Monday, October 30, 2017

Sunny Side Down: Douglas Murray on the Enduring Appeal of Communism

In a sublime essay, Murray notes that while there's a Stalin museum where you can buy Uncle Joe tchotchkes, nowhere can one find a gift shop selling "Heinrich Himmler tea towels."

That's because, while both fascism and Communism are totalitarian ideologies that result in absolute dictatorships and millions of corpses, only one of them--the one seen to be deficient in "good intentions"--is held in disrepute. And now that memories of Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot are fading, enthusiasm for the idea of Communism is making something of a comeback, spurred on by foolish cheerleaders in academe who share their ardor with impressionable (and sadly ignorant) young'uns.

Re those who are itching to try Communism again--and get it right this time, dammit--Murray writes:
How hard they have worked, these people. And how hard they work still. Never leaving a comrade behind. Never demoralizing those who are working towards similar goals. In recent years they exercised considerable energy defending their comrades in Venezuela. Today, as Venezuela’s troubles have burst into everybody’s view, they lament the tiny mistakes they consider their allies to have made along the way. But the result is always the same. As are the excuses. The problem is never the dish. The problem is that the dish has just not yet been perfectly served. How often it brings to mind that famous exchange between George Orwell and a Stalinist. Orwell was eventually able to make his Stalinist concede that there had been excesses and mistakes — the famines, the show trials — in the attempt to attain the state they were striving towards. And finally the inevitable cliché leaked out: “You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.” To which Orwell replied, “Where is the omelette?” 
The question lingers still: not just in Russia, Cuba, and Venezuela but now again in the West. How come we are still watching this attempt to make this horrible, bloody recipe, which aims for utopia yet always leaves the same catastrophic, bloody mess?
That's a rhetorical flourish, of course. Murray knows eggs-actly why it retains its appeal.

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