(Original) Appeal of Collectivism: The Continuing Series

There are knuckheads out there who don’t realize they have a wealth of history that informs their opinions about Socialism and Collectivism. There was a time—in the 20th-Century—when people, who cared about the state of the world, sought a solution to the crisis of Western Civilization–the world was in flames, do you remember?–and they knew that the West was moribund and they sought a solution to this crisis.

From Cold Friday, Whittaker Chambers, pages 142 to 144:

     Columbia College proposed to make me into the image of the educated made of my time. It was perfectly apparent to me, and to a great many of my schoolfellows, that the educated man of my age who might know all about clocks and the time-space concept, did not know how to tell what time it was. And the suspicion grew with familiarity that the educated man was an integral part of the crisis of our age about whose basic nature he knew less than the man who gave one wrench to each nut on an assembly belt. At last the mind cried: “I don’t care what Plato thought about the philosophic being. Don’t tell me what Aristotle said about the political animal. Tell me why, in the twentieth century, civilization is everywhere in collapse and man is everywhere in despair. This is the nightmare despair of men who know the bombers are coming, know that they will be trapped in the rubble of shattered cities, know that their children will be crushed with them, but do not know why or what to do about it.”
     It made little difference that the vast mass of mankind, in many nations, went about its simple, ordinary, hard-working, good, devoted life. The mass of mankind is in all ages as patient as it is brave. It made little difference that most men asked: “What despair?” or “What has it got to do with us?” or that they asked it with the complacent superiority of the hard-working and the thrifty whom their lot spares tragic insights. They still ask it, especially in the United States. But history has already begun to give their complacent questions the terrible answers of the death of their sons, far away, in lands they have scarcely known of, in the dawning realization that it is no longer possible to plan a life which war and dislocations will not wipe out at any moment; in the knowledge, still scarcely conceded, that the crisis, which other men foresaw or suffered, has now reached them, inescapably, since they cannot flee it because there is nowhere to go.

Lenin said to me:

The old world is dying. The world wars, the economic crisis are its death spasms. In its terrible convulsions it will destroy everything it has created in its history, and everyone within it, especially everyone who seeks to save it.
     It has become an empty house, with its walls torn out as in the moment of dissolution it tries to remodel itself along the dreams of its youth. It is a haunted house in which the upper class is like an insane grandmother who walks around with a knife, wearing a sealskin coat which is the symbol of her better days now gone beyond repair. The mother and father are divided and the household has been split for years. One son will kill himself in clear perception of the truth, but first he will die of despair. The other son? If he remains in that house, he will die with it. He can only live by fighting it and everything it stands for to his dying breath.*

* Chambers is using a very personal symbolism; the household he is describing is the one in which he grew up (See Witness).

Lenin said to me:

Look. To every man born into this age, there are two choices—only two. He may stand with the world that is dying. He may take his place in the world that is being born. Which would you choose—life or death?

Lenin said to me:

Look, if you choose life, I will demand of you discipline, obedience, hardship, poverty, intelligence and courage. [meaning: that is, meaning and purpose for your life]
     But in the end, my choice was based, not on the teachings of Marx and Lenin, their historical or economic analyses, or even the faith of Communism and the vision of man’s salvation on earth. In the end, I made my choice, because I became convinced that the intelligence and power of the West were no longer able to solve the continuing crisis.
     This is an oversimplification. But in some similar way this is the form in which the turn toward Communism takes place in the mind of every man or woman who becomes a Communist. It is the crisis that keeps them Communists, sometimes long after disillusionment or discontent with the realities of Communism have set in. Nor does the ex-Communist returning to the world that he abandoned as hopeless, have any illusions, if he is intelligent and sincere, about the crisis. He does not return to the world because he believes that it is morally healthy or capable of solving the crisis which in fact is deeper than when he left. He returns because he believes that Communism is evil. The crisis remains and the world remains unable to solve it.
Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s