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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Left-Wing Epistemic Closure to Inconvenient History

There is a must read article at City Journal by author Claire Berlinski, A Hidden History of Evil - Why doesn’t anyone care about the unread Soviet archives?:
In the world’s collective consciousness, the word “Nazi” is synonymous with evil. It is widely understood that the Nazis’ ideology—nationalism, anti-Semitism, the autarkic ethnic state, the Führer principle—led directly to the furnaces of Auschwitz. It is not nearly as well understood that Communism led just as inexorably, everywhere on the globe where it was applied, to starvation, torture, and slave-labor camps. Nor is it widely acknowledged that Communism was responsible for the deaths of some 150 million human beings during the twentieth century. The world remains inexplicably indifferent and uncurious about the deadliest ideology in history.
Berlinksi points to two treasure troves of documentation which no major newspaper or publisher will touch (although kudos to The NY Times for linking to Berlinski's article):

Pavel Stroilov, a Russian exile in London, has on his computer 50,000 unpublished, untranslated, top-secret Kremlin documents, mostly dating from the close of the Cold War. He stole them in 2003 and fled Russia. Within living memory, they would have been worth millions to the CIA; they surely tell a story about Communism and its collapse that the world needs to know. Yet he can’t get anyone to house them in a reputable library, publish them, or fund their translation. In fact, he can’t get anyone to take much interest in them at all.

Then there’s Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky [my note, see my prior post], who once spent 12 years in the USSR’s prisons, labor camps, and psikhushkas—political psychiatric hospitals—after being convicted of copying anti-Soviet literature. He, too, possesses a massive collection of stolen and smuggled papers from the archives of the Central Committee of the Communist Party.... “I offer them free of charge to the most influential newspapers and journals in the world, but nobody wants to print them,” Bukovsky writes. “Editors shrug indifferently: So what? Who cares?”

Soviet history teaches us so much about human nature, and how flowery left-wing language about the working class inevitably turns repressive. Sometimes the repression is relatively mild, as in the West European socialist model, in which exhaustive regulation is the means of control; but in its most "successful" form, socialism turns into East European-style brutality.

Some historical narratives do not fit the current academic and political narrative of an evil and heartless capitalist United States. Which is why American Exceptionalism is anathema to our current ruling political class.

The American system of free enterprise, property rights, and personal freedoms as protected in our Constitution and its amendments, is the best model for bringing the most good to the greatest number of people with the least repression.

And I for one am not ashamed to say it. Now if only I could get our President to say it, too.

Related Posts:
The Revolt of the Kulaks Has Begun
They Have Nothing To Fear, But Fear Itself
Has Marc Ambinder Gone Mad?

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  1. The issue of the Soviet archives ala Stroilov. What can I say, Dude it is the wrong approach in this day and age. Housing the data in some musty library is so 18th century.

    I assume that the contents are either microfilm or scanned documents. The documents need to be on the net, open sourced. If that happens people will start translating pages on their own.

    Personally I would go to the people at the Internet Archive and see if they have any interest. But these days, 75% of most current research is done online. Only the historians leaf through the stacks....

  2. One of the biggest problems with publishing the Kremlin documents is that they reveal that much of what we have been told by the MSM and Hollywood about the "crimes" of the U.S. and the heroic patriotism and protection of civil rights by American socialists and communists just ain't so.

  3. I say it is that there are no images of Communism and the time frame is generational. The length of time communism has survived has made it more legitimate as a form of governing and economic system. With the Nazi's one equates a frenzied mass movement (like religious) that ended in a relatively (historically) short time with pictures of skeletal human remains bulldozed into mass graves.

    The people in the Nazi concentration camps where liberated using organized forces, liberation from communism comes individually with great hardship. It's like lighting verses a tornado or hurricane. Supposedly more die of lighting strikes a year and you don't hear about it nationaly, but a tornado or hurricane has more impact in images.

  4. Ms Berlinski raises an interesting point in the opening paragraph that you quote. Why are the Nazi's more reviled than the Communists? Both were responsible for unimaginable horrors. I did read an article on the internet in the last year about this question...Why Are the Nazi's Considered Worse Than the Communists...I wish I had kept the link to this article, but it is lost. Even most of the arguments I do not remember, but the first one stands out in my mind....the communists were on the winning side in WWII. Simple. Isn't there some saying about the winners of conflicts being the writers of history? If someone else remembers this article, please publish the link. It was a very interesting article.

  5. I love sifting through material released, either by the Russians themselves, or as is more often the case, material published by defectors.

    It's all there, how the Democrat party of the 1960's was co-opted by the KGB, how they tried to smear MLK and J. Edgar Hoover, how they funneled money to Jimmy Carter's campaign... fun stuff. It's just sad that so many people caught in whatever mindset modernity and barely functioning liberal arts professors have infused into their heads, simply refuse to believe that anything untoward has ever happened, except for, you know, Anglo-Christian world domination resulting in a racist homophobic patriarchy from which the world shall never recover.

  6. Thanks for posting this. It's an important topic.

  7. I look forward to looking into these documents. I've been spending a lot of time blogging on Yuri Bezmenov's Love Letter to America pamphlet. It is probably the cliffs note version of the released archives. I feel like Joe McCarthy has been vindicated.

  8. Ron Radosh at Pajamas Media has written an extensive criticism of Berlinski's article, which lead to an exchange with Berlinski and a followup from Radosh. You'll find the two pieces at:


  9. And I for one am not ashamed to say it.   Now if only I could get our President to say it, too.
    Even if you could get Obama to say 'it', who could believe him?