Appeal of Collectivism: Third time’s a charm (The Continuing Series)

The first installment: “What influenced you to join the Communist Party”
The second installment: “(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.

Given the “razor thin” line between Socialism and Communism and the U.S. of A. is populated with political morons, the following excerpt is offered. Cold Friday, the posthumous third–and last–book of Whittaker Chambers; 195?; Chapter The Direct Glance (at Communists and Communism), pages 72-4.

     For the war of Communism with the rest of mankind is first of all a war of ideas. In that war, Communism rejects few means of any kind, or none (its system of ideas justifies this practice). But its first assault is always upon the minds of men; and it is from the conversion of minds that it advances to the conquest of mass bodies and their living space. Each advance enables Communism to expedite conversion by political control since, for those whom it controls, Communism has become the one reality. The West (whatever value the captive may give that word) becomes at most a hope, but a hope that has been defeated (that is why the captives are captive); and it is a hope continuously deferred. Hope deferred not only maketh the heart sick; it stirreth profound suspicions that there is something radically wrong with it. In this case, it stirs a suspicion that exactly to the degree that Communism is felt to be evil and monstrous in its effects, there must be something organically wrong with the West that is unequal to prevailing against a power so conspicuously condign.
     This failure to grasp that the basic struggle with Communism is a struggle of ideas has led, in the West, to the failure to grasp the signal fact of the conflict. That fact is that Communism, which in all material ways has been for decades weak to a degree almost unimaginable to the average American, has rallied strength and made its staggering advances precisely at the expense of that West which is an all material ways overwhelmingly superior. With this goes the boundless complacency of the West in supposing that the struggle will be decided in its favor by material means. I cannot remember a time when there was not a lively conviction in the West that the Communist state was about to fall by reason of its own malevolence and inadequacy. This stems from the easily observable fact that Communism is a philosophy of thoroughgoing materialism, brutal in its practical manifestations, because it denies the sanctity of the individual in terms of the self-interest of the community, which in practice, is the arbitrary will of the shifting consortia that run the state. Communism is a philosophy of brute materialism. But if we ask: “What is the philosophy of the West?” is there not a certain embarrassment? What is the philosophy of the West? In a war for men’s minds, what is it that we are offering whose inherent force is so compulsive that it instantly seizes on the imagination of men and incites them to choose it in preference to Communism? In the name of what do we expect them to rise and overthrow Communism which can be done only by an effort of incalculable suffering—and not the suffering of faceless millions (as we so easily think of such things), but the suffering of this father or that mother who love their children whose lives, rather than their own, are the first sacrifice in so one-sided a conflict? Is it Christianity? There are millions of Christians in the Communist Empire whose Western populations are overwhelmingly Christian. Some 40 million must be practicing Catholics. I remember no appeals to the Christians in the name of their common faith with the West. Individual freedom is often mentioned. It is well, perhaps, to remember that freedom, in our understanding of the term, has been restricted largely to the United States and the fringe of Western Europe. In the rest of the world it has no accepted currency, and over large areas of Europe the Second World War and the revolutions that preceded it utterly destroyed the conditions of freedom and raised strong questions in many minds whether or not freedom is practicable in the conditions of our times. “Der Fahneneid [soldier’s oath, of allegiance],” said General Groner to the Kaiser in 1918, suggesting that his swift abdication would be well-viewed, “ist jetzt mur eine Idee“, (The oath on the colors is how only an idea).
     Moreover, these people are not children. They have the acute realism of those who live daily under impending tank treads. The satellite populations can look westward and see that individual freedom is constantly being whittled down in the West in the interest of centralized government, and they are perfectly competent to infer that this is the result of the play of the same basic forces and factors that have destroyed their own freedom.

Please re-read the final two sentences.

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