‘It Can’t Happen Here’? Why Not?
I was just catching up on some reading of magazine articles that have piled-up the past few months, as I kept printing them out and, inevitably, putting them aside in an ever-growing pile that drives Mrs. B. up a wall.
In the February issue of The New Criterion, Brian Anderson wrote a fine review of the latest book on Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn by Daniel Mahoney, entitled: The Other Solzhenitsyn.
As I was reading the following paragraph a bit of a chill ran up my spine [emphasis and photo mine]:
The Russian writer’s greatest achievement, though, remains his profound analysis of Communist totalitarianism, which Mahoney unpacks in a chapter on the “phenomenology of ideological despotism” in The Gulag Archipelago. The Soviet overlords punished everything decent and humane, Solzhenitsyn showed. Constant fear was one aspect of their rule—no minute passed when people weren’t being spied on or arrested. Enemies were dehumanized: they were insects, vermin, not men and women. Secrecy and mistrust metastasized, consuming human relationships. Betrayal became a way of life, corrupting “all that was bright, remarkable, of a higher level,” as Solzhenitsyn would later put it. Yet the evil wouldn’t have reached so deeply into the soul, and killed so many, Solzhenitsyn argued, were it not for Marxist ideology, which justified horrific acts on the altar of historical progress. This was the “lie” that began with Marx and Lenin and ravaged a century.
And it is a Lie that is continuing it’s pillaging and despoiling in the 21st Century, especially in the ‘softer’ form it has assumed in The West, where the last seven years have seen it make Olympian strides in what used to be The United States Of America.
Unlike the people of Russia who yearned to be free in the 1920’s, we still can salvage Freedom and Ordered Liberty here in America, but we had better act soon or what happened a century ago in Mother Russia will happen here — wearing a #Caring face.
‘It can’t happen here’?
In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.
—Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago