The New Totalitarians

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The so-called “socialist revolution,” which the collapse of the Soviet Union and the implosion of the European welfare state should have soundly discredited by this time, is still running its course. This is the case not only in Latin America, where it seems to be embedded in the national psyche, but, despite recent electoral setbacks, in the United States as well. So counter-intuitive a phenomenon is partially explained by the lust for power among political strongmen and numinous redeemers who understand that socialism enables them to consolidate the power they crave in their own hands. But it also requires the backing of intellectuals and academics who naively believe that socialism opens the way to a juster and more equable society. History teaches that such a chimera is catastrophic in the application. It is generally embraced as an ideal by an intellectual class isolated from the lives of ordinary people and therefore immune or indifferent to reality.

Paul Johnson observes in a 1987 article, “The Heartless Lovers of Humankind,” a blueprint for his 1988 book Intellectuals, that instead of allowing their ideas to emerge from the people, “intellectuals reverse the process, deducing their ideas first from principle and then seeking to impose them on living men and women.” Insulated in their cerebral bunkers, they are “library socialists” in love with an idea, who regard human beings, whom they profess to cherish, as obstructions to the unfolding of their master plan.

Most of these theoretical prodigies, Johnson shows, live in the gated communities of the left and have little knowledge of the actual conditions under which people struggle, legislating down to the masses from their positions of authority and ostensible moral elevation. Eva Hoffman expands on this notion in her memoir, Lost in Translation, as the ability to think “privileged thoughts…thoughts that cost nothing and that weren’t produced by the labor of their own experience.” These princelings are, in effect, Lenin’s predatory “who” to his submissive “whom.” They permit no opposition to their supposedly enlightened diktats, which may go some way to accounting for one of the strangest political marriages of modern times, namely, the entente between  liberal-left cultural relativism and the Islamic theo-political imperative.

This curious affinity of the political and intellectual left for a rejuvenated Islam is by no means as paradoxical as it may initially seem. Authoritarians tend to get along when they have a common enemy. Like to like. And the common enemy is a free and open society built on enlightenment canons and the sanctity of the individual. A graphic illustration of such demagogic tendencies, much in the news these days, comes from the European Union and its unelected, de facto politburo, whose “Council Framework Decision on Combating Racism and Xenophobia” of November 28, 2008 and recently passed into law allows for the extradition from one country to another of anyone deemed to have offended its prescriptions. It has also mandated a “European Gendarmerie Force” to carry out its decisions.

Thus halcyon Denmark’s article 266b of its penal code allows for the incrimination of outspoken citizens like MP Jesper Langballe for vigorously protesting Muslim honor killings and family rapes. As journalist Lars Hedegaard comments, “Under Danish jurisprudence it is immaterial whether a statement is true or untrue. All that is needed for a conviction is that somebody feels offended.” (Hedegaard as well is facing criminal prosecution for his remarks on honor killings.) Speaking truth must be censured in the faux Utopia in which giving offense is a cardinal sin. Canada, too, which seems to many a happy, analgesic country, has its Human Rights Commissions in which hearsay is admitted as evidence against anyone indicted under the nebulous rubric of “hate speech”—which in practice often means holding an honest discussion about worrisome social and political trends. The defendant, who is presumed guilty and must somehow prove his innocence, is severely restricted in summoning witnesses—as in pacific Holland, a fact to which Geert Wilders can attest—or in tabling supporting documentation. He must also defray his own legal expenses while the plaintiff—generally an offended imam or Muslim organization—is funded by the State (i.e., the taxpayer).

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  • Alexander Gofen

    What a profound analysis! Agree with every word of it! Its scope however is limited to the "intellectual" or "academic" scum only. The real power belongs to the super rich rather than to "academics". And a greater puzzle is that the same utopia had infected the rich and powerful of the Western world, and not just recently, but more than 100 years ago, as I briefly outlined:

    Why did at all they voluntarily give voting rights to welfare recipients? (2)

    Why did they voluntarily tax themselves "progressively" i.e. higher than others? (3)

    And the main shocker: Why is there such a mind boggling uniformity amongst the rich? They all essentially think and act like notorious Soros, and no one, literally not one person of the comparably high financial caliber is visible (or even exists) on the conservative side of the political spectrum. Such a lack by itself of the rich not even daring to utter a word against the low life agitators, spells the doom of the West.

    • Guest

      "And the main shocker: Why is there such a mind boggling uniformity amongst the rich?"

      Being rich is not the main factor. These folks are, like Soros, anti-zionist Jews who have abandoned Judaism for a perceived self-redemptive Marxist messianism. That messianism is the uniting factor.

      • Guest

        I forgot to add that this uniting factor has no right -wing counter point. It is peculiar to the left.

      • Alexander Gofen

        My message was not as though being rich logically implies becoming a Marxist! Logically, being rich implies the opposite attitude: to uphold your own class, your nation and its tradition, as had always been the case 150 years ago.

        So my message draw attention to the paradox or enigma of the modern times, that the rich and their businesses became infected with Marxism and Leftism totally. We do not see any heterodoxy among them at all. Unlike in general citizenry where about 40% are conservative, there are 0% conservatives among the rich (at least visibly).

        It holds for all businesses and all riches: not only those of the Jewish origin like Soros.

        It is not like the Leftism unifies them: rather Leftism is an inevitably contracted infection by all of them.

        • Guest

          No, No. These people were/are innately Left-wing. Their ultimate wealth or lack of it, is incidental to that fact. Read David's "The Politics of Bad Faith" . See especially his essay (Part 3) The Religious Roots of Radicalism therein. Also Google my blog ( for more.

  • aspacia

    Alexander, the right want the power. Think the Kennedys. JFK's family is wealthy, but run for office for the power. Kerry is married the the Heinz heiress, and does not need to work for a living; Kerry want the power. Ditto for John Edwards; this is true for many of the rich.

    • Dan

      Yes. Screwing around with "the masses" — cloaked in altruism — as, er, uh, their full time hobby.

    • Alexander Gofen

      "the right want the power"? You meant the RICH want the power, I guess… And that is the way it has always been. No problem with it.

      The problem is that now the riches who got this power are uniformly left. They did tax themselves more than others (even if some were caught in tax evasion). Yet the most tragic is that they ruin the middle class, and the very foundation of Judeo-Christian America, that made this unique bright city on the hill so successful…

      • aspacia

        Alexander, you are correct, I meant the rich. Sorry. Could you supply statistics regarding the party affiliation of the top 2% of the U.S, wealthy class?

        • Alexander Gofen

          I do not know (nor care much) about the "party affiliation" of the rich because now either party is leftists anti-American and anti-Constitutional. Disregarding the party affiliation of the rich, there is not one explicitly conservative business, not on TV channel, newspaper, and not one rich voicing the conservative views.

  • sflbib

    So what is "new" about these new totalitarians?

  • Phil Byler

    Excellent analysis, including the reference to the unholy alliance between the socialist left and radical Islam.

  • davarino

    I vow to get more involved in the tea party this year. We have to stay vigilent with this bunch who's only quest in life is to take away our freedom. We cannot sleep any longer.

  • Chris

    “a voluntary ignorance of the facts; an ability to live with contradictions that refute its own principles; and a refusal to analyze the causes of failure.”
    -Isn't that the dictionary definition of 'liberalism'?

  • Chiggles

    Shows what I've long believed: true "class struggle" consists of the top and the bottom against the middle.

  • joyfuljoyful

    This reminds me of the Procrustean bed from Greek mythology in which the host (Procrustes) offers a bed to his guests. But the person must fit the bed. If they are too long, they are cut to fit; if they are too short, they are stretched to fit. It's all about the bed. And the master of the bed who arranges the "hospitality."

    This is an excellent article.

  • USMCSniper

    All progressive academics want comrade congresspersons from American politburo to make legislation for mandatory reeducation camps for stupid American populace for establish international socialism under one world government for greater glory of chairman Obama.

  • USMCSniper

    want comrade congresspersons from American politburo to make legislation for mandatory reeducation camps for stupid American populace for establish international socialism under one world government for greater glory of chairman Obama.

  • Tom Kinney

    Something many of us have been thinking for a long time. When Palin promotes the right to smoke pot in your home and Pat Robertson is considering legilization while Joe BiteMe is against it, you know you've fallen through the mirror. When Big Government=Big Brother=Totalitarianism=Fascism and it's the left who's promoting it, you're on the other side of the mirror.

    There is a massive and necessary revisionism going on right now to take back our history from the coastal elites, the academic guilds, the public unions, and the final straw that is finally breaking the camel's back–rampant, run-amok liberalism.

    Kudos again to FrontPageMag.

  • Tom Kinney

    What this starts to remind one of, is the relationship between the Mad Mullahs of Iran and the wealthy intellectual Muslims of Tehran and their temporary love affair that ended so badly as well portrayed in Persepolis. Like the Tehranese intellectuals, who thought they had common ground with the Islamic terrorists who took American hostages, the Europeans think they can hold a love-in with terrorists in their midst and by "understanding" them as victims–something you got to give terrorists credit for, they may play the victim game well when they have to, but they're no cowards and not anybody's victims in the real world–win them over to their side. Instead, this terrorist vampire, once inside the willing victim's home where they have been duly invited, will do to the poor Euros what the terrorists did to the intellectuals of Tehran after the Shah was dumped.

    One wonders if this wasn't how Rome looked in its later years, dysfunction spreading far and wide like a deadly virus, but an oblivious public steadfastly unaware of the shape of things soon to come.

  • Guest

    I agree very much with your analysis.
    But, I find, that you are wrong about Danish legislation. This guy was not fined for speaking the truth or debating serious issues, but for stating that all muslim fathers rape their daughters – which is not true, and which certainly constitutes incitement to ethnic hatred. He could have stated that these crimes are gravely widespread in these populations compared to the ethnic Scandinavians and he would not have been judged. You shouldn't join forces with this guy – he is very, very offensive and not to be taken seriously. And if you want to be taken seriously you must study this case properly.

    This guy is simply testing the limits of the law and has found that stating untrue, slanderous things about entire ethnic groups is not accepted – which might be quite all right. Also he had to pay a little fine, he will not even need to go over his budget to manage this. So proportionality os not the issue. One might argue that the line in the law is drawn a bit too tight or a bit too lose – but this is not an example of free speech being outlawed.

  • Eric

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  • waterbed

    Shows what I've long believed: true "class struggle"

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