Saturday, March 05, 2005
Youthful Nostalgia for “Revolutionary” Obedience
A recent article in the Washington Post (“Young Russians Doubtful About Democracy” – May 27, 2004, pg. A01) provides a revealing reminder that there is a new generation of youth with contending values in those countries still in transition between their Authoritarian past and unknown future. Cell phones and designer clothes aside, many youthful observers in the former Communist block express nostalgia for a one-party dictatorship they themselves never lived in. The fawning admiration some of these students have for the likes of Joseph Stalin is disturbing but not particularly unusual. Even in Western schools and colleges it isn’t particularly unique for some students to hold the authoritarian worldview in high esteem.
In the Washington Post article, one ubermensch Marxist described Fascism and Communism as “systems of genius"(at least she recognized the accuracy of putting them together). She was unfortunately unable to see that totalitarian rule was not a “new system” but the age-old reality humankind has only recently begun to free itself from. Only in the twisted yearnings of collectivist idealism could the imposition of coercive state authority be seen as a “rebellious” or “revolutionary” act.
The “corporate media” that Leftists deride as being “pro-Capitalist,” occasionally runs this genre of stories about how the disenchanted miss their dictators, or how much “the People” love Castro or Kim Jong Il. Why not positive reports on pedophiles and ax-murderers? They’re all just relative viewpoints aren’t they?
While many have the good sense to recognize that “benefits” like full-employment hardly justified Hitler’s ruthless dictatorship, there has been less insight regarding the equally foul states that sprung from Marx’s head.
Until recently, all but a few intellectuals recognized Joseph Stalin as Hitler’s equal (if shear number of deliberate killings through famine, forced labor, or purges are considered). If cradle to grave adoration of the state is what’s looked for by an alienated youth, I’d hope they’d at least look to the Socialist-Lite bureau-states of Northern Europe as a model preferable to Stalinism. Like-minded dreamers could certainly form a commune amongst themselves or defect to the North Korean worker’s paradise, yet they insist that their own willingness (desire) to be slaves, must also be the fate imposed upon others who may not share their “vision”
The “genius” Communist and Fascist leaders, spoke of by the youth in the Washington Post article, didn’t even remotely accomplish the great things some “scholars” have tried to retroactively imagine. They certainly didn’t achieve “equality.” They were nowhere near prosperous. Even the much-touted “free” health care was a sham (as Soviet archives clearly indicate). What they did “accomplish” was destruction, slaughter, and police state oppression (for the perennial cause of “eliminating Capitalism” -- sure to win points every time).
In tandem with this pompous intellectual support for dictatorship is the argument, “---- isn’t ready for freedom.” I’m always rather suspicious of anyone claiming that fellow citizens (other people) “aren’t ready for freedom.” The same pathetic argument was made in both Germany and Japan and is now being made in Iraq. A collectivist intellectual will rally in favor of anything opposed to the dignity of individual human liberty. All those materialistic bourgeois free individuals may dare think and act differently than such armchair autocrats would ordain.
We don’t regularly read of some Germans’ nostalgic memory for imagined good times under der Fuehrer and when we do, we assume such people are insane or at least potentially dangerous. Nazism’s mutually evil twin, Communism, however still finds a sympathetic ear even though, in manner of operation and overall ruthlessness, the two systems are virtually indistinguishable (Nazism was actually very collectivist/socialist in character).
Since Stalin’s style of compassionate egalitarian politics still lives – in North Korea – one would hope that fervent idealists would wish to live there, but the kind of system they themselves would choose to live in is not what motivates them. Their true concern has always been in how others shall be ruled, and those others dare not choose something as non-“revolutionary” as self-government with a free and open exchange of values