The People Who Gave the Soviet Union a Pass





Mr. Beichman, author of Anti-American Myths: Their Causes and Consequences, is a Hoover Institution Research Fellow.

        I begin with the following proposition:

        Probably the greatest triumph in public relations in all recorded history was the elevation in the democratic West of the Soviet Union in its 74-year-existence to a symbol of moral righteousness and a country beyond criticism.[1] This triumph was all the more notable because from Day One of the Bolshevik Revolution, Lenin’s system, to quote Robert Conquest, “had as one of its main characteristics falsification on an enormous scale.”[2]

        This success was manifest above all in Western journalism and in many universities. In journalism this triumph was to be found in the attitude of some foreign correspondents and in how they covered the news from Moscow and how their editors let them get away with sophistries that a small town weekly would have deemed impermissible. There was Walter Duranty of the New York Times and others like him who concealed the truth of what is today recognized as having been one of the most inhuman dictatorships of modern times, exceeding even Nazi Germany in its barbarities. And at long last a Pulitzer Prize Committee is looking into the possibility that the prize awarded to Duranty in 1932 might be revoked.

For the “greatest story in the world” is also the greatest secret in the world. And the lone correspondent is a poor match for a giant, totalitarian government. The story is only rarely to be had on the scene. The scholars will have to dig out what really happened.[3]

  “What really happened”! In other words what Western correspondents, including Frankel himself, had been reporting about the Soviet Union to democratic publics over the years was either untrue, half-true or meaningless.[4]

         I begin with a definition of “Durantyism,” a neologism which embodies a concept. It refers to reportage about the Soviet Union (and about other socialist dictatorships right up to and including the Sandinista Nicaragua) in which the journalist lied deliberately or was taken in by Soviet disinformation, or else became a victim of a built-in censorship.[5]

         This lying was made legitimate because it was done on behalf of a supposedly higher truth.[6] A Duranty journalist need not have been a Communist to have committed the lie of omission if not commission. For example, here is the late Edward Crankshaw, a recognized expert on Soviet affairs, who stated baldly in the London Observer: 

Further [the Russians] know very well that, in a number of cases, this newspaper and others deliberately withheld news of Soviet acts of injustice, sometimes for months, in the hope that private representations behind the scenes might secure relief for the victims without loss of face for the Soviet government.[7] 

        Durantyism didn’t begin with Walter Duranty’s coverage of the former Soviet Union, which a New York Times editorial note in 1990 described as “some of the worst reporting to appear in this newspaper.”[8] Looking at it retrospectively, one can say that Durantyism began even before Duranty. It began with the Bolshevik revolution and continued until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.[9] 

        In 1920, Walter Lippmann and Charles Merz, later editor of the New York Times editorial page, published a long article in the NewRepublic called “A Test of the News.” The pamphlet revealed that on 91 occasions the Times between Nov. 1917 and Nov. 1919 reported from Riga, Latvia that the Bolshevik regime had fallen or was about to fall; among these occasions: 

14 times — Bolshevik regime fallen or about to fall; 

4 times — Lenin and Trotsky were reported as preparing to flee; 

3 times — they had already fled; 

2 times — Lenin reported retiring; 

3 times — Lenin thrown into prison; 

1 time — Lenin reported killed.[10] 

        Not only were these stories untrue but there is every possibility that these stories were an early example of Leninist disinformation. The foreign correspondents in Riga were fed these stories so as to prevent a possible Allied invasion, particularly by the British. If the Bolshevik regime was so weak as reported by the Times and other newspapers, why invade? A policy of wait-and-see might be the way to strangle the infant in its cradle, to use Winston Churchill’s metaphor at the time.[11] 

        In my opinion, the 74 years during which the Bolsheviks ruled were the dark ages of democratic journalism for which the world paid heavily. Had the truth been forthcoming in the daily press, the magazines, radio and latterly television, the Kremlin might never have conquered half of Europe and turned sectors of the Western half into silent or enthusiastic allies. As late as 1986, Stuart H. Loory, onetime Moscow CNN bureau chief, in a letter to the Wall Street Journal (February 3, 1986) wrote: 

I can say without reservation that if the Communist Party of the Soviet Union were to submit itself to the kind of free elections held in South Vietnam in the 1960s or El Salvador in the 1980s, it would win an overwhelming mandate. . . . Except for small pockets of resistance to the Communist regime, the people have been truly converted in the past 68 years. 

        In his book about the Cold War, Martin Walker, then Washington correspondent of the British daily the Guardian, and earlier its Moscow correspondent, wrote: 

The similarities between Moscow in the early 1980s and Washington in the early 1990s became eerily acute to one who had lived through both. The contrast between the former Soviet Union’s release of its prisoners and the way that the USA had over one million of its citizens incarcerated, summoned the bizarre, dismaying thought of an American Gulag.[12] 

        Reading this passage brought up this memory: In 1949, David Dallin and Boris Nicolaevsky, Russian émigré social democrats, began publishing articles and finally a book on forced labor in the Soviet Union. During a visit to the Long Island home of a New York Times correspondent covering the United Nations I met the then Times Moscow correspondent. I told them about the Dallin-Nicolaevsky revelations and the map the authors had prepared showing where the concentration camps were located. Both correspondents waved me away with the smug assurance that you shouldn’t take émigré propaganda seriously. Of course, the slave labor story was fully revealed by a UN investigation a few years later and documented by Robert Conquest in The Great Terror, later by Alexander Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago and most recently by Ann Applebaum’s Gulag based on post-Soviet archives. 

        With the accession, following the death of Leonid Brezhnev, of Yuri V. Andropov as the ruling strongman of the Soviet Union, Western press credulity became scandalous. This was the high tide of Durantyism. Andropov, known in Hungary as the Butcher of Budapest for his infamous role during the 1956 Hungarian uprising and a long-time chief of the KGB, instantly became the beneficiary of a disinformation campaign which the American press lapped up with squeals of delight. Andropov was a “bibliophile,” a “connoisseur of modern art,” who enjoyed American novels. The ineffable WashingtonPost described Andropov as a man 

. . . fond of cynical political jokes with an anti-regime twist . . . collects abstract art, likes jazz and Gypsy music [and] has a record of stepping out of his high party official’s cocoon to contact dissidents. 

He also swam, played tennis, danced the tango gracefully. Even the Wall Street Journal news pages fell for this disinformation campaign. Andropov, they reported, “likes Glenn Miller records, good scotch whiskey, Oriental rugs, American books.” The New York Times and Time magazine also fell in line which included a revelation that Andropov “had a strange attraction for Western culture.”[13] It will be remembered that it was during the Andropov reign that the KAL 007 was shot down. Durantyism never dies. The academic version of Durantyism now reigns in the history departments of American colleges and universities. (For a fully documented report of this scandal see the recently published exposé by Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes, In Denial). 

* * * * *

         Part of the responsibility for the Great Lie era in the journalism from Moscow lies with the academy. One of the great intellectual failures of the century has been the failure by distinguished academics—economists, political scientists, historians, philosophers, sociologists many of them teachers at prestigeous universities—to apply the standards of truth to their research into the Soviet Union and Communism itself. 

        As a result of these falsehoods camouflaged as “research,” a fictitious Soviet Union and an equally fictitious People’s Republic of China as utopias-in-being were created for Western policy makers. The relationship between the lies of the academy and the extermination of millions of people within Soviet borders, in Eastern Europe, in China and Southeast Asia may be casual or coincidental but there is no question that Communist totalitarianism benefited from at least fifty years of academic indulgence and willful credulity. As Lionel Trilling once wrote: 

This is the great vice of academicism, that it is concerned with ideas rather than with thinking and nowadays the errors of academicism do not stay in the academy; they make their way into the world and what begins as a failure of perception among intellectual specialists finds its fulfillment in policy and action. 

        There are well-known academic Sovietologists whose scholarly findings published as books or in academic journals, or in their public lectures, were no more objective than editorials in the Soviet press. A towering edifice of untruth about Communism and its two avatars—the USSR and Communist China—was built up by the Sovietology “left” (and later by the Sinology “left”) since the end of World War II. 

        Paul Craig Roberts and Karen La Follette in their important book, Meltdown, have described these pro-Soviet and pro-Mao academics as ". . . disillusioned with their own countries, [who] dropped standards of professional objectivity in their portrayal of the Soviet regime."

 An indurated academic consensus emerged that Sovietologists, whatever their sub-discipline, ought to avoid critical evaluations of Marxism-Leninism, the command economy, Communism or Stalinism. Use of the word “totalitarian” to describe the USSR or China was regarded as “red-baiting,” a most heinous offense in academe or, at best, unscholarly behavior. 

        Never before have so many academics been proven by events and by internal Soviet revelations to have been so abysmally wrong in virtually everything they wrote about the Soviet Union or Marxism-Leninism. Few people are aware of what the majority of these apologist Sovietologists, particularly in the United States, were writing and teaching about the Soviet Union and Marxism-Leninism when Stalin was at the apogee of his appalling power. 

      There were Western academic specialists in Soviet studies who argued that the search for objective truth should be abetted by a charitable “understanding” of the ideology called Marxism-Leninism, and that however pernicious in practice, Marxism-Leninism and its practitioners deserved the benefit of doubt. 

        The intellectual fiasco of the Sovietology “left,” who camouflaged their ideology with the robes of academicism, should not be forgotten. Present and future generations should see how the Great Hoax was perpetrated.[14] 

* * * * * 

        To understand how the Great Lie era in American journalism and American intellectualdom occurred I suggest a reading of Eugene Lyons’s book, Assignment in Utopia, especially chapter 6, “To Tell or Not to Tell” and Chapter 15, “The Press Corps Conceals a Famine.”[15]Lyons had in his early years in Moscow been a self-confessed pro-Soviet partisan. Later he realized what had happened to him. As he writes: 

Exaggerated faith in the Soviet experiment had become the intellectual fashion. The more openly the Stalin regime moved away from socialism, the more ardently these latter-day Communists championed the “socialist fatherland.” 

Or as he focused more directly on journalism’s deformation professionelle: 

Whether in Moscow or Berlin, Tokyo or Rome, all the temptations for the practicing foreign reporter are in the direction of conformity. It is more comfortable and in the long run more profitable to soft-pedal a dispatch for readers thousands of miles away than to face an irate censor and closed official doors (page 582). 

* * * * * 

        There were correspondents who tried to tell the truth and even had a temporary success. I refer to Malcolm Muggeridge who described Duranty as “the greatest liar of any journalist I have met in fifty years of journalism.” William L. Shirer, however, described him as “the greatest of foreign correspondents to cover Moscow.”[16] There was also a witty cynic, A. T. Cholerton, correspondent of the London News-Telegraph in the 1930s. He was accompanying a group of western lawyers who were being shown the courtrooms in which the show trials of the Old Bolsheviks had been staged. “But are their confessions true?” they asked. One inquirer earnestly persisted. Before the Intourist guide could reply. Cholerton interjected: “In Russia, everything is true except the facts.”[17]  

Appendix 

        To appreciate the meaning of Durantyism I have collected a few extracts from his New York Times dispatches: 

There is no actual starvation or deaths from starvation but there is widespread mortality from diseases due to malnutrition, (March 31, 1933), page 13.
 

Enemies and foreign critics can say what they please. Weaklings and despondents at home may groan under the burden, but the youth and strength of the Russian people is essentially at one with the Kremlin’s program, believes it worthwhile and supports it, however hard be the sledding, (December 9, 1932), page 6.
 

You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, (May 14, 1933), page 18. 

        And from Eugene Lyons’s Assignment in Utopia: Duranty told him and Anne O’Hare McCormick, a New York Times foreign affairs columnist, the ghastly story about the famine. “But, Walter, you don’t mean that literally?” Mrs. McCormic, exclaimed. “Hell, I don’t. . . . I’m being conservative,” he replied, adding his famous truism, “But they’re only Russians,” (page 580).


[1] As Jean-Paul Sartre put it, “Russia is not comparable to other countries. It is only permissible to judge Russia when one has accepted its undertaking, and then only in the name of that undertaking.” Sartre, “Merleau-Ponty,” Situations (London: Hamish Hamilton 1965), page 266. He also wrote: “To keep hope alive one must, in spite of all mistakes, horrors, and crimes, recognize the obvious superiority of the socialist camp.” Quoted in Francois Bondy, “Jean-Paul Sartre, “ The New Left, ed. Maurice Cranston (Liberty Press, 1971), page 52. H. G. Wells, Visiting Russia after the revolution, was one of the earliest Soviet apologists: “Apart from individual atrocities, [the Soviet Union] did on the whole kill for a reason and to an end.” Quoted in George Watson, Politics and Literature in Modern Britain (Rowman and Littlefield, 1977), page 49. An even more ghastly sentiment was expressed by G. D. H. Cole: “Much better to be ruled by Stalin than by a pack of half-witted and half-hearted Social Democrats.” Ibid. page 67. And then there is the unforgettable statement by David Rockefeller who spent 10 days in China which he said was like seeing New York City “in less than one-and-a-half minutes.” Nevertheless he said that “one is impressed immediately by the sense of national harmony.” He concluded that “the social experiment in China under Chairman Mao’s leadership is one of the most important and successful in human history. . . . Whatever the price of the Chinese revolution, it has obviously succeeded” not only in economic terms but also “in fostering high morale and community of purpose.” Op Ed page, New York Times (August 10 1973), quoted in Encounter, April 1974, page 94.

 

[2] Speech by Robert Conquest, (July 7, 1992), page 2, mimeo. “History, production figures, census results were all faked. . . . The struggle against the Soviet monster was above all a fight for truth,” he said.

 

[3] Quoted in Arnold Beichman, “The Press: Report from America,” Encounter (March 1961), page 91.

 

[4] Joseph Schumpeter “Selective information, if in itself correct, is an attempt to lie by speaking the truth.” Quoted in Freedom-at-Issue #53 November 12, 1979, page 36.

 

[5]The London Observer reported “a subtle process of corruption, of which the [Moscow] correspondents themselves are often unaware.” It was referring to the self-censorship which correspondents in Moscow engaged in simply to survive, to get their cables out without inordinate delays. The Observer writer, Andrew Shonfield, said: “But avoiding risks means in effect thinking, from the moment you begin to write your piece, about the view of the man looking over your shoulder—and when there is a chance that he may not like some phrase which is not absolutely essential to the argument, you cut it out.” Shonfield said that Soviet pressure and censorship wouldn’t matter “so much if there were full and unequivocal support for the journalist from his newspaper agency back home in resisting these ambiguous pressures on him. But unfortunately his employers are usually concerned chiefly to hold the privilege of maintaining their staff and office inside Russia. They feel it is best to avoid a fuss.” Douglass Cater in his book, The Fourth Branch of Government wrote: “One wire-service reporter remarked that his agency cared more about preserving its Moscow dateline than the accuracy of his dispatches. He had been instructed quite bluntly that his first responsibility is to maintain his accreditation. It is scarcely an incentive for courageous journalism.” Beichman, op. cit. page 91.

 

[6] Walter Duranty, the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York TimesMoscow correspondent at the time of the Stalin-made Russian famine was asked what he was going to write. Duranty replied: “Nothing. What are a few million dead Russians in a situation like this? Quite unimportant. This is just an incident in the sweeping historical changes here. I think the entire matter is exaggerated.” An American Engineer in Stalin’s Russia: The Memoirs of Zara Witkin, 1932-1934, University of California Press. Also see S. J. Taylor, Stalin’s Apologist: Walter Duranty, the New York Times Man in Moscow (Oxford University Press, 1990).

 

[7]London Observer (Feb. 17, 1963).

 

[8] The New York Times reporting from Moscow didn’t improve after Walter Duranty’s departure. His successor, Harold Denny, once wrote that “most of us believe that beneath all the improbabilities if not falsehoods of the last [purge] trial there was a substratum of truth.” Harrison Salisbury, Without Fear or Favor, (Ballantine, 1980), page 465.

 

[9] When the Soviet Union accused the U.S. of introducing AIDS as part of its alleged biological warfare research, Dan Rather—March 30, 1987—played this report as news and offered no evidence other than the Soviet report. For a report on the KGB disinformation campaign to blame the U.S. for the AIDS epidemic see Roy Godson, Washington Post (January 25, 1987), “Outlook.”

 

[10]Salisbury, ibid., page 461.

 

[11] For a detailed story of Soviet deception operations against possible counterrevolution by White Guard exiles and invasion from the West, see Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky, KGB: the Inside Story, (Harper Collins 1990), pages 97-106, 110, 384, 386.

 

[12]The Cold War: a History, by Martin Walker. Holt & Co., 1994. Fashions in left-liberal culture don’t change much. Forty-five years earlier, the New Yorker then pointed to what it called the growth of “a group of American political prisoners [who] are being marched steadily, imperceptibly, toward the queer Siberia of our temperate zone.” (August 6, 1949).

 

[13] Edward Jay Epstein, “The Andropov File: how a short, burly thug became a tall, dapper Chubby Checker fan,” NewRepublic (February 7, 1983), pages 18ff. One of the marvelous boners Epstein cited which nobody picked up was that the peddler of all these yarns about Andropov, one Vladimir Sakharov, said he had seen in Andropov’s apartment in 1964 Jacqueline Suzann’s novel Valley of the Dolls and in English yet. The novel wasn’t published until 1966.

 

[14] For an important examination about the Sovietology Left see “The Strange Death of Soviet Communism: An Autopsy,” The National Interest No. 31 (Spring 1993).

 

[15] Eugene Lyons, Assignment in Utopia, (Harcourt Brace, 1937), pages 572 and 624.

 

[16] S. J. Taylor, op. cit., page 2.

 

[17]Malcolm Muggeridge: A Life, by Ian Hunter. (Thomas Nelson, 1980), page 79.


This article was first published by the St. Croix Review and is reprinted with permission.


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rg - 12/21/2003

Josh,
I assume you live in a communist country.
If not, why?
The bottom line is you really don't have to live in the US. Really. I find it odd that people such as yourself, Streisand, the Baldwins, Sarandons, Clintons, Carters, etc, haven't relocated yet. UNTIL you move to a socialist country to live you are a hypocrite. YOU HAVE THE CHOICE!! USE IT!!


rg - 12/21/2003

william, for goodness sake immediately move to Cuba before it collapses. I would hate for you to miss out on the opportunity of living in a socialist state. Take Baldwin, Streisend, and company with you... along with Jimmy Carter. Please, PLEASE read up a little on communision before you endorse it. The victems are writing books today... read theirs. You need to expand your horizons a few inches past Ophrah.

Following your logic, Hitler was a great guy because he "offered" an "alternative" to Western Democracies.

By the way, Hitler's alternate was called WWII.
You need to research Lenin/Stalin's "alternative".


William Haywood - 12/19/2003

Dear Frank Little,

Thank you for the information. Also, I did get carried away in my last post and your final admonition is correct. Ideally individuals such as those executed at Katyn would have recieved a fair trial at the hands of a Worker's Court.

Sincerely,
William Haywood


Frank Little - 12/19/2003

Mr. Haywood,
A couple of points on your Katyn observations. You note the class background of the members of the Polish officer corps who who were executed at Stalin's behest. You might also have added that these cadres included a large proportion of the pre-war Endecja (virulent anti-Semitic pogromists) and others who commanded the military units that carried out horrific killings of ethnic Ukrainians and Byelorussians in the "kresy" border territories, not to mention the Pilsudski dictatorship's brutal repressions against socialists and communists). Many of these officers would most certainly have joined the fascistic cut-throats of WIN or NZS who sought to set up the anti-communist underground after the war. Katyn was certainly no crime against the Polish working class!

At the same time, I believe that the notion of the "collective guilt" or punishment of ANY class or group of people - even capitalists - is a concept alien to Marxism.

FL




William Haywood - 12/19/2003

Dear Frank Wood,

If you have read other posts that I have made, you know that I am a critic of the Stalinist beauracracy that deformed the Soviet Worker's State. But I am a defender of the gains made in 1917 and then elsewhere in the world by social revolution. I do not deny the Katyn Forest massacre, but there are a couple of points that your post does not address. Poland in 1939-1940 was a dependent-capitalist state with its own bourgoise and petty-bourgoise. The Polish Army was an expression of bourgois power. Infact most of those killed at Katyn Forest were members of the Polish bourgoise. The CNN web-site says this of the Polish Army Reservists killed at Katyn "Most of the victims in Katyn forest were Polish army reservists -- lawyers, doctors, scientists and businessmen." The Soviet invasion of Poland had a very different objective from that of the Nazis--despite Stalin's perversion of the Soviet system, the Soviets sought to bring social revolution to Poland. Those killed at Katyn were members of the Polish class that for centuries oppressed and exploited the peasants and workers of Poland--I can only grieve for them so much. Ideally, these individuals would have been put on trial in Poland by a worker and peasant court and then shot.
As for your list of peoples "liberated" by the fall of the Societ Union--let as look at the economy of these nations now.
Poland: 18.4% of the population lives in poverty, the unemployment rate is 18.1%. Lithuania: the wealthiest 10% of the population controls 25.6% of the national income, and unemployment is 12.5%. Romania: 44.5% of the population now lives in poverty (this is a huge success for capitalism). And Slovakia: and unemployment rate of 17.2%. How can you call this level of povery and misery "Liberation."
The shameless SOBs on this planet are the capitalist.

Sincerely,
William Haywood


Frank Wood - 12/18/2003

Surely Mr. Haywood jests when he says that all the USSR did was defend its allies. Do the words Katyn Forest mean anything to you? (I know, I know, it wasn't the Soviets who did it it was the Germans. Or since they were killed when the area was occupied by the Soviets, maybe little Green Men air dropped by the vicious capitalists.) Do you know many Poles, Liths, Romanians, Slovaks, . . . who share your opinions about the beastliness of the United States and remember being defended by the Soviets fondly? To borrow a phrase used to address another distorting fool, "Have you no shame?"


Caleb - 12/16/2003

I once read that while he was in Congress, Harry Truman was asked who we would support if Germany went to war with the Soviets. He responded that if the Soviets are winning, we would support Germany, and if Germany is winning, we would support the Soviets and hope that they end up destroying each other.

Truman understood that these were 2 evils in the world, one of whom was going to win WWII- we made the right choice fighting the with the evil in Russia rather than the evil in Germany because in the short term, Germany was a far greater threat to Europe and to America.

As for all this talk about Ann Coulter, she is insane and I tend to dismiss anyone who actually cites anything she has to say.


William Haywood - 12/16/2003

Like I said in my previous posting: the Soviet people defeated the Nazi's inspite of Satlin's incompetent leadership.
Sincerely,
William Haywood


Steve BRody - 12/16/2003


Was that the same Soviet Union that teamed up with Nazi Germany in 1939?

That the same Soviet Union that agreed to divvy up parts of Eastern Europe with Nazi Germany? You know, until Nazi Germany turned on them.

I guess we really should be grateful to the Nazi’s for turning on the Soviets or we would have had to fight the Soviets, too.

Poor Joe. He should have been more careful choosing his partner in murder.


Cram - 12/16/2003

Bill,
Ann Coulter DOES say all Liberals are traitors, and she also said much worse. I don't ask you to buy the book, but next time you are in a bookstore, you should read what she writes. It is pretty nasty stuff.


John Brown - 12/16/2003

As always, Heuisler, I stand in awe of your intellect. With thinkers like you, capitalism doesn't need any enemies.


Bill Heuisler - 12/16/2003

Marc,
Speaking of the Left and Anti-Americanism, aren't you a little embarrassed by the company you keep. Of course I'm referencing the cliche-ridden, almost comedic posts of Haywood, Brown and Sherman on these pages and in the last two weeks. They kind of make Ann Coulter's point don't they?
Bill Heuisler


William Haywood - 12/15/2003

Dear Bill Heuisler,

You talk as if the acquisition of nuclear weapons by the Soviet Union was a bad thing. Nuclear weapons seem to be the only thing that US imperialists understand. The Soviet Union had to arm itself with nuclear weapons to deter the homicidal militarism and imperialism of the United States. In 1945 the US used nuclear weapons twice against an enemy. If the USSR did not have the bomb, there would be nothing to deter the United States from using nuclear arms again.
Also, how can you decry the alliance between the US and the USSR in 1945. The heroic actions of the Soviet people saved you capitalist from Nazi Germany (all of this inspite of the incompetent leadrship of Stalin). Ever morning you should give thanks for the sacrifices of the Soviet Union.

Sincerely,
William Haywood


Bill Heuisler - 12/15/2003

Mr. Cram,
Ann Coulter doesn't say all Liberals are traitors, only some.
Why not pick a specific and we'll talk.
Bill Heuisler


Bill Heuisler - 12/15/2003

Mr. Drew,
Some of us have grottoes with candle-lit niches and flowers for our Coulter statues. We worship the Blond Goddess and consider any criticism of her or her books to be religious persecution. Try to be more understanding with our pharisaism and we'll try to empathise with your inability to live up to an identity and to grasp the distinct point of Mr. Bleichman's article.

The point isn't some projected or pro-active war with the USSR, the point is how the massive disinformation affected US history in the Forties and Fifties. Had they truly known the evils of Soviet Communism, for instance, Julius R, Julius O and Alger mightn't have betrayed our atomic secrets to their Soviet Dream and nearly assured the Mutually Assured Destruction of the world.
The point, my name-deficient friend, isn't that the US did not do enough to surpress an evil, but that the US didn't know enough about the evil and therefore did not react at all, but chose to coexist and help Uncle Joe and Uncle Nikki.

Hyperbole or incisive commentary? Citing Franken to dispute some Liberals' hatred of America is like attaching Mad magazine to a job application or asking Barbra for a dissertation on Civics.
Bill Heuisler


Drew - 12/15/2003

Gee, Mr. Heuisler, have I touched a nerve? Since you decided to focus solely on the title and skip the body of the my post, I imagine you are granting our audience a much clearer view of your psyche then my snarky little title could provide them into mine.

But who knows? I'm much more interested in reaction to my argument (located, for your convinience, Mr. Heuisler, after you click past the title)then my admittedly poorly chosen title name.

And here's from page 1 of Ann Coulter's Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism:
"Everyone says Liberals love America, too. No they don't."

What do you think, Bill? Hyperbole?

Andrew


Cram - 12/15/2003

As a mere passerby, simply reading some of the comments on this page, I would recommend the book by Al Franken, Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell them for a factual repudiation of Coulter's books. If you are a conservative who doesn't want to spend money on it, just go to a public library or read the chapter about Culter in the bookstore. Trust me, it is worth it.

I tend to consider her a lunatic and have no idea why the media continue to giver her airtime to talk about how all liberals hate America and how they are all traitors.


Bill Heuisler - 12/15/2003

Mr. Drew,
Grow a name, and then describe just one example of hyperbole in Coulter's books. Name an innocent victim of her venom. Share a pet passion; allow the public to view your particular phobia. Maybe we can help.
Bill Heuisler


William Haywood - 12/13/2003

Dear Louis Tikas,

I present this quote to you that I wrote in another e-mail: "the victory of the United States in the Cold War was a defeat for humanity. The USSR was the only nation on earth capable of checking the rampant militarism and imperialism of the United States. If the USSR was still a global power the United States would not be perpetrating the crimes it is today guilty of in Iraq." The destruction of the USSR was a bad thing--if you disagree just take a look as what has happened in the former Soviet Union since the fall.
Also, China, Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, Chile, and Nicaragua all took a turn to the left without any prompting on the part of the USSR. All the USSR did during the Cold War was to defend its allies against US and Western agression. I would even say that the USSR should have been more involved in promoting revolution across the globe, but that was not in the interests of the Stalinist beauracracy which sought a "peaceful coexistence" with the West.

Sincerely,
William Haywood

Sincerely


William Haywood - 12/13/2003

Dear Dave Livingston,

"We won"--the victory of the United States in the Cold War was a defeat for humanity. The USSR was the only nation on earth capable of checking the rampant militarism and imperialism of the United States. If the USSR was still a global power the United States would not be perpetrating the crimes it is today guilty of in Iraq.
On a different point, I am happy to see that at least one Cold Warrior on HNN understands that the objective of the United States in the Cold War was the destruction of the USSR. Writers like Bill Heuisler and Arnold Beichman seem to think that the Cold War was about something else (what that might be, I do not know) or that it did not exist at all.

Sincerely,
William Haywood

Sincerely,
William Haywood


Louis Tikas - 12/13/2003

"Reagan set out to drive the USSR into bankruptcy..."

And this is a bad thing?

The US didn't engage in a proxy-war to destroy the Soviet Union by itself. The USSR was deeply involved with trying to do exactly the same thing to the western democracies from 1945 onward until she collapsed. Ignoring the facts won't make them go away.


Dave Livingston - 12/13/2003

Wm Sherman,

Right-Wing Revisionism? Rather than that we've experienced mostly the opposite, Left-Wing Revisionism, but as you point out yourself, the Korea & Viet-Nam Wars were not stand-alone wars, but rather spisodes in the greater struggle between the Westled by the U.S. and Int'l Communism, led by the Soviets. Mock "Containment," if you will, but the plain fact is the U.S. of A. yet exists, the Soviet Union doesn't. In short, we won the struggle that counted the most, the Cold War. And we needed top fight in both Korea and Viet-Nam much as we did. Thank you for your agreement on this point.

The Soviets were nice folks, mere agarian reformers with whom we could have gotten along famously if only we hadn't been so nasty, as are the Communists of Viet-Nam & Red China? Where then does Krushchev's "We will bury you" speech at the U.N. fit into your rosy picture?


William Haywood - 12/13/2003

Dear Bill Heuisler,

Try to expand your vision of 20th century history beyond constraining national limits. The USSR during the Cold War was more than just a nation, it was the leader of the "Second World"--the leader of the "Socialist Block". Just as the United States stood as the defender of capitalism and the leader of the "First World". Have your forgotten that the United States and the USSR did not dare to confront each other directly--the possibility of "mutually assured destruction" made the possibilities of such a confrontation too freightening. Instead the United States engaged in a proxi-war to defeat the USSR's allies and thereby the USSR itself. Also, how can you forget the Reagan years (a right-winger like yourself must look back on those years of darkness with warm nostalgia). Reagan set out to drive the USSR into bankruptcy through his extravagant military spending. I am not trying to change arguments--the leaps of logic are apparent for those capable of fololowing them.

Sincerely,
William Haywood


Dave Livingston - 12/13/2003

Dan has a point about distrust of U.S. propaganda. Or at least some of us working abroad preferred to listen to,trusted more, the BCC than V.O.A. It was to satisfy myself that "Time" magazine's, back then a conservative publication, description of life in the Soviet Union was accurate or not that I went there, albeit but for a couple of weeks, in '64. Because it indeed was a dreary police state the conclusion that it wasn't a place I'd lived by choice was quickly reached. But because four young Russian soldiers I fell in with and attempted but failed to match drink-for-drink were such jolly good fellows, on surface ever so like Amereican G.I.s, I'll forever be pleased we never had to fight them in a shooting war.


Dave Livingston - 12/13/2003

Derek Catsam is correct about what he calls Cold War liberalism standing tall against Soviet Communism, but he seems to assume J.F.K. & L.B.J. to have been liberals. Like a lot of folks they were and they weren't. It amuses me considerably that the Liberal icon J.F.K. is a hero to the Army's Special Forces. Indeed, the Special Forces mount a 24 hour a day honor guard at his tomb, supposedly ensuring the "eternal flame" is not extinguished.

It is amusing too to recall that in its earliest days the Peace Corps was mocked by sfuffy unimagative conservatives much as I am today as the "KKK," "Kennedy's Kiddie Korps." Well, stuff those conservatives, the Peace Corps has done an outstanding job for nearly, come 31 March, 43 years. Whatever his other accomplishments J.F.K.'s legacy lives on in both of those organizations, the Special Forces & the Peace Corps. Somewhat contrasting, eh?

One Leftist journalist who long, past the point he must have realized how stinking it was, supported the Soviet Union was Harrison Salisbury



Bill Heuisler - 12/13/2003

Dear William Haywood,
Your original opinion prompted my defense of Beichman's article. I responded to your rather eccentric interpretation of history.
Do you recall your words?

Allow me to remind you. You wrote, "...why did the United States wage a decades long campaign to destroy the USSR?"

When did Korea, Vietnam, Guatemala, Chile, Nicaragua, Grenada and Cuba become the USSR? Did I miss something? Perhaps in your eagerness to criticize (without facts) an indictment of the press vs Stalin and the USSR you decided to change arguments.
Or do you merely want to alter history to make a vague point?
Your humble servant, Bill Heuisler


Drew - 12/13/2003

"Probably the greatest triumph in public relations in all recorded history was the elevation in the democratic West of the Soviet Union in its 74-year-existence to a symbol of moral righteousness and a country beyond criticism."


Hyperbole doesn't even touch that quote. But that's not even the point. I'm trying to imagine, assuming literally everybody in the West simultaneously came to the conclusion that communism wasn't going to work, what the author would have have us do.

Should America have raised an army, shipped them across the ocean, and fought a land battle against the Soviet Union? Should we have been the ones to lay siege to Lenningrad? Must we feel history's wrath because, but for the overwelming influence of a select cadre of newspapermen and University professors, we failed to act preemptively to erect Constututional Democracies from the Baltic Sea to the Sea of Japan? And then on to China?

I suppose we should we have refused to allow the European countries calling us mad a share of the Russian fur trade.

And how many American lives should we have sacrificed to achieve these goals? Would a generation of America's best and brightest been worth the early erradication of communism? (what about Vietnam? Would the fall of the Soviet Union happened a day sooner had we "won" that war?)

In other words, it was never our responsibility to rid the world of communism, it was probably imposible anyhow, and the cost of any attempt- as opposed to letting the Soviet Union collapse under its own weight without firing a shot- would have been way too high.



Dan - 12/12/2003

For the vast majority of people who were less than violently "anti-Communist," a healthy distrust of US propaganda is the likely cause. Considering the US invaded the Russian mainland and made many illogical choices based on the anti-Soviet model, is it any wonder that many people doubt(ed) the hyperbole that still permeates any "discussion" (and thus prevents any honest discussion) about the fUSSR, Cuba, and China (or even Iraq under Saddam Hussein), even today.


Walter Hearne - 12/12/2003

A nice blast of Stalinist nonsense. When you say that "everyone" other than "virulent anti-communists" disbelieves Robert Conquest's "supposed statements of truth," are you denying that the purges, terror and famine under Lenin and Stalin never took place?


William Haywood - 12/12/2003

Dear Bill Heuisler,

Who really needs footnotes when a layman's knowledge of 20th century history is enough to expose the lies of Beichman's invective. Let us look at the many instences in recent history when the United States coddled socialist nations: the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Guatemala in 1954, Chile in 1973, the Contra War in Nicaragua, and Grenada. Even today, we all appreciate the warm relationship that exists between the US government and Castro's Cuba.
It is amazing that Beichman can contend that communist sympathizers dominated the media and the universities during the Cold War. How then did the US government, the armed forces, and US corporations all escape this pervasive red taint?

Sincerely,
William Haywood


Wm. Sherman - 12/12/2003

Mr. Haywood,

The background to these articles is a long-standing polemic between the two leading factions of the U.S. ruling class, which still has significant resonances today.

The first faction was most prominently represented in post war (anti-)Soviet studies by the likes of George F. Kennan. It's slogan was "containment" of the communist menace, including through various economic sanctions etc. but also by means of protracted bloody wars of aggression against nations seeking to throw off the yoke of Western imperialism (e.g. Korea, Vietnam). This strategy was seen as more beneficial to U.S. interests in the long run than launching nuclear war against the Soviet Union and China.

It is correct to say that this tendency dominated U.S. policy under both Democratic and Republican administrations right up to the Reagan period. It also provided the primary ideological basis for hundreds of (anti)"Soviet Studies" Departments which sprouted like mushrooms in U.S. universities during the 1950s and 60s.

A significant minority in both ruling circles and academia advocated a different view: i.e. the "roll-back" strategy of destroying the Soviet Union and China through a direct military confrontation (i.e. nuclear war), in which they believed that U.S. imperialism was certain of victory. For these bold spirits, 4 or 5 million lives eliminated by U.S. containment strategy in Korea and Indochina were mere chump-change, expended by the liberals to conceal their true goal of "appeasing" the communist threat.

After the stinging military defeat of the U.S. imperialists by the heroic Vietnamese workers and peasants, the advocates of "roll back" became ascendant, first under Carter, and then Reagan (at least in politics -- in academia things move much more slowly).

Throughout the period the venom of these ideologues for their anti-communist colleagues in academia (as closet "pinkoes" "soft" on communism) seemed, if anything, more intense than their hatred of the great Satan, Marxism itself.

While never dominant, the "roll-back" faction in academia was able to score some successes e.g., in the aftermath of the 1949 Revolution in China, they were able to launch a significant purge of leading Asian scholars and State Department specialists under the battle-cry of "Who lost China?" Of course, the true crime of these scholars lay in the fact that some of them actually knew things about the societies they studied and hence could be suspected of actually about the "enemy" who was slated for nuclear annihilation.

While ostensibly concerned with the Stalinist fellow-travellers of the Duranty type, "The People Who Gave the Soviet Union a Pass" is really a continuation of the "anti-containment" polemic, probably not so much to settle scores among the protagonists emeritus, but to assert the historical continuity of today's neocons in academia with the more foam-flecked anti-communists of yesterday. Hence the emphasis on the "moral" unfitness of the "appeasers" and their academic descendants to occupy positions of influence over the elite of America's youth.

The stakes are indeed high, Mr. Haywood. The battle for tenure is no sissy's game!

Sherman


Bill Maher - 12/12/2003


Although I usually just post and go about my business, I cannot avoid responding to those who (to borrow an image from Tennessee Williams) find it difficult to spot the great gray cockaloonie bird overhead. Romain Rolland observed: "Give an intellectual any ideal and any evil passion and he will always succeed in harmonizing the twain." German college professors and students flocked to Nazism. Way too many intellectuals, Russian and others, did the same with regard to Stalinism. The New Statesman in 1936: "A social revolution . . . must be judged primarily by the permanent achievement of its economic aims . . . there may be regrettable aspects." Thirty years later, Paul Goodman wrote that the unfortunate results were caused by "a centralized program which happened to be inept and so forth."
Although I happen to respect the work of Robert Conquest, his critics could just as well look at Koba the Dread (Amis), Gulag (Applebaum), and A Century of Genocide (Weitz). With regard to Applebaum's work, The Nation criticized her for "exploiting the gulag" for political reasons, emphasizing that it "is no easy matter . . . to separate the innocent from the guilty." And discussing The Black Book of Communism, it was dismissed as a ploy of capitalist elites to "exploit a tragedy" and discredit reformism. This is sheer drivel and, as Beichman documented, it has been around for a very long time.








Bill Heuisler - 12/12/2003

Derek,
Silly blanket indictments? I'm asking name-callers for facts.
The article's about people who gave the USSR a pass. The author doesn't generalize; he names names, newspapers and newsmen who fit the description. The point: if the press (Duranty et al) had told the truth, then, perhaps all those neutrals and pro-USSR people might've had a different opinion and many intellectual and political decisions may have been very different.

Leaving aside the True Believer-types like Zinn and Markowitz, the various academics involved at the time were probably a mix of uninformed, wishfully uninformed and fans of the Socialist Dream. Even most of the SD fans probably meant well. Deliberate and massive misinformation is pretty obvious from the article. Forget assigning blame among the uninformed and the naive, just imagine the changed dynamics if everyone had known the truth. That's the tragic point the name-callers evidently can't fathom.
Bill Heuisler


Bill Heuisler - 12/12/2003

Derek,
Silly blanket indictments? I'm asking name-callers for facts.
The article's about people who gave the USSR a pass. The author doesn't generalize; he names names, newspapers and newsmen who fit the description. The point: if the press (Duranty et al) had told the truth, then, perhaps all those neutrals and pro-USSR people might've had a different opinion and many intellectual and political decisions may have been very different.

Leaving aside the True Believer-types like Zinn and Markowitz, the various academics involved at the time were probably a mix of uninformed, wishfully uninformed and fans of the Socialist Dream. Even most of the SD fans probably meant well. Deliberate and massive misinformation is pretty obvious from the article. Forget assigning blame among the uninformed and the naive, just imagine the changed dynamics if everyone had known the truth. That's the tragic point the name-callers evidently can't fathom.
Bill Heuisler


Derek Catsam - 12/12/2003

Look, the overwhelming majority of liberals never supported Stalin. The overwhelming majorities never supported Hitler. Much of the Cold War was fought under the auspices of Cold War liberalism. Anyone who knows a damned thing about post-1945 American history knows about the ADA, and certainly the anti-Soviet/Anti-Communist bona fides of truman, Kennedy, Johnson don't need to be rehashed here.
Let's stop the silly blanket indictments. I'm not sure there was ever "a" left or "a" right, but even if there has been, neither ever acted monolithically when it came to Stalin. A rudimentary glimpse at voting patterns (y'all do like republican democracy, right?) would discern as much.
Generalizations may be great for, well, making vacuous generalizations. They don't much advance our understanding of history.


Jan Kalkstein - 12/12/2003

Mr. Beichman's interpretation of the entirety of American Soviet studies is, of course, fair game for criticism, but I can assure Mr. Greenland, who I presume is a very young man and takes freedom for granted, that had he actually spent much of his life under a communist dictatorship as I did, or under a Nazi regime as did my parents, he would never use terms like "rabid anti-communist" (or rabid anti-fascist) without embarassment.


Bill Heuisler - 12/12/2003

Mr. Greenland,
You wrote, "the allegations aren't true, so there won't be substantiation for them."

Really. Which allegations aren't true?
The Lippman Merz columns? Duranty's coverage of the starvation of the Kulaks? The Stuart Loory quote? The Martin Walker quote?
Perhaps the Dallin and Nicolaevsky articles don't exist. Maybe the press coverage and lionization of Andropov didn't happen. Give us the benefit of your special knowledge - a fact or two.

Exactly what issues do you find false, Mr. Greenland? Provide your factual counters to all these people and all these events.
Wishing away unpleasant truths doesn't work with adults.
Bill Heuisler



Josh Greenland - 12/12/2003

"I wonder why the same allegations are repeated so much in this forum, with so little substantiation."

The so little substantiation part is easy: the allegations aren't true, so there won't be substantiation for them.

But why is this drivel being pushed at all? I'd say it's part of a campaign by a group of hardcore conservative anti-communist academics. The next question is, what are they trying to achieve with their comsymp-baiting falsehoods?


Bill Heuisler - 12/12/2003

Mr. Haywood,
Our "decades long campaign to destroy the USSR" never really got serious, did it? We traded with them, signed a hundred treaties, exchanged embassies and dozens of education/trade groups each year, hosted heads of state, played their teams and indulged in many scientific endeavors together. A recent President cautioned politicians to avoid unhealthy fear of Communism. In fact, our terrible destruction was so relentless the Chinese Communists became jealous. So we mollifed Dung and Ping with champagne toasts and Taiwan/Hong Kong treaties. It's said countries like Paraguay and Chad wish we'd destroy them in a similar manner.

Mr. Beichman appends 13 footnotes to a long detailed historical account replete with names and examples and you call the article right wing mythmaking without refuting one statement or giving one example. Your opinions are probably devastating and charming at cocktail parties, but seem rather vacuous on a history site.
Bill Heuisler


Josh Greenland - 12/11/2003

" I begin with the following proposition:

" Probably the greatest triumph in public relations in all recorded history was the elevation in the democratic West of the Soviet Union in its 74-year-existence to a symbol of moral righteousness and a country beyond criticism."

This is a classic big lie. It is a complete reversal of the truth. The USSR has been criticized vociferously in the "democratic West" for its entire existence. Since I first started reading newspapers in the 1960s I saw it taken to task in the American press. I subsequently learned that news media in other "democratic western" countries had no qualms about criticizing the USSR. And when I developed an interest in history in the 1970s, I discovered that the USSR was verbally savaged since its beginning.

"This triumph was all the more notable because from Day One of the Bolshevik Revolution, Lenin’s system, to quote Robert Conquest, “had as one of its main characteristics falsification on an enormous scale.”"

You know you're in trouble when your wannabe informant approvingly quotes Robert Conquest, especially about lying. Conquest worked with/for the IRD (Information Research Department of the British Foreign Office) that packaged and disseminated factually dubious information. He is only trusted and believed by virulent anti-communists; everyone else has trouble with his supposed statements of truth.

The Hoover Institute is a well-funded rightist think tank, sort of a much older Heritage Foundation. It was founded by rabid anti-Communist Herbert Hoover, a Quaker who once declared, "Communism is worse than war!" Hoover stated explicitly that the Hoover Institute was intended to demonstrate the evils of the doctrines of Karl Marx. The output from its fellows, including Beichman, is what you'd expect.

As far as supposedly pro-Communist scholars of the Soviet Union, in the 1970s I quickly got the impression surveying the writings of students of American academic Soviet studies centers that they could more accurately have been called anti-Soviet studies centers, since their students' viewpoints were (from my readings at least) uniformly anti-Communist. I hope this doesn't shock anyone, given that these departments were educating people in part for jobs in our national security establishment.

I don't know the name of the logical fallacy, but Beichman is trying to prove with isolated anecdotes what counter-examples would easily disprove. He may use footnotes, but there is nothing academic about this article since he wasn't willing to deal with any of the huge mass of anti-Soviet criticism that would have disproved his thesis.

Since there is no truth to Beichman's piece, I'd have to guess that was written to bully and intimidate some group of people toward a particular behavior. He has a hidden agenda, but I'll leave it to those who are more familiar with the milieux he is trying to impact to determine what that agenda is.


William Haywood - 12/11/2003

If a pro-Soviet line of thought triumphed in both the American press and in American universities, why did the United States wage a decades long campaign to destroy the USSR?
I cannot wait to see how spin your answer to that question with all of your right-wing mythmaking.

William Haywood


Jan Kalkstein - 12/10/2003

This article touches only the tip of an iceberg. The grand deception by journalists and academics continues today. The human story of twentieth-century communist countries that is being currently served to American college students is so whitewashed of its dreadful realities that it leaves them with an educational black hole for which they will most likely have to pay in due time. But then, perhaps it really isn't such a grand intellectual and moral betrayal; after all, it is only a story about those "other" people: Russians, Hungarians, Poles, Czechs, Romanians,Bulgarians, Lithuanians, East Germans, Chinese, Tibetans, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Mongolians, North Koreans, Cubans...


rg - 12/10/2003

Having read quite a few books on the Soviet Union I've always been intrigued by how Stalin (and company) pulled it all off. In the US Mcarthy is the evil monster... Lenin/Stalin, etc. have always been given a pass.


Michael Meo - 12/10/2003

I agree with Mr Birkenstock. Mr Beichmann should take up the extensive literature of scholarly examination of the Soviet Union, and show where "Sovietology" failed--in his words, gave the Soviet Union a pass.

I wonder why the same allegations are repeated so much in this forum, with so little substantiation.


Michael Meo - 12/10/2003

I agree with Mr Birkenstock. Mr Beichmann should take up the extensive literature of scholarly examination of the Soviet Union, and show where "Sovietology" failed--in his words, gave the Soviet Union a pass.

I wonder why the same allegations are repeated so much in this forum, with so little substantiation.


Edmund Birkenstock - 12/10/2003

"Never before have so many academics been proven by events"

This is an absurdly sweeping and utterly unsubstantiated conceit. Revelations or supposed revelations about the a few long dead journalists being duped by Soviet propaganda, or helping to spread it, does not prove beans about the overall study of the USSR at U.S. universities, let alone all activities of all universities since the days of Erasmus. Poor Herbert Hoover is spinning at a nauseating speed.


Irfan Khawaja - 12/9/2003

In exposing those who gave the Soviet Union a free pass, it may be worth remembering those who refused for decades to do so. One forgotten voice in this respect is Ayn Rand, whose 1936 novel "We the Living" depicted the misery of life in Leningrad under NEP, supposedly the *least* oppressive episode of the Soviet experiment.

The book was made into a film in Mussolini's Italy, and played in the theaters there for a while--until it was closed down by the fascists, who quickly (and correctly) grasped that its anti-Soviet content was also anti-fascist in implication. (Actually, the novel's Preface is anti-fascist by declaration.) The film was eventually recovered from Italy and is now available in the US on video.


Bill Maher - 12/9/2003



Defending Stalin in 1936, the New Statesman noted: "A social revolution . . . must be jdged primarily by the permanent achievement of its economic aims . . . there may be regrettable aspects." Such was the logic of way too many intellectuals in England and the United States. Here is Koestler's Rubashov: He knew that "all our principles were right." They had "diagnosed the disease and its causes with microscopic exactness." So why did the people hate the state? "The mistake in socialist theory," Rubashov wrote, "was to believe that the level of mass - consciousness rose constantly and steadily. . ." But the masses didn't comprehend. Their leaders would have to rule with an iron fist. This was not "a pleasant spectacle. Yet all the horror, hypocrisy and degradation which leap to the eye are merely . . . inevitable. . ."

Referring to those who attempted to assassinate Hitler in July 1944, Friedrich Reck-Malleczewem observed: "A little late, gentlemen, you who made this archdestroyer of Germany and ran after him, as long as everything seemed to be going well; you . . . who without hesitation swore every oath demanded of you and reduced yourself to the despicable flunkies of this criminal. . ." Also a fitting description for English and American intellectuals who served Stalin and all those after him.


Bill Maher - 12/9/2003



Defending Stalin in 1936, the New Statesman noted: "A social revolution . . . must be jdged primarily by the permanent achievement of its economic aims . . . there may be regrettable aspects." Such was the logic of way too many intellectuals in England and the United States. Here is Koestler's Rubashov: He knew that "all our principles were right." They had "diagnosed the disease and its causes with microscopic exactness." So why did the people hate the state? "The mistake in socialist theory," Rubashov wrote, "was to believe that the level of mass - consciousness rose constantly and steadily. . ." But the masses didn't comprehend. Their leaders would have to rule with an iron fist. This was not "a pleasant spectacle. Yet all the horror, hypocrisy and degradation which leap to the eye are merely . . . inevitable. . ."

Referring to those who attempted to assassinate Hitler in July 1944, Friedrich Reck-Malleczewem observed: "A little late, gentlemen, you who made this archdestroyer of Germany and ran after him, as long as everything seemed to be going well; you . . . who without hesitation swore every oath demanded of you and reduced yourself to the despicable flunkies of this criminal. . ." Also a fitting description for English and American intellectuals who served Stalin and all those after him.