The 20th century is something of a paradox. That hundred year period saw some of the greatest achievements of mankind: harnessing the power of the atom, space travel that culminated in landing men on the moon, the advent of the microprocessor leading to everyone in the world having access to the sum total of human knowledge while sitting on the toilet. The pace of advancement has been startling and hard to comprehend.
The last century also saw some of the very worst of humanity on display. Governments have always killed people, including their own citizens, and wars have always cost countless lives but in the 20th century we saw death and destruction on a scale that has no parallel. Some of the greatest evil the world has experienced found itself in possession of the means to kill people in unprecedented numbers and gleefully took advantage.
At the end of the 20th century we thought the good guys had won. It is looking like that victory dance was a bit premature....
That brings me to the film Mr. Jones.....
Gareth Jones, a Welsh journalist in the pre-World War II times. Jones gained some fame for having met with Adolf Hitler as he was rising to power but later his real claim to fame came from a trip to the Soviet Union where he witnessed first hand the famine that plagued the Soviet Union as a result of collectivization and the intentional starvation of the Ukrainian people by Stalin, a genocide known as the Holodomor. Jones was later murdered in Mongolia, reportedly by agents of the Soviet Union. He was a day short of his 30th birthday when he died.
As Jones discovers the truth about the Soviet famine, his story runs parallel to that of New York Times writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Walter Duranty. Duranty is portrayed as a degenerate who helps the Soviets cover-up the famine. There seems to be ample evidence that Duranty knew he was lying and did so anyway.
When Jones finally is allowed to leave the Soviet Union, his story is mostly ignored and rejected by a Western world still reeling from the first World War and global depression. Finally he convinces William Randolph Hearst to publish his story.
The movie isn't great from a production standpoint. It was filmed by Eastern Europeans and doesn't have a roster of high profile actors or a very large budget. Nor is it widely distributed and few people have even heard of it, much less the events it describes. Compared to the massive exposure and acclaim movies about the Holocaust receive, most notably Schindler's List, the Holodomor gets almost no notice even though the cruelty was at least equal and the death toll was quite possibly much higher. In general movies about the Nazis are very widespread while movies about the atrocities of Communist regimes are far less common, especially in the last 20 years. It is not an exaggeration to say that in excess of 100 million civilians were systematically and intentionally killed by Communist governments in the 20th century, from the Soviets to the Chinese, a figure that dwarfs the numbers attributed to the Third Reich but I would bet very few young people even realized that the Soviets and Nazis were allied early in the Second World War. Curious, no?
There was another movie about the Holodomor in 2017, Bitter Harvest, which was a better film and set in the Ukraine with Ukrainian protagonists. I reviewed Bitter Harvest here.
Also last year there was an HBO miniseries about the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, which I reviewed here: Chernobyl: A Warning From The Past, A Warning For The Future. Chernobyl was an outstanding mini-series and rare in that it placed the blame for the disaster squarely on the Soviet system, a system where any criticism of the state would lead to the gulag so it was just safer to allow people to die. This is one of my favorite scenes, especially this line: That is how we keep the people from undermining the fruits of their own labor
With the power plant spewing radiation into the sky, their only concern is The State. The State, above all else, The State. The State must be protected from looking bad to the outside world. It was interesting that last week Nancy Pelosi described her political opponents as "enemies of the state", language that is lifted right from the darkest days of the Soviet show trials and bullets in the back of the head for political dissidents. Forcing people to believe things that are not true was a favorite pastime of the Communists, just like it is today.
One of the most important tools in the arsenal of the totalitarian is forcing people to affirm as true what they know to be false. Theodore Dalrymple had a great quote about this:
“Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to.”
You can come up with examples without much effort. It has to be humiliating to think that a dude wearing panties is a woman because he says so or to be forced to say things like "people who menstruate" when you know damn well that only women have periods but the humiliation and forced compliance is the point. If you can be threatened into calling a dude a woman, you can be forced to say that Communism will work this time.
On that note, yesterday I talked about The Danger Of Delusion. When an individual is suffering from delusions, they are a danger to themselves and people immediately around them. When millions of people suffer from a delusion, the danger grows exponentially.
When a delusion becomes nationalized and enforced by the force of the government?
That is when you get gulags, show trials and weaponized famines.
It isn't as though we don't have examples of Marxism put into practice and failing. We do and the result is disaster, over and over again. It has never succeeded and what is more when it invariably fails, it causes human misery on a massive scale.
In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, Marxism still has enormous appeal to a wide variety of people. From young White children of (actual) privilege to mestizos who fled from countries where Marxism has already failed, Marxism is ascendant once again. When faced with the historical reality that when Marxism becomes the government in Communist systems, it always leads to repression and state violence, the response is the same: that wasn't real Communism.
Funny how we have never managed to have "real Communism" but we are still told that it is preferable to a capitalist system where people have plenty to eat and can travel freely in their own country. If we failed to have "real Communism" in Russia, China, North Korea, Cambodia, Cuba and Venezuela, where exactly are we supposed to think it will work?
So why do people still want Communism? Why would these kids who have never known want in their lives, who think it is an injustice if Starbucks is out of fat free soymilk, who complain about globalism on social media using their electronic device made by globalist corporations, still insist that all of that has to go so we can adopt a totalitarian system that has failed and brought misery everywhere it has been tried?
John Wilder had a good post about this yesterday: Why Would Anyone Become A Leftist? The end-goal of all serious Leftists is Communism. A little bit of socialism won't work, it invariably will keep marching toward full blown Communism. As John makes clear, Marxism and garden variety Leftism are a form of religion, one that I would describe as an apocalyptic religious cult.
One thing all cults have in common is a persecution fetish and a hatred of people not in the cult. Someone not in your cult is not just an unbeliever, they are your enemy. This is true from Jim Jones and his Communist Peoples Temple all the way to the Mormons. The "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" is steeped in persecution porn and this helps to ensure that good Mormons don't listen to contrary views. People who point out the wacky teachings of mormonism aren't just people who believe differently, they are "anti-Mormons" sent by the Devil to lure Mormons away from The One True Faith™.
Look at young wannabe Communists. They believe that anyone who disagrees with them is a "fascist" and "literally a Nazi", even though not a one of them understands fascism or National Socialism. They just know "fascism=bad". If I want to be left alone to raise my family, that isn't a personal choice. That is fascism. It is fascism because it isn't what these young people want so I am their enemy and their enemies must be bad, that is why they are enemies, and fascism is bad so their enemies therefore are fascists.
As an aside, that is why I hate it when "conservatives" try to paint the Left as "the real fascists". The reasoning is the same. Fascism is bad so the worst thing I can call my political opponent is "fascist". Sure they aren't actually fascists in any recognizable sense but look at me owning the libs by calling them fascists. It is stupid and facile and about as effective as trying to paint Democrats as "the real racists" but that doesn't stop "conservatives" from doing it over and over.
Young Americans, especially college "educated" young White Americans, have absolutely no purpose in life. Most of them don't have families. They don't have real careers. They are facing a lifetime of crappy jobs in a cubicle doing meaningless work or working in the service industry dealing with imbeciles all day. Sure they don't want for anything but they also have no roots in our society, a society they have been systematically been taught to hate.
They also don't have any sort of foundation. They are taught to hate their country, they are taught to hate their own family and most lack any sort of religious faith. Most Americans throughout our history were at best "cultural Christians", "Christmas and Easter" church attenders. Still, that shared religious background coupled with a sense of patriotism and just as critically an optimistic view of the future, worked well for many generations of Americans.
With the generally dark and nihilistic viewpoint of younger people, why wouldn't they find the utopian promises of Communism appealing? Anything has to be better than the future they believe is set in stone for them. Besides, Communism promises the chance for violent vengeance and that appeals to the darkest aspect of human nature. Everyone thinks they are going to be some sort of intellectual or leader in the new Communist regime but most of them are bound for a life of slopping hogs or getting shot in some basement.
The promises of Marxism are a massive delusion but one that keeps being resurrected over and over again. It dangles the prospect of meaning and "justice" but never delivers.
It is looking more and more like the only way to stop Marxism from repeating the bloody history it is known for will require helicopter rides. There is no better response to the delusions of Marxism like a one way ride on a chopper. Marxism is a delusion but gravity is the cure.