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April 2017 | Issue 3

www.theconservative.online

THE CONSERVATIVE
A Q U A RT E R LY J O U R N A L B Y T H E A L L I A N C E O F C O N S E RVAT I V E S A N D R E F O R M I S T S I N E U R O P E

ONE
HUNDRED Garry Kasparov

YEARS OF
Roger Scruton
Alexandr Vondra
Daniel Johnson

SERVITUDE
Hannes Gissurarson
Nigel Biggar
Ayn Rand

THE COMMUNIST LEGACY ISSN 2565-7089

9 772565 708004
IMPRESSUM TABLE OF CONTENTS

THE CONSERVATIVE EDITORIAL BOARD

The Conservative is a quarterly Journal in EDITOR-IN-CHIEF


print and online, sponsored by the Alliance Daniel Hannan MEP
of the Conservatives and Reformists in
Europe (ACRE). ADVISORY BOARD
Arthur Brooks
Roger Kimball
Read The Conservative online at
Professor Ryszard Legutko MEP
www.theconservative.online
Rich Lowry
Professor Madhav Das Nalapat 14 UNDER THE
INTERROGATION
Dr Andrew Roberts SPOTLIGHT
by Roger Scruton
Professor Pedro Schwartz
Professor Sir Roger Scruton

MANAGING EDITOR
Themistoklis Asthenidis

SUB-EDITOR
Andrew McKie

ILLUSTRATOR
Michael Daley

18 TRANSITION:
HOW TO CONTACT US 6 THE DEMOCRACIES ARE SLEEPING DO IT QUICKLY 97 MARXISM LIVES ON - IN THE WEST
- An interview with Garry Kasparov by Marian L. Tupy by Alexandr Vondra

ADDRESS:
Alliance of Conservatives and
5 EDITORIAL: 35 COLUMN: CONSERVATIVE MUSIC
Reformists in Europe (ACRE) A HUNDRED YEARS OF SERVITUDE by Jay Nordlinger
Rue du Trône 4, B-1000 by Daniel Hannan
Brussels, Belgium 38 STARTING IN MURDER,
TEL: +32 2 280 60 39 6 THE DEMOCRACIES ARE SLEEPING ENDING IN INEFFICIENCY
WEB: www.theconservative.online
- An interview with Garry Kasparov by John O’Sullivan
by Themistoklis Asthenidis
EMAIL: info@theconservative.online
42 MARX IN A COLD CLIMATE
14 UNDER THE by Hannes H. Gissurarson
INFORMATION FOR AUTHORS INTERROGATION SPOTLIGHT
by Roger Scruton 47 COLUMN: CONSERVATIVE BOOKS
Please address submissions and by James Delingpole
REPRODUCTION RIGHTS: All content and materials
of The Conservative are copyrighted, unless otherwise 18 TRANSITION: DO IT QUICKLY
letters to the editor to:
stated. For permission to republish articles appearing in by Marian L. Tupy 50 OUTING YOURSELF AS
The Conservative, please contact the Managing Editor at A RIGHTIST ISN’T EASY
editor@theconservative.online.
ADDRESS: 25 COLUMN: CONSERVATIVE ICONS by Nigel Biggar
DISCLAIMER: ACRE is a Belgian ASBL/VZW No: Editor–in-Chief, The Conservative by Roger Kimball
0820.208.739, recognised and partially funded by the
European Parliament. Its views are not reflected by the Alliance of Conservatives and 54 WITHOUT THE RULE OF LAW,
European Parliament. Reformists in Europe (ACRE) 31 WHY YOUNG PEOPLE, STATES ARE DOOMED TO POVERTY
The views and opinions expressed in the publication are LIKE THE YOUNGER ME, by Daniel J. Mitchell
solely those of individual authors and should not be regard- Rue du Trône 4, B-1000
KEEP FALLING FOR TROTSKY
ed as reflecting any official opinion or position of the Alliance Brussels, Belgium
of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe, its leadership, by Janet Daley
members or staff, or of the European Parliament. EMAIL: editor@theconservative.online

2 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 3


TABLE OF CONTENTS THE CONSERVATIVE
EDITORIAL: A HUNDRED YEARS OF SERVITUDE

57 TRUMP MIGHT NOT DRINK


- BUT HE’LL DRIVE UP SALES
by Iain Martin
I n 1917, a radical group known
as the Bolsheviks seized power
in Petrograd. As revolutions go, it
by Daniel Hannan oped a lifelong immunity, con-
siders those who became infected
– infected to the extent that they
was a pedestrian affair. The Pro- inhabited an alternative reality in
visional Government that had order to cling to their beliefs.
taken over from the Tsar was in Which brings us to the true
no position to put up a fight. paradox of Communism. Karl
Its leader, a democratic socialist Marx saw himself as a scientist
called Alexander Kerensky, fled rather than an ideologue. His fol-
Petrograd in a Renault borrowed lowers treated his turgid writings,
from the American embassy. not as a series of opinions, but as
Even the storming of the Win- a catalogue of empirical truths.
ter Palace, later portrayed in Soviet Yet every prediction he made –
50 OUTING YOURSELF AS 66 LEFTIST TEACHERS, Daniel Hannan MEP every single one – turned out to
A RIGHTIST ISN’T EASY SNOWFLAKE STUDENTS iconography as an epic battle, was
is Secretary-General of the be false.
by Nigel Biggar by Dominic Green
bathetic. As the British military
Alliance of Conservatives Free markets, Marx wrote,
­attaché, General Knox, recalled:
and Reformists in Europe and would destroy the middle class,
The garrison of the Winter Pal-
Editor of The Conservative. concentrating wealth in the hands
ace had dwindled owing to deser-
@DanielJHannan of a tiny number of oligarchs. In
tions, for there were no provisions
and it had been practically starved fact, free markets have enlarged
for two days. No one had any stom- The horrors abated after 1989; the middle class everywhere they
ach for fighting; and some of the but the pain lingered. Roger Scru- have been allowed to exist.
ensigns even borrowed great coats of ton describes the way in which The revolution, he wrote,
soldier pattern from the women to Marxist regimes systematically would occur when the proletar-
enable them to escape unobserved. demolished all civil institutions, iat became sufficiently self-aware,
The Red Guards entered from the Boy Scouts to the vil- something he expected to hap-
through a back door that had been lage band, making it hard for pen first in Britain and then in
left open and roamed, lost, in the post-Communist governments to Germany. In fact, as the working
vast interior until they stumbled rebuild. The ones that have moved classes in those countries became
104 THE CRIMINALS HAVE
ESCAPED JUSTICE upon the remnants of Kerensky’s on successfully, as Marian Tupy more educated, they shored up
by David Pryce-Jones
cabinet. Being illiterate, the rev- shows, are those which made a the established order.
olutionaries ordered the hapless quick and brutal transition. Capitalism, he believed,
ministers to write out their own Yet, incredibly, the radical was doomed: it would collapse
57 COLUMN: CONSERVATIVE WINE 87 COLUMN: FREE MARKET ADVANCES chic lingers. It is still fashionable
arrest warrants. It was, all in all, a under the weight of its own
by Iain Martin by Kristian Niemietz
tawdry, if bloodless, affair. to wear a Che Guevara tee-shirt – contradictions. In fact, when he
61 RADICAL CHIC: HOW GENOCIDE 90 RIGGED ELECTIONS AND The blood came later – gush- something which, morally, ought wrote those words in 1848, mar-
REMAINS FASHIONABLE PETTY CORRUPTION ing in such cataracts that we can to be in the same category as wear- kets were already working their
by Daniel Johnson by Peter Oppenheimer barely take in what happened. ing an Adolf Hitler or Osama bin magic. During the malign old
Communism killed a hundred Laden tee-shirt. A third of Amer- cadger’s lifetime, the real income
66 LEFTIST TEACHERS, 97 MARXISM LIVES ON - IN THE WEST million people: some shot into ican millennials, Marion Smith of the average British family in-
SNOWFLAKE STUDENTS by Alexandr Vondra pits, some arrested at night and soberingly tells us, think that creased by 300 per cent.
by Dominic Green tortured to death, some starved to George W Bush killed more peo- Yet his disciples, like members
101 COLUMN: CONSERVATIVE CULTURE enforce collectivization. As Dan- ple than Stalin did. Marxism may of some doomsday cult, continue
69 COLUMN: CONSERVATIVE INDIA by Damian Thompson
iel Johnson notes in this issue, the be utterly discredited in the lands to fit the facts to their opinions. If
by Madhav Das Nalapat
United States and Russia had sim- where it was practiced, says Alex- anything, they became even more
104 THE CRIMINALS HAVE
ilar populations in 1917. Today, andr Vondra; but it remains intel- dogmatic after the fall of the Ber-
75 THE OVERLOOKED COLONISATION ESCAPED JUSTICE
by Edvins Snore by David Pryce-Jones following a century of asym- lectually fashionable in the West. lin Wall. How apt, a hundred years
metric migration, abortion and What is its appeal? Janet Daley, on, that Marx should have become
81 PUTIN IS NO CONSERVATIVE 108 OUR ALLEGED COMPETITOR death, there are twice as many who was exposed to the Trotskyist the thing he most loathed: the
by Marion Smith by Ayn Rand Americans as there are Russians. bacillus as a student, and devel- prophet of a false religion.

4 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 5


THE DEMOCRACIES
ARE SLEEPING
An interview with Garry Kasparov

For the centenary of the Bolshevist Revolution, The Conservative’s


Themistoklis Asthenidis interviews Garry Kasparov, former World
Chess Champion and now a leading voice in Russian politics.

THEMISTOKLIS ASTHENIDIS: Soviet Communism taught us that


2017 marks the centenary year of the Bol- if the system didn’t work, we had
shevist Revolution. Yet much of the evil to follow it even more strictly, to
be more obedient slaves. The free
done in the name of Communism has been world – democracy and the free
forgotten, and the true picture of this his- market – is the opposite. It says that
toric failure is fading away. if you have successful individuals, a
successful state will result.
GARRY KASPAROV:
We are getting far enough from the fall of them, whether it’s a Communism regime or
the USSR to more accurately evaluate the a strongman dictator. Soviet Communism
deeper impact of totalitarian Communism taught us that if the system didn’t work, we
on a society. It’s like a virus that attacks the had to follow it even more strictly, to be more
immune system, weakening it and making obedient slaves. The free world — democracy
it vulnerable to more lethal infections, like and the free market — is the opposite. It says
dictatorship and nationalism. You can see it that if you have successful individuals, a suc-
in how poorly post-Communist countries cessful state will result. History has shown us
have recovered compared to post-Right- which method works better.
wing dictatorships. Obviously any dictator-
ship is bad, but Taiwan, South Africa, and
Chile, for example, all quickly became suc- THEMISTOKLIS ASTHENIDIS:
cessful free-market democracies, while most What elements of Communist rule do we
post-Communist countries are still mired in see today in post-Soviet and other despotic
authoritarianism of different kinds. The ex- states?
ceptions in Eastern Europe required massive
investment, encouragement, and enforce- GARRY KASPAROV:
ment from the free world. Soviet Communism was always about power,
It’s a long discussion to get to the roots, but right from the start. Yes, there was an un-
I believe it’s because Communism weakens derlying ideology, even a utopian one, but it
the sense of the individual and responsibility. was always about control and crushing the
Instead of looking out for themselves, people regime’s enemies. That mentality prevailed
instinctively look for a strong regime to guide in most of the post-Soviet states, with a

6 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 7


The democracies are sleeping - An interview with Garry Kasparov

GARRY KASPAROV:
I’m optimistic in general, in that I believe
we will reach a better place, with more free-
dom and prosperity, and that Russia will
also be included in that brighter future. But
that does not mean it is inevitable, that it
will happen on its own or that it will happen
soon. Russia is just as capable of democracy
as any nation or people, of course. There is
no genetic predisposition toward dictator-
ship or democracy, as you can see in North
and South Korea, in China and Taiwan. But
Putin is poisoning the minds of Russians
against democracy, and against individual
freedom in general, and many of our most
capable people are leaving, which will make
the eventual transition even harder.

THEMISTOKLIS ASTHENIDIS:
Who are the enemies of the free world and
how can they be stopped?

GARRY KASPAROV: THEMISTOKLIS ASTHENIDIS:


The steady decrease in global
The enemies of the free world are the ene- freedom is a threat in and of What are the threats to liberal democracies
few brief exceptions in Russia under Yeltsin mies of modernity, those who want to live itself, because democracy today?
and Georgia with Saakashvili, for example. in the past. Putin wants to go back to the and prosperity worldwide is
the only real lasting security. GARRY KASPAROV:
The mandate continues to be “the state is ev- Eighteenth Century of great regional powers Authoritarianism is the source
erything” and that leads to inevitable repres- that ruled by force. ISIS and the radical mul- of most of the world’s ills, from The steady decrease in global freedom is a
sion whether or not there is an ideology like lahs want to go back to an Islamic caliphate. poverty to terrorism. threat in and of itself, because democracy and
socialism behind it. What they have in common is the realisa- prosperity world-wide is the only real lasting
tion that the modern world of democracy, them or destroy them. The free world still security. Authoritarianism is the source of most
freedom, and prosperity would be the end has a huge military and economic advan- of the world’s ills, from poverty to terrorism.
THEMISTOKLIS ASTHENIDIS: of their power, and so they attack to defend tage – culturally too – if not as big as it Moral relativism is a mortal threat, pretend-
You rose to fame as World Chess Champi- that power. was in 1992. But if the world’s democra- ing that dictatorships and brutal theocracies
on, but you are also known as a political The free world took it for granted that cies came together to set standards and to should be treated with equal respect to de-
activist and one of the most prominent this battle was over when the USSR fell. defend them, it would be more prosperous mocracies that protect human life and human
and influential Russian dissidents. In your The strategies that won the Cold War were and secure, and it would also lead to more rights. More concretely, as Putin is illustrating
most recent book Winter Is Coming, you dropped almost immediately, and there is freedom worldwide as pressure mounted very clearly, dictatorships now have the abili-
discuss the autocratic regime of Putin and no appetite to bring them back. But they on the dictators. Instead, the dictators and ty to attack targets anywhere in the world very
the threat it poses to freedom. Are you op- worked, and they are still needed. You don’t thugs have ready access to western markets easily thanks to digital weapons and misinfor-
timistic that Russia can transition into a engage with dictators, you isolate them. and riches, so they have no incentive to mation. It’s a massive effort, and the free world
democracy? You don’t appease terror sponsors, you deter reform. is still pretending it can ignore it.

8 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 9


The democracies are sleeping - An interview with Garry Kasparov

THEMISTOKLIS ASTHENIDIS: wanted to put the Cold War in the past, (HRF), Thor Halvorssen. It’s the most im- “Regime change” is such a big and
Francis Fukuyama, who has highly praised ignoring the new challenges ahead. The portant fight in the world, and should be tainted phrase, but of course we
your book, argued that the collapse of USSR United Nations was designed to freeze treated as such. Instead, at best the free should desire and press for the end of
would give way to the domination of West- conflicts, not solve them, or to project de- world’s leaders and citizens deal with the the many brutal regimes that cause
ern liberal democracies. Yet Communism so much suffering. Reagan called
mocracy values. It became obsolete when symptoms here and there. “Regime change” the USSR “the evil empire” and was
and authoritarianism persist in large parts the Cold War ended, but nothing new was is such a big and tainted phrase, but of totally correct. Today, few are willing
of the world. “The U.S.S.R. Fell – and the built to consolidate the gains of the fall of course we should desire and press for the to call evil what it is, and so it grows.
World Fell Asleep”, you recently noted. Has the Iron Curtain. And for a decade we’ve end of the many brutal regimes that cause
Western leadership since 1990 failed to been sliding backward. so much suffering. Reagan called the USSR THEMISTOKLIS ASTHENIDIS:
make the world more free? “the evil empire” and was totally correct. Many of President Trump’s critics suggest
Today, few are willing to call evil what it is, that he has authoritarian tendencies and
GARRY KASPAROV: THEMISTOKLIS ASTHENIDIS: and so it grows. that he poses a threat to democracy. Some
Absolutely failed. It was understandable, to All global problems — poverty, social exclu- You fight inside and outside, but first even compare him to Vladimir Putin. Can
a degree, to want to celebrate, to be friends sion, environmental degradation, religious you have to recognise it’s a problem and the president of one of the world’s most ad-
with everyone, and to think that even the extremism, lack of innovation, conflict, end the hypocrisy of treating these regimes vanced democracies ever become a threat to
last holdouts like Cuba, China, North abuse of human rights — are found in coun- like normal allies. Do business with them if liberty and democracy?
Korea, et al, would simply fade away in tries with authoritarian institutions. These you must, I understand economic necessity,
the tide of liberal democracy. But this was are symptoms of failing institutions, and but never stop pressing for reforms, whether GARRY KASPAROV:
naïve and lazy, at best. Instead, the early yet the root cause of this failure is hardly it’s with hostile states like Russia and Iran Any democratic leader can become an enemy
1990s desperately needed the leadership addressed. or supposed allies like Saudi Arabia. Put of global democracy simply by doing noth-
like Harry Truman showed after the Sec- human rights in the centre and you will get ing. Inaction is also a choice, as epitomised
ond World War in constructing the insti- GARRY KASPAROV: results. If it’s just another side issue, it’s eas- by Obama’s eight years of failure on the
tutions of a new world order. But Clinton, I’ve written about this extensively, includ- ily ignored. international front. His mandate to be the
president of the world’s unmatched super- ing a recent article with the founder and ­“anti-George W Bush” was clear, but his re-
power at the time, had no vision, and just director of the Human Rights Foundation treat from the world was too far, too fast, and
THEMISTOKLIS ASTHENIDIS: we see the results everywhere.
How does the HRF protect human rights? Domestically, it’s very easy for an elect-
ed leader to distort democratic institutions.
GARRY KASPAROV: As Trump’s opponents are now discovering,
HRF focuses on uniting, educating, and sup- much of a democracy is based on tradi-
porting dissidents and dissident movements tion and habit, not law. People keep being
in unfree states – and raising awareness of shocked, “Can Trump really do this? Can
their fights elsewhere. The Oslo Freedom he really do that?” Well, yes, because people
Forum is our centrepiece event, bringing to- trusted that he would act more or less like
gether dissidents and speakers from all over every other president before him. Instead,
the world to share their stories and tech- because of who he is – a man with no scru-
niques for resisting. It’s a remarkable event. ples, no experience, and no past in public
Another area of focus is calling out the hyp- service – he is exposing all the cracks in the
ocritical democratic governments and west- system everyone took for granted. In a way
ern institutions that often provide aid and it’s good, because Americans should use this
comfort to dictatorships instead of holding lesson to repair those institutions against fu-
them to account. ture abuses.

10 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 11


The democracies are sleeping - An interview with Garry Kasparov

When the pie shrinks, when THEMISTOKLIS ASTHENIDIS: If you like it when Obama abuses
growth slows, the big guys have an Ronald Reagan famously said: “Freedom is executive power but then complain
advantage in fighting for the pieces. never more than one generation away from about it when Trump does the same,
you are part of the problem.
extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children
This is always the key, and it’s the lesson in the bloodstream. It must be fought for,
from what happened to Russia with Yeltsin. protected, and handed on for them to do the the opposite, a lack of ambition and a lack
We were so afraid of a Communist return that same.” What is the role of the conservative of big thinking that created the boom in
we weakened democratic institutions to sup- movement in this discussion? How can the the first place. When the pie shrinks, when
port one man, one party. This always backfires, conservative movement defend, preserve and growth slows, the big guys have an advan-
because then Putin got in and continued to promote freedom. tage in fighting for the pieces. Inequality
rip up those fragile institutions. Focus on the tably happens with massive increases in state drops when everything is growing because
law, strengthen the institutions, not the per- power and control of resources. You never get GARRY KASPAROV: labour is in demand, wages rise, the virtuous
son or party in charge at the moment. If you that power back, at least not without a fight. It’s about values and sticking to them regard- cycle. When you have financial tricks and
like it when Obama abuses executive power Americans and other rich nations talking less of the person or party. It means stand- political favours instead of real growth, of
but then complain about it when Trump does about socialism is a luxury paid for by the ing up for these values at home and abroad, course the average worker is going to lose
the same, you are part of the problem. success of capitalism, never forget that. So- all the time, not just when and where it is out, and that’s been happening in general
cialism isn’t a synonym for being generous or convenient politically. Conservative doesn’t since the 1970s.
empathetic, as many young people want to mean being against change in the world. This is as much a cultural shift as a policy
THEMISTOKLIS ASTHENIDIS: believe. It gives up individual freedom, first You can be quite liberal on social issues, one, and it will take time to change the timid
Twenty-five years after the collapse of one of and foremost, and that’s fine for some as long for example, as I generally am, while being culture that we live in today. We went from
the most murderous systems ever devised by as the government is doing what they want. strong and consistent on individual freedom, wanting a better life for our kids to want-
human intelligence, the ills of Communism But that never lasts for long. free markets and trade, and other civil and ing to guarantee our own gains, and that
tend to be forgotten. Regressive socialism as human rights. A modern conservative move- short-sighted, selfish mentality has limited
well as populism are on the rise in the US and ment should realise that and promote that growth and freedom as well. If people start
in Europe. We are even witnessing an attempt THEMISTOKLIS ASTHENIDIS: truth. People want strength and stability, but dreaming big again, the politicians and com-
to whitewash the crimes and atrocities of Is there a moral obligation on Western lib- make the error of putting that desire into panies will follow.
Communism; after Cuba’s long-ruling dicta- eral democracies to promote democracy, and individual leaders and parties instead of val-
tor Fidel Castro died in November 2016, the what is the best way? ues and policies, which leads to erosion and
President of the European Commission Junk- corruption.
er called him “a hero for many” and Canada’s GARRY KASPAROV:
Prime Minister Trudeau praised the ruthless Having lived it from the other side, I feel very
tyrant as “a remarkable leader”. Hundreds of strongly that Western democracies have a THEMISTOKLIS ASTHENIDIS:
millions of people today still live under similar moral obligation to project and defend those How can free markets and economic insti-
oppressive regimes in North Korea, Venezuela, values elsewhere. Not just a moral obligation, tutions lead to global liberty and prosperity,
Taiwan and many other countries. Is the rise but it makes them safer and more prosper- and create freer people and nations?
of socialism a threat to individual freedoms ous as well. Building walls, moral relativism,
and democracy? America First, these are all excuses for coward- GARRY KASPAROV:
ice and weakness that always end badly. Small The free market has brought billions of peo-
GARRY KASPAROV: outreach efforts aren’t enough. Aid should be ple out of poverty. It is the greatest engine
Garry Kasparov
Yes, because people don’t understand what increased massively because it’s more moral, of prosperity ever created. The massive in- is a Russian pro-democracy leader, global human-
it means. Obviously the socialism of Ber- more effective, and a lot cheaper than the ter- equality we are seeing today, and it’s grow- rights activist, business speaker and author, and
nie Sanders isn’t the totalitarianism of the ror attacks and military interventions that in- ing, is a huge problem but it is not the result former world chess champion.
USSR. But many have forgotten what inevi- evitably occur when there is a power vacuum. of the ambitious, unfettered free market. It’s @Kasparov63

12 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 13


Solovetsky Monastery on the
Solovetsky Islands, scene of the
most notorious Soviet prison camp

UNDER THE
INTERROGATION SPOTLIGHT
by Roger Scruton
People living under
Communism had been ­eople ­
P living under Com- private association of volun- of Hungary in 1948, Janos
deprived of the most
munism had been deprived teers, devoted to education Kádar, as minister of home
important of all human
L ast September a group of
boys from Eton managed
to arrange a secret meeting
with organising the trip, but
through the various societies
to which they belong. Mr
goods, which is the
freedom to associate
for purposes of their
of the most important of all
human goods, which is the
freedom to associate for pur-
and outside the control of
the state, but the roof under
affairs, was given the task of
abolishing every association
which a hundred smaller ini- not controlled by the Party.
in the Kremlin with Vladi- Putin, puzzled, asked: “What own, including the poses of their own, includ- tiatives are sheltered: debat- In the course of a year he de-
mir Putin. Mr Putin asked purpose of having no
are societies?” ing the purpose of having no ing societies, houses, drama stroyed 5,000 of these “little
purpose save this one.
them how they had set about The question brought purpose save this one. And groups, teams, all the clubs, platoons”. Churches, schools,
achieving this, and the boys home in the most direct rule – the rule that Putin the question also brought trusts and traditions of a religious establishments and
replied that they had not possible way what the Rus- had exercised, and which home what the English peo- vital civil society. charities were followed by
worked through the school, sian people principally he and others had main- ple enjoy in a school such When the Communists sports teams, chess clubs,
which had nothing to do lost through Communist tained over Eastern Europe. as Eton, which is not just a took over the government brass bands, orchestras, theatre

14 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 15


Under the interrogation spotlight

studying the disaster, will tablished by capitalism. a brass band – were either for-
recognise that the abolition This nonsense was spouted bidden or dangerous. And if
of the rule of law was both an continually by the Commu- you fell on hard times there
inevitable part of the totali- nists. They took it to autho- was no group of citizens, not
tarian project and the cause rise both the destruction of alms-giver or rescue operation,
of irreparable fractures in the civil society and the ampli- to which you could turn for
community that emerged. fication of the state, while help. In everything that affect-
But not everyone is aware of at the same time removing ed your comfort and survival
the attack on civil society, or all the legal, civil and moral you were on your own.
of its consequences for social barriers between the indi- That, to me, was the great
and political order, because vidual and the Party. This sin that lay at the heart of the
the lesson that it teaches is was the true origin of Com- Communist system – the sin
one that we still have to learn. munist enslavement. of isolating individuals from
The distinction between Individuals stood isolated their fellows, and then turn-
state and civil society was and alone in the predicament ing the spotlight of interroga-
spelled out carefully by defined for them by the ap- tion on them so as to watch
Hegel, and was in the back paratus – their jobs, housing, them squirm.
of Marx’s mind when he ar- education and opportunities
gued that under Commu- were controlled from on high,
nism we would see a “with- and the spotlight of official ob-
ering away of the state”. But servation followed them wher-
Communism isolated before that could happen, ever they went. The normal
g­ roups, ­women’s institutes… individuals from their ety”, conducted by the Party
until the social landscape was that promised the “withering Marx wrote, there would ways of recreation – meeting
fellows, and then
have to be a “dictatorship in the pub, forming clubs to
entirely laid bare, and not an turned the spotlight of away of the state”.
institution was standing. Pri- interrogation on them Educated people will of the proletariat”, in order pursue hobbies and education-
vate charity was made illegal, so as to watch them know from The Gulag Archi- to oversee the dismantling al activities, joining a church,
squirm. of the oppressive order es- a scout troop, a dining circle,
and no group of people could pelago and subsequent stud-
hold funds in trust to help Catholic Church the Poles ies something of the terrible Sir Roger Scruton
their fellows. Everything had had a centre of resistance to cost of Communism in terms is a writer and philosopher
to pass through the Commu- the Communist dictatorship, of human life and suffering. who has published more than
nist Party, which seized all civic which permitted them to lift They will know of the geno- forty books in philosophy,
aesthetics and politics. He
endowments and applied them the corners of the tent that cides and the forced enslave-
is widely translated. He is a
to goals of its own. the Party had thrown over ments of whole populations. fellow of the British Academy
The Czech lands and Slo- them, so as to let in a chink Readers of Doctor Zhivago and a Fellow of the Royal
vakia likewise lost their civic or two of light. The Catholic will be aware of the total Society of Literature. He
inheritance, and no private University of Lublin retained chaos that was the inevitable teaches in both England and
educational initiative exist- consequence of the Bolshevik America and is a Senior Fellow
its independence, though
at the Ethics and Public Policy
ed in those countries apart starved of funds, and reli- takeover in Russia, when all
Center, Washington D.C. He
from those conducted in gious orders could offer social private initiative was forbid- is currently teaching an MA in
secret by people who risked consolations of their own. den, and individual account- “What are Philosophy for the University
societies?”
imprisonment should they But the Poles too suffered the ability was driven from the of Buckingham.
be discovered. Thanks to the “withering away of civil soci- system. And many people, @roger_scruton

16 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 17


TRANSITION: DO IT QUICKLY
by Marian L. Tupy
Professor Walter
Williams of George
Mason University
once said that

A lmost a hundred years


have passed since the
Bolshevik coup d’etat on Oc-
War. Unfortunately, the coun-
try was soon plunged into
a civil war, Stalinist purges,
travelling from West
Berlin to East Berlin
in the 1980s was like
stepping into a black-
tober 24 1917. The overthrow the Gulag and the man-made and-white movie.
of the Russian Provisional famine in Ukraine. And those
Government under Alexander were the good days! tal combat with Germany
Kerensky provided the Rus- Weakened by internal that would cost the Soviet
sian people with temporary bloodletting, the country Union 27 million lives. As
relief subsequent to Russia’s found itself unprepared a testament to the dogged
withdrawal from the Great for another round of mor- perseverance of its people,

18 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 19


Transitions do it quickly

the USSR emerged out of Communist putsch of 1948. to East Berlin in the 1980s to pass that my parents most balconies. On Friday My parents and I
the smouldering ruins of the Show trials were no longer was like stepping into a and I found ourselves cele- evenings, the people mar- found ourselves
Second World War not only held and people were no lon- black-and-white movie. The brating Christmas in Vien- velled at the conspicuous con- celebrating Christmas
in Vienna – a city
victorious, but also in pos- ger murdered by the state. same could be said about na – a city that seemed to sumption of the Ewing family that seemed to
session of a number of col- Exhausted, the regime had the whole of the Commu- me, a 13-year-old boy, Dis- in the reruns of the American me, a 13-year-old
onies in central and Eastern lost confidence in its ideals nist Bloc: grey streets, grey ney-like in its beauty and soap opera Dallas, while late boy, Disney-like
Europe – and it is here that and itself. My grandparents’ houses, grey people, grey extravagance. on Saturday they could catch in its beauty and
extravagance.
the author enters this story. generation associated Com- food – grey everything. It was not long before the a naughty movie on German
Growing up in 1980s munism with unimaginable Thus, when the Berlin Wall blessings of freedom could television. Political parties
Czechoslovakia, I witnessed deprivations and rivers of came down on November 9 be felt in my native country. and, more importantly, po- and More Political Freedom.
Communism’s final decade. blood. My generation asso- 1989, the first sensation the Within weeks after the re- litical differences sprang up The paper has identified two
The people around me were ciated it with annoying but newly liberated East Ger- moval of price and wage con- – with monumental conse- approaches to transition from
still afraid of eavesdropping manageable food shortages mans experienced was the trols, and after the first round quences for ex-Communist communism to capitalism
by the secret police, jail time and with the grey monoto- colourful effervescence of of trade liberalisation, shops countries that continue to the that emerged after the fall of
for anti-socialist activities, ny of everyday life under a capitalism: freshly painted miraculously filled with a present day. the Berlin Wall. On the one
professional ruin and social dictatorship. houses, neon signs of com- mind-boggling array of previ- Last year I co-authored side were those who favoured
ostracism. But Communism Professor Walter Wil- merce, colorful food pack- ously unimagined goods. The a paper entitled 25 Years of rapid economic reforms. On
no longer inspired terror in liams of George Mason aging, etc. Our own “Velvet end of censorship led to a vast Reforms in Ex-Communist the other side were those
the way it had in the early University once said that Revolution” followed eight array of new publications, and Countries: Fast and Extensive who wanted a more gradual
years after the Czechoslovak travelling from West Berlin days later, and thus it came satellite dishes appeared on Reforms Led to Higher Growth approach.

Figure 1: Gross domestic product per capita, 2011 US dollars adjusted for purchas- Figure 2: Democracy versus autocracy, scale -10 to 10, 1989-2013.
ing power parity, 1990-2015.
10
30000
8

25000 6

4
20000
2

0
15000
-2

10000 -4

-6
5000
-8

0 -10 1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015

CENTRAL EUROPE BALTIC COUNTRIES FORMER USSR GRADUAL REFORM FORMER USSR LAGGED REFORM CENTRAL EUROPE BALTIC COUNTRIES FORMER USSR GRADUAL REFORM FORMER USSR LAGGED REFORM

20 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 21


Transitions do it quickly

Figure 3: Corruption perception index, scale 0 to 100, 1995-2016.

70

60

50

40

30

20

10

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016
CENTRAL EUROPE BALTIC COUNTRIES FORMER USSR GRADUAL REFORM FORMER USSR LAGGED REFORM

Political elites that their Western counterparts, is that fast and extensive
favoured gradual Central European and Baltic reforms led to much better
reforms often did so countries are full-fledged de- economic and political out-
in order to extract
maximum rents mocracies (see Figure 2). Un- comes than slow and limited
from the economy. like their Western counter- reforms. The other lesson is
One consequence parts, both ex-Communist that it is easier to make peo-
of gradualism was regions continue to struggle ple rich than it is to make
the emergence of
with corruption and other them virtuous.
oligarchic classes.
institutional weaknesses.
The situation is much worse
of gradualism was the emer-
in countries that opted for
The gradualists argued tries chose the gradual path. formed gradual reformers gence of oligarchic classes. Of
gradual reforms or eschewed
that rapid reforms would Some, like Belarus, Uzbeki- on measures of institutional course, rich capitalists arose
most reforms (see Figure 3).
cause too much social pain, stan and Turkmenistan, es- development, such as quali- in all transition economies,
Evidence shows that it is
as loss-making enterprises chewed most reforms. ty of democracy and control but their concentration and
easier to legislate economic
shut down and unemploy- As Figure 1 shows, rapid of corruption. degree of political influence
reforms than it is to build
ment grew. Their opponents reformers experienced much In general, political elites appears to be far higher in
sound institutions. Eco-
argued that in the absence of shorter recessions and grew that favoured economic lib- slowly reforming countries,
nomic growth is a conse-
rapid reforms, special inter- much faster than gradual eralisation also favoured in general, and in large econ-
quence of removal of barri-
ests would come to monopo- reformers. Rapid reformers institutional development. omies of the former USSR in
ers to exchange between free Marian L. Tupy
lise both the political process also received much more for- Conversely, political elites particular. is the editor of
people. But how does one
and the economy. Central eign direct investment, and that favoured gradual reforms That said, institutional HumanProgress.org and a
make a society less corrupt
Europe and the Baltic coun- ended up with lower rates of often did so in order to extract development in the whole senior policy analyst at the
and more law-abiding? One Center for Global Liberty and
tries opted for rapid reforms. poverty and income inequal- maximum rents from the of the former Soviet bloc
lesson of the transition from Prosperity at Cato Institute.
Other ex-Communist coun- ity. Moreover, they outper- economy. One ­ consequence remains unfinished. Like
Communism to capitalism @humanprogress

22 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 23


CONSERVATIVE ICONS

RAYMOND ARON
Study in English, Live in Prague! by Roger Kimball

T he French philosopher
Raymond Aron, who
died in 1983 in his late sev-
rice Merleau-Ponty and, es-
pecially, of Jean-Paul Sartre,
his classmates at the École

Philosophy,
enties, is a half-forgotten co- normale supérieure. In part,
lossus of Twentieth Century that was because of his in-
intellectual life. Part philos- tellectual style, which lacked

Politics,
opher, part sociologist, part braggadocio. He also lacked
journalist, he was above all a the appetite for celebrity,
spokesman for that rarest form which is another way of say-

Economics
of idealism, the idealism of ing he did not prize brilliance
common sense. He was, Allan Aron understood over truth. He certainly did
Bloom wrote shortly after that political not lack ability. By many

(PPE) Aron’s death, “the man who wisdom rests in the measures, Aron was the most
ability to choose the
for fifty years… had been right better course of action accomplished of his peers,
about the political alternatives even when the best in breadth as well as solidity
actually available to us… [H] course is unavailable – of knowledge. He took first
e was right about Hitler, right which is always. place at the agrégation in that
prof. Michael Munger about Stalin, and right that most distinguished class, and
Director, PPE at Duke University, our Western regimes, with all it is a nice detail that in the
Chairman of CEVRO Institute’s Roger Kimball
their flaws, are the best and is editor and publisher of
early 1940s Sartre humbly
PPE International Academic Board
only hope of mankind.” The New Criterion and presented Aron with a copy
Over the course of his ca- President and Publisher of of Being and Nothingness as
reer, Aron occupied various Encounter Books. He is a an “ontological introduction”
exalted academic posts – at frequent contributor to many to Aron’s earlier book on the
International World-Class the Sorbonne, the École pra- publications in the US, Europe,
and Australia and writes
philosophy of history.
tique des hautes études, the From the 1950s to the
Master’s Program in Prague Collège de France – but he
the Roger’s Rules column
for PJ Media. He is author early 1970s, Aron was reg-
was never merely an academ- of several books, including, ularly calumniated by the
ic. He wrote some 40 books most recently, The Fortunes radical Left – by his erstwhile­
— Oxford-style PPE degree in the intersection of political – on history, on the conduct of Permanence: Culture friends Sartre and Mer-
philosophy, political science, and political economy of war, on the cultural and and Anarchy in an Age of
leau-Ponty, for starters, but
Amnesia. @rogerkimball
political prospects of France also by their many epigoni and
— A unique understanding of current economic and political – and was an indefatigable intellectual heirs. In 1963,
processes political commentator, for Although showered with for example, Susan Sontag
some three decades for Figa- honours, Aron never en- dismissed Aron as “a man
— Taught entirely in English by faculty from leading universities ro and then, at the end of his joyed the dazzling celebrity deranged by German phi-
in the US and Europe life, for L’Express. that came the way of Mau- losophy belatedly converting

— Duration: 3 Trimesters
24
cevroinstitut.cz
www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 25
Roger Kimball
CONSERVATIVE ICONS

to Anglo-Saxon empiricism ideals but a maturing recog- “In defending the freedom of
and common sense under the nition that ideals worth cher- religious teaching,” he wrote,
name of ‘Mediterranean’ vir- ishing are those that can be “the unbeliever defends his
tue.” In fact, it would be dif- fulfilled without destroying own freedom.” Aron’s gen-
ficult to find anyone at once what they profess to exalt. erosity of spirit was a coeffi-
more knowledgeable about In this context, Shils cient of his recognition that
and less deranged by German spoke of Aron’s “discriminat- reality was complex, knowl-
philosophy than Raymond ing devotion to the ideals of edge limited, and action es-
Aron. His was a sober and the Enlightenment”. The ide- sential. Aron, Shils wrote,
penetrating intelligence, suf- als in question prominently “very early came to know the
ficiently curious to take on featured faith in the power of sterile vanity of moral de-
Hegel, sufficiently robust to reason; Aron’s discrimination nunciations and lofty proc-
escape uncorrupted by the showed itself in his recogni- lamations, of demands for
encounter. perfection and of the assess-
The fact that Aron was The fact that Aron ment of existing situations
was hated by the Left
hated by the Left does not according to the standard of
does not mean that
mean that he was a partisan of he was a partisan of perfection.” As Aron him-
the Right. On the contrary, he the Right. self wrote in his masterpiece,
always to some extent consid- The Opium of the Intellectuals
ered himself a man of the Left, tion that reason’s power is al- (1955), “every known regime
but (in later years anyway) it ways limited. That is to say, is blameworthy if one re-
was the pre-Marxist Left of if Aron was a faithful child lates it to an abstract ideal of
high liberalism. (Bloom aptly of the Enlightenment – its equality or liberty.”
subtitled his essay on Aron secularism, its humanism, its The leitmotif of Aron’s ca-
“The Last of the Liberals.”) opposition of reason to su- reer was responsibility. Not
Aron’s criticism of the Left perstition – he also in many the whining metaphysical or
was not a repudiation but an respects remained a faithful “ontological” responsibility
extension of his liberalism. grandchild of the traditional that Sartre was always going
As the sociologist Edward society that many Enlighten- on about – the anguished “re-
Shils noted in an affectionate ment thinkers professed to sponsibility of the for-­itself ”
memoir of his friend, Aron despise. burdened by groundless free-
moved from being a declared Enlightened thinking dom – but the exercise of that
socialist in his youth to be- tends to be superficial think- prosaic, but indispensable,
coming “the most persistent, ing because its critical ar- virtue: prudence. Aron under-
the most severe, and the most moury is deployed against stood that political ­ wisdom
learned critic of Marxism and every faith except its own ­rests in the ability to choose
of the socialist – or more pre- blind faith in the power of the better course of action
cisely Communist – order reason. Aron avoided the even when the best course is
of society” in the Twentieth besetting liability of the En- unavailable – which is always.
Century. lightenment by subjecting its “The last word,” he insisted,
Again, this shift tokened ideals to the same scrutiny it “is never said and one must
not a repudiation of youthful reserved for its adversaries. not judge one’s adversaries as

26 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 27


Roger Kimball
CONSERVATIVE ICONS

if one’s own cause were identi- formed in the fiery crucible Like its chemical subject of politics, Aristo- of the real in the face of the gate imperfection.
fied with absolute truth.” of revolutionary activity. counterpart, the first tle noted, is “the good life blandishments of the ideal. Unlike the Marxist, the
It is worth noting that Combined with the doctrine effect of the opium for man.” What constitutes The prospect of ideal – that classical liberal regards men
of the intellectuals
among Aron’s favorite terms of historical inevitability – a is unbounded the good life? Aron cannily is, total, complete – emanci- as: “basically imperfect and
of commendation were “pro- monstrous idea that Marx exhilaration. reminds us that the more pation bewitches susceptible resigns himself to a system
saic” and its cognates, while took over from Hegel –  the Only later does the extravagant answers to this souls because “it contains in where the good will be the
he consistently used “poetry” Myth of the Revolution is a stupefaction question are often the most itself the poetry of the un- result of countless actions
become evident.
and its cognates pejoratively. prescription for totalitarian malevolent. They promise known, of the future, of the and never the object of a
In his Memoirs (1983), Aron tyranny. What does the liqui- and might be undone; it is everything; they tend to de- absolute.” The problem is conscious choice. In the last
wrote that in The Opium of the dation of the Kulaks matter piecemeal because ideals are liver misery and impoverish- that the poetry of the abso- resort, he subscribes to the
Intellectuals he attempted “to in the face of the necessary never achieved all at once, ment. Hence his rejection of lute is an inhuman poetry. As pessimism which sees politics
bring the poetry of ideology unfolding of the dialectic? but only approached step by Communism: Aron drily observed, in real as the art of creating the con-
down to the level of the prose Like its chemical counter- faltering step; and it is im- “Communism is a degrad- life ideal emancipation turns ditions in which the vices of
of reality.” What Aron called part, the first effect of the perfect because the recalci- ed version of the Western mes- out to be “indistinguishable men contribute to the good
the “Myth of the Revolution” opium of the intellectuals trance of reality – including sage. It retains its ambition to from the omnipotence of the of the State.” Aron acknowl-
(like the “Myth of the Left” is unbounded exhilaration. the messy reality of human conquer nature, to improve edged that this prosaic model
and the “Myth of the Prole- Only later does the stupefac- nature – guarantees slippage, the lot of the humble, but it The rule of law; lacks the grandeur of utopia.
economic vitality;
tariat”) is so seductive pre- tion become evident. frustration, incompleteness, sacrifices what was and must respect for tradition; “Doubtless the free play
cisely because of its poetical Unlike the revolutionary, and sheer perversity. remain the heart and soul of freedom of speech: of initiative, competition be-
charm: it induces the illusion the reformer acknowledg- The ideal of the reform- the unending human adven- out of such prosaic tween buyers and sellers, would
that “all things are possible,” es that genuine progress is ist, Aron noted, “is prosa- ture: freedom of enquiry, free- elements are the be unthinkable if human na-
seemingly miraculous
that everything – age-old contingent, piecemeal, and ic,” that of the revolution- dom of controversy, freedom of ture had not been sullied by
successes of Western
institutions, the structure of imperfect. Progress is con- ary “poetic”. Equally, one is criticism, and the vote.” society forged. the Fall. The individual would
society, even human nature tingent because it depends real, the other fantastical. In Such freedoms may seem give of his best in the interests
itself – can be utterly trans- upon individual initiative his Memoirs, Aron acknowl- pedestrian in comparison State.” of others without hope of rec-
edged that: “I do in fact with the prospect of a class- The issue is “not radical ompense, without concern for
think that the organisation less society in which liber- choice, but ambiguous com- his own interests.”
of social life on this earth ty reigns and inequality has promise”. Aron continually But that “if ” issues an un-
turns out, in the end, to be been vanquished once and came back to man as he is, redeemable promise. Aron’s
rather prosaic.” The rule of for all. But such an idea, not as he might be imag- twofold task was to remind
law; economic vitality; re- Aron noted, “is no more than ined. Yes, some individuals us, first, that there is no
spect for tradition; freedom an illustration in a children’s are honourable and trust- human nature unsullied by
of speech: out of such pro- picture book.” worthy. But, Aron writes, “at the Fall and, second, to sug-
saic elements are the seem- To say that Aron was sus- the risk of being accused of gest, as does orthodox Chris-
ingly miraculous successes picious of the poetical is not cynicism, I refuse to believe tianity, that what prophets of
of Western society forged. to deny that his sober vision that any social order can be the absolute decry as a disaster
(One thinks of Walter Bage- of human fulfillment exhib- based on the virtue and dis- was in fact a “fortunate fall,”
hot’s observation that “the its a poetry of its own. Aron, interestedness of citizens”. a condition of our humani-
essence of civilisation… is one might say, was a poet of Following Adam Smith and ty. The utopian is optimistic
dullness… an elaborate in- the realm of prose. Anoth- other classical liberals, he about man, pessimistic about
vention… for abolishing er way of putting this is to looked to the imperfections particular men and women:
the fierce passions.”) The say that he was a champion of man for the fuel to miti- “I think I know man,”

28 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 29


Chancellor Sewell calls in police who use tear gas to clear protestors at
Roger Kimball the Dow Chemical Co. from the Commerce Building on October 18
CONSERVATIVE ICONS

­ ousseau sadly wrote, “but as


R cation, not refutation. the philosophies of Marx and
for men, I know them not.”­ It is the same with Sartre, Nietzsche are incompatible.
The anti-utopian is pessi- who championed totalitar- But for intellectuals under
mistic, or at least disabused, ian regimes from the Soviet the influence such distinc-
about man; this forgiving Union to Cuba but who ex- tions count for naught. As
pessimism frees him to be hibited an implacable hatred Aron notes, the descendants
optimistic about individuals. of America and liberal democ- of Marx and Nietzsche (and
In his foreword to The racy. (“America is a mad dog,” Hegel and Freud) come to-
Opium of the Intellectuals, he exclaimed in one effusion; gether by many paths. The
Aron noted that he directed “it is the cradle of a new Fas- existentialism of Sartre, the
his argument “not so much cism.”) Sartre’s “ethical rad- nihilism of Derrida or Fou-
against the Communists as icalism,” Aron wrote, “com- cault, all exhibit a similar
against the communisants,” bined with ignorance of social intellectual incontinence.
against those fellow travellers structures, predisposed him to What unites them is not a co-
for whom the West is always verbal revolutionism. Hatred herent doctrine but a spirit of
wrong and who believe that of the bourgeoisie makes him opposition to the established
people can “be divided into allergic to prosaic reforms.” order, “the occupational dis-
two camps, one the incarna- ease,” Aron notes, “of the
tion of good and the other of The existentialism intellectuals.”
evil, one belonging to the fu- of Sartre, the
nihilism of Derrida or
George Orwell famously WHY YOUNG PEOPLE,
ture and the other to the past,
one standing for reason and
Foucault, all exhibit
a similar intellectual
remarked that there are some
ideas so absurd that only an
LIKE THE YOUNGER ME,
the other for superstition.”
Marxism is a primary al-
incontinence. intellectual could believe
them. The Opium of the In-
KEEP FALLING FOR TROTSKY
lotrope of the opium of the In insulating its victims tellectuals provides a kind of by Janet Daley
intellectuals because its doc- from reality, the opium of the aerial survey of the higher

I
trine of historical inevitabil- intellectuals at the same time gullibility that Orwell dis- t was my generation which Why did that neo- tribution of leaflets and the
ity insulates it from correc- insulates them from the re- paraged, analysing its appar- famously – or notoriously, Marxist position wearing of badges), not only
tion by anything so trivial as bukes of contradiction. This ently perennial attractions, depending on your point of retain such a hold on civil rights issues but on
factual reality. When Mer- has allowed for some pecu- describing its costs, mapping over so many, when it
view – invented the inter- had apparently failed the Vietnam War and Amer-
leau-Ponty assures us that in liar intellectual hybrids. For its chief roadways and point- national student revolution. ican foreign policy, was a clear
as a political system
the modern world the prole- example, the philosophies ing out some escape routes. Back in the day at  Berkeley, in all the countries breach of the constitutional
tariat is the only form of “au- of Nietzsche and Marx are For this reason, The Opium of this was not a Marxist re- of the world where liberties of people who hap-
thentic intersubjectivity” or diametrically opposed: one the Intellectuals was a seminal it had actually been
volt in its first incarnation. pened to live and work on
when he writes that Marxism celebrates the lonely genius, book of the Twentieth Cen- installed?
It began as an expression of university premises. So, in the
“is not a philosophy of histo- the other the collective; one tury, an indispensable contri- outrage at the banning of all nesses tired of being picket- first instance, this campaign
ry, it is the philosophy of his- looks for a new aristocracy of bution to that most patient political activity on campus ed by  University  of  Califor- may have been driven by peo-
tory, and to refuse to accept Übermenschen, the other for and underrated of literatures, property announced by the nia  students protesting over ple who had Left-of-centre
it is to blot out historical rea- the institution of the classless the literature of intellectu- university authorities at the their racially discriminatory political views but it was not a
son,” no argument will wean society. For any unintoxicat- al disabusement. Raymond beginning of the 1964 aca- employment practices. specifically Marxist – or even
him from his folly. What he ed person, such differences Aron was its high and most demic year, almost certainly The shutting down of all socialist – movement. It was,
needs is intellectual detoxifi- are essential: they mean that eloquent priest. at the behest of local busi- political activity (even the dis- in the true sense, a fight for

30 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 31


Why young people, like the younger me, keep falling for Trotsky

But the second part of Ironically, what Marx revolution – properly speak-
this historical examina- created and Lenin ing – had not failed: it had
tion is more problematic. brought to fruition never been tried.
Why did so many veterans was not an antidote But there was another,
to religion which they
of those early uprisings re- saw as oppressive more abstract reason why
main in the Marxist fold superstition, but a the facts did not get in the
even after grotesque reve- new variant of it: a way of true belief. Marxism
lations about Soviet gulags belief system which is not a product of scientific
cannot, in its own
and Chinese tyranny were observation: it is theolog-
terms, be disproved.
common knowledge? When ical. Once you accept the
it became apparent that the went even further than this premises, it realigns your
great Leninist and Maoist in their analysis, arguing perception of the human
revolutions had produced that the revolution had hap- condition. If the workers do
persecution and terror, or at pened in entirely the wrong not accept its diagnosis, then
best, simply economic pov- place. Marx had never ad- they are in a state of “false
erty and political corruption vocated a Communist take- consciousness” which can
– in the face of all the avail- over in Russia because it was only be altered by action. If
able evidence, how did those a totalitarian country which facts seem to contradict the
considerable numbers of ac- had not passed through a Marxist analysis, then they
olytes maintain their belief? period of bourgeois free- must be dismissed as a mass
There are two quite dif- dom. What he had expect- delusion: “objective truth
ferent kinds of answer to ed was that those Western is a bourgeois construct”.
this. The first is historical. nations which had passed Ironically, what Marx cre-
Almost all of the influen- through democratic revo- ated and Lenin brought to
tial Marxist activity in the lutions would proceed to fruition was not an antidote
free speech and the right of ently failed as a political sys- being hurled down the stairs 1960s and ’70s was led by Communist rule as the next to religion which they saw as
assembly as guaranteed by the tem in all the countries of the of buildings or summarily ar- Trotskyists: the old diehard phase of historical progress, oppressive superstition, but
First Amendment. world where it had actually rested produced a mass epiph- Communists who remained their populations realising a new variant of it: a belief
When, exactly, did this been installed? any: a revelation of what the attached to the official Sovi- that popular ownership of system which cannot, in its
change? When did the student The first puzzle – when Left would call the repressive et state interest were regard- the economy was as im- own terms, be disproved.
rebels at Berkeley, and later at did demands for simple free- nature of the capitalist state. ed as absurd. portant as popular control
the LSE and the Sorbonne doms turn into systematic (if It was all too credible to see What followed from of government. (What did
and eventually throughout schismatic) Marxist commit- the oppressive actions of legal this was that the  Soviet not seem to occur to him
the universities of  Ameri- ments? – is fairly clear in my authorities as malign: a con- Union  and all of its crimes was that once people had
ca and Europe, begin to iden- recollection. The brutal reac- spiracy of the rich and pow- and failings could be dis- experienced the “bourgeois
tify themselves with a much tion of the police to peaceful erful determined to protect counted. Stalin had de- freedoms”, they would be
more hard-core ideology demonstrations was a tipping their own interests. From that stroyed the integrity of the unlikely to give them up,
which came to be called the point. The sight of students shocking disillusionment, it revolution and therefore even temporarily, for a dic-
New Left? And perhaps the who refused to desist from was not a huge leap to the what went on in Russia and tatorship of the proletariat.)
more difficult question: why gathering in areas which had conclusion that the political its satellites was a betrayal So it was relatively easy to
did that neo-Marxist posi- once been open arenas for po- and economic system under of the true goals and val- conclude that empirical ev- Janet Daley
tion retain such a hold over litical meetings, or who staged which you lived was incorrigi- ues of the Marxist cause.­­ idence of Soviet infamy was is a columnist for The Sunday
so many, when it had appar- non-violent sit-down protests, bly unjust. A good many comrades neither here nor there. The Telegraph and a broadcaster.

32 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 33


CONSERVATIVE MUSIC

COMPOSING UNDER THE GUN


by Jay Nordlinger

Curating the best in


I n the old days, you some- ingrad Philharmonic for 50

art and culture in the


times read about “Soviet” years. He was barely known
musicians. Kirill Kondrash- in the West.
in, for example, was a “Soviet Consider, now, Rodion

Western world. conductor.” But was he? He


was Russian, right? Nobody
Shchedrin, the composer.
He was born in 1932. He
was “Soviet.” says that he was fairly lucky
Well, Stalin was. A Geor- in the following respect: he
gian, he could not be Rus- was but 20 when Stalin died.
sian, though he found it Listen to the That gave him some breath-
convenient to talk a lot about Shostakovich ing room, but still the air
Russia after Hitler broke his string quartets. They was not free. In 1991, when
tell you something
pact with him. Dmitri Ka- about life under the the Bolsheviks left, he could
balevsky, I would say, was Bolsheviks, something really breathe. The music
a Soviet composer. He was deep and terrible. poured out of him. He com-
Russian, to be sure – Peters- posed more than ever. At age
burg-born – but he was a 60 or so, he was virtually
loyal Party member and a reborn.
Jay Nordlinger
faithful apparatchik, earning is a senior editor of National Prokofiev was a weird
his three Stalin Prizes, his Review and the music critic of case. He was out – free – in
four Orders of Lenin, and The New Criterion. He is the the West. And he returned to
so on. He also wrote some author of Peace, They Say: ­ the Soviet Union, in 1936,
lovely music, particularly for A History of the Nobel Peace just in time for the Great
Prize (Encounter Books). His
children. Terror. Famously, he died the
latest book is a study of the
The Soviet Union lived sons and daughters of dictators: same day as Stalin: March 5
from 1917 to 1991. Some Children of Monsters (also 1953. There were no flowers
people in Soviet lands had Encounter). available for his funeral.
unlucky birth dates. They He lives in New York. Often, composers in the
never had a chance to do @JayNordlinger Soviet Union wrote under
Receive weekly recommendations on art and much living, or any, before great pressure, and, often,
or after the Bolsheviks. Take 1975, they had more than 15 you can hear this in their
culture through a conservative lens with Shostakovich, who was born years to go. Yevgeny Mravin- music. I think of Mendels-
in September 1906. He was sky, the great conductor, lived sohn, of whom it is some-
The Critic’s Notebook email newsletter. 11 when the Bolsheviks came from 1903 to 1988. He was times said that he was handi-
to power. When he died in music director of the Len- capped by happiness. His life

Visit newcriterion.com/newsletter to sign-up.


34 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 35
Jay Nordlinger
CONSERVATIVE MUSIC

was not carefree, needless to actions. For instance, he al- Shchedrin signed a letter b­ allerina, who died in 2015. In 1939, Prokofiev a large degree, of its bloc.
say (and it was also relative- lowed himself to denounce against Andrei Sakharov, the (They were arguably the most wrote Hail to Stalin, About ten years ago, I in-
a cantata. It was
ly brief: 38 years long). But Stravinsky as “decadent” great physicist and great dis- talented couple on earth, in honour of the terviewed René Pape, the
it was apparently basically (though he admired Stravin- sident. So did Shostakovich rivaled by the tennis play- dictator’s sixtieth German bass. He grew up
happy. And his music is not sky’s music). Shchedrin has and Khachaturian, among ers Andre Agassi and Steffi birthday. One lyric in Dresden (East Germa-
marked by struggle. said, “In a totalitarian sys- others. But Shchedrin points Graf.) Plisetskaya’s father was goes, “He hears all, he ny). I said, “Did you always
Composers in the Soviet tem, relations between the out that he had better mo- murdered by the regime, and sees all” – which, in a want to be a singer? Or did
way, was true.
Union had no such handicap. artist and the regime are al- ments – as in 1968, when her mother was sent to the you want to be an athlete or
Many of them made ways extremely complex and he refused to sign a letter Gulag. In 1964, Plisetskaya Twenty years after his something else? What were
compromises, and some were contradictory. If the artist supporting the invasion of accepted the Lenin Prize. wife, Shchedrin accepted his your hopes and dreams?”
ashamed. Shostakovich was sets himself against the sys- Czechoslovakia. It was a strange place, the own Lenin Prize. He also He looked at me like I was
a good man. He was deep- tem, he is put behind bars or He was married to Soviet Union, as well as a wrote Lenin Is Among Us, an the stupidest, most pathet-
ly ashamed by some of his simply killed.” Maya Plisetskaya, the prima brutal one. oratorio. He did that in 1970 ic person on earth. “It was
for the founder’s centenary. A a Communist country,” he
lot of composers did that sort said. “We didn’t have hopes
The Leningrad première of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7,
while the city of Leningrad was under siege by Nazi German of thing. In 1939, Prokofiev and dreams. We were think-
forces. Most of the musicians were starving, with musicians wrote Hail to Stalin, a can- ing about surviving until the
frequently collapsing during rehearsals, and three dying.
Despite this, the concert was highly successful, prompting an tata. It was in honour of the next week.” When he first
hour-long ovation. The symphony was broadcast to the German dictator’s 60th birthday. One came to the West, his eyes
lines by loudspeaker as a form of psychological warfare.
lyric goes, “He hears all, he bulged at the food.
sees all” – which, in a way, Several years later, I re-
was true. counted my exchange with
Cold War competition Pape to Angela Gheorghiu,
did odd things to people. the Romanian soprano. Bris-
Svetlana Stalin tells a story tling, she said, “The shops
in one of her memoirs. At a in Romania – not like in
concert, she was seated in a Germany, excuse me – were
box with Lazar Kaganovich, completely empty. Just white.
the Old Bolshevik. David Just white.”
Oistrakh, Odessa-born, You can learn about the
and Yehudi Menuhin, New Soviet Union and its satel-
York-born, were playing lites through books, mov-
Bach’s Double Violin Con- ies, conversations, etc. You
certo. Svetlana, along with can also learn a bit about
others, was entranced. In the them, as I have suggest-
middle of the performance, ed, through music. Listen
Kaganovich turned to her to the Shostakovich string
with glee and said, “Do you quartets, for example. They
see how our boy is beating tell you something about
their boy?” life under the Bolshe-
What was true of the viks, something deep and
Soviet Union was true, to terrible.

36 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 37


When Communism coll­
apsed, the entire world could
see that it had created an eco-
nomic wasteland.
Throughout the Eastern
bloc the shelves of stores
were full of unsaleable goods
that nobody wanted – and
also full of queues of peo-
ple waiting for goods that
weren’t being produced.
There were vast mega-facto-
ries employing millions, but
they were producing goods
for which there was no gen-
uine market because their
quality was so low.
The smoky, stuttering,
unreliable little Trabant is
now the object of Ossie nos-
talgia. But no one would
have bought a Trabant if any
of its Western competitors,
STARTING IN MURDER, such as the Mini, had been
available. They had to be ex-
ENDING IN INEFFICIENCY ported to other COMECON
countries which were, quite
by John O’Sullivan
The smoky, stuttering, ciency, bad service, ill man- literally, captive markets.
unreliable little ners, the loss of every social And because they were cap-

T wenty years ago at the mind than humour. She was civility, the breakdown of civil Trabant is now the grace, and a society pervad- tive markets, waiting lists for
object of Ossie
Congress of Prague trying to describe in suitably society in matters large and nostalgia. But no one ed by rampant egoism. And Trabants stretched into years.
which was held to speed the apocalyptic terms the com- small. A dour Russian parable would have bought a the social desert thus created This extraordinary chaos
entry of Central and Eastern prehensive destructiveness on the history of Soviet com- Trabant if any of its was unpromising ground for of socialist production should
Europe into full membership that Soviet Communism had munism says it all: Western competitors, the economic transition to a not have shocked us. As early
such as the Mini, had market economy.” the 1960s Khrushchev had
of the Euro-Atlantic com- on Russia and Europe. That’s how it is with a man. been available.
munity, Mrs Thatcher made “Where socialism has left He makes a bad start in his It was important to make been complaining about the
a speech and told a joke. As its deepest impression,” she youth by murdering his parents. enters a room without knocking this point even as early as absurdities that arose when
we shall see, she didn’t tell the said, “in most of the former So- After that he goes downhill: he at the door first.” 1996, when there was as yet production was organised not
joke very well. In particular, viet Union – we see not West- takes to robbing people in the She then drew her moral: very little nostalgia for the in response to markets and
she warned the audience in ern-style democracy and free streets. Soon he sinks to telling “That’s how it was with Com- ideas of either Communism price signals but to the brute
advance that it wasn’t very economies, but corruption, lies and spreading gossip. Final- munism. It began in terror or socialism. No young peo- instructions of central plan-
funny. So nobody laughed. cartels and gangsterism. There ly, he loses all shame, descends and mass murder and it ended ple told polls, as they do now, ning. He told of one factory
But she had more on her is a pervasive lack of trust and to the depths of depravity, and in petty corruption, ineffi- that they favoured ­socialism. making chandeliers which met

38 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 39


Starting in murder, ending in inefficiency

vacuumed decent moral val- The attacks on ited a crude, vulgarian, and
ues out of people, but they religion and coarse sensibility. In short,
were not replaced by the sup- conventional morality the moral and human legacy
via a corrupted
posedly higher moral values educational system of Communism was hardly
of Marxism – propaganda vacuumed decent less terrible than its economic
appeals to such values were moral values out impact. What began in mur-
widely mocked in a great vari- of people, but they der ended in social rudeness.
were not replaced
ety of anti-Communist jokes. Twenty years ago Mrs
by the supposedly
The result was widespread higher moral values Thatcher said to me in the
anomie and self-contempt. of Marxism – Green Room: “I’m sorry I
The general scarcity of ma- propaganda appeals messed up the joke. I was un-
terial goods, not surprisingly, to such values were
widely mocked in a easy about it.” I said: “I know
made people more materialist great variety of anti- you were. It was too harsh,
than ever before – by the end Communist jokes. The too cynical, for your taste.”
a girl would sell herself for a result was widespread She replied: “Oh, no. That
pair of jeans, alcoholism was anomie and self- wasn’t it. The problem was it
contempt.
rampant, smuggling was a was too painfully true.”
big business, and corruption But those who rose to the
its ­quotas, expressed in the matters for the last 30 years These material disasters, flourished to meet demands top of the Communist sys-
amount of raw material in- of the system, reform was however, were much less se- that Communism denied. tem performed none of the
puts, by making chandeliers so always slow or ineffectual rious than the human costs Above all, it was a fraud. social duties that aristocrats
large and heavy that wherever because it would soon run – which arose both from the When the immediate fervour and high bourgeois families
they were installed, the ceilings up against the state’s hostili- economic failure of Com- of the October Revolution have often performed in lib-
fell in. An economic reform- ty to private property, private munism and from the banal had faded, leading Com- eral capitalist societies. They
er himself, Khrushchev once investment, material incen- hypocrisy of its moral claims. munists – indeed, an entire founded no universities,
admitted wryly that when the tives, “kulakism,” or whatever It’s well known, of course, New Class of them – rigged commissioned no great artis-
entire world was fully Com- ideological bugaboo current- that the attitude of ordinary the system to benefit them- tic works, gave no grants for
munist, the Soviets would still ly ruled. But when we saw workers under Communism selves and their children medical research. The Com-
need to keep Switzerland cap- the out-of-date factories, the was: “They pretend to pay with “special hard currency munist ideology discouraged John O’Sullivan
italist in order to know what low-quality goods, the drab, us and we pretend to work.” shops,” country dachas, and such giving, of course; the is a journalist, author, lecturer
the price of anything was. dirty and polluted environ- They saw Communism as privileged access to foreign state was meant to have a and broadcaster. He is
But though he and oth- ment, and much else, we un- a gigantic conspiracy to de- travel. In 1974 I asked one monopoly on charity, as on editor at large of National
ers talked constantly of such derstood the legacy of Com- fraud them of their proper re- Review magazine, President
attendee at a Mont Pelerin everything else. of the Danube Institute in
munism in a much acute and ward. That led over time to a conference what he did for a But accounts of how se- Budapest, Associate Editor
Khrushchev once painful way. work culture that encouraged living. He replied: “I will tell nior Communist bureaucrats of the Hungarian Review,
admitted wryly that And it has taken almost absenteeism, thieving, work you but you will then realise
when the entire world lived and thought do not International Editor of
was fully Communist, a quarter of a century for go-slows, contempt for skills why I can tell you no more.” suggest they would have be- Quadrant Magazine in
the Soviets would nations formerly under the and efficiency, and a more I suppose I looked puzzled. haved more generously and Sydney, Australia, a Fellow of
still need to keep Soviet heel to unlearn the general cynicism. the National Review Institute,
He smiled and said: “I man- imaginatively even if permit-
Switzerland capitalist and co-founder and director
lessons of Communism in The attacks on religion and age the private hard-curren- ted to do so. Most – there
in order to know order to learn how to flourish conventional morality via a
of 21st Century Initiatives in
what the price of cy accounts of Soviet leaders were great and heroic excep- Washington DC.
anything was. in free economies. corrupted educational ­system in the West.” tions – seem to have exhib- @JohnOSullivanNR

40 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 41


The Fighting Force of the Icelandic
Communists marching with their
truncheons. Reykjavik, May 1, 1936.
Photo: Efling Archive.

MARX IN A COLD CLIMATE


by Hannes H. Gissurarson

E ven in remote, sparse-


ly populated Iceland,
the epic Twentieth Century
1918 when two Icelandic
students at Copenhagen Uni-
versity, Brynjolfur Bjarnason
countries, the Swede Fredrik
Ström, who sponsored their
trip to the 2nd Comintern
struggle between Commu- and Hendrik S. Ottosson, Congress in Moscow in 1920.
nism and democratic capital- participated in a street riot There they heard Vladi-
ism played itself out. The or- in Copenhagen, and became mir Lenin comment on the
igin of Iceland’s Communist political radicals. They got increased strategic impor-
movement can be traced all into contact with the main tance of Iceland in a potential
the way back to November Soviet agent in the Nordic war in the North Atlantic,

42 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 43


Brynjolfur Bjarnason
(the first and only Marx in a Cold Climate
chairman of the Icelandic
Communist Party,
1930–38) giving a speech
in Moscow on Lenin’s tablished in November 1930 Archives in Moscow re- Olgeirsson, frequently went only example I have found of
100th anniversary in
1970. Fifty years earlier, with Brynjolfur Bjarnason veal that the Icelandic Com- to Moscow, giving reports the Socialist Unity Party not
the Icelandic delegates
to the 1920 Comintern as its chairman. During the munist Party was closely and receiving advice (and adhering to the Moscow line
Congress had listened to
Lenin discuss Iceland’s
Depression, the Communists monitored and financially money). The party also toed was that it refused to con-
strategic importance. organised various violent supported by Comintern, the Soviet line in internation- demn those Communist par-
clashes with the police, most- by then tightly controlled al affairs, defending the infa- ties which had fallen out with
ly in connection with labour by Stalin and his clique. The mous show trials in Eastern the Kremlin leaders, such as
disputes. A Comintern agent, Party faithfully followed Europe and the Communist the Yugoslavian party in the
Willi Mielenz, was sent to changing directives from invasion of South Korea. late 1940s, and later the Al-
Iceland in 1932, probably Moscow, fighting against The Socialists staged violent banian and Chinese parties.
to advise on illegal activity, Social Democrats as “social demonstrations in the spring After the 1968 Soviet
which had been his specialty fascists” until 1934, but try- of 1949, when Iceland joined invasion of Czechoslova-
in the German Communist ing after that to establish a Nato. Archives in Moscow kia, those Icelandic social-
Party. The Icelandic Com- “United Front” with them. ists who wanted to sever ties
munists even organised a Unlike its counterparts in In today’s money, with Moscow gained the
the donations from
fighting force, modelled on other Western European Moscow amounted upper hand in the Socialist
as a result of new technolo- Communists had close ties the German Rot Front (Red countries, it succeeded in to €2.5 million a Unity Party. In the autumn
gy, including aeroplanes and to Comintern, sending repre- Front, the Communist fight- luring some leading social year on average, a of 1968 the People’s Alli-
submarines. The two Iceland- sentatives to all its congresses, ing force), and sent at least democrats into its camp, and significant sum indeed ance – which had previously
in a country where
ers also received some funds not only in 1920, but also in 23 Icelanders, from a tiny na- in October 1938, the Com- the population was existed as a loose electoral
to use for propaganda in 1921, 1922, 1924 and 1928. tion of only 100,000 people, munist Party was dissolved by that stage only just alliance – began to operate
Iceland. In Moscow Bjarna- Moreover, Comintern sent for revolutionary training in and the Socialist Unity Party reaching 200,000. as a party, while the Socialist
son and Ottosson met some agents to Iceland to help or- Moscow. established. Its first chairman Unity Party was dissolved.
future leaders of the inter- ganise a Communist party: One of those trainees, was social democrat Hedinn reveal that in the 1950s and The considerable properties
national Communist move- Olav Vegheim in 1925, Hugo Hallgrimur Hallgrimsson, Valdimarsson, but the Com- 1960s, the Socialist Unity that the Socialist Unity Party
ment, such as the German later fought in the Spanish munists controlled the party, Party received substantial had accumulated, most likely
propaganda master – from In the next few years a Civil War, besides two other as became obvious in late financial support directly with Soviet money, remained
whom Goebbels learned a small but determined Icelandic Communists. In 1939, when Valdimarsson from the Soviet Communist in the hands of the old lead-
Communist nucleus –
lot – Willi Münzenberg, consisting mostly of the 1937 elections, the Party and some of his followers left Party, and important assis- ership of the Socialist Unity
later killed on Stalin’s orders. university students received 8.4 per cent of the in disgust over the Commu- tance from it and from other Party, but were later sold to
They also befriended Mátyas returning home votes. By now, it was strong- nists’ unwavering support of Communist parties in Cen- solve a financial crisis in the
Rákosi, who was to become from Denmark and ly supported by many Ice- Stalin’s policies, including tral Europe, in particular the People’s Alliance.
Germany – formed
the notorious Hungarian landic intellectuals, includ- the Non-Aggression Pact East German Socialist Unity Some leading members of
in Iceland, becoming
despot. the radical wing of ing novelist Halldor Kiljan with Hitler and the invasion Party, SED. the People’s Alliance, includ-
In the next few years a the Social Democratic Laxness, who was to receive of Finland. The Communist In today’s money, the ing Ludvik Josepsson (chair-
small but determined Com- Party. the Nobel Prize in literature. Einar Olgeirsson became donations from Moscow man 1977–80) and Svavar
munist nucleus – consisting Laxness wrote an influen- chairman of the Socialist amounted to €2.5 million Gestsson (chairman 1980–
mostly of university students Sillén in 1928 and 1930, and tial travelogue on the Soviet Unity Party. a year on average, a signifi- 87), discreetly maintained
returning home from Den- Haavard Langseth, Harry Union, defending the 1938 The close ties with Mos- cant sum indeed in a country ties to the Soviet Union, for
mark and Germany – formed Levin and (possibly) Viggo trial of Bukharin and other cow remained. Leading where the population was by example in visits to Moscow.
in Iceland, becoming the Hansteen in 1930. old Bolsheviks, which he members of the Socialist that stage only just reaching In 1967-8, Gestsson had at-
radical wing of the Social Finally, the Icelandic attended as guest of Soviet Unity Party, such as Kris- 200,000. Needless to say, this tended a special cadre school
Democratic Party. Those Communist Party was es- authorities. tinn E. Andresson and Einar was kept strictly secret. The in East Berlin, Institut für

44 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 45


Marx in a Cold Climate
CONSERVATIVE BOOKS

Gesellschaftswissenschaften bei There were probably three volunteered to harvest sugar


ZK der SED (the Institute for
Social Sciences of the Central
main reasons why the Ice-
landic Communists gained
cane in Cuba in the 1980s,
proudly defending the op-
THE ILIAD, BY HOMER
Committee of the Socialist more support than their Nor- pressive regime there.
(TRANSLATED BY E.V. RIEU, PENGUIN CLASSICS)
Unity Party), supposed to dic comrades: Iceland, like Significantly, also, the by James Delingpole
be the highest educational Finland (where the Commu- very last act of the People’s
institution for the country’s nists were also strong) was Alliance, in November 1998, In each issue, James Delingpole reviews a book which may not be
communist elite. After 1968, a new state, gaining sover- was to accept an invitation recent in its publication, but which conservatives should read.
however, Gestsson and other eignty only in 1918, so civic from the Cuban Communist
leading socialists increasingly
turned to Ceausescu’s Ro-
mania and Castro’s Cuba for
traditions were weaker than
in the three Scandinavian
Party. The Icelandic delega-
tion to Cuba included the A century ago this re-
view would have been
unnecessary. As a civilised,
boring or worthy. For lovers
of literature it’s a thrilling
opportunity to witness the
countries; in this period she former chairman and govern-
inspiration. was also, like Finland, much ment minister, Svavar Gests- educated person you would birth of the canon, for movie
During its lifetime, be- poorer than her Scandina- son, and the last chairman already have been more buffs it’s a chance to meet
tween 1938 and 1968, the vian neighbours; thirdly, the (from 1995), Margret Fri- than familiar with Homer’s those Greek gods and he-
Socialist Unity Party was generous support from Mos- mannsdottir. The Icelandic Iliad – probably in the orig- roes in their original incar-
stronger than its counterparts political pilgrims had hopes inal Greek. Perhaps, like the nations, for war enthusiasts
in most other Western Euro- of seeing the dictator, Fidel doomed poet Rupert Brooke, it has violence that makes
Significantly, also, the
pean countries. It received, Castro, who did not how- you would have declaimed Saving Private Ryan look like
very last act of the
for example, 19.5 per cent of People’s Alliance, in ever bother to receive them. it across the Aegean on your Written sometime Mary Poppins, and for drugs
the votes in 1949 and 16 per November 1998, was Thus, the history of the Ice- way to Gallipoli; or carried between 760 and connoisseurs it’s quite possi-
cent in 1953. Its chairman to accept an invitation landic Communist move- the copy you won as a school 710 BC, and originally bly the trippiest thing you’ll
from the Cuban prize to the trenches, as both designed, of course, experience outside the influ-
to the end, Einar Olgeirsson, Communist Party. ment ended, in the poet’s to be recited rather
remained a staunch support- words, not with a bang, but consolation and inspiration. than read, The Iliad ence of LSD.
er of the Soviet regime. The a whimper. It is, after all, the first and came before the main It’s a strange, fragmen-
People’s Alliance, mostly cow may have had a real im- arguably greatest work in Greek philosophers, tary work which begins­
Western literature about men the Roman Empire, in ­medias res. The Trojan wars
controlled by the socialists, pact on this tiny island.
Christianity, the
participated five times in While the Socialist Unity and war. Renaissance and the have been raging for years in
government during the Cold Party was in effect a Com- So why is it so relatively Enlightenment. This is virtual stalemate, with the
War, in 1956–8, 1971–4, munist party, the same can- little-read today? One reason, Western civilisation in Greeks still camped by their
1978–9, 1980–83, and not be said about the People’s perhaps, is that it has become its rawest, wildest, most ships on the beach, and the
a victim of its own near-leg- untutored state. Trojans still secure in their
1988–1991, and some of its Alliance, which operated as a
ministers were old Stalinists, party between 1968 and 1998 endary status. It has a reputa- city of Ilium.
including Ludvik Josepsson when it split, with some join- tion so dauntingly huge that At this point the Greeks
James Delingpole
and Magnus Kjartansson, ing a new Social Democratic few dare broach it for fear of is a conservative columnist are in trouble. Though fate
neither of whom ever repent- Alliance and others founding Hannes H. Gissurarson
being either tragically disap- and novelist who has written has decided they’re eventually
ed publicly. While the social- a Left Green Party. However, is Professor of Politics at pointed or bored rigid by its for publications including the going to win, they’ve just lost
ists failed to move Iceland epic worthiness. Daily Mail, Daily Express, The their best fighter – the arro-
many in the People’s Alliance the University of Iceland
and author of many books, But The Iliad, which I Times, The Daily Telegraph, gant, petulant, angry, fickle,
into the Soviet orbit, they had sympathy with the Com-
including a history of Icelandic and The Spectator. He is
remained influential both in munist states. Some of my read only in full (and in E.V. cruel and deeply unlikeable
communism, Islenskir also the executive editor of
the labour movement and on Left-wing colleagues at the Rieu’s Penguin translation) Breitbart London. His latest Achilles –  who has downed
kommunistar 1918–1998,
the cultural front. University of Iceland even published in 2011.
myself the other day, is not book is Watermelons. tools and retired to his tent
remotely disappointing, @jamesdelingpole in an epic sulk, ­having ­been

46 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 47


James Delingpole
CONSERVATIVE BOOKS

No man dies in The slighted by King Agam- What, then, are its pri- an open fire, put on skewers ple, having killed their enemy predatory wild beasts – you
Iliad without your emnon, who has stolen his orities? One, definitely, is and offered to gods. “Wow,” in single combat their aim is can tell the preoccupations of
being told precisely mistress. piety. Neglect the gods, who you think. “This is litera- to strip him of his valuable the era by the detail lavished
what the spear did
to his teeth or the We have entered a world control everything, and you ture’s first kebab barbecue.” armour and then mutilate his on them – The Iliad has an
sword to his entrails. whose values and outlook are doomed. Show them Equally important is per- body. In order to avoid this obsession with the physical
You’re struck by predate almost all the cultur- real devotion, on the other sonal courage. This, remem- collective dishonour, those details of death bordering on
how intimate both al influences that have shaped hand, and they’ll see you ber, is the Age of Heroes and on the opposing side will re- the surgical, or autoptical. No
author and audience
the way we think. Written right, as for example Zeus wars appear to be won not sist with equal ferocity. “But man dies in The Iliad without
would have been
with the niceties of sometime between 760 and does to his beloved Achil- by massed troops in disci- he’s dead, it’s over!” you want your being told precisely what
violent death, inured 710 BC, and originally de- les. (Well, until Achilles’s plined formation, but rather to protest. No one’s listening the spear did to his teeth or the
almost to the point of signed, of course, to be recit- luck runs out – as the Fates by the extraordinary prowess to you, though. Their world, sword to his entrails. You’re
indifference. ed rather than read, The Iliad have decreed it must, for of mighty individuals. They their weird code. struck by how intimate both
came before the main Greek not even gods can overrule operate according to a pagan Apart from quality ar- author and audience would
philosophers, the Roman the Fates). There’s a delight- rule book rather shocking till mour, horses, weaponry, an- have been with the niceties of
Empire, Christianity, the Re- ful moment in Book One, you get used to it. For exam- cestry, extreme weather, and violent death, inured almost
naissance and the Enlighten- where Homer describes in to the point of indifference.
ment. This is Western civili- loving detail how an ox is Almost. There’s a won-
sation in its rawest, wildest, ritually slaughtered and its derfully moving moment to-
most untutored state. choicest bits are cooked over wards the end when Andro-
mache, wife of the recently
slain Hector, prophetically
laments the miserable future
of poverty and loneliness
now to be endured by their
son Astyanax “who used to
sit on his father’s knees and
eat nothing but marrow and
mutton fat and when he was
drowsy and tired of play slept
in his bed, softly cradled in
his nurse’s arms, heart full of
contentment”.
This moment of human
empathy reaches to us across
the millennia in a way the
stylised battle clashes never
can. Deep down, you realise,
our ancestors were just like
us, really. They just needed
a couple of thousand years
more civilisation to polish up
a few rough edges.

48 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 49


OUTING YOURSELF AS A
RIGHTIST ISN’T EASY
by Nigel Biggar Growing old has its
advantages. One is
that we come to know
our own mind more

I was certainly in the sixties,


but I was never of them.
Born in 1955, I grew up
Nevertheless, my Inner
Edwardian refused to vacate
my soul, and so I found the
clearly; the other,
that we cease to care
so much what others
think of it.
alongside the post-war emer- cultural changes swirling
gence of pop culture, the around me painful and un- not that I am always sure of
rumble of resentment against settling, and I resisted swal- myself; it’s rather that I feel
Americans as they waxed and lowing the New Narrative that I have a vocation and a
we waned, the flourishing of whole. But observing that the duty to say it as I see it. If I’m
utopian flower-power, and tide was against me, I went proven wrong, then we’ll all
the associated debunking of into inner exile. learn through the proving.
all the old certainties and he- Growing old has its ad- But if I’m right, then what I
roes. While Blackadder didn’t vantages. One is that we say needs to be heard. Either
dare to mock the Battle of come to know our own mind way, the truth wins out.
Britain pilots, he was merci- more clearly; the other, that I first started making
less in his caricature of their we cease to care so much trouble in 2013, when I
fathers. what others think of it. It’s published a book called­­

50 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 51


Outing yourself as a rightist isn’t easy

Sneering at whole simply because I believe it. Then came the First World he targeted the class of Chris- students, that amounts to no interest. History, it seems,
tribes is what we call And rather than tackle the War. Late in 2013 I had pub- tian theologians, and because about 10 per cent of the stu- is merely an armoury from
“bigotry”. Had he argument, they preferred to lished an article in Stand- he is an eminent Man of the dent body. They were a small which to ransack politically
chosen Jews, blacks
or gays, it would tackle my integrity. point, which argued that that Left, it was fair game. minority, but an intimidat- expedient weapons.
have cost him his The same thing hap- Britain was right to go to war And then there was ing one. During the debate, So what are the morals of
job. But because he pened the following year in 1914. Early in the New Rhodes. Because of my sym- every statement by an RMF my story? One, that academ-
targeted the class of when I produced a book that Year Michael Gove praised pathy for the British empire, proponent met promptly ics – despite their self-percep-
Christian theologians,
argues – with oodles of qual- it in the Daily Mail, provok- and because I’d been reading with a storm of cheers and tion – are no more morally
and because he is an
eminent Man of the ification – in favour of the ing the Cambridge historian about the history of British in- applause. If you weren’t pay- virtuous than any other class
Left, it was fair game. nation-state, a certain sort of Richard Evans to enter the volvement in South Africa for ing attention, you’d have of people. The fact that aca-
patriotism, the Anglican es- lists in the New Statesman, the past four summers, when demics are unusually clever
In Defence of War. My paci- tablishment, and (even) the where he dismissed what I’d the Rhodes Must Fall (RMF) The fact that academics doesn’t make them unusually
are unusually clever
fist confrères were, of course, British empire. In response, written as “absurd”, declining movement started to besiege doesn’t make them honest, just, or charitable.
aghast. But even others a colleague of 30 years, who to offer reasons while sneer- Oriel College in the autumn unusually honest, just, The second moral is more
baulked at my defence of has never once taken the ing at the “self-importance of of 2015, I felt moved to act, or charitable. hopeful. The zealous certain-
military intervention with- trouble to engage me in con- his [ie, my] tribe”. Sneering first of all in print and then in ty of a minority can tie the
out UN authorisation. One versation on these matters, at whole tribes is what we call a debate at the Oxford Union. thought the audience over- tongues of an uncertain ma-
whispered to me that I was published a review in which “bigotry”. But in this case About that debate two whelmingly supportive. But jority. But when someone
abusing my authority as an he described my opinions as Evans was shrewd in lining things are remarkable. First at one moment I decided to dares to stand up and out,
eminent professor; another, “glorying in their unfashion- up the victims of his preju- was the opening sally of one of look rather than listen, and others begin to find their
that I was just being “contrar- ability”. No responsible, ra- dice. Had he chosen Jews, my opponents, Richard Dray- observed that, during the voices, reassured that what
ian”. Somehow they couldn’t tional engagement. Not even blacks or gays, it would have ton. Drayton argued that, if thunderous applause, most they think can be said in
compute that I say what I do charity. cost him his job. But because he were to presume to offer of those present were actually public without risking social
his opinions on the theolo- sitting on their hands. death. For, despite appear-
gy of the eucharist, he, as an But the most shocking ances, they are not alone in
historian of Africa, wouldn’t revelation of the whole con- thinking it.
deserve to be taken seriously. troversy was that the RMF
Therefore, nor should mine activists had no interest in
on Rhodes, I being a mere the truth. I laid out my views
theologian. Had there been in the London Times in De-
time to respond, I’d have said cember 2015, in the Oxford
that, had an Africanist shared Union debate in January
his views on the eucharist, I’d 2016, and in Standpoint that
have treated them on their March. Those views included
merits, and that it was dis- a demonstration that the quo-
appointing that he wouldn’t tation usually cited as proof of
extend the same justice to me. Rhodes’ genocidal racism is a Nigel Biggar
Then there was the intim- mixture of fiction, distortion, is Regius Professor of Moral
and Pastoral Theology, and
idation. The RMF group in and fabrication. No one at all
Director of the McDonald
Oxford was little more than has challenged my account, Centre for Theology, Ethics,
2,000 strong. On the gen- either then or since. The and Public Life at the
erous assumption that they truth about the past, and the University of Oxford.
were all Oxford University duty to do justice to it, is of @NigelBiggar

52 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 53


between Western Europe and deficiencies in this area are Politicians play too
Eastern Europe (nations that unlikely to prosper regardless of large a role in the
were part of the Soviet Bloc) allocation of capital
their policies in the other four
in former Communist
is that the former get much areas.”  nations.
better scores for “Legal Sys- To be sure, looking at av-
tem and Property Rights.” erages for entire regions bur- still some vestigial suspicion
Indeed, the average ranking ies some important details. of markets.
of Western European na- Estonia, which is part of To make matters worse,
tions is 20.6 (with 1 being Eastern Europe, ranks 23rd the transition away from
the best) while the average in this key category. Italy, Communism often exac-
ranking of Eastern European meanwhile, is ranked only at erbated that scepticism. In
countries is 67.1 (Economic number 70, notwithstand- some cases, the process of
Freedom of the World ranks ing the fact that it is part of privatisation created wind-
159 jurisdictions). Western Europe. And Po- fall gains for those with
Why does this matter? land ranks 45th, much better special connections to gov-
The Fraser Institute argues than Greece, which ranks ernment. And in cases when
that a bad score for this 62nd. privatisation didn’t occur,
variable makes widespread But this actually rein- that meant governments
prosperity much harder to forces the argument. Esto- providing subsidies to state-
achieve: nia and Poland are two of owned enterprises. Yet those
“The key ingredients of a the more successful nations subsidies generally get tar-
legal system consistent with to emerge from the wreck- geted to insiders. To the de-
WITHOUT THE RULE OF LAW, economic freedom are rule of age of Communism. Italy gree that these examples of

STATES ARE DOOMED TO POVERTY law, security of property rights,


an independent and unbiased
and Greece, by contrast, are
plagued by moribund and
cronyism are perceived as
being part of the capitalist
by Daniel J. Mitchell judiciary, and impartial and anaemic economies. These system, it’s understandable
Most nations that effective enforcement of the nations confirm that the that ordinary people are less
emerged have law… Security of property rule of law (which is basi- than enthused about the

C ommunism was an government-run industries done a decent job rights, protected by the rule of cally what is captured by market economy.
awful system for peo- were among the policies that of establishing
democracy. law, provides the foundation “Legal System and Property How pervasive is the
ple trapped behind the Iron resulted in a debilitating Establishing genuine for both economic freedom and Rights”) is critically import- problem? Once again, the
Curtain. The political cost misallocation of resourc- capitalism, though, the efficient operation of mar- ant for a prosperous market database from Economic
was enormous. Personal es. And because labour and has been a bigger kets… Perhaps more than any economy. Freedom of the World is very
rights and individual liber- capital were poorly utilised, challenge.
other area, this area is essential Culture also matters. Peo- instructive. If you examine
ties were sacrificed to pro- living standards lagged far for the efficient allocation of re- ple behind the Iron Curtain the overall ratings for “size
tect the power of the state. behind Western nations. lishing genuine capitalism, sources. Countries with major were subjected to decades of of government”, Eastern Eu-
Human rights were abused, The eventual collapse of though, has been a bigger propaganda about the sup- ropean nations are actually
dissidents were imprisoned, the Soviet Empire freed hun- challenge. Part of the prob- People behind the posed inequity and iniquity ranked significantly better,
and some killed. Commu- dreds of millions of people lem is policy. And to be more Iron Curtain were of the capitalist system. And with an average ranking of
nism also imposed huge eco- from political tyranny. And specific, data from the Fras- subjected to decades even if they intellectually un- 89.2 compared with 129.2
nomic costs. Collectivised most nations that emerged er’s Institute’s Economic Free- of propaganda about
the supposed inequity derstand that they are better for Western European coun-
agriculture, central plan- have done a decent job of es- dom of the World shows that and iniquity of the off today because the Soviet tries. This is because tax
ning, price controls, and tablishing democracy. Estab- the major difference today capitalist system. Union disintegrated, there’s rates tend to be lower (many

54 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 55


Without the rule of law, states are doomed to powerty
CONSERVATIVE WINE

is important, according to vours in exchange for power


Economic Freedom or the
World, because it:
and money.
However, there is no TRUMP MIGHT NOT DRINK
“…measures the extent to
which countries use private
alternative to reform in a
competitive global economy.
- BUT HE’LL DRIVE UP SALES
investment and enterprises Nations that maintain statist by Iain Martin
rather than government in- policies will lose jobs, invest-
vestment and firms to direct ment, and entrepreneurs to
resources. Governments and
state-owned enterprises play
by rules that are different
countries where there is bet-
ter protection of the rule of
law and less economic inter-
P olitics right now is
enough to make any-
one turn to drink, although
America has a compli-
cated relationship with
alcohol rooted in religion
from those to which private vention. For Eastern Euro- perhaps not the teetotal and a phobia of fecklessness
enterprises are subject. They pean nations, which already President of the United – it is a country defined by
are not dependent on con- face severe demographic States. Although it is highly the search for self-improve-
sumers for their revenue or challenges because of age- questionable whether “the ment. In the Progressive era
on investors for capital. They ing populations and falling Donald” is in any respect a there were assorted moral
often operate in protected birthrates, the loss of pro- conservative (it seems not) panics about booze. Then
markets. Thus, economic free- ductive resources – especial- it is beyond doubt that he the theory of abstinence
dom is reduced as government ly the emigration of young never drinks alcohol. America has a was tested to destruction
enterprises produce a larger people – is a crippling blow. I am not sure how I complicated during the Prohibition era
f­ormer Soviet Bloc nations share of total output.” The bottom line is that feel about this. Watching relationship with alcohol from 1919 to 1933, when
Trump’s antics on Twitter rooted in religion and a the effect was quite the op-
have flat tax regimes, for in- In other words, politi- post-Communist nations
phobia of fecklessness.
stance) and welfare states ar- cians play too large a role need to choose genuine and in the Oval Office from posite of that intended by
en’t as burdensome. in the allocation of capital capitalism if they want a a distance, the thought oc- puritanical reformers.
But if you dig into the in former Communist na- brighter future for their curs that a martini at the bar Iain Martin The ban on alcohol
of New York’s Carlyle Hotel, is a commentator on politics forced imbibing under-
details and examine the var- tions. And when you com- citizens.
and finance. His latest book
ious components that de- bine low scores for rule of or even a glass of excellent ground, giving it an illicit
Crash Bang Wallop: the
termine size of government, law with poor scores for Californian pinot noir at the inside story of London’s attraction. Arguably, this
there’s one area where East- government control of in- Trump hotel in Washington, Big Bang and a financial lust for the allure of the
ern Europe lags behind. The vestment and allocation of might help him cope. Would revolution that changed the forbidden hard liquor even
numbers for “Government capital, this underscores the it have a calming effect on world is published by Sceptre. helped fuel the incredible
the President and introduce He is based in London. intensity of the late 1920s
Enterprises and Invest- need for further reforms in
@iainmartin1
ment” are better in West- Eastern Europe. However, a little introspection to his economic boom, by mak-
ern Europe. This variable such changes are difficult in limited emotional reper- ing the search for the party
nations where people incor- toire? On second thoughts, plate. The military implica- a defining pursuit among
Nations that maintain rectly think that cronyism is even in the initiated drink tions do not bear thinking the rich and the aspiration-
statist policies will can exaggerate pre-existing about.  Mr President, sir, al. America went, merrily,
lose jobs, investment, part of capitalism. Particu-
and entrepreneurs to larly when politicians don’t personality traits and flaws. step away from the drinks mad. The resulting hang-
countries where there have much incentive to re- Daniel J. Mitchell The notion of that first ever cabinet. It is imperative for over in the Depression was
is better protection is a libertarian economist and the future of mankind that
form policies, since genuine martini making Trump even something to behold.
of the rule of law senior fellow at the
capitalism means they have more boastful and combat- Donald Trump remains In the modern era it is
and less economic Cato Institute.
intervention. less ability to hand out fa- @danieljmitchell ive is too much to contem- teetotal. quite normal to hear an

56 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 57


Iain Martin
CONSERVATIVE WINE

American acquaintance in human race has not yet de- ed to drink to forget, pos-
business or politics say that vised any way of dissolving sibly to forget the weather
they do not really drink. By barriers, getting to know and so on.
this they mean that they the other chap fast, break- Developments in recent
will never drink at lunch- ing the ice, that is one- decades have left the Brit-
time. But they will meet tenth as handy and effi- ish the most confused of
you at their favourite bar cient as letting you and the the lot, as northern Europe-
in Manhattan at the close other chap, or chaps, cease ans who have fallen for the
of the working day where to be totally sober at about charms of southern Europe.
they will in the course of the same rate in agreeable The beery English ale tra-
45 minutes demolish three surroundings.” dition, and hard drinking
martinis, while you sip a Scottish culture, has been
small glass of wine, before supplemented by the mass
The fetishising of the
they high-tail it to Grand cocktail and fussiness market discovery of wine,
Central Station in New about ingredients thanks to European travel
York for the commuter is an American and the search for a cosmo-
train home to Greenwich speciality. politan lifestyle. In the UK,
where they collapse in front lager louts co-exist with
of Netflix. Amis was a chap writing stressed middle class types
The fetishising of the when women were far less glugging gallons of appall-
cocktail and fussiness about likely to drink. And ulti- ing Pinot Grigio.
ingredients is an American mately he himself was not The emphasis on health,
speciality, and as Kings- a good advert for drinking. and the continual pressure
ley Amis said in Everyday It got him in the end, as his from the state to watch it,
Drinking – one of his three friend Christopher Hitch- means that even those of us
studies of the subject – ens said, robbing him of his who admit we enjoy good
there are cocktail bores as “wit and charm as well as wine do sometimes make a
well as wine bores, who can health.” sustained effort to abstain.
be defined as people who Today, we are encour- I have just experienced one
take more interest in the aged to be much more of my pathetic and doomed
technicalities than in the mindful of the impact of annual attempts at drink-
taste. excess. Even in southern ing only mineral water for
The technicalities mat- Europe, with its traditions a while. Once again, after
ter, of course they do, but of supping slowly and ven- a week, my campaign col-
the universal core aim erating the connection be- lapsed, leaving my efforts a
should be the possibility tween food and wine, there complete failure.
of transcendence through is an emphasis on reducing The blame lay with a
pleasure, or short of that intake. The Northern Euro- brilliant friend, a well-con-
just relaxation conducive to pean hordes – German wine nected wizard at the tech-
conversation or comrade- connoisseurs apart – are nology investing game,
ship. As Amis put it: “The different because they tend- who hosted a d ­inner in

58 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 59


Iain Martin
CONSERVATIVE WINE

As we ate and drank lower taxes and deregu- at times  apocalyptic  dis-
properly mature wine lation. It is in the arena cussion was improved by
we discussed the of foreign policy and de- the wine, and after several
possibility that the
immature Trump may fence, and the frighten- glasses laughter about the
succeed. ing power a US president President’s peculiarities
has in an emergency, that filled the room. Wine had
honour of a senior editor the far greater concern helped us see the funny
from an esteemed Amer- lies. This fascinating if side.
ican newspaper passing
through London on a
Brexit tour. My resolve
was unshakeable, until our
host ordered an unafford-
able (unaffordable for me,
not him) jeroboam (large
format) of Chateau Latour
1986.  Good wine is sent
to test us, just like Donald
Trump, and I failed the
test and nodded in the af-
firmative to the offer of a
glass.
Latour is one of the
greatest of the Bordeaux
wines, and this one, drink-
ing  beautifully, was made
in one of my favourite
years. So much that is in-
RADICAL CHIC: HOW GENOCIDE
teresting and significant
happened in 1986 in Brit-
REMAINS FASHIONABLE
ain. It was the high water- by Daniel Johnson
mark of Thatcherism, and

C
a vintage period for Brit- ommunist chic is back. tivates countless academics first edition of Das Kapital
ish theatre and pop music. Or rather, it never re- and intellectuals in the West. now costs more than £1.3
As we ate and drank ally went away. When Fidel For them the ideology is a million. In February the
properly mature wine we Castro died last year, he was vocation; in China or North British Communist news-
discussed the possibility eulogised by the coolest of Korea that ideology is still a paper, the Morning Star,
that the immature Trump Western leaders, Canada’s matter of life and death. featured an eight-page sec-
may succeed on the econ- Justin Trudeau, among many This nostalgia for Com- tion to mark the death of
omy, with  his  policy of others. Nostalgia for the munism may take a highly a nonagenarian comrade,
heyday of Marxism still mo- commercial form. A signed Kevin Halpin, whose widow

60 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 61


Anita just happens to be the
heiress to a large fortune.
One of the works of art she
inherited recently sold for
£20 million. Nothing, as
Communists used to say, is
too good for the workers.
The public sector is
also gullible. For instance:
a collection of agitprop
footage from the USSR,
China, Cuba, Vietnam and
Eastern Europe – assem-
bled by Stanley Forman, a
British Communist, “from
his personal contacts in
the socialist world” – has
just been acquired by the
publicly-funded British
Film Institute to “provide
a counter-view to Western
perceptions of Commu-
nist states and their ac-
tions”. How would taxpay-
ers feel about their money
being used to buy Nazi
propaganda?
For anyone who remem-
bers the Cold War, or who
knows countries where
Communism is still the es-
tablished religion, the per-
sistence of its glamour and 94 million. That number million, were killed by the the universe gave Mr Xi a who did was Xu Hongci. Party’s] countless politi-
influence into the Twen- has not been seriously chal- Chinese Communist Party. rapturous reception. How He spent 14 years in a cal campaigns, and an in-
ty-First Century makes one lenged and the total has Last January, the elite of many of them had given a labour camp under Mao, credibly lucky survivor.”
shudder. Communism’s risen since, perhaps to 100 the capitalist West gath- thought to the thousands but escaped in 1972. The odds against Xu’s sur-
death toll may never be million, as old estimates ered in Davos to listen to still incarcerated in China’s His memoir, No Wall Too vival were a million to one.
definitive, but the interna- are revised upwards and the leader of that party, Xi equivalent of the Soviet High, has been posthu- Harry Wu, who wrote the
tional team of scholars who Communism claims new Jinping, extol the virtues Gulag, the Laogai? mously translated and history of the Laogai, said
compiled The Black Book of victims. of globalisation, in an im- Unlike the Gulag, few edited by Erling Hoh. that escape was impossible:
Communism two decades More than half of all plied contrast to President ever survived the Laogai, “I am one of the tens of “All of China was a prison
ago put the grand total at these victims, some 60 Trump. The masters of let alone escaped. One millions of victims of [the in those days.” Though

62 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 63


Radical chic: How genocide remains fashionable

much else has changed in Half of 16-24 year destruction that Commu- who were never even born A century later, even taking Nostalgia has conse-
China, its totalitarian the- olds have never nists left behind, but the because their parents dared into account the breakup of quences. About one in seven
ory and practice have not. heard of Lenin; human cost paid by more not bring them into the the Soviet Union, the Rus- Germans have convinced
seven out of ten
In the late 1980s, I than a billion people over world under such a system. I sian population has stag- themselves that the Com-
know nothing
served as Daily Telegraph of Mao. the past century who lived am not just thinking of Chi- nated while the American munist regime under which
correspondent in Germa- under these evil empires. na’s cruel One Child policy, has more than doubled. The many of them lived for 40
ny and Central Europe. In obvious contrast in wealth Those who survived had but of the fall in birthrates contrast is even greater if liv- years was “not all bad”, to
1989 I had a ringside seat between the Eastern and their lives blighted by Lenin’s and life expectancy in Sovi- ing standards are taken into the extent that they are pre-
to watch the 1917 revolu- Western sides of the Iron legacy just as surely as those et Russia. In 1917, Russia account. pared to vote for Die Linke,
tion go into reverse. What Curtain, nor even the who did not. And there are and the United States had Yet we are failing to a party that brazenly de-
haunts me is not just the bloody trail of death and hundreds of millions more populations of similar size. learn the lessons of this all fends that regime. It is quite
too recent history. A recent possible that after Septem-
report by Dennis Sewell ber’s federal election these
revealed that among Brit- crypto-Communists could
ons born since 1989, most be in government as part of
know little about the Cold a coalition of the Left.
War, much less about Com- What this means is that
munism. Half of 16-24 those of us old enough to
year olds have never heard bear witness to what Com-
of Lenin; seven out of ten munism did in the past,
know nothing of Mao. and is still doing to mil-
They are less likely to asso- lions, have a duty to en-
ciate crimes against human- sure that future generations
ity with Communist dicta- never forget the results of
tors than with Tony Blair. this inhuman experiment.
In British universities If we do not, then human-
where, as a recent Adam ity is doomed to repeat
Smith Institute report demon- them.
strated, only 10 per cent of
academics vote Conservative,
students live in a monoculture
which is blind to the carnage
done in the name of the Left.
Academics are more likely to
romanticise the 1960s than
to teach undergraduates how
Castro was then putting gay
Cubans into concentration
camps, or how Mao’s Cultur-
Daniel Johnson
al Revolution did the same to is a British journalist who
professors, while vandalising is the founding editor of
the art and architecture of an- Standpoint.
cient China. @DanBJohnson

64 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 65


g­etting health insurance.” has spent so long in the eco- is that he admits to being a
In the accompanying pho- nomic doldrums. No genera- socialist, albeit of the demo-
tograph, Krupp cups his hot tion since the invention of the cratic variety. Elizabeth War-
chocolate and wears a one- nuclear family has returned to ren, his rival and inheritor,
piece romper suit in black the parental basement in such insists that she is not. She is
and red plaid. He looks like numbers. a progressive – progressing,
he has been rescued from a The rhetoric of protec- that is, back to the ’30s, when
backwoods fetish party. tion recurs in the cant of big-state liberalism began. A
In the New Deal and environmentalism and social Trotskyite like Sanders would
the Civil Rights Act, Dem- justice. From whom are the probably like to be too.
ocratic administrations used young to be protected? The Where children have ide-
the state’s power to aid the capitalists who, not satisfied als, the parents have ideolo-
poor and guarantee the legal with despoiling the plan- gies. The young believe they
equality of minorities. The et, then exclude minorities are moving forward, but
power of the state grew ac- from the chance to share in the leaders of the Left are
cordingly – and with it, the the profits. Who will protect marching backwards. Social-
temptations to intrude into the children and preserve ism always did mask nostal-
private life, and to engineer gia for simpler times in the
social outcomes through The Pyjama Boys and sheen of technology; here
Girls of tomorrow are
corporatist economics. By being indoctrinated again, Sanders, the urbanite
the second Obama term, it with an expensive who went back to the land
LEFTIST TEACHERS, seemed reasonable to sug- form of propaganda.
It may, like Twentieth
in Vermont, has the virtue of

SNOWFLAKE STUDENTS gest that children should


use Christmas dinner, one
Century socialism,
fail when tested by
his defects.
The revival of socialism in
by Dominic Green of the last family rituals, to reality. America in the early Twenty-­
Back in 1989, the convince their parents of the First Century should not be
year that socialism
was supposed to government’s wisdom. It was the future? Only the state a surprise. The emotional

C hildren, as Whitney
Houston observed in
The Greatest Love Of All, are
the six-year-old black girl
who goes to school with a
police escort in the 1964
have died, the elite
universities of New
England had five
electorally sensible, if not bi-
ologically plausible, to rede-
possesses the legal powers,
the bureaucratic resources,
impulse that attaches itself
to socialist ideas will always
fine childhood, by allowing and the necessary reservoir be with us. Socialism of-
the future. To understand painting The Problem We liberals for every fers managerial solutions to
conservative. children to remain on their of other people’s money to
the decline of the Demo- All Live With. The sight of parents’ health insurance change the quality of our metaphysical problems, and
cratic Party and the future Ethan Krupp in his pyjamas, handful of unaccountable until the age of 26. air or the composition of it gives political answers to
of socialism, compare the however, alarms in a differ- insurance companies. In De- Previous generations our boardrooms. Complete emotional questions. If that
children in the political art ent way. cember 2013, as America’s chafed at parental control. To- protection requires complete sounds like university life, it
of Walker Evans, Norman Mr Krupp, for those who students prepared to take day’s overgrown children de- control. is not by accident. The mod-
Rockwell, and Ethan Krupp. have repressed this image, their laundry home, a pro- mand protection. Rather than If this is socialism by an- ern socialist revival was incu-
In the 1930s, Evans’ pho- was the face and body of Obama group named Or- take their chances in a difficult other name, it is because bated on campus.
tographs of pinched-faced the Obama administration’s ganising For Action tweeted economy, Pyjama Boy’s gen- the name of socialism is still In the 1980s, the Left
Okie children in the De- pitch that the best way to an idea for discussion over eration has chosen moral and fouled by the history of the lost the economic battle,
pression challenged the con- provide America’s poor with the turkey and trimmings: economic infantilism. The Twentieth Century. Perhaps but it won the cultural war
science. So did Rockwell’s health care was to contract “Wear pyjamas. Drink price is arrested development. the only good thing that can of attrition. Gramsci’s talk
portrait of Ruby Bridges, the whole business out to a hot chocolate. Talk about No generation since the ’30s be said of Bernie Sanders of the “march through the

66 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 67


Leftist teachers, snowflake students
CONSERVATIVE INDIA

INDIA IS HELD BACK BY THE


ANTI-WESTERN BACKWARDNESS
OF HER RULING BROWN SAHIBS
by Madhav Das Nalapat

I n the thirty-fourth para-


graph of his 1835 Min-
ute on Education, Thomas
tastes, opinions and intel-
lect”, although more than
a few did adopt the moral
Babington Macaulay visual- hypocrisies of the Victorian
ised the creation of a class of era, a tendency still flour-
individuals “Indian in blood ishing in a country that has
and colour but English in been presumed independent
tastes, in opinions, in morals for 70 years.
and in intellect”. Anchored Contrary to those in post-
i­nstitutions”­was, like most have died, the elite uni- ganda. It may, like Twenti-
to the worldview of his era, 1947 India who argued that
socialist talk, a euphemism. versities of New England eth Century socialism, fail Politicians and
Macaulay declined to recom- knowledge of English or fa-
Marx had promised to expel had five liberals for every when tested by reality. But officials who
mend that such individuals were the successors miliarity with the ways of the
those who got in the way conservative. that, we now know, is not
be given the same right as to the former British people of that island would
of the revolution. In the Today, the ratio is 28:1. enough to annul socialism’s
“blood and colour” English- rulers transformed result in what Macaulay fore-
’80s and ’90s, his followers These figures reflect faculty emotional appeal, or the ex- themselves into British
men in ruling India. How- cast – a walking away from
purged the universities. Now, as a whole. From personal ploitation of that appeal by colonial officers in
ever, because of Macaulay’s India’s native traditions and
they are trying to reverse the experience, I would suggest the people that the Stalinists attitude and behaviour,
emphasis on the English lan- if not entirely in ethos – most English-speak-
outcome of the economic that the ratio is even more used to called careerists. As
guage and his rejection of the morals. ing Indians retained their
battle of the 1970s. skewed in the Social Scienc- Whitney Houston sang, “If I
view that education in India affinity towards their own
Last December, Boston es. And in the Humanities, fail, if I succeed / At last I’ll
be confined to languages na- traditions, including in mat-
magazine published an in- you are more likely to spot live as I believe.” Madhav Das Nalapat
tive to the land or to its previ- ters of cuisine and lifestyle,
vestigation into political bias a white rhino than a liberal is a Professor and the
ous conquerors, the Persians, though a few did so only in
in American universities. Republican. Director of the Department
within years hundreds and of Geopolitics & International the seclusion of their homes.
Samuel Abrams, a professor Socialism, to paraphrase
later, thousands and eventu- Relations at Manipal Indeed, beginning in the
at Sarah Lawrence College Noam Chomsky, manufac-
ally hundreds of thousands of University, UNESCO Peace 1890s, the higher echelons of
in New York, crunched 25 tures consent. The univer- Chair and the Editorial
Indian subjects of the British the independence movement
years’ worth of data from the sities of New England are Director of The Sunday
Empire began to get a facsim- were composed of those who
Higher Education Research the training grounds for to- Guardian-India and NewsX
ile of the education available were educated in the manner
Institute. In the South, the morrow’s bureaucrats, as the channel. @MD_Nalapat
in parts of Britain. that Macaulay had favoured.
ratio of liberal to conserva- monasteries were for the me-
Unfortunately for much lesser extent, science Across the subcontinent,
tive professors was 3:1. On diaeval clergy. The Pyjama
Dr Dominic Green Macaul­ay, ­knowledge of and technology) did not make the English language acted
the West Coast, it was 6:1. Boys and Girls of tomorrow is a Fellow of the Royal England’s ­lan­guage, his- the overwhelming majority as an equaliser and a homo-
Back in 1989, the year that are being indoctrinated with Historical Society and teaches
tory­­­and soc­iety (and to a of such students “English in geniser, bringing together
socialism was supposed to an expensive form of propa- Politics at Boston College.

68 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 69


Madhav Das Nalapat
CONSERVATIVE INDIA

into British colonial officers in Minister Narendra Modi who technically oversee them
attitude and behaviour, if not characterised as “Mini- distance themselves from the
entirely in morals, thereby ful- mum Government”. In- rest of the country much as
filling the wishes of Macaulay. stead, what has persisted the British in India did in the
The consequence is that is a system of governance past, by separate rules and
the present-day administra- that in many particulars is procedures applicable only
tion in the Union of India even more restrictive than to them, and by pomp more
remains tethered to the pre- when India was ruled from suited to Middle Eastern roy-
1947 postulate that the peo- London. If flights to Delhi alty than to the elected lead-
ple of the country are unfit from other big cities in ers of the world’s most popu-
to exercise control over their India are full, the reason lous democracy.
own destinies – and that is that the national capi- Small wonder that
the government has to have tal has in effect made the the British-era focus on
the final word on almost rest of the country its the collection of reve-
any individual decision of colony. nue is still regarded by the
consequence. “post-colonial” bureaucracy
It needs to be remem- Officials and the as the central task of gov-
bered that the colonial prac- politicians who ernment. Without consid-
technically oversee
tices of Britain were the op- them distance eration of the effects on fu-
posite of what was carried themselves from the ture growth, the potential
out at home. If the British rest of the country short-term revenue-raising
people could build an em- much as the British in segments of the economy are
India did in the past,
pire, the reason lay in the fact assessed and matched against
by separate rules and
that they permitted much procedures applicable the year’s expenses of depart-
people from different re- tant of the subcontinent and Knowledge of the inter- less intrusion into their lives only to them, and by ments and projects. Wher-
gions, castes and religions, another would have ensured national link language did not from the Monarchy, taking pomp more suited ever possible, additional rev-
thereby enabling the Twen- the balkanisation of the sub- result in a metamorphosis of over for themselves tranches to Middle Eastern enues are squeezed out from
royalty than to the
tieth Century campaign for continent long before the the Indian into a (tanned) of individual discretion un- elected leaders of the private entities, in the process
independence to be pan-In- colonial power packed its Briton. However, once the known elsewhere on the con- world’s most populous often stunting future growth.
dian in scope in a way that bags and sailed away. Union flag was lowered from tinent of Europe. Individual democracy. India is probably the only
the 1857 revolt – carried out The development of the Viceregal Palace and re- Britons used this freedom country where the price of
in disconnected territorial commerce, the growth placed with the Indian Tri- to win colonies and come Very little activity can be petrol at the pump has actu-
segments and by uncoor- of the middle class (with colour, a metamorphosis up with inventions, each of attempted by businesses, for ally risen despite the cost of
dinated entities – was not. its dilution of much of did take place. This was the which they loyally ascribed to example, without formal ap- a barrel of oil falling to less
Relatively few joined in the the caste, regional and seeping into the psyches of the monarch, although both proval from the central gov- than a third of the level it
1857 effort to throw out the sometimes even religious the successors to the Raj that knew such a claim to be a tri- ernment and its agencies. As was four years ago, with the
British: most either remained differences distinguishing the colonial system remained fle inaccurate. for transparency in the pro- difference going in taxes and
passive or actively opposed citizens from one anoth- as a continuum. As a conse- The post-Independence cesses of government, this revenues to the state. Any
the armed campaign against er), and the popularisation quence, the politicians and Government of India need- remains much less evident sector showing impressive
the Raj. The absence of edu- of English, form the trio officials who were the suc- ed to accept that the people in India than in other major growth attracts a high tax
cation in a language that was of conditions that has en- cessors to the former British would be most productive democracies. Meanwhile, demand, thereby slowing its
neutral between one inhabi- sured the unity of India. rulers transformed themselves in conditions that Prime officials and the politicians expansion. An example is the

70 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 71


Madhav Das Nalapat
CONSERVATIVE INDIA

services sector, which slowed crucial for the creation of but bribes to the pockets of those lurking on the bound- India from participating in to block the system from re-
down after taxes were first jobs for the 11-13 million the successors to the colo- aries of indigence pay at least the economic spinoff of geo- leasing the population from
slapped on it in 1994, and new entrants to the job mar- nial bureaucracy. Even the some tax to the state beyond political events in the way the constrictions of the state.
by still more after taxes were ket each year. most poverty-stricken stall- the bribes they are liable for. Japan or South Korea did, Both these groups share
increased in 2006 and again, Collection of revenue holder or handcart vendor The level of “rent” in the or in membership of entities the view of their colonial-era
particularly harshly, in 2012. was the central objective of has to pay the latter “rent”. form of bribes and looting such as ASEAN. The closer predecessors that the people
Since then, tens of millions the colonial state, and re- And now, with measures of the economy by crony the “inner selves” of India’s cannot run their own lives,
of jobs have been foregone in mains so for its successors, such as the demonetisation capitalists takes place on a post-colonial (though hy- and have therefore continued
the sector, with the Narendra who too are fixated on them- of 86 per cent of the coun- scale that make British pick- the pre-Independence prac-
Modi government continu- selves rather than the people try’s currency by value, the ings in the era of Clive seem Collection of revenue tice of the state taking deci-
ing the upward trajectory of as a whole. Enterprises and formerly business-friend- derisory. was the central sions that in more evolved
objective of the
tax rates and thereby stunt- individuals in India pay not ly Modi government is Given the complex they de- colonial state, and governance systems has re-
ing the growth of a sector only taxes to the exchequer seeking to ensure that even veloped on being “Brown Sa- remains so for its mained the prerogative of the
hibs”, individuals from Nehru successors, individual. Instead of “mini-
on down rejected any strategic mum government”, what is
alliance with the West, even per-colonial) rulers were to seen is the reverse, a steady
while they themselves were far the West, the more they cam- lowering of the threshold of
more comfortable in London ouflaged that by keeping the individual freedoms, includ-
than in Mumbai, far more country away from the Allies ing speech. Even the Election
themselves in New York than and in the orbit of the USSR. Commission of India frowns
in Lucknow, and far happier to Only genuine nationalists on any expressions other than
socialise with a European than (who incidentally remain flu- those that would be approved
a native of India. A geopolitical ent in English and in knowl- by the headmistress of a girls’
distance was created between edge of the West), safely an- convent school.
the West and India by such in- chored in their traditions, In India, as during the
dividuals, despite the fact that were open in acknowledging British era, both government
a robust support of the Allies the need for India and its and the judiciary regard
during the Second World War Anglospheric partners in par- themselves as empowered to
or with the US during the ticular to work closer togeth- decide for the citizen on prac-
1960s and beyond would have er, especially in matters of tically any matter. Getting rid
generated far better results security. of the adherence of the ruling
than the policy choices actu- Naturally, those seeking establishment on colonial-era
ally pursued, which between to prevent modernity (in the practices and powers is essen-
1939-45 gave MA Jinnah and form of education in English tial for the very survival of
his Muslim League an edge or in the expansion and pro- the nation. What India needs
over the Congress Party in de- tection of individual free- is another freedom struggle,
cision-making levels in White- doms on the scale seen in the this time in defence of those
hall and led to Partition. US or the UK) are “Brown rights of the citizen that have
The West-phobic policy Sahibs”. They have allied been ignored by the post-co-
continued by Indira Gand- themselves with troglodytes lonial hyper-state throughout
hi and her successors in the anchored to Sixteenth and the seven decades of India’s
1960s until 1984 prevented Seventeenth Century ways “free” existence.

72 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 73


THE OVERLOOKED COLONISATION
by Edvins Snore

I n 2005 in Moscow Jean


Claude Juncker said:
“Since the Second World
dom and democracy if the
Russian people had not done
what they did for us”.
millions of Europeans were
locked behind the Iron Cur-
tain and denied freedom and
War, we know how much What Mr Juncker failed democracy. In Soviet-occupied
we are indebted to the Red to mention was that the Red Europe Nazi concentration
Army. We, Luxembourg, like Army kept half of Europe camps were not destroyed.
other European countries, under a brutal occupation The Soviets continued to use
could not have gained free- for nearly 50 years. Tens of them to persecute dissidents

74 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 75


The overlooked colonisation

and ­ members of resistance What Mr Juncker The year 1940 marked Nearly half of the deportees States. The youths print- A massive program
movements. “This is certain- failed to mention the end of independence for did not survive. ed leaflets and encouraged of Sovietisation and
was that the Red colonisation was
ly not the Liberated Europe Latvia, as it was invaded by When the Soviets re- their fellow countrymen not launched to seal
Army kept half of
we fought to build up. Nor is Europe under a brutal the Red Army following the turned in 1945, people had to lose hope. Latvians were the Soviet conquer
it one which contains the es- occupation for nearly Nazi-Soviet pact. The initial no illusions about the Rus- listening to Western radio of Latvia. Nearly
sentials of permanent peace,” 50 years. Soviet occupation lasted only sian “liberators”. Many Lat- stations in anticipation of a million Russian-
speaking settlers
Churchill noted in 1946. one year, until 1941. But vians fled to the West, while a showdown between the were moved from
A British diplomat who happy under the restored the events which took place thousands took to the forests West and the Soviets that Russia and other
visited Riga, the capital of Soviet regime and still look during that year were so horrif- and joined the ranks of par- might bring an end to the Slavic republics of the
occupied Latvia, in 1945 to the United Kingdom and ic that it was later called “The tisans. The resistance move- Soviet occupation of their USSR to colonise the
reported to London: “First Year of Horror”. Many Latvi- ment involved more than homeland. Baltic country of two
the United States for resto- million.
anniversary of liberation of ration of their independence. ans were brutally murdered. 20,000 people both in cities Armed resistance of
Riga by Red Army was not Emotions are however most- Thousands were rounded up and in the countryside. Nu- Latvians, Lithuanians and and other Slavic republics
made occasion of any pub- ly passive, as the spirit has and deported. Entire families merous underground youth Estonians against the Sovi- of the USSR to colonise the
lic manifestation... Latvians been ground out of people by were loaded into cattle cars organisations scattered et occupation went on for Baltic country of two million.
of all classes seem most un- events since 1940.” and ­ transported to Siberia. throughout all three Baltic more than a decade, until the The unprecedented influx of
mid-1950s. It was a bloody Russian immigrants com-
and merciless war which pletely changed the tradi-
left thousands dead on both tional ethnic composition of
sides. Cut off from the rest of Latvia in a couple of decades.
the world by the Iron Cur- The share of Latvians in Lat-
tain, the desperate fight of via decreased to an all-time
the Baltic partisans was large- low – 52 per cent in 1989.
ly unknown in the West. Re- In Riga the Russian-speaking
ceiving no tangible aid from group increased from 10 per
outside, the resistance move- cent in 1940 to 70 per cent
ment depended on the sup- in 1989. By the end of the
port of the local population, Soviet occupation in 1991
which provided food and the Russian-speaking settler
shelter. The Soviets deported community became the dom-
tens of thousands of ordinary inant population group in the
peasants, women and chil- seven largest cities of Latvia
dren in their pursuit to cut and made up approximately
support for the partisans. one-third of the whole popu-
Eventually the Soviet lation of Latvia.
occupiers prevailed. A mas- The sheer scale of the
sive programme of Sovieti- Baltic colonisation was so
sation and colonisation was alarming that in 1983 the
launched to seal the Soviet European parliament ad-
conquest of Latvia. Nearly a opted a resolution, in which
million Russian-speaking set- it suggested submitting the
tlers were moved from Russia issue of the Baltic States to

76 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 77


The overlooked colonisation

the Decolonisation subcom- However, the Russian aggression and ex-


mittee of the UN. In 1987 consequences of 50 pansion.” Nowhere in the
the Parliamentary Assembly years of Soviet rule world was this demonstrated
were grave. Tens of
of the Council of Europe ad- thousands of killed better than in Latvia. A QUARTERLY JOURNAL IN PRINT AND ONLINE, SPONSORED BY THE
opted special resolution 872 Communist rule method- ALLIANCE OF THE CONSERVATIVES AND REFORMISTS IN EUROPE (ACRE).
and deported, a
on the situation of the Baltic generation brought ically turned Latvia into a
peoples. It pointed to the fact up in isolation, a part of the so-called “Russian January 201
7 | Vol.2 |
Issue 2

ruined economy and a


that “as a result of forced im- world” (Русский мир) – ul-
polluted environment.
TIV E
line

A
ser vative.on

RV
www.thecon
migration into their area, the timately the gravest and the
Seven hundred
SE
THE CON
thousand Soviet
www.ae
Baltic peoples are brought most dangerous consequence ES AND
REFORM
ISTS IN
EUROPE cr.eu/
th econse
rvativ

THE
e
VAT I V

under pressure to assimilate, settlers, including of the Soviet occupation. As BY THE


ALLIAN
CE OF CONSER

CONS
URNAL
tens of thousands R LY J O Septem
TE
A QUAR ber 20
16 | Vo

and that the lack of possibil- we see today, wherever there


l.1 | Issue

ERVAT
A PE
1

of Russian military
RIO
DIC
AL P
UB LIC
AT I O

ities for education and cul- is the “Russian world”, the


N B

IVE
Y TH

personnel, remained
E ALL
IAN
CE O
F EU
R OPE

tural expression of their own in Latvia after 1991. Kremlin may invade to “pro-
AN
CON
SER
VAT
IVE
S AN
D REF

Nearly half a million


ORM

is leading towards the loss of tect” it. Europe has seen this
ISTS

national identity”. of them voted against pattern already, during the


restoration of Latvia’s
The national identity of independence in two 1930s. Hitler invaded coun-
Latvians could indeed have referendums in 1991. tries to “protect” the “Ger-
EURO
EVOL PE IN
been lost, had the Soviet man world” – the Volksdeut-
R
occupation lasted 10 more Nevertheless after Latvia sche. At that time there were HOW UTIO
years. Latvia would have been became independent they those who appeased Hitler
B
OVER REXIT AN
TURN D
ING T MIGRATIO
N
HE O NA
totally Russified and would were granted rights to stay in and who bought his “human- LD ORDE RE
R
resemble Belarus today. The Latvia and to naturalise. Sev- itarian” arguments. It ended
demise of the USSR in 1991 eral hundreds of thousands in a world war. Today we
made it possible for Latvia used this opportunity. They must learn from this lesson in
to regain its independence. learned the Latvian language order not to make the same
However, the consequenc- and became Latvian citizens. mistake again.
es of 50 years of Soviet rule However, about a quarter TONY
ABBO
Ro
DAN IELge
r Sc
HANN
ruton
TT • AN •
were grave. Tens of thou- of a million Soviet-era im-
PAUL SAll
L mba M BOWMA
VAKi
ON LEr LET • TE
LERo ge

HOW
VY • D BRO N • JAY NO
PETR MUND RDLIN

TIVES
JOHNdley FIALA •
sands of killed and deported,
GER •
Matt Ri

DANIE CHRISTOS
migrants chose not to do it. HULSM JAN Z

VA
L BAXE A
AN • VANIS HRADIL

R
MARIA MITCHEL

NSE ge r N L•B • ULR


Jay Nordlin
O
TUPY ERND

C
KÖLM IKE TREBE
a generation brought up in
• ROB
Even today they prefer their
BEST
ERTS EL SIUS
ZĪLE

MAKE THEATIONISTS
n
Orri Vigfússo
isolation, a ruined economy current status of non-citi- James Deling
pole

CONSERV
and a polluted environment. zens, which gives them the
Seven hundred thousand So- privilege of travelling (and
viet settlers, including tens working) visa-free in both the
of thousands of Russian mil- EU and Russia.
itary personnel, remained In the early 1950s Ronald
in Latvia after 1991. Nearly Reagan said: “Communism, Edvins Snore
half a million of them voted the greatest hoax of the cen- is author of the award-wining
against restoration of Latvia’s tury, was perpetrated on the documentary The Soviet
Story and a member of
independence in two referen- world to cover nothing more
Latvia’s Parliament.
dums in 1991. or less than a programme of @EdvinsSnore

78 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | www.theconservative.online


| Issue 3
April 2017 79
PUTIN IS NO CONSERVATIVE
by Marion Smith The unresolved legacy
of the Soviet era is
a clear and present

I n the United States (and While the stories of mur- danger to freedom
in the United Kingdom), dered innocents, tortured in the Twenty-First
Century.
conservatives enjoy the dis- farmers, slaughtered aristo-
tinct benefit of conserving a crats, and martyred priests But their stories are more
liberal political tradition that filled the free peoples of the than mere history.
values individual rights, eco- West with horror, they found On this 100th anniversary
nomic and religious freedom, even greater inspiration in year of the Bolshevik Revo-
the rule of law, and tradition- the emergence of samizdat lution we must examine how
al morality. Thus in America, literature and underground European nations were made
temperamental (small “c”) universities, in the almost captive in the first place and
conservatives and political impossible courage of the how they became free and in-
movement (capital “C” Con- authors and painters whose dependent once again in 1989.
servatives) are often the same frozen hands kept hope alive We must also look honestly at
people. even in the Gulag, and in the why in 2017 we as free people
In continental Europe, battles waged by young stu- are tolerating the whitewash-
on the other hand, the ravag- dents against Soviet troops ing of Soviet crimes, the spread
es of the Twentieth Century in the woods of Lithuania of blatant Russian propaganda
meant that many conserva- and the streets of Budapest. and revisionist history in Eu-
tives, fighting for the same Those who suffered behind rope, and the reemergence of
ideals, had to become radi- the Iron Curtain proved that Communist-era tactics from
cals, revolutionaries, or dis- totalitarian Communism was Moscow. This is not a quibble
sidents. Such was certainly ultimately no match for the over the past. The unresolved
the case for conservatives in national culture, language, legacy of the Soviet era is a clear
the former captive nations of religion, family, music, and and present danger to freedom
central and Eastern Europe. love of their home countries. in the Twenty-First Century.

80 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 81


Putin is no conservative

We must also look Republics would make the After Hitler broke the replaced Hitler as the great- nist Parties and secret police In 1949, Truman declared
honestly at why world safe for socialism. The agreement in 1941 and in- est threat to the Free World. forces and used them to de- America’s opposition to the
in 2017 we as free Communist Party would be vaded the USSR, Stalin con- Stalin revealed his true in- stroy families, religion, civil “false philosophy” of Com-
people are tolerating
the whitewashing the people’s vanguard. Lenin veniently became anti-fas- tentions when he broke the society, and whole nations. munism, a philosophy that
of Soviet crimes, the would be their god. cist and joined the Allies in promise he had made at Yalta Stalin’s increasingly cruel “purports to offer freedom,
spread of blatant In the name of equality, World War II. When the war and annulled the outcome and aggressive tactics con- security, and greater opportu-
Russian propaganda Vladimir Lenin instituted a ended, the Nazis were defeat- of free elections held in Po- vinced President Harry Tru- nity to mankind” but which
and revisionist
new form of slavery on earth. ed, but the Soviet Empire land. The Soviet troops that man to begin the fight against in reality brings “deceit and
history in Europe,
and the reemergence Stalin took the helm upon lived on. had “liberated” the Nazi-held international Communism by mockery, poverty and tyran-
of Communist-era Lenin’s death and sought to By the time Winston territories of central Europe launching a military build-up ny.” The Cold War had begun.
tactics from Moscow. expand the Soviet Empire. Churchill delivered his 1946 were there to impose Com- and establishing the North America became the lead-
Among many other mach- “Iron Curtain” address in munist rule on unwilling Atlantic Treaty Organization er of the free world and a
The 1917 February Rev- inations, this included the Fulton, Missouri, he was populations. To accomplish (Nato), the CIA, and the place of refuge for the hun-
olution was sparked by the 1939 non-aggression pact convinced that Stalin had this they installed Commu- National Security Council. dreds of thousands who fled
deplorable working condi- with Nazi Germany. The sin-
tions and worsening social ister pact, negotiated between
Winston Churchill
problems in major cities of Hitler and Stalin by their delivering his “Iron
the Russian Empire. Tsarism foreign ministers Vyacheslav Curtain” address in
Fulton, Missouri
is accurately understood as Molotov and Joachim von
tyranny and it is important Ribbentrop, along with its
not to romanticise it. The secret provisions, provided
political movement that for a conquered and divided
began in Petrograd had the Europe, half Nazi and half
necessary elements to make Communist.
Russia a constitutional mon- Days after signing the
archy or a republic. But by Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact,
October 1917 the Bolsheviks Hitler’s armies invaded Po-
had overthrown the Russian land, and over the next few
Provisional Government and months, Stalin invaded Fin-
seized power. Lenin’s Cheka land, Estonia, Latvia, and
state security force tortured Lithuania. For nearly two
and killed thousands of mid- years, the Nazi SS and Sovi-
dle- and upper-class Rus- et NKVD worked together;
sians. The Tsar and his family the NKVD even rounded
were murdered. up German Jews who had
Almost immediately it escaped to the Soviet Union
was apparent to Lenin that and returned them to the
Marxist theory required up- SS. Both Nazi Germany and
dates. The Communist uto- the Soviet Union committed
pia would take longer than war crimes on a massive scale
expected. For the time being, and systematically murdered
the Union of Soviet Socialist mill­ions of civilians.

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Putin is no conservative

takeover of the 1917 Russian ed by YouGov (commis- and condemned. The crimes
revolution was over. sioned by VOC) found that committed by Communists
More than 40 million one third of US millennials in the name of a false notion
people died as the result of believe that George W Bush of equality deserve to be un-
Soviet policies, including killed more people than Sta- derstood as well. Today, this is
man-made famine, purg- lin. The vast majority under not the case. Certainly, this is
es, political assassinations, the age of 35 were unaware a failure of education, but is
forced deportations, Gulag of the death toll in Commu- also a matter of power politics.
deaths, and the military in- nist regimes. The survey also This moment is no accident.
vasions of independent coun- found that 45 per cent of 16- The situation in Europe
tries. The Soviet Union also to 35-year-olds would vote is even worse. Too few Euro-
inspired, imposed, or funded for a “socialist”; 21 per cent pean socialists have come to
Communist rule in nearly terms with their own com-
40 nations. The total death The Soviet Union also plicity in birthing, aiding,
inspired, imposed, or
toll caused by Communist funded Communist and then excusing Commu-
rule in all of these countries rule in nearly 40 nism in Europe. Too many
is over 100 million. And nations. The total Western journalists, politi-
while Communism collapsed death toll caused by cians, and academics who de-
Communist rule in all
in Europe, it lives on in the fended the Soviet Union have
of these countries is
single-party Leninist states over 100 million. And carried on unrepentant.
of China, Cuba, Laos, North while Communism Significantly, the ideas of
Korea, and Vietnam. Today, collapsed in Europe, Marxism are still exonerat-
these Communist regimes it lives on in the ed of any connection to the
single-party Leninist
rule over 20 per cent of the states of China, Cuba, deeds of Marxists in power.
world’s population. Laos, North Korea, Although some socialists
The American engage- and Vietnam. Today, today concede that concep-
ment in the Cold War that these Communist tually Marx and many other
regimes rule over 20
began under Harry Truman per cent of the world’s early Communists had too
­ ommunist ­­countries around
C tries to contain and then roll mering down the symbol of was brought to completion population. rosy a picture of human na-
the world. The Captive Na- back Soviet power. Communist oppression. by Ronald Reagan, who ture, most blame the failed
tions movement in the Unit- In August of 1989, Hun- Over the next two years, aimed to consign Commu- of 16- to 20-year-olds would experiments of Twentieth
ed States and Europe lobbied garian authorities allowed the economic failures of cen- nism to the “ash heap of vote for a “Communist.” Century socialist regimes on
Western governments to con- the barbed wire of the Iron tral planning and Soviet lead- history.” Today, Reagan’s The United States, which the excesses of their leaders
front Soviet expansion around Curtain on the Austria-Hun- ers’ lack of confidence in their warning that one generation spent more more blood and and on the tenacious forces
the world and countered the gary border to be cut. Soon own system led to the dissolu- is all it takes to lose freedom treasure than any other coun- of nationalism, all of which
lies spread by Communist thousands of Hungarians, tion of the Soviet Union and is still pertinent, especially in try to confront international worked against true Com-
embassies in dozens of West- Czechs, Slovaks, and Ger- the independence of other the face of young Americans’ Communism, has suddenly munist ideals. Many social-
ern capitals. The moral rec- mans were pouring through. captive nations, including astounding ignorance of the forgetten what the Cold War ists today, therefore, argue
ognition of Communism’s In November, East German Ukraine (which legally con- basics of Twentieth Century was and why it was worth that the practical path for-
barbarity was vital in main- officials allowed an opening tained Crimea). The costly ex- history, including the crimes fighting. The crimes of the ward is to fight against the
taining the political will of the in the Berlin Wall. Within periment in Marxist ideology of Communist regimes. An Nazis against Jews in the nation-state in all its forms
United States and Nato coun- hours Berliners were ham- that began with the Bolshevik October 2016 poll conduct- Holocaust are rightly known and to foster globalism.

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Putin is no conservative
FREE MARKET ADVANCES

Certainly, the collectivist The countries of emissaries, and his paid apol-
ideas that took hold in 1917 the former Soviet ogists in the West. Vladimir
had roots in European histo-
ry, most notably in the Jaco-
Union, with the
exception of the
Putin is a cool, calculating,
Communist-trained Cold War
GOOD GOVERNANCE AND
bin’s reign of terror following
Baltic states, have
not yet succeeded veteran who believes he can PROTECTING PROPERTY RIGHTS
the French Revolution. Lenin
made the Bolshevik’s political
in overcoming the
toxic legacy of
reclaim the power of Soviet
times and challenge the West. ARE AS WELCOME AS TAX CUTS
patrimony clear by erecting
statues of Robespierre in St Pe-
Communist rule.

propaganda success was con-


Costly gains made by the
generations who fought tyr-
AND PRIVATISATION
tersburg and Moscow shortly vincing some European tra- anny in Europe must not be by Kristian Niemietz
after his party seized power. ditionalists that – compared reversed because of apathy,
The countries of the for- corruption or cowardice.
T
to the hyper-liberal, globalist, his is a column about Such seemingly boring,
mer Soviet Union, with the and sometimes even social- When it comes to the past
free market reforms, so technical issues often repre-
exception of the Baltic states, ist agenda of the European crimes of the Soviet Union,
you would probably expect sent “reform bottlenecks”, in
have not yet succeeded in Union and the administra- the current tactics of Vladimir
stories about tax cuts, pri- the sense that improvements
overcoming the toxic lega- tion of US President Barack Putin, or the West’s growing
vatisation programmes, de- in other areas count for little
cy of Communist rule. The Obama – Vladimir Putin vulnerability to the false hope
regulation initiatives, trade as long as countries fail to
people of Ukraine, Moldo- was a modern-day champion of socialism, European con-
liberalisation, or other ways get these basics right. As Prof
va, and Georgia must fight of traditional Western val- servatives must have the cour-
of transferring power and Martin Ricketts of Bucking-
the overbearing power of ues. Russian cash made the age to fight for truth, justice,
resources from the state to ham University explains:
Moscow today, even as they claim easier to swallow. The and historical memory. We
the market and civil society. “Capitalism fails where
struggle to reform their sys- election of President Donald too can live in truth. To do
This is what we normally the supporting institutions
temically corrupt institutions Trump and the emergence otherwise is to risk cursing the Africa would be
have in mind when we talk are absent. Accordingly, pol-
and rebuild civil society. In of his coalition of conserva- next generation with a new well advised to
about “market reforms”, model the CFTA more icy changes unaccompanied
Ukraine, a powerful symbol tive, nationalist, EU-sceptic era of captivity.
because these are the head- on EFTA, and less on by some remedial action to
of this struggle has been the supporters obviously throws the EU.
line-grabbing, controversial address this underlying insti-
demolition of the hundreds a wrench in Putin’s narrative examples. tutional weakness cannot be
of statues of Lenin and So- that Russia is the conserva- But there is also a less expected to bring the hoped-
viet stars that lingered for tive champion and suddenly Dr Kristian Niemietz
high-profile category of mar- for results.”
24 years after the collapse throws new light on Putin’s is Head of Health and Welfare
ket reforms, namely reforms Indeed – and this is the
of the USSR. Their choice is real intentions – the creation at the Institute of Economic
aimed at improving the legal Affairs (IEA), London. He main reason why, for ex-
contested by Putin and has of a modern Russia based on framework within which mar- studied Economics at the ample, large parts of East-
required blood to defend. a fusion of the Tsarist and So- ket exchange takes place. This Humboldt Universität zu ern Europe and the Balkans
Russia’s forced annexation viet traditions, free from any Berlin and the Universidad
means strengthening the pro- have not been able to fully
of Crimea and invasion of illusions of freedom as a fun- de Salamanca, and Political
tection of property rights, the capitalise on the relative lib-
eastern Ukraine is an attempt damental right of individuals Marion Smith Economy at King’s College
transparency of property re- eralisation that has taken
to reverse some of the conse- or peoples. is executive director of the London, where he also
lations, the ability to enforce taught Economics. place since 1991. However,
quences of Soviet defeat. At this moment of geo- Victims of Communism
Memorial Foundation in contracts and swiftly settle @K_Niemietz judging from the latest edi-
When Western nations political crisis, it is imperative
Washington, DC and president legal disputes, the impartiality tion of the Heritage Foun-
objected to Moscow’s actions that European conservatives of the Common Sense of courts, and the consistency dation’s Economic Freedom of
in Ukraine, the Kremlin see through the false conser- Society in Hungary and The of the legal system. the World index, this may be
struck back with information vatism of Vladimir Putin, his Netherlands.
warfare in Europe. One clear co-opted Russian Orthodox @SmithMarion

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Kristian Niemietz
FREE MARKET ADVANCES

barriers are underway. If all what we currently observe in out of fashion, but the eco-
goes according to plan, a pre- Europe. Africa would be well nomic arguments for it have
liminary version of the CFTA advised to model the CFTA never been refuted. Flat taxes
will be operational by the end more on EFTA, and less on do not just improve work
of this year. the EU. incentives; they also reduce
It is tempting to assume On a different note: re- distortions. Under a flat tax,
that in an era of global mar- member the flat tax? The (especially high-income)
kets, regional trade blocs idea of replacing the income taxpayers dedicate less ener-
are no longer that import- tax code with one single rate gy to rearranging their activ-
ant, but this would be a (above a tax-free allowance), ities in “tax-efficient” ways,
mistake. Geography still with no exemptions, no and more energy to creating
matters. The website “Our deductions, and no differ- wealth. Add the reduction
World in Data” illustrates entiation between different in compliance, enforcement
this with a map of France income sources? Tax policy and revenue collection costs,
that shows the location experts used to get very ex- and you have a solid eco-
of French companies, ac- cited about the concept, and nomic case.
cording to their main ex- in the late 1990s, several Since 2008, there has
port destination. It turns (mostly post-Communist) also been a backlash against
out that companies which private, pre-funded pen-
mainly export to Belgium The flat tax may have sions. Several countries that
really do tend to cluster fallen out of fashion,
had previously moved to-
but the economic
near the Belgian border, arguments for it have wards such a system have U-
companies which mainly never been refuted. turned, especially Argentina
export to Spain really do and Hungary. However, the
tend to cluster near the countries began to adopt latest OECD figures show
about to change. A number sold off state assets (at least other round of privatisation Spanish border, and so on. it. After the 2008 crash, that elsewhere, the role of
of countries in that region not recently). But, as Heri- or deregulation would have Still, economists are gen- the concept slipped off the private pensions continues
have recently made large im- tage reports: been. erally ambivalent about trade radar. to grow. In the US, Canada,
provements in strengthening “Latvia has made contract Meanwhile, Africa has blocs. While they reduce But the flat tax is not Australia, the Netherlands,
the protection of property enforcement and property been making progress on the trade barriers between the dead yet. Two US states, Switzerland, Denmark and
rights, especially Armenia, transfers easier by restructur- way towards the establish- participants, they can also Georgia and West Virgin- Iceland, the value of the as-
Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, the ing its courts and introducing ment of its Continental Free lead to a more protectionist ia, are about to turn their sets accumulated in pension
Kyrgyz Republic, Macedo- other new procedures […] Trade Area (CFTA), which trade policy vis-à-vis non-par- state income taxes into flat funds now exceeds 100 per
nia, Uzbekistan, Kosovo and, judicial independence is gen- will create a pan-African sin- ticipants, especially when ac- taxes of 5.4 per cent and cent of the respective coun-
perhaps surprisingly, Belarus. erally respected and property gle market in goods, services, companied by the creation 2.65 per cent respectively. try’s GDP.
A particularly interesting rights are protected.” labour and capital. The idea of a customs union (as is The economic effects will So it’s not all doom and
example is Latvia, which has From a classical liberal is not new, but this time, they currently envisaged for the not be huge, because state gloom. Despite the vir-
improved its overall econom- perspective, the improve- seem to mean it. Intergovern- CFTA). In a customs union, income taxes are not nearly ulence and pervasiveness
ic freedom score by more ment in governance indica- mental working groups have the more protectionist-mind- as important as the federal of anti-capitalist rhetoric,
than four points (out of 100), tors across the region consti- been established, and nego- ed members can hold back income tax. But as far as it green shoots of growing
even though the country has tutes real progress; it is every tiations over the removal of the more free-trade-minded goes, it is a welcome move. market freedoms can still be
neither slashed taxes, nor bit as welcome as, say, an- tariffs, quotas and non-tariff members, which is, of course, The flat tax may have fallen found.

88 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 89


the mid-1990s) were effected through violent revolution
without any comprehensive and civil war, and under-
prior definition of individ- went further disruptions in
ual property rights. Rather, the course of its subsequent
local government bodies es- development. The same ap-
tablished so-called TVEs, plies in large measure to the
township and village enter- lesser examples of North
prises, owned by their com- Korea and Cuba. This does
munities. These structures, not, however, invalidate the
however, have since been distinction between autono-
superseded by full-blooded mous and imposed regimes,
capitalist institutions; and it a distinction of primary sig-
is arguable that the People’s nificance for Europe, where
Republic of China, while the Soviet Union, itself dat-
retaining its authoritarian ing from the aftermath of
character, is nowadays Com- the First World War, came
munist only in name. to rule over most of cen-
tral and eastern Europe for
The global appeal of nearly half a century after
Communism, and of the Second World War.
authoritarian regimes It accomplished this part-
more broadly, was
enhanced by the ly through the network of
economic adversities national Communist Parties;
of the 1920s and partly through the specific
RIGGED ELECTIONS AND 1930s, which the
customary economic
institutional arrangememts
of COMECON, founded in
PETTY CORRUPTION policies of liberal
governments seemed 1949 as the Soviet riposte to
by Peter Oppenheimer unable to remedy. Marshall Aid, for economic
relations, and the Warsaw
individual enterprises and The third key distinction Pact, founded in 1955 as the

F raming this topic are perspective it is (or would be)


three key distinctions. no less important to consid-
The first is between Europe er Asia – preponderantly of
between politics and eco-
nomics. Politically one can-
not speak in the Chinese
co-ordinated through the
price mechanism – rath-
er than command-based or
is between Communism as
a home-grown system and
as a regime imposed from
military counterpart to Nato;
and ultimately through the
threat of armed intervention
and other parts of the world. course China, but also Viet- case of a Communist “rem- centrally planned. outside by compulsion or (a threat realised in Hungary
Communist (or Marxist-­ nam and North Korea – as nant” or “legacy”, since the Before the Chinese ex- occupation. “Home-grown” in 1956 and Czechoslavakia
Leninist) ideology originat- well as Latin America, which country remains an avowed- ample it would scarcely have need not of course imply in 1968). For most of East-
ed in Europe in the Nine- means essentially Cuba, plus ly one-party Communist been imagined that any Com- that the process is smooth ern Europe, therefore, un-
teenth and early Twentieth the Salvador Allende episode state. But its economy has munist politics could co-ex- or peaceful. On the con- like for Russia, dismantling
Centuries. And as European in Chile in the early 1970s as for several decades been mar- ist in this way with capitalist trary, in the two key cases of Communism after 1990 was
citizens we naturally focus a footnote. ket-based – meaning that de- economics. Interestingly, the the Russian Empire/Soviet synonymous with escape
on the situation in our own The case of China points cision-taking on a wide range early stages of transition or Union and China, Com- from alien domination or
continent. But from a global to a second key distinction, of output is decentralised to reversion to capitalism (up to munism was established oversight.

90 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 91


Rigged elections and petty corruption

State power sooner tutions of its own volition notably Nikita Krushchev. of technology justly across than promoted is finance, phenomenon, not confined
or later gives rise to after the Second World War, This led him to a closer rela- the entire population. In particularly banking. This is to Communist states. It has
its own incentives. but almost simultaneous- tionship with Maoist China, practice, the vision caught because the nature of the sec- been a factor in the dissolu-
An obvious one is ly rejected Soviet hegemony both ideologically and in mat-
the incentive for on predominantly in coun- tor’s business makes it prone tion of colonial empires, and
and later joined the group of ters of economic linkage. tries – notably Russia and to herd behaviour; and at is currently exemplified by
individuals to seek
employment in the “non-aligned” nations. The We come now to the core China – where spontaneous the same time, any multiple Catalan, Quebecois and Scot-
state apparatus in neighbouring regime of Enver of our topic. In Karl Marx’s economic deveopment had collapse of banking institu- tish nationalist movements.
pursuit of personal Hoxha in Albania was at odds vision the Communist rev-
comfort or ambition. lagged behind and where tions is liable to cause serious The exceptionally envelop-
with Yugoslavia over Kosovo olution would supervene state control could be in- collateral damage (“negative ing and oppressive nature of
and related issues. Hoxha re- at a high point of capital- voked as a means of forcing externalities” in the jargon) Communist authority tend-
For most but not all of mained unshakeably loyal to ist economic development, the pace. The global appeal to the economic system at ed to obscure the existence
Eastern Europe, that is. Yu- Josef Stalin and (after 1953) to to expropriate the owners of Communism, and of au- large. Remarkably, the lesson of such forces. The demise
goslavia under Marshal Tito his memory, but rejected the of capital and to spread the thoritarian regimes more has had to be re-learned from of Communism, fundamen-
espoused Communist insti- “revisionism” of his successors, fruits of accumulation and broadly, was enhanced by time to time by governments tally on economic grounds,
the economic adversities of and the economics profes- brought them to light.
the 1920s and 1930s, which sion alike. Yugoslavia broke up after
the customary economic pol- 1990 into its several constit-
icies of liberal governments The alternative to uent republics, with parts of
seemed unable to remedy an absolutist or the process involving bru-
(extreme instability of prices totalitarian regime tal civil strife. A little later,
and price levels, collapse of is democratic Czechoslovakia was divid-
sovereignty – in
financial institutions, shrink- ed into the Czech Repub-
other words, limited
age of international markets, government, subject lic and Slovakia. Much the
mass unemployment). to regular democratic most striking case, of course,
But in the second half of election. has been the Soviet Union,
the Twentieth Century the fragmenting after 1989 into
market economy became the State power sooner or its 15 member republics, all
mixed economy. Its enlarged later gives rise to its own in- but simultaneously with the
public sector and welfare centives. An obvious one is freeing of the former satellite
state safeguarded stability. the incentive for individuals states in Eastern Europe.
And the mechanism of com- to seek employment in the In the cases of the three
petition proved to be far bet- state apparatus in pursuit of Baltic republics (Estonia,
ter than central planning at personal comfort or ambi- Latvia and Lithuania) the
fulfilling the diverse and vari- tion. Another is the incen- only surprising aspect of this
able aspirations of consumers tive for geographic or cultur- process was that it came as
in conditions of prosperity; ally distinct units within the a surprise. They had been
and in parallel, at nurturing state to seek independence, incorporated, or reincorpo-
technological innovation either partial (devolution, rated, into the Soviet Union
and consequent productivity federalism) or total, in order as recently as 1940, and sub-
gains. The one critical area to pursue their specific group sequent population move-
where competition needs interests more closely or ef- ments had not been large
to be circumscribed rather fectively. This is a general enough to eliminate their

92 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 93


Rigged elections and petty corruption

distinct languages or sense democratic election from a one feature of contemporary


of nationhood. At the other plurality of political parties western societies most clearly
temporal extreme, Ukraine, or programmes – combined matched, or indeed exceed-
together with much of to- with the rule of law under an ed, in some ex-Communist
day’s Belarus and parts of the independent and incorrupt- states is inequality of income
Russian Federation, formed ible judiciary. and wealth.
the original Ninth Centu- The latter requirement To be sure, corruption,
ry Russian state of Kievan is primary, for two reasons. intimidation and fraud are
Rus’. From the Fourteenth First, a reliably independent not absent from societies
Century onwards, with the judiciary as the ultimate that escaped the Communist
expulsion of the Tatars, the means of resolving disputes experience. These phenom-
centre of gravity shifted to between private persons is ena too are universal. But
Moscow. However, linguistic the basis of trust and honest not everywhere on the same
and cultural diversities were dealing across society, and scale. Quantity matters. An
perpetuated and indeed mul- hence the basis of economic occasional mishap or bad
tiplied over the centuries, as cooperation and efficiency. apple may be allowed for in
the frontiers of the Russian Secondly, politicians and a firm’s provision for con-
state fluctuated widely with public servants must them- tingencies; but when these
the ebb and flow of political selves be subject to the law, “contingencies” are so com-
fortunes and conflicts. and be unable to interfere in mon as to have measurable
As recently as the dawn any way with the process of effects on the generality of
of the Soviet era, Russia, by law enforcement, including costs and profit, it is quite
the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in (or especially!) laws govern- another matter.
1918, surrendered its Polish, ing the exercise of democrat-
Finnish and Baltic territories, ic sovereignty.
as well as, for a brief interval, It is in this respect that
Trans-Caucasia (Georgia, ex-Communist states, par-
Armenia, Azerbaijan) and ticularly in the former Soviet
Ukraine. It is consistent with Union, are most liable to fall
this history that the Russian short. Elections are (frequent-
Federation under Vladi- ly) rigged. Politicians and
mir Putin should be sniff- bureaucrats use their offices
ing around its borders with to enrich themselves. Busi-
Peter Oppenheimer
Ukraine, with Georgia and ness enterprise is hampered has been a Fellow of Christ
with the Baltics in search of by fear of criminal attacks Church, Oxford. Until
opportunities to re-expand in the form of protection April 2000 he was Tutor
its territorial control. rackets, asset seizures (“reidy- in Economics (partially
The alternative to an ab- erstvo” in current Russian specialising in international
finance and trade), thereafter
solutist or totalitarian regime parlance) or financial fraud.
President of the Oxford
is democratic sovereignty – Restructuring and economic Centre for Hebrew and Jewish
in other words, limited gov- progress are slowed, and ex- Studies, until his retirement in
ernment, subject to regular pectations disappointed. The September 2008.
Rue du Trône 4, 1000 Brussels +32 (0) 228 06 039 info@acreurope.eu
www.acreurope.eu @ACREurope ACREurope
94 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 95
MARXISM LIVES ON - IN THE WEST
by Alexandr Vondra

T he collapse of Com-
munism in 1989 and
the dissolution of the Sovi-
al democracies and even ad-
mired (at least in the early
stage) by many Leftist in-
tury had provided a fertile
ground for Marxists who
offered an alternative “reli-
et Union in 1992 were the tellectuals. As Robert Con- gious” doctrine: an expla-
most profound and positive quest, the greatest historian nation of current sorrows,
events in the history of the of the Twentieth Century, a vision of a redemptive
last three generations in wrote: “Ideas that claimed future, and a definitive ac-
Europe. Communism – as to transcend all problems, count of human history.
an illusionary and utopi- but were defective or de- Marxists in Europe believed
an idea that promised to lusive, devastated minds, that the First World War, as
achieve a paradise on the a clash of “ancient regimes”,
earth through common Bolsheviks proclaimed provided the real opportu-
ownership and the absence that they were nity to turn their idea into
of a societal stratification, setting the example political practice.
for all Europe. This
money or even a state – left pretension wasn’t new However, the only coun-
the world stage. in Russian history; it try where revolutionaries
Marxist theory, which had appeared before won was the Soviet Union,
claimed to be scientific, has in a form of Slavic and the successor state of the
Russian messianism.
been fully discredited in old Russia. This autocratic
practice. Communist dic- country had no concept of
tatorships, from Moscow to and movements, and whole private property at all (as
Prague, from Tallin to Vlad- countries, and looked like the historian Richard Pipes
ivostok, had left behind plausible contenders for explained) because every-
millions of people executed, world supremacy. In fact, thing was regarded as the
forcibly resettled, or sent to humanity has been sav- property of the Tsar. Peo-
concentration camps. The age and trampled by rogue ple had no civic experience
system of state ownership ideologies.” and, in fact, had nothing to
and planning left behind Communism as an ide- defend.
devastated economies and ology had its roots in West- When Leftist think-
ravaged environments. Rad- ern Europe – as a mixture ers like Eduard Bernstein
ical ideology contributed to of the idea of equality stem- observed that economic
the destruction of cultural ming from the French Rev- development was contra-
heritage and religious mon- olution, and of Hegelian dicting Marx’s prophecy,
uments. Yet despite this philosophy in Germany on Marxist theory was res-
horrible legacy, the Soviet the “logic of history”. The cued by Vladimir Lenin,
Union was taken as a stan- secularism and progressiv- the leader of the October
dard partner by many liber- ism of the Nineteenth Cen- Revolution of 1917, who

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Marxism lives on - in the West

kept it alive by performing The West served as a Soviet regime also inherited in 1968). Vaclav Benda, a In 1989, everything argued that it was not a rev-
a heart transplant surgery magnet of liberty and the old imperial expansion- dissident from Charter 77, changed. Soviet Commu- olution in the true sense of
(as the American writer a “return” to Europe ism of Russia. At the end expressed this feeling sim- nism in central and Eastern the word. The western Left,
became a natural
Joshua Muravchik argued), programme of change. of the Second World War, ply: “For the majority of us, Europe collapsed – primar- based on the philosophy of
replacing the proletariat by totalitarian Communism Communism is identical ily because it had ceased Jürgen Habermas, which in
the vanguard. Bolsheviks But new Octobers did was imposed on central and to Satan or the Antichrist.” to be competitive with the the 1970s had promoted var-
proclaimed that they were not happen abroad and thus Eastern Europe by the Red However, due to the oppres- West’s liberal capitalism. In ious new social movements,
setting the example for all Lenin and Stalin replaced Army. sive nature of the regime, neither Prague nor Warsaw but in the 1980s was margin-
Europe. This pretension Russia’s state totalitarism The nations of central Eu- only a limited number of could one find anybody se- alised by the success of Mar-
wasn’t new in Russian his- with their own form of party rope always considered Sovi- people found the courage to riously willing to fight for it garet Thatcher and Ronald
tory; it had appeared before totalitarism. Their party, et Communism an import stand up publicly. And when any longer. The West served Reagan, and which perhaps
in a form of Slavic and Rus- based on an organisation- by force. Many had no illu- the Polish Solidarity move- as a magnet of liberty and saw the revolutions of Cen-
sian messianism. The tradi- al and command system, sions regarding any possibil- ment expressed its dissatis- a “return” to Europe be- tral Europe as a new chance
tion of Moscow as the Third served as a model for Fas- ity of reforming the system faction in a massive way in came a natural programme for itself, was disappointed.
Rome was replaced only by cists and Nazis in their as- (especially after the Soviet 1981, the regime responded of change. The result was a Ninety eighty nine did not
the Third International. cent to power in 1930s. The invasion of Czechoslovakia with military force. political revolution. Some deliver any new ­ ideals ­
or

98 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 99


Marxism lives on - in the West
CONSERVATIVE CULTURE

v­ision, merely a restoration an extension and mutation increasing pressure because


of Western capitalism.
Over two decades after
of classic human rights be-
yond their original scope
they are seen by progressives
as an obstacle to achieve the SOVIET MUSIC KEPT ITS
1989, Western democracy
and free market capitalism
and frame. The noble idea
of dismantling discrimina-
“brave new world”. While
traditional Marxists claimed
CLASSICISM - THANK GOD
were ahead of their challeng- tion has been transformed the economic equality as by Damian Thompson
ers everywhere. Countries of into a widespread concept their goal, the modern pro-
central and Eastern Europe of “equality” that con- gressive doctrine is more
were free to choose their for-
eign policy orientation and
stitutes not only a moral
but also the legal claim to
ambitious: it wants to
change human nature and L enin once told Maxim
Gorky that he loved Bee-
thoven’s  Appassionata  sonata
vealed thrillingly taut and
savage readings of famous
symphonies by the Lenin-
many managed to become achieve equal status within its identity. As a result, this
Nato and EU members. particular societal group. social engineering will make so much that he could listen grad Philharmonic Orches-
While Communism had left However, the ideal of equal- Western societies less cohe- to it every day. But, instead, tra, as unmistakably Russian
a heritage of ruins, not only in ity is out of reach in a free sive and more vulnerable. he chose to limit his exposure in Beethoven as it was in
the economy, environment, Perhaps the current po- to great music because “such Tchaikovsky. When tensions
health and politics, but also – We see the extension litical earthquakes in Europe miracles” distracted him from eased enough for Soviet mu-
and above all – in the minds of individual and in the US are just an ex- the all-consuming struggle sicians to tour the West, the
liberties into such for socialism. “It gets on my violinist David Oistrakh’s
of citizens, these nations areas as the right pression of the continuing Soviet purists
quickly realised necessary po- vitality of liberal democra- nerves. I would like to stroke toyed with the combination of tonal sump-
freely choose sexual
litical and economic reforms. identity. Traditional cies. A gap between the es- my fellow beings and whisper idea of suppressing tuousness and technical
institutions such as sweet nothings in their ears the classical canon, wizardry made jaws drop;
And in Russia, Communism, tablished elites and ordinary
family or church are for being able to produce but Stalin decided that likewise Sviatoslav Richter’s
if not the expansionist nature exposed to increasing people has simply widened solid citizens, deprived
of the country, is dead too. more than is endurable. It such beautiful things in spite of religion, needed supremely reckless Appassio-
pressure because
However, Marxism is they are seen by is high time to wake up and of the abominable hell they these “miracles”. nata, greeted with explosive
not dead in the West. It has progressives as an start to work for a conserva- are living in.” applause at Carnegie Hall
changed its form and battle- obstacle to achieve tive renewal. These are not – quite – in 1960. These were musi-
the brave new world. the words of a cold-eyed fa- Damian Thompson
cians who had never been
fields – the arena is not the is an Associate Editor at The
economy but culture and natic squashing his private Spectator and Editorial director
detached from their Rus-
social affairs. But it has not society, for it is permanently passion to further the revo- at the Catholic Herald. sian roots (Russian-Jewish
changed the naïvety of its contested by different indi- lution. Lenin sounds genu- @holysmoke in the case of Oistrakh: the
beliefs, despite the numerous viduals in an unequal en- inely conflicted. Beethoven, Soviets, unlike the Nazis, re-
lessons of history – just like together with Bach, Mozart, Stalin decided that solid alised that the quickest way
vironment. This “equality”
Georg Lukacs, the old ideo- Chopin, Wagner, Brahms citizens, deprived of reli- to impoverish music was to
could be only enforced by a
logue of European Marxists, and Tchaikovsky, were fig- gion, needed these “mira- expel Jews).
state power. As a result, the
who once said that even if ures of vast cultural signif- cles”. Wagner was culled, But they were also, of
society will become less free
every empirical assumption icance in pre-revolutionary but the other masters were course, cultural ambassadors
and less competitive.
were invalidated, he would Russia. Their works were per- venerated – Beethoven espe- for a murderous dictatorship
On the other hand, we
still hold Marxism to be true. Alexandr Vondra formed not just in theatres cially, though concert­ goers that, among its lesser crimes,
see the extension of individ-
On the one hand, the
is a Czech former Senator and and concert halls but in every were instructed to regard the bullied its finest creative spir-
ual liberties into such areas Minister, currently serving as
progressive forces of the bourgeois parlour.  finale of the Ninth Symphony its. Richter, terrified that his
as the right freely choose the Director of Prague Centre
West initiated a far-reach- Soviet purists toyed as a proto-Communist anthem.  German ancestry or his ho-
sexual identity. Traditional for Transatlantic Relations at
ing human rights revolu- with the idea of suppress- This was a sensible pol- mosexuality would catch up
institutions such as family CEVRO Institute in Prague.
tion. They have promoted ing the classical canon, but icy. Soviet recordings re- with him, kept his nose clean
or church are exposed to

100 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 101


Damian Thompson
CONSERVATIVE CULTURE

by avoiding all controversy The Soviet Union did Union until their dying day.
and just playing the piano. itself little harm by But that’s not a charge that
For his much older men- preserving Russia’s should be levelled at most
musical traditions
tor Prokofiev and his friend and then unleashing people in the audience at the
Shostakovich there was no them on the West. Festival Hall. They were hop-
easy way out. They were Its motives may have ing for a superlative perfor-
composers and therefore had been deplorable, mance of a masterpiece and,
to go through the motions of
but the music that
as the BBC recording reveals,
AMERICAS
emerged was not.
writing Stalin-worshipping that is what they got. The
drivel.  of the Eighth Symphony was applause at the end seems en-
Imagine if a great Ger- not only a response to Hit- tirely justified. 
man composer had addressed ler’s barbarities; Stalin guessed The Soviet Union did it-
similar hymns to Hitler; his as much and after its initial self little harm by preserving
name would be permanent- success it was suppressed. But Russia’s musical traditions
ly blackened. But the Nazis only briefly: by September and then unleashing them

MIAMI 2017
were unlucky in this respect: 1960, when Mravinsky con- on the West. Its motives may MAY 26-27
the Austro-German tradition ducted its British première at have been deplorable, but the
was moribund and they were the Royal Festival Hall, the music that emerged was not.
reduced to bribing the an- Eighth could once again be And now that performing
cient Richard Strauss. The represented as a triumph of styles have become depress-
Soviet Union, in contrast, Soviet art. ingly homogenised, so that
had Shostakovich, perhaps Some Western listeners a violinist trained in Beijing
the most important compos- were naïve enough to swallow sounds much like one trained
er of the Twentieth Century.  this line; certain British com- in Basingstoke, we can at least
In retrospect it is easy to posers, in particular, were be sure that the trick won’t be REGISTER AT:
argue that the devastating grief quiet apologists for the Soviet repeated. www.conservativesinternational.org

102 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 103


for survival. Altruism was a while the state was becoming rational scientific lines. Suc-
form of self-harm. Detached steadily stronger and more cessive Five Year Plans were
from any idea of human ful- centralised. Marxist-Leninist presented as guarantees that
filment, culture and the arts ideologues were in the posi- the Communist economy
served the exclusive purposes tion of witch-doctors blinding would outstrip its capitalist
of the state.  with mumbo-jumbo. competitor. Mikhail Gor-
Josef Stalin standardised The real Stalin gave him- bachev, the final General
the supporting doctrine in two self away when he said in Secretary, is known to have
books,  Dialectical and His- his inner circle: “To choose admitted that the statistics
torical Materialism  and  The one’s enemies, to prepare he received were falsified
Foundations of Leninism, both one’s plan minutely, to slake through and through, which
of them more or less compul- an implacable vengeance, was one of the causes of his
sory reading, much as Hit- and then to go to bed… downfall.  Dissembling and
ler’s Mein Kampf was in Ger- there is nothing sweeter.” lying thus began at the top.
many. Supposedly, a dialectic In the archives are lists of Catherine the Great’s
operates whereby history is an names that he signed off chancellor, Prince Potemkin,
irredeemable process of class in red ink with the invari- built a village consisting only
warfare bound to end in the able command, “Shoot” or of facades in order to deceive
dictatorship of the proletar- “Shoot Immediately.” To anyone inquiring into the
iat. This would be a perfect the world at large, however, misery of the nation. The So-
society, so perfect that the he and Communist leaders viet Union and every one of

THE CRIMINALS HAVE state withers away. At one in-


ternational conference in the
everywhere covered reality
with the claim to be mod-
its satellite states were Potem-
kin fictions. Immense num-
ESCAPED JUSTICE Interviewed on the
1930s, a Communist official
won a certain immortality by
ernising society on strictly bers of visitors from capitalist

by David Pryce-Jones BBC, EJ Hobsbawm, saying that in this perfect so-


a professor with a ciety no child would ever be
long career of Soviet
killed accidentally.
M ore than a poet,
Heinrich Heine was
a prophet when in 1842 he
every country under Com-
munist rule. It is generally
estimated that a hundred
apology, went so far as
to say that he would
still approve the death
In the Soviet Union and
every country with a Com-
of 20 million people munist Party, classes were
wrote, “Communism pos- million defenceless men and in order to set up a held in which some unfortu-
sesses a language which every women paid with their lives Communist state.
nate hack had to unfold this
people can understand – its for being what they were, not
dialectic to Party members
elements are hunger, envy for anything they had done. collective, no longer to him-
who might well be examined
and death.” Here, he held, Marxism-Leninism, the self.  This demand for a new
to see what sense they made
was a sombre hero in a mod- ideology that transformed identity gave rise to disas-
of it.  Nobody could explain
ern tragedy. And so it proved, Russia into the Soviet Union, trous psychological repercus-
why the proletariat should
with the deportation from violently redefined the rela- sions. Whoever dared to crit-
be favoured by history, and
their homelands of whole tionships of person to per- icise or tell the truth risked
there was no attempt to de-
populations, genocide, en- son, and of everyone to the denunciation and punish-
scribe how they would man-
forced famine, slave labour, state. The individual was sup- ment. Dissembling and lying
age their dictatorship. Mean-
and concentration camps in posed to be responsible to the were obligatory strategies

104 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 105


The criminals have escaped justice

Communist leaders in Po-


land, East Germany and
former Czechoslovakia have
been brought to court.
Nothing like that has
occurred in Russia, where
thousands of KGB brutes
and concentration camp
guards enjoy tranquil lives. EUROPE’S LEADING REFORMIST POLITICAL FOUNDATION
Appearing on a television Promoting Conservatism, Small Government, Private Property, Free Enterprise,
Lower Taxes, Family Values, Individual Freedom and Strong Defence.
countries have spent a week could write about “the solid programme during the
or two on tours of the Soviet well-being of the people on Boris Yeltsin presidency,
Union and come away deeply the streets,” and the success Lieutenant-General Dim-
impressed, to spread far and of the system. Interviewed itri Tokaryev described his
wide the news that the So- on the BBC, EJ Hobsbawm, command of one of the ex-
viet Union was wonderfully a professor with a long career ecution squads at Katyn  in
progressive in one field or of Soviet apology, went so far 1940, shooting so many
another. Poles in the back of the
Often fellow-travellers At one international head that his trigger finger
rather than Party members, conference in the became sore and swollen.
they had in fact seen only 1930s, a Communist Boasting of murder, he
official won a certain
what the authorities were immortality by saying should have been arrested
willing to show them. In- that in this perfect in the studio, not driven
explicably suspending their society no child home by a chauffeur. In the
critical faculties, George Ber- would ever be killed absence of trials that oblige
accidentally.
nard Shaw and H.G. Wells, known murderers and crim-
Romain Rolland, Jean-Paul inals to submit to the law,
Sartre, Emil Ludwig from as to say that he would still the intellectual and moral
Germany, Walter Duranty, approve the death of 20 mil- disgrace of Communism
the Moscow correspondent of lion people in order to set up continues to fester.
The New York Times, and Jo- a Communist state.
seph E Davies, the American In post-war Germany,
ambassador, are among influ- surviving Nazi leaders were
ential opinion-makers whose put on trial and those found
misleading reports about the guilty were hanged. Former
splendid achievements of SS men were also tried, some
Communism expose them to were hanged and others im-
mockery and cynicism that prisoned, and a great many
still needs addressing.  were permanently excluded
Credulity persisted right from any public position.
David Pryce-Jones
up to the collapse of Com- Khmer Rouge leaders re- is a British author and
munism. In 1984, the promi- sponsible for genocide in commentator and a senior JOIN US
nent economist JK Galbraith Cambodia and a few selected editor of National Review.

www.europeanreform.org @europeanreform
106 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 107
New Direction – The Foundation for European Reform, a non-for-profit organisation (ASBL/VZW) registered in Belgium and partly funded by the European Parliament. Registered Office: Rue Du Trône 4, Brussels, 1000, Belgium.
Director General: Naweed Khan. The European Parliament and New Direction assume no responsibility for the opinions expressed in this publication. Sole liability lies with the author.
The article was first published in The Los Angeles Times, October 14 1962.
©Ayn Rand. Published in The Ayn Rand Column by The Ayn Rand Institute Press.

T hose who still believe


that altruism is moral
and collectivism is practical
If, 45 years ago, the altru-
ist-collectivists could claim
some excuse for their alleged
foreign imperialists. Industrial-
isation, they promised, would
make up for it all, and Soviet
will do well to consider the ideals – for the belief that progress would surpass the
meaning of the current news government planning would decadent West.
from Soviet Russia. abolish poverty, ease the bur- Look through the news-
On September 24, the So- den of toil and create pros- paper files for the 45 years
viet government announced perity for all – what excuse since. You will find a succes-
that it was “postponing” an- have they now? sion of five-year plans and
other one of its “five-year In 1917, at the start of the failures, and bloody purges of
plans”: the abolition of the revolution, the Russian stan- scapegoats to account for the
income tax. That plan had dard of living was unspeakably failures. The Russian people’s
been proclaimed, with thun- low. The Soviet system brought standard of living (“standard
derous publicity, in 1960 and it still lower. The misery of So- of dying” would be more
had promised to abolish in- accurate) has not changed;
OUR ALLEGED COMPETITOR come taxes gradually over a Industrialisation is
not a static goal; it
shoes, wristwatches, cosmet-
period of five years. is a dynamic process ics are still luxuries; the pro-
by Ayn Rand
With the same noisy with a rapid rate of duction of sufficient food is
bluff, Khrushchev had an- obsolescence. still an unsolved problem.
FOREWORD by Yaron Brook nounced that the Russians’ Nothing has changed
Ayn Rand was born in Tsarist from Communism’s policy of ed for the good of the society. per capita consumption viet existence is incommuni- – except the production
Russia in 1905 and witnessed breaking a few eggs to make an Elsewhere Rand argued that of meat and butter would cable to Americans. One can of public monuments.
the Communist Revolution be- omelette, but from capitalism’s this same moral premise was surpass the Americans’ in a merely suggest it by saying that The starved, ragged Sovi-
fore fleeing to America in 1926, policy of liberating the individ- behind the growing regulato- few years. Instead, what the the whole of a man’s mental, et wretches drag themselves
eventually becoming one of the ual to pursue his own happiness.  ry-welfare state that was slow- Russian consumers got, last physical and emotional ener- now, servicing some giant
earliest and most outspoken Throughout her career, ly chipping away at progress summer, was a 25 percent gy, in Soviet Russia, is devoted factories, some hydro-elec-
critics of Communism during Rand opposed Communism and prosperity in America. increase in the prices of meat to an agonised struggle for his tric dams, a marble-vaulted
the Twentieth Century. In this not, primarily, on economic What Communism re- and butter. next meal. subway, a hideous skyscraper
column, originally published grounds, but on moral grounds. veals, in her view, is not only But the Soviet govern- But the Soviet rulers as- representing a university, and
in The Los Angeles Times on Whereas most people regarded the evil and destructiveness of ment’s expenditures for “the sured the people that this was countless parades in honour
October 14 1962, Rand argued Communism as a noble theory, totalitarianism – but the evil public interest” – for in- only temporary. They bran- of conveniently photogenic
that the basic rationalisation Rand saw the root of all Com- and destructiveness of  collec- dustrial development, space dished slogans, banners, post- young men who return from
used to justify Communism’s munism’s failures and crimes tivism, in whatever form and projects and foreign aid – will ers and mass executions, ex- travels in “outer spaces.”
failures – that temporary sac- as following logically from its to whatever degree. If we are go on, uncut. horting the people to patience At first, it might have
rifices will eventually lead to basic moral premise: the collec- to truly learn the lessons of Here is your pure, classic and self-sacrifice for the sake of seemed plausible that one
collective prosperity – had been tivist notion that the individu- Communism’s history, it is the example of general self-sac- the country’s industrialisation. should sacrifice oneself (and
shown by decades of experience al had no right to exist for the moral premise of collectivism rifice. This is what the doc- They blamed all hardships on others) for the sake of help-
to be a lie. Progress and prosper- sake of his own happiness, but that Rand asks us to question trine of “the public interest” Russia’s economic backward- ing the poor in one’s own
ity, she observed, did not come was a resource to be exploit- and reject. means, is and does. ness and on the plotting of country. Now, with the entire

108 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 109


Our Alleged Competitor

chine they invented, thus


raising their productivity and
yours – thus moving forward
and profiting, not suffering,
every step of the way.
Observe that with the
growth of statist controls, the
rate of our economic growth
has been declining. Yet it is
capitalism that our politi-
country (except the ruling an unprecedented standard of cal-intellectual leaders regard
elite) reduced to the lowest living for all classes. And with as “immoral” – and it is so-
level of misery, those same every subsequent decade, with cialism that they regard as
poor, unhelped, are drained every scientific discovery or “practical” (!)
by further sacrifices – for the technological advance, that If you saw a drunken
sake of helping the poor of standard of living kept rising. bank robber squandering the
Cuba and Africa. Under capitalism, prog- savings of millions of people
At first, it might have ress and prosperity were not on a single Champagne-or-
seemed plausible that the opposites, but corollaries. gy at the Waldorf-Astoria
sacrifices were temporary and you would not regard him as
that industrialisation would Under capitalism, economically sound nor as a
bring abundance for all. progress and dangerous threat to a produc-
prosperity were
But industrialisation is not not opposites, but tive industrialist. Yet this pre-
a static goal; it is a dynamic corollaries. cisely is the moral meaning,
process with a rapid rate of the economic position and
obsolescence. So the wretched And whenever anyone asks the competitive “threat” of
serfs of a planned economy, a nation for sacrifices, it is not Soviet Russia’s alleged tech-
who starved while waiting for progress that he will achieve. nological progress.
steam engines and tractors, America’s magnificent
are now starving while wait- achievements – which the
ing for atomic power and in- Soviets are copying, borrow-
terplanetary travel. ing and stealing – were not
Thus, in a “people’s state,” created by public sacrifices,
the progress of science is a but by the productive genius
threat to the people, and of free men who pursued
every advance is taken out of their own “selfish” interests
the workers’ shrieking hides. and the making of their own
This was not the history private fortunes.
of capitalism. They did not tax you for
Yaron Brook
Emerging at the turn of America’s industrial develop-
is an award-winning finance
the Nineteenth Century, cap- ment. They gave you jobs, professor and President of the
italism transformed the world higher wages and cheaper Ayn Rand Institute.
in a few brief decades, creating goods with every new ma- @yaronbrook

110 www.theconservative.online THE CONSERVATIVE | April 2017 | Issue 3 111


THE LIBERTY SUMMIT IN EUROPE
THE DAMAGING LEGACY OF COMMUNISM
TIRANA, ALBANIA, 7-9 APRIL, 2017

thelibertysummit.org
112 www.theconservative.online