[lit-ideas] Re: Communism versus Nazism

  • From: Judith Evans <judithevans001@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 23 Feb 2010 15:09:04 +0000 (GMT)

I don't know how seriously to take the piece to which you link.  I will note 
that it is actually about Stalinists and cites the CPGB-ML (plus one T-shirt 
sold by persons unknown...).  Perhaps Ed West does think Stalinists and 
Communists are the same thing (and can't see why the CP doesn't like the CP-ML).

You quote Tayles (?)


"Once you accept that all disparities of outcome in socety are down to 
prejudice and oppression, then it follows that inequality is unjust and 
those who hold an advantage over others have achieved it by means of 
cheating and bullying. If you believe in that particular conspiracy 
theory, then all the atrocities perpetrated in its name are blows for 
justice, rather than acts of unspeakable cruelty. "

but this is first not a totally accurate representation of communist beliefs 
and if it ("all.. bullying") were accurate, still, "blows...cruelty" would not 
hold.  

again
  
"A communist takes their theories about society as a given. If they ever 
stopped to consider whether it was wrong that Stalin killed so many 
people, they would simply tell themselves that it was done in the name 
of the disadvantaged and is, therefore, okay. Those people deserved what
 they got, as they colluded in an unjust social order."

oh sure, that would be why Khrushchev denounced Stalin and why so many 
communists left the Party - remaining communists -- in '56.

Judy Evans, Cardiff

--- On Tue, 23/2/10, Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrotIe:

From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: [lit-ideas] Communism versus Nazism
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: Tuesday, 23 February, 2010, 14:13

This was
 touched on recently, notably by Lawrence.

Article
 and blog:
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/edwest/100026946/is-there-a-moral-difference-between-nazis-and-communists/

In
 particular Tayles is, at risk of breaking netiquette, is worth quoting:-

"Once you accept that all disparities of outcome in socety are down to 
prejudice and oppression, then it follows that inequality is unjust and those 
who hold an advantage over others have achieved it by means of cheating and 
bullying. If you believe in that particular conspiracy theory, then all the 
atrocities perpetrated in its name are blows for justice, rather than acts of 
unspeakable cruelty.

The appeal of this worldview is obvious: it explains our failures and 
humiliations, and promises us a new model of society in which we will receive 
the wealth and influence we currently lack. What’s more, it promises to 
handicap those people who flourished under the old system.

Western intellectuals are particular susceptible to communist rhetoric, since 
societies that operate on free market principles have little need for their 
skills. They consider themselves to be
 wise and insightful, and regard any society that fails to endorse their sense 
of entitlement to be inherently unjust. They take up the cause of the 
downtrodden as a pretext for advancing their own interests and seizing the 
power denied to them.

A communist takes their theories about society as a given. If they ever stopped 
to consider whether it was wrong that Stalin killed so many people, they would 
simply tell themselves that it was done in the name of the disadvantaged and 
is, therefore, okay. Those people deserved what they got, as they colluded in 
an unjust social order."

This kind of explanation by way of self-interest might be contrasted with 
Popper's attempt to explain totalitarianism's ethical appeal in _TOSE_ (Popper 
was not blind to how self-interest played its part and his emphasis on ethical 
appeal is part of his strategy of attacking positions at their strongest, not 
weakest). 

It seems to me worth noting that this
 kind of explanation by way of self-interest works best if we assume that the 
relevant persons are blind to how self-interested their 'politics' are and how 
much (unconsciously) they derive comfort from their beliefs even if they remain 
politically marginalised. I believe I have met quite a number of such 
self-deluded individuals. [Hell, some are even English people who think having 
attended some left-wing meetings and read some left-wing literature they are in 
a position to lecture the likes of myself on Irish history. (Cf. Mo Mowlam: 
"Gentleman, I may be to you just another English Secretary of State for 
Northern Ireland but I am not going to patronise you or condescend." 
Adams/McGuinness: "That'll be a first.")]

Donal
Dnl
Ldn




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