If Leninade, Why Not Hitlerpop?

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By: Diana West

Soda pop is for sale this week at the University of Maryland under the hammer & sickle, symbol Communism, whose 20th century toll is conservatively estimated at 100 million killed. Not only does the stench of death not follow this murder-cult, the brand lives. Such is the resilience of the Big Lie that still separates the toll of communism from communism itself. The reason we don’t see a bottle of Hitlerpop next to the Leninade is because the toll of Nazism has never been separated from Nazism.

This double standard is examined in depth in American Betrayal, as below amid the story of ex-Socialist journalists Eugene Lyons’ 1931 lecture tour during which he knowingly withheld from American audiences the truth of the Soviet regime he covered as Moscow bureau chief for United Press.

From American Betrayal, pp. 98-99:

All the way home across Europe and the Atlantic in 1931—the land and sea odyssey back to the safe haven of the Statue of Liberty, New York City— [Eugene] Lyons “wrestled with the problem of how much of what I had seen and what I had thought I should tell,” a problem that reveals his internalization of the totalitarian taboo. Such candor is refreshing if also disturbing. As a vital source of public information, Lyons was torn by a dilemma that was in fact no private matter, particularly once United Press dispatched its star correspondent on a public lecture tour (having plugged his recent series summing up his three years in Russia in foot-high letters on delivery trucks: THE TRUTH ABOUT RUSSIA). It was here that Lyons succumbed to emotional currents he felt emanating from his Depression-era audiences. “I had intended to paint a more realistic picture,” he writes of a lecture stop in Youngstown. “But the simple believing people, their eyes pleading for reassurance, . . . could not be denied.”56 And remember, Lyons had already concluded (and declared privately) that the USSR was a terror-state.

It all seemed far away from Youngstown and the other twenty cities in the throes of economic crisis that Lyons toured in the northeast, so far away that, he writes, “your mind imposed its own favorite designs upon the Soviet contradictions, choosing, discarding, arranging, hastily repairing the damage wrought by three years of immersion.” He continues, “Whatever your American lectures may have done to the listeners, they almost convinced the lecturer. By compromising with your experiences you nearly sneaked back into the comfortable groove of uncritical faith . . . [The] dead are dead and the maimed are dying, and what if another million dung-colored Russians are driven into the marshes and forests and deserts, if the great idea marches forward.”57

Chilling words. After all, “What if?” here means “So what?” Anything to keep the “great idea” moving forward—particularly if it were only millions of “dung-colored Russians” standing in the way. It’s hard not to hear a shocking echo: The dead are dead and the maimed are dying and what if a million dung-colored Jews are driven into the ovens just a few years later, if the great idea marches forward . . .

But that’s different.

Is it?

The difference I see is that the Nazi totalitarian “great idea” was always inseparable from its toll, but the Soviet totalitarian “great idea” was always separated and protected from its toll. We never ask why one Holocaust matters when multiple holocausts do not, why one “great idea” of totalitarianism was only totalitarian and the other was only great. We condemn the German population of a police state for looking the other way from and doing nothing about Jewish annihilation under way in Nazi concentration camps; we never think to question ourselves living large in a free world and looking the other way from and saying nothing about ethnic, political, class, and religious annihilation under way in Soviet concentration camps. This split vision derives from the triumph of Communism’s unceasing world revolution against “traditional” morality, objective morality, a morality of fixed standards by which men navigate, or at least perceive the shoals of evil and treacherous behaviors. Such morality tells us there is no separating the idea from its toll. This is the lesson we have erased from our slate. …

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