Monday, November 09, 2009

20 Years After The Fall Of The Berlin Wall, Why Is Communism Still "Cool"?

"Let us never forget Nov. 9, 1989, nor the sacrifices that made it possible," said President Obama today in his reflection on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

And let us never forget the evil that raised that wall in the first place, the evil that continues to enslave so many with tragically false promises of peace and prosperity. One wall down, but many more still to go, many nations still prisons, many souls trapped within -- with so few hammer blows being raised to rescue them, and no shortage of masons willing to raise the walls higher still.
"Communism is the death of the soul. It is the organization of total conformity - in short, of tyranny - and it is committed to making tyranny universal."
__Adlai Stevenson
Warning: the following video has some graphic content, though nothing obscene... unless you want to count the willful ignorance and moral callousness that keeps people believing that communism is "cool".


Dag said...

Who, I ask, put that together!? I thought Eisenstein was long ago deceased.

(Good work, Charles.)

Anonymous said...

The question implies communism is ‘cool.’ Ok, it is more accepted than old-fashioned fascism. But actual adherents of communism, at least in North America, are an isolated lot.

The word ‘still’ implies some level of consistency over time. Well, my father’s generational cohort was more attracted to communist systems than folks my age. And he came to political consciousness at a time when there were even more communist regimes committing even more repression than there are today. Seems to me that there has been long-term learning about the performance of communist regimes.

The learning aspect is the only way I’ve been able to answer the flip-side of your question: why isn’t communism more popular? We’ve witnessed a melt-down of the financial system and some of our core assumptions about markets have been challenged. Recent American defence policy, while not intruding much on the population as a whole, has been pretty shitty. Yet people of my generation have not been radicalized. Many watch Jon Stewart, and in the US they tended to vote Obama. But this is just tame. Even in a time of economic turmoil and policy failure the mix of markets and liberal democracy has no credible challengers.


truepeers said...

Communism may not be cool, but the signs of communism - Che tshirts, "Ostalgie" in Germany, Mao idolatry in China, etc. - do have a certain motility in the marketplace. And what is cool, religiously, is the green religion of "climate change". While I think it inevitable that our influence or potential influence on the climate enter into politics, what we do with this politics in terms of seeking massive control, or humble recognition of our limits and necessary freedoms, remains an open question it seems to me. So I wonder, have we really moved far beyond the control fantasies and desires for a charismatic great leader, that led to the nightmares of Communism?

tiberge said...

The need to be destructive (disguised in a feel-good ideology), repressed competitiveness, envy of success, the willingness to persecute in the name of a violent ideology on grounds it will lead to a better world (breaking eggs to make an omelet), these are some of the psychological underpinnings of Communism. They are indestructible. You can tear down walls, and dismantle regimes, but you cannot eradicate the mentality. Of course, you can temporarily keep it at bay, thanks to the presence of a superior ideology that prevails for a while. Thus, Islam was held at bay (barely) by Christianity. And Communism was contained by a stronger, more moral, more Christian West. Now, it seems to me inevitable, by the continuous ebbing and flowing of human events that the Good will once again prevail, but it will be temporary. The psychological components of Communism will always be there. The job of politicians, religious and educational leaders, policy makers, writers, artists is to see to it that these destructive urges do not prevail, even if one cannot eradicate them. We are in a period of destruction. The so-called fall of the Berlin Wall and of Communism has led to the opening of borders, the dissolution of nations (i.e. the EU), rampant crime (a consequence of the invasions of hostile aliens into western countries through government-sponsored immigration), the granting of privileges to groups (affirmative action), the feminization of our institutions (including the American Army - horrors!) and the general unleashing of infantile urges in a Western population that has lost contact with its past. Thus, in many ways things were BETTER when Communism was still the official enemy.

A French writer Alain Finkielkraut has said "Anti-racism is the Communism of the 21st century." So the destructive urges, the need to persecute, the refusal to accept the notion that men were NOT created equal, are now holding sway. Communism is very much alive, not only in China where it is official, but throughout the Western world also, in a different form. A terrible scenario, because I do not believe there will be an attempt to save the West until it is too late.

Anonymous said...

Communism and environmentalism are two very different things. Communism, at least in its Leninist variety, had an entire intellectual justification for the rule of a small vanguard. Environmentalism has nothing to compare with this that I know of. Sub-sects probably exist that want to cut the population or whatever, but this has about as much impact on the broader discourse as a deluded campus communist.

On whether or not we have really moved far beyond the “control fantasies and desires for a charismatic great leader”, I certainly don’t see the present authoritarian threats manifesting themselves in the environmental movement. There are authoritarian movements in the West that are bubbling just below the surface that are a more clear and present danger than some do-gooder actors with a collective hard-on for polar bears.