Posts Tagged ‘Stalin’

What people Dotoeachother

August 26, 2018

Seems like folks these days are gettin all wound up about politics and stupid stuff like that. Democrats v. Republicans. Progressives v. Conservatives. Extremists v. Moderates, blah blah blah.

And to make it worse, with the intensifying effects of cellphones and pads and pods and whatnot and so-called social media blather, what we are barreling toward is a vast dumbing-down, barbarizing of all public discourse.

What was called debate in earlier times now has degenerated to knee-jerk bluster hubris yada yada blahblah hatred the-loudest-loudmouth-wins trouble.

People take sides on every little controversy that rears its ugly little head in the public domain. Seems to me more like, as William Faulkner or William Shakespeare might have called it, sound and fury signifying nothing.

My studies of human history indicate some recurring characteristics of the tactics employed by extremist diehard yahoos: Such people want to push public discourse farther and farther toward extremist tactics so they can impose their great radical-fringe remedies on the rest of us who want only to live in peace and security with a little justice, mercy and neighborly good will toward our fellow-man thrown in.

I was born in the middle of the 20th-century, 1951. Looking back on all that happened during that century, I’ve noticed a few alarming things, such as:

The two worst 20th-century  assholes who ever came along the pike and pretended to be great leaders—Hitler and Stalin—both of them manipulated evolving political institutions, and the idiot people within them— to make a grand bloody mess of their two nations and the whole damn world at large.

Both dictators, Hitler and Stalin, were idealogues. Historians call Hitler a Nazi, which is a type of Fascist. They call Stalin a Communist.

What’s more important, however, in the historical classification game is this:

Both Hitler and Stalin were mass-murderers. They did not do justice to the people they claimed to govern.

StalnDown2

This factual identification is more important than the ideological label by which each of these two demagogues manipulated their bloody way into absolute power.

And they weren’t the only ones. In the 20th-century, there were others: Pol Pot, Idi Amin. Some would say Mao. And onn a small scale. . . Jim Jones, Charles Manson?

This scenario to which I make reference— this human behavior attribute of folks being swept up into murderous behavior by a maniacal leader driven by ideological or religious frenzy that results in mass murder—it could be right around a historical corner now.

If people do not allow the practice of mercy, decency, compassion, reason— and most of all forgiveness— to overpower imminent institutionalized manipulations of bloody power-mongers, then we’ll have another terrible round of mass murder on this planet.

Religion (old-school) and Ideology (new school) are both, when carried to extremes, cut from the same extremist cloth, and can drive people to endorse mass murder.

Don’t go there.

Ideology is a big circle. On one half of the circle is the arc of conservatism, which in its extremism leads to fascism; on the other half is the arc progressivism, which in its extremism leads to communism. They both start their movements at the top of the circle going in opposite directions. But at the bottom where they collide, we find extremism so lethal that it requires mass-murder as a so-called final solution.

You know what I’m talking about: “Somebody needs to kill them bastards!”

Religion, same thing. “Somebody needs to kill them _____” (fill in the blank)

Which is why we must harken to the greatest clarion call of all, the one spoken by the man from Galilee who stood on a mountainside and taught us:

“Whatever you would want done to you—do that for everybody else.”

This is the most important principle of all. Far greater  than communism or fascism, far more effectual than Democratic or Republican power-mongering, far more spiritually effective that the Church or the Caliphate.

Peace on this planet ultimately comes down to what people are willing to do–or refuse to do– to each other in the name of  _______.

You fill in the blank.

King of Soul

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The Fall of Man–Past or Future?

January 15, 2016

This world is a mess, isn’t it? It’s a screwed-up place. How in the hell did it get this way? Who’s responsible for this mess?

Among my people, the Christians, we generally attribute this world’s fallen condition to a collusion between the devil and a couple of homo sapiens named Adam and Eve. We read in our sacred book a story of how this presently messed-up arrangement of things originated in a place called the garden of Eden where the devil, shapeshifting as a serpent, tricked Eve and Adam into eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, whatever that is.

That book, the Book of Genesis, was written by Moses.

Moses’ impact on mankind has been huge. His writings have had more influence on human belief and behavior than just anybody else I can think of. His best-seller, the first five books of the Bible, is still more widely-read than any other written work. Moses’ ancient influence has outdone all the masters of modern storytelling, even heavyweights such as Shakespeare, Melville, Twain, Dickens, Hemingway, Tolkien, Crichton, Grisham, Rowling and even Stephen King.

But Moses’ chief contender these days for the role of Primary Explanator of the human condition is an Arabian prophet who has been around for 14 centuries: Mohammed. All around the world the advocates for Mohammed are giving Moses a run for his money. We shall see how this turns out.

As for me and my house–my money is on Moses. More importantly, my faith is in Jesus Christ. But I have to tell you–I think Moses was really onto something.

He, and his predecessor Abraham, had latched onto some pretty potent stuff. That is to say, some real truth. As for the Arabian, we shall see how all that plays out. Seems to me his deal is quite legalistic and compulsory, instead of being, say, benevolent and full of grace.

Consider Moses and his legacy.

His writings, and the writings of those who followed in his revelation, eventually became what we call the Judaeo-Christian heritage, generally associated with the Western World. When Mohammed came along, about 620 C.E., he sought to place himself into that Abrahamic/Mosaic stream of revelation. And as I said before, we shall see how that all works out. As for me and my house, I’m not into the Mohammedan thing, but the Mohammedans can do what they want. You go your way and I’ll go mine, okay?

Getting back to my original question of how or why the world got to be such a screwed-up place, I would have to direct you to an appraisal of some recent human history. About a hundred years ago, the whole damn world started to blow up with powerful new technologies that had been applied to human conflict. World War I was no walk in the park,  and World War II wasn’t either. In fact, both of those conflagrations were pretty horrendous blow-ups that caused, in an historically unprecedented way, a lot of damage and pain and strife among the peoples of the world.

I mean, looking back on it. The whole damn 20th-century–and even up to now in the 21st–is shown to be powerful evidence that the human race is fallen, depraved, or, as they say in the Red states, screwed-up, or as they say in the Blue states, dysfunctional. Something is wrong with us. Human history proves it.

So, as I pointed out above, Moses was correct in his assessment when he brought forth the story about the Fall of Man.

Now Moses was a Jew and that has gotten him into trouble.

The modern historical nemesis of Moses and all the Jewish people was a bestial man from Austria named Adolf Hitler. History has shown that Hitler’s diabolical hatred of the Jews, and probably his hatred of all the rest us who don’t measure up to his Aryan bullshit standards, turned the whole world upside down with war and destruction for a period of about five years, back in the 1940’s.

Hitler had spent his youth in artistic pursuits. He fancied himself an artist. During that first 20th-century decade before World War I, he had tried to break into the art world and become a recognized artist. While living in Vienna and trying to promote his art, he encountered some Jewish critics who did not appreciate his work. This became a big problem for Hitler. He acted out his inner resentment against them in such an extremely phobic way that his hatred for Jews became an obsession. One thing led to another, and, you know the rest of the story.

The point I am making is that Hitler blamed all the world’s trouble and dysfunction on the Jews. And he damn-near  destroyed the civilized world just to prove his point.

Look what happened as a result–another world war, millions of people dead. In some ways, it is still going on, although the names and the faces have changed.

But let’s learn from history. The problem is not with the Jews. The problem is with all of us.

As far as the present arrangement of things goes, in 2016,  there have been some interesting developments.

Take the Climate-bangers, for instance. They met in Kyoto, then in several other major cities, most recently Copenhagen, Lima, and Paris.

They’re working toward a worldwide implementation of their program to save the world by phasing out Carbon Emissions.

Good luck with that, Naomi.

Now some of their rhetoric is quite legalistic, even repressive. Sounds like it could even morph into a police-state kind of .gov program.

If they think they can correct this world by regulating everybody into enforced, low-carbon poverty, I have to say, respectfully, I beg to differ.

Over a hundred years ago, the Marxists were all hot and bothered with their new theory about what would straighten this mess out. They wanted to organize and equip the working people of the world to take control of the Means of Production–that is– to take all the resource-converting industrial/financial/gov infrastructure away from the Capitalists and let the proletariat run the show and this would evolve into the golden era of human brotherhood and thereby true communism.

History has shown, however, through the bloody regimes of Stalin, Mao, Pol-Pot, Kim Jong-Un and other delusionary demagogues, that their theoretical Plan for our deliverance from oppressive Capitalism, while it looks credible on paper, does not actually work according to plan.

Why not? The problem is Fallen Man. We screw it up every time.

Nobody, not even God Him/Her self, will ever get all homo sapiens together on the same page working together to correct our messed-up world.

Now consider the problem of Climate Change. This is a lot like the old problem of Capitalist Exploitation.

The Climate-bangers’ doctrine we see evolving among world-class Academics involves a strategy similar to the Marxist prescription that was supposed to render Capitalism obsolete. This new Regimen calls for Taking Control of the Means of Emission–which is, practically speaking, the same as the Means of Production. But this has not happened under the Communist banner and it will not happen under the Climate banner. It’ll never happen.

Men are emitters–always have been, always will be. We are guilty of flatulence every day, in oh so many ways, whether through an exhaust pipe, a coal stack, or an anal expulsion.

Men are sinners–always have been, always will be. We are guilty of murder every day, in oh so many ways, whether through the gun, the bomb, or the polluted environment.

Word from the Tower is if we don’t get a hold of this Carbon thing it will be the end of us.

So now the Climate-bangers have predicted an Apocalypse of Carbon destruction. It arises from Man’s inability to get his shit together and properly disposed of, based on the 2% increase Plan, or even the 1 1/2% plan. Our goose is cooked. The train is about to derail. The jig is up and that’s all she wrote. It’s curtains for us, unless we can get everybody together on the same regs to curb our carbon flatulence.

But there is another Apocalypse scenario that is just as likely to happen, if you think about it. For many centuries, we Christians have read and taught from our scriptures, the last book of which describes an Apocalypse that befalls us as a result of our depravity. Now, in the 20th-century, we religious types who warn of  a possibly impending Tribulation, which is a result of our human carbon emission sin– we are thought to be on the  lunatic fringe because we are seen as doomsayers.

So as it turns out–it’s history’s little joke on us– we Bible-thumpers are not the only ones on the street with a Repent the End is Near sign.

But hey, we’re all in this together. Come, let us reason together.

Just lighten up, and let’s all try to get along here. I’ll minimize my emissions if you’ll minimize yours.

And by ‘n by, we shall see how this all pans out. But be careful; try not to fall on your way out of this mess.

Smoke

Communism

August 16, 2015

It was an idea whose time had come

or so they thought.

First there was the original, the Marx

version.

It seemed to be a great idea, everybody equal

pulling their own weight in a

great society. You might say it was the French

philosophers who started the whole damn thing

when they sliced off the king’s head

in the Place de la Revolution, 1789

to, you know, get him and his royal legions

out of the way

so Liberte, Egalite, and Fraternite could

rule the day

instead of the  divine right of fuddy-duddy

kings

which was an old disproven

notion. It had fallen, like the guillotine upon the king,

by the wayside. Later,

When the Bolsheviks got a hold of it

it became something else, and so

there evolved the Russian

version

which morphed into the Lenin

version

and eventually degenerated into the bloody Stalin

purge version

Then of course there was the Chinese

version

which, when Mao got a hold of it became

some great bloody leap backward and

a cultural revolution the likes of which the world

had never seen

since Pharoah, or whoever the hell it was that collected

all those sweating men out in the desert to stack

stone upon Ozymandian stone

up to the sky

but who knows why.

But I digress. It was the Ho Chi Minh

version

that really tripped us Americans up because

that great idea whose time had come had

proven to be not such a great idea

or so we thought.

And the whole damned ideological notion of

Communism

had become a terrible bogey man, an ogre in

the furtive minds of Capitalist men that

eventually got mired in the bogs of

Vietnam

And what a helluva thing that was.

Oh, and while all that was going down

along came the Che

version

and then the Castro

version

but the jury’s still out on all that or

so it seems,

‘though things are never as they

seem.

Maybe it was all just a bad

dream.

Smoke

Nikita Khrushchev!

March 16, 2014

On February 25, 1956, in the U.S.S.R, Premier Nikita Khrushchev made a speech that later rocked the world. As he addressed  the 20th annual congress of the Communist International party, a frigid straitjacket of ruthless Stalinist tyranny that had ruled the Soviet Union since the early 1930’s began to thaw. Khrushchev’s admission of Stalin’s paranoid crimes while terrorizing the Soviet world initiated a loosening of Russian rulership that wasn’t fully realized until 1989.

This turnaround had been a long time coming. Khrushchev’s revelation of Stalinist-era abuses exposed terrible events and purges that had happened over the last twenty years.  Rumors and unconfirmed reports of torturous cruelties had, from time to time, glinted through the iron curtains of Soviet secrecy. Confirmed communists across the world had fallen into the habit of  awkwardly denying the Party’s murderous mistreatment of its subjects.

In spite of the enormity of his exposé, the dutiful Premier was striving to keep this volatile information under wraps. The comrades to whom Khrushchev was admitting these extreme violations of Marxist-Leninist doctrine were delegates who were ruling the communist world. This speech was supposed to be an internal secret!

Thanks to the Israeli Mossad, (according to David Horowitz in his autobiography Radical Son) the explosive contents of the Khrushchev report got leaked to the world at large. A few months later, on June 4, 1956 the U.S. Dep’t of State released it. The New York Times published it. This revelation rocked the world, especially the world of those diehard communists who had been striving since 1917, in countries all across the globe, to liberate us clueless freedommongers from bourgeois degeneracy and capitalist oppressions.

As the Premier of the USSR had let his comrades in on the dirty little secrets of Stalin, he skillfully wove his presentation of the facts into an ex post facto defense of classical Marxist-Leninist doctrine. The Communist Party line was supposed to have been all about the “People,” and what the “People” could do together to deliver the world from capitalism into (in the sweet by-n-by of proletarian dictatorship) socialist utopia.

Dictatorship of the Proletariat is what Marx and Lenin had called it. Not one-man dictatorship!

But according to Comrade Nikita, Joseph Stalin had managed to wrangle the at-first disorganized, emerging Communist state machinery into–not what the great theorists had designed for it–but a murderous police state, patterned after Stalin’s own paranoia and ruthless control tactics.

Maybe the communist theoreticians should reevaluate their philosophical presuppositions about human behavior. (But that’s another can of worms.)

Nikita Khrushchev, a loyal Party man if there ever was one, had somehow managed to morph into a bold whistleblower, although he wanted to keep his little Molotov cocktail of party revisionism in-house. He wisely discerned that this historical elephant could no longer be concealed in the smoke-filled back room of the Soviet household. And so his argument against reprehensible  Stalinist legacy was presented as an exposé of “the cult of the individual.” 

As an American who was four years old at the time of Khrushchev’s secret speech in 1956, I have, just recently, come to appreciate his innovative willingness to talk about the Stalinist elephant in the salon room of world politics. My present idea of who this Nikita Khrushchev was, and what he was up to, is markedly different from my earliest youthful impression of the man, which was a fuzzy TV news image of a pudgy fellow banging his shoe on a podium at the United Nations while provocating  us yankees with the words, “We will bury you!”

Maybe Nikita was just thinking about starting a funeral home business or something. I don’t know.

This was the same Russian leader who, just two years before his world-rocking secret speech, reportedly “gave” the Crimean peninsula to the Ukrainians, whatever that means. And what’s up with that, I don’t know either but we shall soon find out, after today’s so-called “illegal” election in Crimea, eastern Ukraine.

It seems a little odd to me that any popular referendum anywhere in the world could be condemned as illegitimate by an American President and his Secretary of State. I would think that we Americans, the vanguard of the free world, would be all about elections and referenda. Where’s Jimmy Carter when you need him?

CR, with new novel, Smoke, soon to be published