Peterson’s claim (via Stephen Hicks “Explaining Postmodernism) that Jacques Derrida, and his influence over the philosophy that now dominates American academia today, is actually just a new form of Marxism through a sleight of hand. Much of Peterson’s argument, that resonates with me, is that Marxism was rejected by the intellectuals of the 70s because of communism’s body counts. They could no longer deny the facts. But Derrida basically ran an end around this problem by disguising the underlying Marxist ideology within his “literary” approach and placed it in a new wine skin. I think this is a fascinating insight that exposes Derrida not only as a fraud, but the entire movement as a totalitarian power move.

    Derrida just changed the rival tribal groups, from proletariat vs the bourgeoisie to oppressed vs oppressor. This explanation if true, is helping me understand why I have such a visceral reaction to so much of the anti-western, anti-democratic, and what comes across to me as anti-human, totalitarian-like attitudes on the far left, which is now the growing dominant philosophy of mainstream Millenial culture.

  29. David Foster Says:

    Rose Wilder Lane (of the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ family) was also a Communist when she visited the Soviet Union in the 1920s.

    In Russian Georgia, the villager who was her host complained about the growing bureaucracy that was taking more and more men from productive work, and predicted chaos and suffering from the centralizing of economic power in Moscow. At first she saw his attitude as merely “the opposition of the peasant mind to new ideas,” and undertook to convince him of the benefits of central planning. He shook his head sadly.

    “It is too big – he said – too big. At the top, it is too small. It will not work. In Moscow there are only men, and man is not God. A man has only a man’s head, and one hundred heads together do not make one great big head. No. Only God can know Russia.”

    http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/35432.html

  30. Frog Says:

    Russell, Durant, and Orwell were all atheists. A common thread.

  31. neo-neocon Says:

    David Foster:

    Funny thing, I already have a draft of a post about Rose Wilder Lane. She wrote about her change experience at some length.

  32. JTW Says:

    In other words, he used the classic socialist “it wasn’t the right people in charge, next time we’ll do better” excuse for communism that all socialists are want to use.

    Only difference is he used it on Lenin and co. while they were still alive instead of after they’d been deposed and executed for their “crimes against communism”.

  33. arfldgrs Says:

    I went to Russia believing myself a communist; but contact with those who have no doubts has intensified a thousandfold my own doubts, not only of communism, but of every creed so firmly held that for its sake men are willing to inflict widespread misery.

    so. i mentioned him a long time ago
    i mentioned because his journey was informed by Freda Utley…
    which you did not want to read

    i was giving you the prize tour of hell

    leaving out utley is like leaving laffayette out of the history of amerca.. or removing lincoln… you just dont know since she was cleansed before, you biatch about that, but the only way to undo it is to learn… funny… isnt it?

    Bertrand Russell wrote the introduction: “I knew Freda Utley first when she was in the process of becoming a Communist; I continued to know her through the stages of her disenchantment, the tragedy of her husband’s arrest, and the despair induced by the failure of all her efforts to procure his release.”

    Utley described her work as emanating from “the only Western writer who had known Russia both from inside and from below, sharing some of the hardships and all the fears of the forcibly silenced Russian people.”

    author Pearl Buck wrote: “It is a strongly unassailable indictment of Russian Communism. It is a strongly dramatic story and one interesting enough to make a major novel, the story of a brilliant mind, rigorously truthful in its working….”

    she changed the people your talking about.
    and you dont know her. dont want to know her
    once stalin buries them you wont resurect them

    In the posthumously published book Reagan, In His Own Hand: The Writings of Ronald Reagan That Reveal His Revolutionary Vision for America, Ronald Reagan’s speechwriter wrote about Utley that “many of the intellectuals didn’t want to hear what she had to say. She had impressive academic credentials when she came to the U.S. but publishers and the academy closed doors against her. She understood all too well. She had tried communism and learned its falseness. She said only those ‘who have never fully committed themselves to the communist cause’ can continue to believe in it.”

    and they still dont.. ha ha!! funny..
    see how well making someone forbidden works?
    not forbidden ok, forbidden, cant get traction no matter how you try

    In 1970, Utley published the first volume of her autobiography Odyssey of a Liberal which recorded her early experiences in Fabian Society circles, education, marriage, life in the Soviet Union and travels up until 1945. She never published the second volume

    why bother to read an insider who reveals it all?
    much better to play with her friends… who learned from here
    and who you think are their own person…
    how can you know betrand russel and not freda utley?

    she was there with the founding of the fabians, russel, and others. incluind the fun guy who wanted gas chambers and reveiws fo your life before you get executed for not being productive enough to “justify your existence” (that was George B Shaw on FILM)

    but this is how you learn not to learn
    how you learn history a la zinn. with the key parts left out
    and your so used to it, years of trying wont work!!!!!!

    From 1926 to 1928, she was a research fellow at the London School of Economics. (but feminists claim women couldnt go to college, right?)

    Francis Beckett includes a chapter on Utley’s ordeals in his 2004 book Stalin’s British Victims

    On April 14, 1936, Soviet police arrested her husband, then the head of an import/export government group. Unable to aid him, she left soon after for England with her young son Jon, using British names and passports.

    There, she mobilized important leftist friends like Shaw, Russell and Harold Laski to try to find Arcadi and even sent a letter directly to Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

    “Why is it that we who have enjoyed the human free­doms which our forefathers fought so hard to win and to bequeath to us, do not, with the example of Russia before us, realize the horrors of life without freedom? Why is it that we cannot understand that there is no such thing as embracing Communism as an experiment? It is a one-way street, ending in a cul de sac of secret police terror, firing squads for the intellectuals and leaders and concentration camps and slave labor for the masses. There is no turning back; there is no escape.”
    ― Freda Utle

    i put her up now to make sure you dont read her…

    if you cant even learn the key history but by accident
    your going to be taken over by the time you fall over it in the dark
    if you want to read about her before
    go to your post October 26th, 2010
    The neofication of Juan Williams

    here is what i said

    I linked to MANY texts of the experiences of the same people… unlike Neo conversion, theirs is worse as they were specifically used for who they were, and then are discarded.

    this is the sad story behind frank marshall davies, except that he blamed whites, not communism.

    but i also said to read Bella Dodd, who ALSO went through the machine and figured things out, then desperately tried to write a warning. (i linked to it, no one mentions it)

    i also said read about Freda Utley…
    i linked to her story as well..

    almost 8 years ago!!!!
    sad – to wait so long
    and continue waiting till thye catch up and what they are ignorant of becomes known, fashioable, and worthy of comment… unless they stay ignorant, of which, you can talk till your blue in the face, but a decade of trying is evidenced here… you can look… each item you talk i talked on average 5 years earlier or more..

    remember
    Dmitri Volkogonov, changer?

    Artfldgr Says:
    July 22nd, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    you can see now why the left requires a totalitarian state

    the idea that they could play by the rules, work within them,
    not cheat, not collude, not whatever, is a null concept…

    figures that bertrand russel would use the term
    The Principles of Mathematics, Volume 1
    By Bertrand Russell
    [removed link to mathematics book]

    and in the same thread the long post
    Artfldgr Says:
    May 30th, 2012 at 9:44 am

    A REALLY good one to read that is a very complicated journey is Freda Utley… which would also clearly show that Liberal means communist from long time ago (whence it was co-opted for confusion and the taking of members).

    Odyssey of a Liberal Memoirs BY FREDA UTLEY
    “Three decades have passed since I wrote The Dream We Lost* telling the story of my life in Russia in the 30’s, and describing the new system of exploitation developed by the Communist totalitarian dictatorship.”

    Sadly the books are often FREE to read and few do.

    you can lead a horse to water, but you cant make them drink
    i have lots of dead horses around my well..
    they refuse to drink or listen
    autism fucks that up…
    but it screws them more than me, as i know, and they dont.
    and if knowlege is power, then what?

  34. TommyJay Says:

    I thought about commenting on Russell’s failure to become a “changer.” Then it seemed to me that there was a hole in the discussion. To be fair, this hole was well covered by academics decades later, so it’s a different part of the historical arc.

    I’m referring to notion or excuse that the communist leaders and their methods of were terrible, but the goal is still wonderful and important and should be pursued. This attitude could have motivated Russell’s reluctance to wholesale change.

    JTW and Art’s Freda Utley quote beat me to it.

    I think when the leftists stopping denying the horrors of Stalin, Mao, Khrushchev, and Breschnev, and admitted it was real; they needed a Plan B argument. Plan B was called “The Third Way.”

    The argument in a nutshell was that no one has figured out the right way to do communism yet, so let’s keep trying. We know we hate capitalism (#1) and we reluctantly admit that Soviet style communism (#2) was terrible, let’s do communism correctly (#3) whatever that is. And the smart ones know that The Third Way is a fiction and so dodge the task of a comprehensive methodology to achieve it. Or they make the Democrat argument: Let’s start with something, and it’ll be a work in progress.

    Long ago, The Economist had one or more scathing editorials ridiculing Marx worship and Third Way blather. Now the mag is run by Marx acolytes.

    I believe it was Hayek in The Road to Serfdom who agues that the goal of communism inevitably leads to vast levels of coercion, plus the knowledge problem inherent in central planning.

    We are now in the post Third Way era, where we have Moved On from the communist atrocities and the Millennials and maybe GenX or Y’s have no knowledge of it. So academia can get back to extoling the wonders of Marx without the caveats. The erasure of history means everything old is new again.

    A friend of mine keeps trying to sell me on some new system of hard core socialism, and I try to explain that The Third Way doesn’t exist (with details). In spite of the fact that he is relatively old, he seems to have missed the entirety of the communist atrocities and the genesis of The Third Way.
    _______

    Then there is the whole other Marxist branch of anarchism and anarcho-syndicalism. I believe George Orwell was situated ring-side for the Spanish civil war, Franco vs. Marxists, which degenerated into communists and anarchists shooting at each other. Ha!

  35. neo-neocon Says:

    TommyJay:

    But Russell’s quotes indicate not just a disagreement with the way Communism was implemented in Russia, but of a fundamental flaw in Communism that could not be eradicated: “contact…has intensified a thousandfold my own doubts, not only of communism, but of every creed so firmly held that for its sake men are willing to inflict widespread misery.”

  36. huxley Says:

    Russell, Durant, and Orwell were all atheists. A common thread.

    Frog: Russell and Orwell were basically atheists, though not the fire-breathing, anti-Christian bigots who proselytize under that banner today.

    In his “History of Western Philosophy” (excellent book btw) Russell makes clear his differences with Christianity but acknowledges the critical contributions Christianity made to Western civilization. Russell was not nearly so kind to Islam.

    Orwell never lost his animus towards the Catholic Church, but he retained a soft spot for Anglicanism. He even attended church for a while for the sake of a friend but worried his friend would twig that he (Orwell) was not taking communion.

    However, Will Durant was raised to be a priest and attended seminary. He rejected fundamentalist Christianity, but never became an atheist and always had an eye open for building bridges back to Christianity.

  37. huxley Says:

    Frog: Perhaps you are thinking of Walter Duranty, the Pulitzer Prize winning apologist for Soviet Communism.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Duranty

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



About Me

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.
Read More >>






Monthly Archives



Blogroll

Ace (bold)
AmericanDigest (writer’s digest)
AmericanThinker (thought full)
Anchoress (first things first)
AnnAlthouse (more than law)
AtlasShrugs (fearless)
AugeanStables (historian’s task)
Baldilocks (outspoken)
Barcepundit (theBrainInSpain)
Beldar (Texas lawman)
BelmontClub (deep thoughts)
Betsy’sPage (teach)
Bookworm (writingReader)
Breitbart (big)
ChicagoBoyz (boyz will be)
Contentions (CommentaryBlog)
DanielInVenezuela (against tyranny)
DeanEsmay (conservative liberal)
Donklephant (political chimera)
Dr.Helen (rights of man)
Dr.Sanity (thinking shrink)
DreamsToLightening (Asher)
EdDriscoll (market liberal)
Fausta’sBlog (opinionated)
GayPatriot (self-explanatory)
HadEnoughTherapy? (yep)
HotAir (a roomful)
InFromTheCold (once a spook)
InstaPundit (the hub)
JawaReport (the doctor is Rusty)
LegalInsurrection (law prof)
RedState (conservative)
Maggie’sFarm (centrist commune)
MelaniePhillips (formidable)
MerylYourish (centrist)
MichaelTotten (globetrotter)
MichaelYon (War Zones)
Michelle Malkin (clarion pen)
Michelle Obama's Mirror (reflections)
MudvilleGazette (milblog central)
NoPasaran! (behind French facade)
NormanGeras (principled leftist)
OneCosmos (Gagdad Bob’s blog)
PJMedia (comprehensive)
PointOfNoReturn (Jewish refugees)
Powerline (foursight)
ProteinWisdom (wiseguy)
QandO (neolibertarian)
RachelLucas (in Italy)
RogerL.Simon (PJ guy)
SecondDraft (be the judge)
SeekerBlog (inquiring minds)
SisterToldjah (she said)
Sisu (commentary plus cats)
Spengler (Goldman)
TheDoctorIsIn (indeed)
Tigerhawk (eclectic talk)
VictorDavisHanson (prof)
Vodkapundit (drinker-thinker)
Volokh (lawblog)
Zombie (alive)

Regent Badge