The Believer

The ideology behind the lust to tear America down.

[To get the whole story on the Left's destructive and suicidal political odyssey, read Jamie Glazov's 'United in Hate: The Left's Romance with Tyranny and Terror': CLICK HERE.]

Editors’ note: As we witness the Marxist revolution currently transpiring right before our eyes in America, a vital question confronts us: what yearnings lie inside the members of groups such as Black Lives Matter and Antifa -- and why do members of the Democrat Party and of the Establishment Media cheer them on? What inspires this violent hatred of America and the ferocious craving to tear it down? These are, without doubt, some of the most pertinent questions of our time. Frontpage Editors have therefore deemed it vital to run, below, an excerpt from Jamie Glazov’s book, United in Hate: The Left's Romance with Tyranny and Terror. The excerpt is the second chapter, titled 'The Believer’s Diagnosis'; it explores the progressive believer's secular faith - and unveils his heart of darkness. Don't miss this essay. 

*

The Believer’s Diagnosis
"Everything that exists deserves to perish."
—Karl Marx, invoking a dictum of Goethe’s devil in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoléon

In the eyes of Joseph E. Davies, who served for several years as American ambassador to the Soviet Union before the Second World War, no human being merited greater respect than Joseph Stalin. The ambassador spent much time reflecting on why he believed the Soviet dictator deserved the world’s—and his own people’s—heartfelt veneration. He finally realized that the answer had always been staring him square in the face: it was that Stalin’s “brown eye is exceedingly wise and gentle. A child would like to sit on his lap and a dog would sidle up to him.”[i] Leading French intellectual Jean-Paul Sartre discovered a similar truth about his own secular deity, Fidel Castro. “Castro,” he noted, “is at the same time the island, the men, the cattle, and the earth. He is the whole island.”[2] Father Daniel Berrigan, meanwhile,  contended that Hanoi’s prime minister Pham Van Dong was an individual “in whom complexity dwells, in whom daily issues of life and death resound; a face of great intelligence, and yet also of great reserves of compassion . . . he had dared to be a humanist in an inhuman time.”[3]

The objects of all this adoration, of course, were despotic mass murderers. One crucial question, therefore, surfaces: what exactly inspires a person, and an entire mass movement, to deify a monstrous tyrant as a father-god who transcends the singular and encompasses, as Sartre put it, all the people and their land? The answer to this question helps illuminate the contemporary Left’s romance with Islamist jihadists, just as it helps crystallize the Left’s alliance with the most vicious totalitarians of the twentieth century.

The believer’s totalitarian journey begins with an acute sense of alienation from his own society—an alienation to which he is, himself, completely blind. In denial about the character flaws that prevent him from bonding with his own people, the believer has convinced himself that there is something profoundly wrong with his society—and that it can be fixed without any negative trade-offs. He fantasizes about building a perfect society where he will, finally, fit in. As Eric Hoffer noted in his classic The True Believer, “people with a sense of fulfillment think it is a good world and would like to conserve it as it is, while the frustrated favor radical change.”[4]

A key ingredient of this paradigm is that the believer has failed to rise to the challenges of secular modernity; he has not established real and lasting interpersonal relationships or internalized any values that help him find meaning in life. Suffering from a spiritual emptiness, of which he himself is not cognizant, the believer forces non-spiritual solutions onto his spiritual problems. He exacerbates this dysfunction by trying to satisfy his every material need, which the great benefits of modernity and capitalism allow—but the more luxuries he manages to acquire, the more desperate he becomes. We saw this with the counterculture leftists of the sixties and seventies, and we see it with the radical leftists of today. Convinced that it is incumbent upon society, and not him, to imbue his life with purpose, the believer becomes indignant; he scapegoats his society—and ends up despising and rejecting it.[5]

Just like religious folk, the believer espouses a faith, but his is a secular one. He too searches for personal redemption—but of an earthly variety. The progressive faith, therefore, is a secular religion. And this is why socialism’s dynamics constitute a mutated carbon copy of Judeo-Christian imagery. Socialism’s secular utopian vision includes a fall from an ideal collective brotherhood, followed by a journey through a valley of oppression and injustice, and then ultimately a road toward redemption.[6]

In rejecting his own society, the believer spurns the values of democracy and individual freedom, which are anathema to him, since he has miserably failed to cope with both the challenges they pose and the possibilities they offer. Tortured by his personal alienation, which is accompanied by feelings of self-loathing, the believer craves a fairy-tale world where no individuality exists, and where human estrangement is thus impossible. The believer fantasizes about how his own individuality and self will be submerged within the collective whole. Hoffer illuminates this yearning, noting that a mass movement

appeals not to those intent on bolstering and advancing a cherished self, but to those who crave to be rid of an unwanted self. A mass movement attracts and holds a following not because it can satisfy the desire for self-advancement, but because it can satisfy the passion for self-renunciation. People who see their lives as irremediably spoiled cannot find a worth-while purpose in self-advancement. They look on self-interest as something tainted and evil; something unclean and unlucky. . . . Their innermost craving is for a new life—a rebirth—or, failing this, a chance to acquire new elements of pride, confidence, a sense of purpose and worth by an identification with a holy cause. An active mass movement offers them opportunities for both.[7]

As history has tragically recorded, this “holy cause” follows a road that leads not to an earthly paradise, but rather to an earthly hell in all of its manifestations. The political faith rejects the basic reality of the human condition—that human beings are flawed and driven by self-interest—and rests on the erroneous assumption that humanity is malleable and can be reshaped into a more perfect form. This premise spawned the nightmarish repressions and genocidal campaigns of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and other Communist dictators in the twentieth century. Under their rule, more than a hundred million human beings were sacrificed on the altar where a new man would ostensibly be created.[8]

The believer, of course, is completely uninterested in the terrifying ramifications of his pernicious ideas. Preoccupied only with alleviating his own personal pain, he is indifferent to what effect the totalitarian experiments actually have. That is why the Left never looks back.[9]

It is crucial to emphasize, however, that the believer is indifferent to the consequences of his own ideology only in the sense that he needs to deny them in public. This is because he fears that their exposure will delegitimize his pursuit of his own neurotic urges. The believer therefore consistently denies what is actually happening within the totalisms he worships. Even if it is proven to him that his revolutionary idols perpetrate mass oppression and slaughter, he will take pains not to speak of it. But privately he approves of the carnage; indeed, that is what attracts him in the first place. The believer is well aware that violence is necessary to clear the way for the earthly paradise for which he longs. But he is careful never to acknowledge the actual process of destruction, and to always label it the opposite of what it actually is. Thus, in public, the believer pretends he is attracted to “peace,” “social justice,” and “equality.”

The lust for destruction is at the root of Marxism. In Marx’s apocalyptic mindset, catastrophe gives rise, ultimately, to a new, perfect world. And so it is no surprise that Marx often invoked, as he did in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoléon, a dictum of Goethe’s devil: “Everything that exists deserves to perish.” Marxism, of course, did not disappoint in that part of its promise, earnestly wreaking the mass death and destruction its architect intended.[10] It is this same dreadful formula of thought that led to the Left’s post-9/11 attraction to the ruins of Ground Zero.

While he dreams of destruction, the believer compensates for his lonely madness by telling himself that he is not estranged, but is actually a member of a vast community. The reality, however, is that all of his supposed friendships are with other estranged people, and he establishes no genuine, intimate ties outside the politics of the radical faith. Indeed, believers’ friendships are seldom based on what they might actually like about each other as human beings; they are based only on how their political beliefs conform to one another’s. As Che Guevara, Fidel’s executioner, stated it: “My friends are friends only so long as they think as I do politically.”[11] This is why believers so readily accept the fact that their “friends” may be eliminated for the idea if they are deemed to stand in its way. As we will see in chapter 3, for instance, the American fellow traveler Anna Louise Strong and the Stalinist German writer Bertolt Brecht, two typical believers, were completely undisturbed by the arrests and deaths of their friends in the Stalinist purges.

The political faith, therefore, is not at all a search for the truth. It is a movement. For the believer, consequently, changing his views becomes nearly inconceivable, since doing so means losing his entire community and, therefore, his personal identity: he is by necessity relegated to “non-person” status. Even so, many believers have gathered the courage to abandon the movement. The believers who have walked through this leftist valley of membership death include, in our time, David Horowitz, Ronald Radosh, Eugene Genovese, Phyllis Chesler, and Tammy Bruce.[12]

Horowitz has profoundly described the dark reality of how the ties between progressives include few actual human connections and are formed mostly on commitments to the same political abstractions.[13] He recollects the haunting experience of attending his father’s memorial service, during which not a single “friend” of his father (a Communist) named anything he knew or liked about Phil Horowitz personally:

The memories of the people who had gathered in my mother’s living room were practically the only traces of my father still left on this earth. But when they finally began to speak, what they said was this: Your father was a man who tried his best to make the world a better place. . . . And that was all they said. People who had known my father since before I was born, who had been his comrades and intimate friends, could not remember a particular fact about him, could not really remember him. All that was memorable to them in the actual life my father had lived—all that was real—were the elements that conformed to their progressive Idea. My father’s life was invisible to the only people who had ever been close enough to see who he was.[14]

The believer attempts to fill the void left by the lack of real human connection with a supposed love for humanity as a whole. The believer loves people from a distance, though he hates individuals up close and in particular. The human beings he imagines he loves, meanwhile, become part of his fantasy community.

These people whom the believer loves from a distance are always the supposed victims of capitalism and American “imperialism.” He agonizes over their suffering and revels in the moral indignation he feels about it. This dynamic is reinforced by the megalomania and narcissism from which most believers suffer. Convinced that the world revolves around him, the believer clings to the notion that the suffering of capitalism’s supposed victims is somehow his personal business. And to legitimize his identification with them, he envisions himself to be a victim of capitalist oppression as well. Meanwhile, by condemning his own society, he provides himself not only a sense of belonging with the other supposed victims, but also a feeling of moral superiority that helps counteract the humiliation he experiences as a result of his real-life estrangement.

A self-reinforcing circle emerges: the more victimized the believer envisions himself to be, the closer he feels to the supposed victims of capitalism; the more the victims of capitalism suffer, the greater the indignation the believer can feel through his empathy for them. The more victims there are to identify with, the larger the community the believer belongs to. It becomes clear why the existence (real or imagined) of the impoverished and alienated classes under capitalism is so vital for the believer. His entire identity is wrapped up in his vision of their victimization.

Guilt is instrumental in the rotation of this circle. Usually coming from and/or occupying a position of privilege, the believer is guilt-ridden about his material comfort and high social status. Ashamed that he is not a genuine victim, he creates the myth that he is. By making himself a member, in his imagination, of the poor, the oppressed, and the downtrodden, he feels a sense of atonement. He is paying his karmic debt by being a believer.

In this way the believer keeps his delusions secure. Yet because those delusions are founded on the shakiest of ground, the leftist must be extremely rigid in denying basic, common-sense realities (e.g., Communism is evil, al-Qaeda is a terrorist enemy that needs to be fought, and so on). If a leftist were to admit these things, his belief system would collapse entirely.

Thus the desperation with which the believer clings to his belief system becomes understandable. It fuels the rage and fury that is already at the root of his psychological makeup. At this point, another dynamic element enters the circle: the rage that manifests itself in the need to hold onto the belief system meshes with the rage that gave life to the belief system in the first place.

We can now gauge why believers cheered the 9/11 hijackers and intimately identified with them. The act of the hijackers confirmed, in the believers’ minds, the existence of an oppressed class—which legitimized their rage against America. They saw the hijackers as people who not only were performing a noble and necessary duty (i.e., dealing a deadly blow to America), but also were, like them, members of the poor, the oppressed, and the downtrodden classes. Thus the believers lived vicariously through the hijackers’ violent strike against the supposed oppressors.

Meanwhile, the believer is utterly indifferent to the real-life suffering of the actual human beings victimized by the regimes that he glorifies. The victims of adversarial ideologies do not fit into the believer’s agenda, and so they do not matter and are not, ultimately, even human in his eyes.[15] Because they are not human for him, the believer sees them as enemies and, therefore, supports their extermination. Once again, in the mutated Judeo-Christian imagery, blood cleanses the world of its injustices and then redeems it—transforming it into a place where the believer will finally find a comfortable home.

Beneath the believer’s veneration of the despotic enemy lies one of his most powerful yearnings: to submit his whole being to a totalist entity. This psychological dynamic involves negative identification, whereby a person who has failed to identify positively with his own environment subjugates his individuality to a powerful, authoritarian entity, through which he vicariously experiences a feeling of power and purpose. The historian David Potter dissects this phenomenon:

. . . most of us, if not all of us, fulfill ourselves and realize our own identities as persons through our relations with others; we are, in a sense, what our community, or as some sociologists would say, more precisely, what our reference group, recognizes us as being. If it does not recognize us, or if we do not feel that it does, or if we are confused as to what the recognition is, then we become not only lonely, but even lost, and profoundly unsure of our identity. We are driven by this uncertainty into a somewhat obsessive effort to discover our identity and to make certain of it. If this quest proves too long or too difficult, the need for identity becomes psychically very burdensome and the individual may be driven to escape this need by renouncing his own identity and surrendering himself to some seemingly greater cause outside himself.[16]

This surrender to the totality involves the believer’s craving not only to relinquish his individuality to a greater whole but also, ideally, to sacrifice his life for it. Lusting for his own self-extinction, the believer craves martyrdom for the idea. As Hoffer points out, the opportunity to die for the cause gives meaning to the believer’s desire to shed his inner self: “a substitute embraced in moderation cannot supplant and efface the self we want to forget. We cannot be sure that we have something worth living for unless we are ready to die for it.”[17]

Believers’ desire to give up their lives for the cause therefore unsurprisingly pervades the Left’s history. The sixties radicals are typical of this phenomenon. Jerry Rubin’s Do It, for instance, is rife with the veneration of death. At one point, he and a mob of fellow radicals block the path of a police car carrying a Berkeley activist who had violated the university’s rules. Describing what became a thirty-two-hour ordeal, Rubin writes:

As we surrounded the car, we became conscious that we were a new community with the power and love to confront the old institutions. Our strength was our willingness to die together, our unity. . . . Thirty-two hours later, we heard the grim roar of approaching Oakland motorcycle cops behind us. I took a deep breath. “Well, this is as good a place to die as any.”[18]

In another scene described by Rubin, an activist lies face down on a train track in Berkeley to stop a train from taking American GIs to the Oakland Army Terminal. With great awe, Rubin recounts how this person would have died if not for four fellow activists who hauled him off the tracks a second before the train roared through.[19]

The phenomenon of believers’ supporting death cults, and idealizing their own martyrdom, has carried into the era of the terror war. The murder by Iraqi terrorists of American hostage Tom Fox in March 2006 is a perfect example of this phenomenon. Fox was among four members of the leftist group Christian Peacemaker Teams who were kidnapped in Iraq in November 2005. The group consistently speaks of its longing for death in its supposed quest for peace, and it is no coincidence that Fox died at the hands of the terrorists he was supporting.[20] Similarly, the leftists who set out to serve as human shields for Saddam, or the International Solidarity Movement activists who stood in front of Israeli soldiers, were not engaged in anything new, but just continuing a long leftist tradition.

Another element of the believer’s diagnosis is the desperate search for the feeling of power, to help him counteract the powerlessness he feels in his own life. This is connected, in part, to the lessening of authority in Western society, which leads believers to scapegoat their own society and forge alliances with the authority represented by adversarial despotic regimes. This explains, as Potter notes, the progressives’ cult around Mao Tse-tung and “the compulsive expressions of adoration for a Hitler or a Stalin.” He writes,

Negative identification is itself a highly motivated, compensation-seeking form of societal estrangement. Sometimes when identification with a person fails, a great psychological void remains, and to fill this void people incapable of genuine interpersonal relationships will identify with an abstraction. An important historical instance of identification with abstract power has been the zealous support of totalitarian regimes by faceless multitudes of people. The totalitarian display of power for its own sake satisfies the impulse to identify with strength.[21]

In our contemporary terror war, the believer has filled the void left by Communism’s disappearance with radical Islam. Instead of living vicariously through the oppression imposed by the KGB or the Red Guards, the believer now satisfies his yearnings through the violence perpetrated by suicide bombers. There is a balance in this scale. The less brutal an ideology is, the less interest the average believer has in it and the less praise he is inclined to give it. By contrast, when the death cult is in full gear, the believer supports it most strongly. As will be demonstrated in Part II, the fellow travelers always flocked to Communist regimes in largest numbers when the mass murder had reached a peak—Stalin’s terror, Mao’s Cultural Revolution, Pol Pot’s killing fields. And as Part IV will reveal, the Left’s rallying cry for militant Islam is loudest when the terrorists are waging their most ferocious campaigns against innocent civilians.

Rejecting the personal freedom that comes with modernity in a democratic society, the believer yearns for uniformity, stability, and purpose. Indeed, as will be shown in Part II, the fellow travelers who visited Communist countries consistently referred to the “sense of purpose” they imagined they saw on people’s faces—which they somehow never witnessed on faces in their own society. American sociologist Paul Hollander explains how these hallucinations are rooted in a “crisis of meaning”:

. . . the restlessness of estranged intellectuals and the hostility of the adversary culture are in all probability generalized responses to the discontents of life in a thoroughly modernized, wealthy, secular, and individualistic society where making life meaningful requires great ongoing effort and remains a nagging problem—at any rate for those whose attention does not have to be riveted on the necessities of survival.[22]

The believer’s attraction to vicious adversarial cultures is also fed by a simple dynamic: he admires whomever his own society disapproves of and fears. As the enemy of his own society, the adversarial society is also the enemy of all the things the believer claims he hates therein (materialism, racism, sexism, homophobia, poverty, etc.).[23] The historical evidence, however, proves that the believer is not truly concerned with these social ills at all, seeing that these are always far worse in the adversarial societies—and this is especially true of militant Islam.

The believer’s idolization of an alien culture goes back farther, of course, than the twentieth century. Alienated Western intellectuals have always dreamt of a foreign place they imagined as being better and purer than their own society. The idea of the “noble savage” was formulated in the late seventeenth century, but it is most closely associated with Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who saw man in the “state of nature” as essentially pure and good—before society corrupted him with greed and private property. The noble savage, in this paradigm, is born free and has not been shackled by the chains of civilization.

Following Rousseau, left-wing Western intellectuals have habitually looked to the Third World for personifications of primeval innocence. To alienated intellectuals of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the noble savage represented everything that Western man was not. And since these intellectuals felt displaced in their own societies, they envisioned the noble savage as a guide who could help them navigate the stormy seas of life toward beachheads of meaning, satisfaction, and happiness. The classic case was Margaret Mead’s 1928 bestseller, Coming of Age in Samoa, which became the Left’s bible.[24] Mead’s fantasies about a guilt-free sexual utopia were typical of the Western intellectual’s dreams about the noble savage.

To be sure, there wasn’t anything actually noble about the savage. And the believers knew that. But that is precisely why they admired him. They desired to harness his savagery in order to destroy all of their own society’s modernity and freedom—as did the 9/11 terrorists who transformed the World Trade Center into Ground Zero.

Thus the savage represented an idealized and mythical purity, but also the potential for destruction, which, as we have seen, the believer imagines to be the only path to renewed purity on earth. This is why Communism and the Third World blurred into each other as objects of affection for believers. As Hollander notes,

Certainly, the appeal China, Cuba, and North Vietnam had to the eyes of many Western intellectuals was part of the more general appeal of the Third World. Underdevelopment in the eyes of such beholders is somewhat like innocence. The underdeveloped is uncorrupted, untouched by the evils of industrialization and urbanization, by the complexities of modern life, the taint of trade, commerce, and industry. Thus, underdevelopment and Third World status are, like childhood, easily associated or confused with freshness, limitless possibilities, and wholesale simplicity.[25]

Therefore, the manner in which Western intellectuals idealized the noble savage serves as a crucial lens through which to observe how the longing for purity and innocence leads the believer to a lust for death. Unable to cope with the confusion, risks, and challenges inherent in individual freedom, the believer dreams of a world where, as a child again, he will be taken care of by a father-god who has everything under control and can make the decisions. The road to this fairy-tale world, in turn, can only be paved with human corpses.

The writings of believers are filled with allusions to the necessity of this violent destruction before the secular utopia can be built. In his introduction to Rubin’s Do It, Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver affirms: “If everybody did exactly what Jerry suggests in this book—if everybody carried out Jerry’s program—there would be immediate peace in the world.” Suffice it to say that Rubin’s “program” consists of chaotic and scattered expressions of rage that have no unifying theme other than the desire to annihilate civil society. This is why Cleaver emphasizes that he can “unite” with Rubin “around hatred of pig judges, around hatred of capitalism, around the total desire to smash what is now the social order in the United States of Amerika, around the dream of building something new and fresh upon its ruins.”[26] In other words, the “peace” that Cleaver and Rubin long for is the kind of peace that can be built only on Ground Zero.

In their yearning for a new earth, many Western intellectuals were also attracted to Fascism,[27] the ideological cousin of Communism and Islamism. Communism, of course, had a more popular appeal, since it possessed the reputation (albeit totally undeserved) of being on the side of humanity. But many believers could have gone either way. Indeed, many of the modern Left’s ideas are rooted in Fascism, especially in the ideology and practices of Benito Mussolini.[28] And the cult of sadism embodied in Hitler tempted their ideological appetites. Author Paul Berman reflects on Nazism’s glorification of death:

On the topic of death, the Nazis were the purest of the pure, the most aesthetic, the boldest, the greatest of executioners, and yet the greatest and most sublime of death’s victims, too—people who, in Baudelaire’s phrase, knew how to feel the revolution in both ways. Suicide was, after all, the final gesture of the Nazi elite in Berlin. Death, in their eyes, was not just for others, and at the final catastrophe in 1945 the Nazi leaders dutifully converted their safehouses into mini-Auschwitzes of their own.[29]

Because the believer possesses so many of these dysfunctions and adopts so many embarrassing political dispositions to safeguard them, remaining in denial takes on a life-and-death importance. Everything is at stake when a political or social reality is confronted. More than anything, the believer must constantly rationalize the annoying presence of human happiness around him. Common people who are happy with their circumstances, and who do not see themselves as victims, pose a serious threat to the believer’s imagined community membership and thus to his personal identity. In response, the believer must tell himself that these individuals are content with their own society only because they have been brainwashed. In other words, they think they are happy, but in fact they are not. They are ruled by a “false consciousness” that capitalist forces have instilled in them, and they can only be liberated from this mental enslavement by the revolution that the believers have appointed themselves to lead.

For the radical, experiencing joy means succumbing to this false consciousness and becoming distracted from the constant vigilance necessary to launch a revolutionary battle. This is why Lenin refused to listen to music, since, as he explained: “it makes you want to say stupid, nice things and stroke the heads of people who could create such beauty while living in this vile hell.”[30] For Lenin violent revolution was the priority—a priority endangered by the emotions music could induce.

Needing to remain angry and full of gloom no matter how comfortable and joyful life in a free society might truly be, the believer invariably holds his own society to full moral accountability, but never does the same for enemy societies. The clear implication is that his society is actually superior, since it must be held to a higher standard. But the leftist must assiduously deny this implication, lest he be forced to confront the bigotry on which his own belief system is based.

To keep this toxic mindset in place, the believer must convince himself that he knows something that ordinary human beings do not. He is above ordinary human desires and affairs. Thus, as Hollander shows, leftwing intellectuals have perfected the procedure of appointing themselves the moral antennae of the human race.[31] Once again, we come full circle to the dark forces that make the progressive gravitate toward genocide: because believers consider themselves to be higher life forms, their inferiors become not only expendable, but necessary waste. They are nothing more than obstacles to the creation of Ground Zero and the subsequent rebuilding.

This is where the Western Left and militant Islam (like the Western Left and Communism) intersect: human life must be sacrificed for the sake of the idea. Like Islamists, leftists have a Manichean vision that rigidly distinguishes good from evil. They see themselves as personifications of the former and their opponents as personifications of the latter, who must be slated for ruthless elimination.

As Parts III and IV will demonstrate, both Islamists and Western leftists thus see America as the Great Satan. In the American tradition, the sanctity of the individual, his freedom, and his life come before any political institution. Henry David Thoreau wrote at the close of his famous essay “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience”: “There will never be a really free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived.”[32] In this formula, the sacredness of the individual is the political faith. For the believer and the Islamist, such a formula is anathema. The individual’s right to pursue happiness, enshrined in America’s foundations, interferes with the building of the perfect, unified social order; human joy and cheer are tacit endorsements of the present order that both leftist and Islamist utopians want to destroy.

The puritanical nature of totalist systems (whether Fascist, Communist, or Islamist) is another manifestation of this phenomenon. In Stalinist Russia, sexual pleasure was portrayed as unsocialist and counter-revolutionary.[33] More recent Communist societies have also waged war on sexuality—a war that Islamism wages with similar ferocity. These totalist structures cannot survive in environments filled with self-interested, pleasure-seeking individuals who prioritize devotion to other individual human beings over the collective and the state. Because the believer viscerally hates the notion and reality of personal love and “the couple,” he champions the enforcement of totalitarian puritanism by the regimes he worships.

The famous twentieth-century novels of dystopia, Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We, George Orwell’s 1984, and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, all powerfully depict totalitarian society’s assault on the realm of personal love in its violent attempt to dehumanize human beings and completely subject them to its rule. Yet as these novels demonstrate, no tyranny’s attempt to turn human beings into obedient robots can fully succeed. There is always someone who has doubts, who is uncomfortable, and who questions the secular deity—even though it would be safer for him to conform like everyone else. The desire that thus overcomes the instinct for self-preservation is erotic passion. And that is why love presents such a threat to the totalitarian order: it dares to serve itself. It is a force more powerful than the all-pervading fear that a totalitarian order needs to impose in order to survive.[34] By forbidding private love and affection, social engineers make the road toward earthly redemption much less serpentine.

As Part II will demonstrate, believers have been inspired by this form of tyranny in the Soviet Union, Communist China, and Communist North Vietnam, just as they have turned a blind eye to Castro’s persecution of homosexuals. Believers were especially enthralled with the desexualized dress that the Maoist regime imposed on its citizens. This at once satisfied the believer’s desire for enforced sameness and the imperative of erasing attractions between private citizens.

The Maoists’ unisex clothing finds its parallel in fundamentalist Islam’s mandate for shapeless coverings to be worn by both males and females. The collective “uniform” symbolizes submission to a higher entity and frustrates individual expression, mutual physical attraction, and private connection and affection. Once again, the believer remains not only uncritical, but completely supportive, of this totalitarian puritanism.

This is exactly why, forty years ago, the Weather Underground not only waged war against American society through violence and mayhem, but also waged war on private love within its own ranks. Bill Ayers, one of the leading terrorists in the group, argued in a speech defending the campaign: “Any notion that people can have responsibility for one person, that they can have that ‘out’—we have to destroy that notion in order to build a collective; we have to destroy all ‘outs,’ to destroy the notion that people can lean on one person and not be responsible to the entire collective.”[35] Thus, the Weather Underground destroyed any signs of monogamy within its ranks and forced couples, some of whom had been together for years, to admit their “political error” and split apart. Like their icon Margaret Mead, they fought the notions of romantic love, jealousy, and other “oppressive” manifestations of one-on-one intimacy and commitment. This was followed by forced group sex and “national orgies,” whose main objective was to crush the spirit of individualism.[36] This constituted an eerie replay of the sexual promiscuity that was encouraged (while private love was forbidden) in We, 1984, and Brave New World.[37]

Valentine’s Day—a day devoted to the love between a man and a woman—is a natural target for both the Left and Islamism. As we shall see in chapter 10, imams around the world thunder against Valentine’s Day every year, and its celebration is outlawed in Islamist states. In the West, feminist leftists especially hate Valentine’s Day. Jane Fonda has led the campaign to transform it into “V-Day” (“Violence against Women Day”)—a day of hate, featuring a mass indictment of men.[38] The objective is clear: to shatter any celebration of the intimacy that a man can hold with a woman, for that bond is inaccessible to the order. This impulse is also manifest when Western believers dedicate themselves to the cause of “transgenderism”—the effort to erase “gender,” which they believe is an oppressive social construct imposed by capitalism.

It becomes clear why totalitarian puritanism has taken on crucial significance in the terror war. As we shall see in more detail in Parts III and IV, Islamism, like its Communist cousin, wages a ferocious war on any kind of private and unregulated love. In the case of Islamism, the reality is epitomized its monstrous structures of gender apartheid and the terror that keeps it in place (from mandatory veiling and forced marriage to female genital mutilation and honor killings). Militant Islam’s ruthless persecution of homosexuality, a mirror image of Castro’s, is part and parcel of this phenomenon. Thus, while posing as the champions of gay rights and women’s rights, believers now ally themselves with the barbaric deniers of these rights.

All these ingredients in the believer’s psyche contribute to the contemporary Left’s romance with militant Islam, just as they engendered the believers’ love affair with Communist regimes throughout the twentieth century. That love affair is exemplified best by the pilgrimages that fellow travelers embarked on, wandering from one brutal despotism to the next. In order to give the context for the story of the Left’s dalliance with Islamism, we must first tell that haunting tale.

Jamie Glazov holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialty in Russian, U.S. and Canadian foreign policy. He is the editor of Frontpagemag.com, the author of the critically-acclaimed, United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror, and the host of the web-tv show, The Glazov Gang. His new book is Jihadist Psychopath: How He is Charming, Seducing, and Devouring Us. Visit his site at JamieGlazov.com, follow him on Twitter: @JamieGlazov, and reach him at [email protected]com.

Notes:

[1] Joseph E. Davies, Mission to Moscow (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1941), p. 217.

[2] Quoted in Humberto Fontova, Fidel: Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant (Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 2005), p. 11.

[3] Daniel Berrigan, Night Flight to Hanoi (New York: Macmillan, 1968), pp. 125 and 130.

[4] Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (New York: Harper and Row, 1951), p. 6.

[5] For a comprehensive analysis of the how the leftist rejects his society for his own failure to find meaning in life, see Paul Hollander’s masterpieces, Political Pilgrims: Travels of Western Intellectuals to the Soviet Union, China, & Cuba 1928–1978 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981) and Anti-Americanism: Critiques at Home & Abroad, 1965–1990 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).

[6] See David Horowitz’s essay “The Religious Roots of Radicalism” in his book The Politics of Bad Faith, pp. 115–137.

[7] Hoffer, The True Believer, pp. 12–13.

[8] For a succinct compilation of Communism’s crimes and death toll in each country, see Stéphane Courtois, Nicolas Werth, Jean-Louis Panné, Andrzej Paczkowski, Karel Bartosek, Jean-Louis Margolin, Sylvain Boulougue, Pascal Fontaine, Rémi Kauffer, Pierre Rigoulet, and Yves Santamaria, The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, trans. Jonathan Murphy and Mark Kramer (Cambridge, Mass., and London: Harvard University Press, 1999).

[9] For an excellent discussion of the Left’s failure to deal with the historical meaning and future implications of Communism’s collapse, see Horowitz, The Politics of Bad Faith.

[10] For one of the best works on how Marx’s dark vision—and the morbid ingredients of his own personal life—laid the foundation for Marxist terror, see the chapter titled “Karl Marx: Howling Gigantic Curses,” in Paul Johnson, Intellectuals (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1988), pp. 52–82.

[11] Quoted in Fontova, Fidel, p. 77.

[12] The writers in The God That Failed—Arthur Koestler, Ignazio Silone, Richard Wright, André Gide, Louis Fischer, and Stephen Spender—represented the first generation that broke with the political faith and were dehumanized by their former comrades. See Richard Crossman, ed., The God That Failed (New York: Harper and Row, 1963). Yet while these individuals broke with Communism, many of them did so by rejecting Stalinism while holding onto a belief in a “democratic socialism.” David Horowitz and others, however, made a complete break with their past. Horowitz gives the most powerful testimony to the ordeal of breaking with the faith in his memoir, Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey (New York: Free Press, 1997).

[13] See the compilation of Horowitz’s best work in David Horowitz, Left Illusions: An Intellectual Odyssey (Dallas: Spence, 2003).

[14] Horowitz, The Politics of Bad Faith, p. 56.

[15] The best works analyzing the Left’s callous indifference to the victims of Communism are Hollander’s Political Pilgrims and Anti-Americanism.

[16] David Potter, History and American Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 1973), p. 307.

[17] Hoffer, The True Believer, p. 16.

[18] Jerry Rubin, Do It: Scenarios of the Revolution (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1970), p. 22.

[19] Ibid., pp. 35–36.

[20] The Christian Peacemaker Teams’ website is www.cpt.org. See chapter 16 for more details.

[21] Potter, History and American Society, p. 381.

[22] Hollander, Anti-Americanism, p. 468.

[23] Hollander, Political Pilgrims, p. 8.

[24] Inspired by her mentor, the leftist utopian Franz Boas, Mead embarked on her 1925–26 voyage to Samoa hungry to find a sexually liberated society where young people didn’t go through the difficult phases of adolescent sexual adjustment characteristic of “repressed” Western youth. She “discovered” everything she sought: Samoans found romantic love silly and were nonchalant about infidelity, divorce, homosexuality, and so on. As common sense suggested and later evidence confirmed, Mead’s “discoveries” were all false. The adolescent girls who were her informants made up the sorts of stories they sensed she wanted to hear. As anthropologist Derek Freeman concluded, Mead’s work represents the worst example of “self-deception in the history of the behavioral sciences.” See Derek Freeman, Margaret Mead and Samoa: The Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1983).

[25] Hollander, Political Pilgrims, p. 23.

[26] Rubin, Do It, pp. 7–8.

[27] Alastair Hamilton, The Appeal of Fascism: A Study of Intellectuals and Fascism, 1919–1945 (London: A. Blond, 1971). See also Richard M. Griffiths, Fellow Travellers of the Right: British Enthusiasts for Nazi Germany, 1933–1939 (London: Constable, 1980).

[28] For an excellent essay on the modern Left’s Fascist origins, see John Ray, “Left-wing Fascism: An Intellectual Disorder,” FrontPageMag.com, October 22, 2002. David Horowitz has shown how Nazi intellectuals, notably Martin Heidegger, have had an immense influence on the Left’s vision. See Horowitz, “The Left after Communism,” in The Politics of Bad Faith, pp. 36–39. See also Robert Conquest’s discussion of how Fascist and Communist totalitarianism blur into one another in The Dragons of Expectation: Reality and Delusion in the Course of History (New York: W. W. Norton, 2005), pp. 11–21.

[29] Paul Berman, Terror and Liberalism (New York: W. W. Norton, 2003), p. 45.

[30] Quoted in Paul Johnson, Modern Times: The World from the Twenties to the Eighties (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1983), p. 51.

[31] Hollander, Political Pilgrims, pp. 44–45.

[32] Henry David Thoreau, Walden and On the Duty of Civil Disobedience (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1854, 1961 ed). p. 304.

[33] For a succinct discussion of the Soviet anti-sexual revolution, see Ernst Pawel, “Sex under Socialism,” Commentary, September 1965, pp. 90–95.

[34] In Zamyatin’s We, the earliest of these three novels, the despotic regime keeps human beings in line by giving them license for regulated sexual promiscuity, while private love is illegal. The hero breaks the rules with a woman who seduces him—not only into forbidden love but also into a counterrevolutionary struggle. In the end, the totality forces the hero, like the rest of the world's population, to undergo the Great Operation, which annihilates the part of the brain that gives life to passion and imagination, and therefore spawns the potential for love. In Orwell’s 1984, the main character ends up being tortured and broken at the Ministry of Love for having engaged in the outlawed behavior of unregulated love. In Huxley’s Brave New World, promiscuity is encouraged—everyone has sex with everyone else under regime rules, but no one is allowed to make a deep and independent private connection.

[35] Quoted in Peter Collier and David Horowitz, Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts about the Sixties (New York: Free Press, 1996), pp. 85–86.

[36] Ibid., pp. 86–87.

[37] Horowitz, “The Religious Roots of Radicalism,” pp. 115–137.

[38] Horowitz, “V-Day, 2001,” in Left Illusions, pp. 315–318.
Share