Backtracking the deadly dynamics of the Left.
If a right-wing supporter of President Trump had targeted Democrats for assassination, as Dennis Prager contended, the establishment media would have made it the dominant issue in American life. In reality, James Hodgkinson was a leftist supporter of socialist Bernie Sanders, a gutless hatemonger who gunned down Republicans while they played baseball, seriously wounding Rep. Steve Scalise. Only swift action by police prevented multiple murders.
As Daniel Greenfield noted, the left has been mounting a surge of hateful rhetoric, calling for Republicans to be “lined up and shot” and so forth. This was bound to translate into action, but the dynamic goes back to an event soon to mark a 100-year anniversary.
In October 1917, as war raged in Europe, the Bosheviks took over Russia, the largest country on earth. They did not, as some believe, “overthrow the Tsar,” but toppled a provisional government that was Russia’s first inkling of democracy. They preferred bullets over ballots and quickly established the Cheka to eliminate political opponents, including rival socialists.
Reportedly on direct orders from Lenin, Bolshevik troops shot, bayoneted and clubbed to death Tsar Nicholas, his wife Alexandra, and their children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Alexi. The troops then burned the mutilated bodies.
Lenin died in 1924 and the reins of the revolutionary state soon passed to Iosif Vissarionovich Dzugashvili, a half-baked former seminary student and gangster better known as Josef Stalin. Once in power, Stalin eliminated rivals and made terror an instrument of policy. “There were no dissidents; they were shot before they came close to dissenting.” That was the view of Vladimir Pozner, once a high-profile Soviet apologist, in his 1990 Parting with Illusions.
In 1932-33, Stalin engineered a man-made famine in Ukraine that killed 25,000 peasants per day, a rate higher than World War I, when 6,000 soldiers perished per day. Those who broke the story of the famine, such as Malcolm Muggeridge of the Guardian, were called liars, while Walter Duranty of the New York Times won a Pulitzer Prize for covering up the atrocity.
In Stalin’s USSR, justice was a three-step process: arrest, try, shoot. By the end of the 1930s, Stalin had claimed some 10 million victims. As Communist playwright Bertolt Brecht told Sidney Hook, author of Out of Step, “the more innocent they are, the more they deserve to be shot.”
This slaughter coincided with a wave of Soviet adulation Paul Hollander chronicled in Political Pilgrims. “One must not make a god of Stalin,” wrote high-profile American journalist Anna Louise Strong, “he was too important for that.” Such pro-Soviet progressives coupled their adoration of the USSR with a sulfuric hatred of the United States, in their view the flywheel of capitalist oppression.
Many progressives bailed after the Hitler-Stalin Pact and in 1949, Arthur Koestler, Louis Fisher, Richard Wright and others charted the failures of Communism in The God That Failed. Still others rejected Communism after the purges of the late 1940s and Khrushchev’s revelations in 1956. More than three decades later, in 1988, American socialist deadbeat Bernie Sanders, oblivious to seven decades of tyranny, opts to spend his honeymoon in the USSR. There he tells Soviet officials that the cost of housing and health care is “much higher” in the United States.
Three years later, when the USSR collapsed, depriving American leftists of their favorite model, and China, North Korea, Cuba and Vietnam also fell out of fashion. Undaunted, the progressives remained in the subjunctive mood. They duly transferred their allegiance to a future utopian state where an enlightened elite would achieve perfect social justice, ensuring that the masses get only what the state wants to give them.
While immanentizing the eschaton, progressive leftists preserve their hatred for the existing United States, even though it has preserved liberty, human rights, prosperity and opportunity far better than any of the socialist regimes the left has championed.
Like the early Marxist-Leninists, current progressives claim to know where history is going, so if the progressive candidate loses an election, it must have been stolen. In these conditions, those who support the winner need do nothing to earn progressive wrath. They get attacked as enemies of the people, enemies of the planet, on the wrong side of history, and so forth. That sort of dehumanization has been a prelude to violence and death on a massive scale, just as Stalin sought to eliminate the kulaks “as a class.” In the style of Brecht, the more innocent they are, the more they deserve what they get.
That’s the deadly dynamic that goes back 100 years. That’s why comfy leftist professors call for Republicans to be lined up and shot. That’s why progressive assassin and Bernie Sanders supporter James Hodgkinson scratches out a hit list of Republicans and opens fire at a baseball game. That’s why the New York Times, which covered up Stalin’s famine in Ukraine, relegates the story to the back pages. It’s all part of the violence inherent in the system, and now playing out in America.