Communism in the memory hole

Dave T. writes:

This is related to the recent posts on the Democrats saying that we all belong to the government, and Democrats supporting the banning of profits.

It might surprise you to know that a guy like me, born in the early 1980s, has heard almost nothing about the political activities of the revolutionary left in the twentieth century, and I was born to a conservative family that was prone to recount Reagan’s “victory” over Communism. It’s almost as if the most important political movement of the twentieth century never happened for everyone under the age of 30; literally, almost everything I know about this subject today I had to research independently on my own. For the younger generations, the left gets a free pass for its many massive failures in the twentieth century.

LA replies:

I’ve always felt that this is one of the most shocking and damning things about contemporary America—that after the fall of Soviet Communism, American education and culture blanked out the entire history of Communism, so that today’s younger Americans know nothing about the seventy years of tyranny that enveloped Russia and eastern Europe, nor about America’s heroic 45-year long struggle to contain it, and ultimately to defeat it.

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Dave T. writes:

You cannot imagine my shock and horror when I began to realize the full extent of what the revolutionary left did in Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Central Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, etc. The hundreds of millions of people they killed for political reasons and the futility of daily existence that they created for well over a billion, all in the name of humanism (oh, the hypocrisy!) and the utopian fantasy that a few guys at the top were all that stood in the way of creating heaven on earth. And yet, the younger generations are taught nothing about this because the greater part of the media, entertainment, and academic classes were secretly rooting for these monsters all along and even now continue to employ their humanistic shibboleths and utopian fantasies to drum up political support.

It’s a mad world we’re living in!

Sage McLaughlin writes:

It’s worse even than Dave T. suggests. The college-educated 20-somethings that I have met are not merely ignorant, but are of the belief that the Cold War was a grand exercise in American folly and paranoia. A reasonably smart young man whom I know, a history major who focused on Russia, told me in so many words that “The Soviet Union was never a real threat to anybody,” and that it “Never had any desire to dominate Western Europe.” He ardently, passionately believes this, because all of his teachers told him so, and it is inconceivable to him that people whom he respects so deeply could be so wrong. He furthermore believes that the countries subjected to decades of foreign Communist repression ought to “show some gratitude” to the Russians for building so much stuff on their territory. (Come to think of it, this and similar arguments concerning, say, the effect of Soviet literacy programs in Central Asia, are not wholly unlike the Democrats’ claims about the debt of slavery that the existence of “infrastructure” exerts over us all.) He has no memory of the Cold War whatsoever, and everything he knows about it he has been taught by leftists determined to blacken in his sight all America’s past deeds.

From experience, I know that young people today have zero understanding of what the U.S. nuclear triad was all about—they believe it has something to do with a sick American lust for overkill—and are totally ignorant of the actual balance of conventional military forces in Europe. The tensions over the status of Berlin, and the connection between that standoff and the Cuban Missile Crisis, are never studied at all. The many failed plots on Castro’s life are, of course, covered in great detail, as is anything else that might embarrass or diminish the United States. The activity of the revolutionary left, and the well-established linkages between that activity and International Communism, are not so much glossed over as explicitly denied, all evidence for their existence being vaguely dismissed as originating in “conservative sources” or as artifacts of “propaganda.”

I wish I could remember who said it, but I once read a pithy summation of the American left’s whole doctrine of the Cold War: Nobody was ever really a communist, especially the communists. This is, in short form, what today’s recent college graduates believe about the 20th Century.

James P. writes:

American education and culture has not blanked out the entire history of Communism. Today’s younger Americans know one thing about Communism — namely, that in America, there was an evil, unjust, and hysterical Right-wing reaction against it (McCarthyism). Rather than being on guard against a resurgence of Communist tyranny, American students are taught that we must constantly guard against a resurgence of the Right’s fascistic crusade against freedom of speech and freedom of association.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 10, 2012 10:57 AM | Send

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