Friday Ephemera
And Not a Heat Ray in Sight

An Unsustainable Evil

Fell to its knees 20 years ago today.

The Berlin Wall… was an apt symbol of Communism. It represented a historically unprecedented effort to prevent people from “voting with their feet” and leaving a society they rejected. The wall was only the most visible segment of a vast system of obstacles and fortifications: the Iron Curtain, which stretched for thousands of miles along the border of the “Socialist Commonwealth.” […]

There is little public awareness of the large-scale atrocities, killings and human rights violations that occurred in Communist states, especially compared with awareness of the Holocaust and Nazism (which led to far fewer deaths). The number of documentaries, feature films or television programs about Communist societies is minuscule compared with those on Nazi Germany and/or the Holocaust, and few universities offer courses on the remaining or former Communist states…

There are, though, academics making efforts of an altogether different kind. And then there are the mutterings of bedlamites

The different moral responses to Nazism and Communism in the West can be interpreted as a result of the perception of Communist atrocities as byproducts of noble intentions that were hard to realize without resorting to harsh measures. The Nazi outrages, by contrast, are perceived as unmitigated evil lacking in any lofty justification and unsupported by an attractive ideology…

Paul Hollander, quoted here, from this longer essay.

I can’t say I’ve ever found Communism attractive even as a theoretical sketch. The implications of egalitarian utopias aren’t exactly hard to fathom. Unless, that is, one takes care not to notice certain things or think in certain ways, and then goes on not noticing with growing sophistication. Given the monstrous human cost of Communism – estimated at around 110 million lives - it’s worth giving some thought to this proposal

Via Maggie’s Farm. Related: Victims of Communism


Karen M

Worth watching again...


Thank God the Guardian is setting us straight.


Ah, a Morning Star contributor and colleague of the aforementioned bedlamite. Who would have guessed.


And what of China? In 1989 they crushed their velvet revolution, made a hybrid of capitalist economics & communist politics, & they now own most of America. Ideologically they seem like a variation of Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore enforced by the Stasi. Internationally they support pretty much everyone who's a rogue: Kim Jong Il, Robert Mugabe & the Burmese Junta, plus they gave Pakistan the technology to make an atomic bomb. But they make absolutely everything we use & wear, & we can't do without them. We hope that mass consumerism, plus the cultural decadence that comes with affluence, will make their politics more plural. I don't really understand how that's supposed to work in practice. Here's hoping…



China owns little that is western instead they have a large IOU which will be printed away.

China was as mad accepting The West's credit, as the West was creating all that credit in the first place.

China isn't quite in the position they say they are...

Karen M

Neil Clark is getting misty for East Germany's "lack of neon and the refreshing absence of advertising". ("And not a McDonald's in sight".)



Heh. Bless his rotten little heart. You can practically hear the swooning: “Interesting, well-read and well-educated people who always looked you in the eye and didn’t want to cheat you.” Unlike filthy decadent Westerners, presumably. Mr Clark has never shied away from laying it on thickly, oblivious to decency, then smearing on some more. His is a world in which all socialist countries were “full of publicly owned self-service restaurants where ordinary people could eat good hearty fare at affordable prices in a communal atmosphere.” Not one in which the GDR’s national debt - and imminent socio-economic collapse - was a state secret.


Reagan in Berlin...


“Reagan in Berlin...”

A few years earlier there was a Heaven 17 song called “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang,” in which Reagan was described as a “fascist god in motion.” Even as a teenager, that seemed a little odd.


God that song was dumb.

Democrats are out of power
Across that great wide ocean
Reagan's president elect
Fascist god in motion
Generals tell him what to do
Stop your good time dancing
Train their guns on me and you
Fascist thang advancing

Yeah guys. Mainstream conservatives are the *real* fascists –much worse than Communists. [facepalm]



I think the key line is “train their guns on me and you.” It conveys the all-important narcissism to go with the displacement of hostility. (Presumably it was imagined that Reagan’s first act as president would be to outlaw synthpop.) On the upside, it did have the couplet, “Counterforce will do no good / Hot you ass I feel your power.” Which even today defies the understanding of our most brilliant scientists.

sackcloth and ashes

There is one difference between Nazism and Communism worth noting. It was possible (at least in the 1920s and 1930s) to be a Communist because of idealistic motives. In the context of the Great Depression/WWI/rise of Fascism and Nazism humane and decent individuals could be forgiven for seeing Communist ideology as the key to a future without war, poverty and exploitation.

Of course, that doesn't justify subsequent (post-Stalinist) apologias from c*nts like Neil Clark.


sackcloth and ashes

I had never actually listened to that 'Heaven 17' song before I saw this thread, so I went on Youtube to have a listen.

It is utter shit.

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