One hundred years ago, the Bolshevik Revolution occurred, and with it came the delusions of three decades’ worth of intellectuals and sentiments that still exist today.
The stature of those who defended the accompanying Soviet internal policies that led to the deaths of 20 million–far more than Hitler’s actions–was and is astounding. America’s premier journalist Lincoln Stevens (“I have seen the future and it works”), playwright George Bernard Shaw (“Stalin is kind to dogs and children”), Lillian Hellman (“Stalin has the love of intellectuals”), Dashiell Hammett (who along with Hellman signed a petition supporting the Purge Trials), FDR confidant Joseph Davies (who also supported the purge trials), award-winning singer Paul Robeson, Academy-Award-winning screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, Yves Montand, France’s premier actor, historian A.J. P Taylor, FDR consultant Owen Lattimore, State Department spy Alger Hiss—all supporting either the collectivization efforts (which resulted in the deaths of at least 4 million Kulaks either through starvation, forced labor or outright executions), or the Purge Trials (which led to the executions of 1,000 people a day) or postwar anti-semitic purges (in which two million Jews were either sent to the Gulag or executed).
This is to say nothing of how these intellectuals defended the frankly imperialistic foreign policy of the Soviet Union—The Hitler-Stalin Pact, which carved up Poland (which kick-started World War II), the invasion of Finland, the Soviet absorption of Poland, Rumania, Bulgaria, East Germany and other Baltic states under Stalin’s control, the 1948 invasion of Czechoslovakia, the brutal crackdowns on Poles and Hungarians who wanted democracy, Afghanistan.
Their motives were declared anti-fascist but it was in reality anti-Americanism (“The Soviet Constitution is far more democratic than the United States one,” musician Artie Shaw, 1946) and what George Orwell called the intellectual’s desire to “get their hands on the whip.”
In the defense of such pliable intellectuals, the excuse frequently made was either (a) the dupes didn’t know what they were really defending; or (b) there was really no choice given the rise of Hitler (this is flimsy as Hitler didn’t come to power until 1933, 16 years after the Bolshevik Revolution). But both of these shady excuses crumble when one considers that an intellectual in Russia during the immediate aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution caught where it was heading. Rosa Luxemburg, no rightist, ascertained that Lenin would never give up his so-called emergency police state measures and that the Revolution had failed.
Today we deal with the sentiments although not cited as Soviet by OCW. Like the Bolsheviks, they too have attempted to take over government buildings (i.e The Museum of Natural History). They too have taken Lenin’s murderous rhetoric (‘the bourgeoisie must be eradicated”) to heart (“behead the capitalists;” “History will hunt them down”). They see in the government the “whip” they want to get their hands on (“the government must use force;” “it must use any means necessary”).
“The dream is still alive” is a song about the Left. The intention behind it is the goal of universal healthcare and peace and brotherhood. But the real dream that never dies is to their desires to get their hands on the whip.