A good one from Jonah on the series at the Times waxing nostalgic for the "good old days" of the USSR. I agreed with Jonah that the "Women Had Better Sex Under Communism" was especially wacky. The column gets a bit long, however I think it is very important to understanding the "progressive/socialist/communist" mind.
There are essentially only two beliefs that give meaning to human life. The first is some version of transcendence -- that there is a God, a "power" that is beyond mere physical matter, and has created all we see and ourselves as well for an eternal purpose. The second is the materialst vision that matter is all. While this materialist vision ought to mean that meaning is not possible, since all is mere randomness, including whatever thoughts we might believe we have, man truely does not live by bread alone.
It is perhaps hard to understand now, but at that time, in this place, the Marxist vision of world solidarity as translated by the Communist Party induced in the most ordinary of men and women a sense of one’s own humanity that ran deep, made life feel large; large and clarified. It was to this clarity of inner being that so many became not only attached, but addicted. No reward of life, no love nor fame nor wealth, could compete with the experience. It was this all-in-allness of world and self that, all too often, made of the Communists true believers who could not face up to the police state corruption at the heart of their faith, even when a 3-year-old could see that it was eating itself alive.
He MUST have faith, so the materialist conjures some idea of "basic goodness" -- instilled "somehow" by blind chance, to create his article of faith that man is "somehow good". Communism promised that if religion and other "opiates of the people": could be removed, the mass of humanity would quickly become a workers paradise here on earth.
The article then talks of Russia's long term actities in "meddling" in the US to fan racial and class tensions in the interest of tearing our political system apart. Naturally, the left was largely unconcerned about this activity since it aligned with their vision -- attempts to move the US to a communist state were seen as generally positive by the left, so most were OK with them, and highly outraged by efforts from Americans to expose those efforts (McCarthyism).
Today, the supposed efforts from the Putin regieme to de-stabalize BOistan are naturlly horrific for the left. One wonders what Putin's objectives beyond fanning the already extreme flames of disunity in BOistan are -- perhaps Trump is a KGB agent and will turn BOistan into the sort of oligarichal kleptocracy that todays Russian seems to be? It seems strange to me -- what is the Davos directed Administrative State of BOistan anyway but a kleptocracy for "The Party" and their "1%"?
Oh, and there are a number of memes / tweets in the column about how "real socialism has never been tried" along with this gem, The Iron Law of Oligarchy" from Robert Michaels in 1911. Bob and I would get along well ... I believed that the Constitution could prevent the takeover of our nation by administrative State, however Bob tells me it was inevitable.
According to Michels all organizations eventually come to be run by a "leadership class", who often function as paid administrators, executives, spokespersons, political strategists, organizers, etc. for the organization. Far from being "servants of the masses", Michels argues this "leadership class," rather than the organization's membership, will inevitably grow to dominate the organization's power structures. By controlling who has access to information, those in power can centralize their power successfully, often with little accountability, due to the apathy, indifference and non-participation most rank-and-file members have in relation to their organization's decision-making processes. Michels argues that democratic attempts to hold leadership positions accountableare prone to fail, since with power comes the ability to reward loyalty, the ability to control information about the organization, and the ability to control what procedures the organization follows when making decisions. All of these mechanisms can be used to strongly influence the outcome of any decisions made 'democratically' by members.Having only written versions of this a few hundred times, the fact that it was all known in 1911 merely gives me another reason to be humble. There is truely nothing new under the sun.
In general, a column worthy of the read!
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