Monday, January 28, 2013

When Seeking To Do "Good" Is Evil

Thought I'd share this, part of John Grey's review in the TLS of THE DEVIL IN HISTORY: Communism, Fascism, and some lessons of the twentieth century, by Vladimir Tismaneau:
Tismanseau's account of Communist totalitarianism will be resisted by those who want to believe that it was an essentially humanistic project derailed by events - national backwardness, foreign encirclement and the like. But as he points out, the Soviet state was founded on policies which implied that some human beings were not fully human. Lenin may have held to a verson of humanism, but it was one that excluded much of actually existing humankind. It was not simply because they could be expected to be hostile to the new regime that priests, merchants, members of formerly privileged classes and functionaries of the old order were deprived of civil rights. They represented a kind of humanity that had had its day. There is nothing to suggest that the Bolsheviks viewed the fate of former persons as the tragic price of revolution. Such superfluous human beings were no more that the detritus of history. If radical evil consists in denying the protection of morality to sections of humankind, the regime founded by Lenin undoubtedly qualifies.
We are left with the question why so many liberals disregard these facts. Clearly a part of the explanation lies in the utopian character of the Communist project. In politics, the other face of radical evil is an inhuman vision of radical goodness... 

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