Wednesday 17 July 2013

A hundred million dead - for *this*?


General and private, peasant and militiaman, still met as equals; everyone drew the same pay, wore the same clothes, ate the same food, and called everyone else ‘thou’ and ‘comrade’; there was no boss-class, no menial-class, no beggars, no prostitutes, no lawyers, no priests, no boot-licking, no cap-touching. I was breathing the air of equality, and I was simple enough to imagine that it existed all over Spain. I did not realize that more or less by chance I was isolated among the most revolutionary section of the Spanish working class.

Homage to Catalonia - by George Orwell.


I remember reading this passage about the brief days of socialist utopia during the Spanish Civil war, and similar eulogistic passages in Noam Chomsky, and thinking - well, yes, that would no doubt be nice, so far as it goes - but what a paltry thing!

Among the really pure and rigorous Leftists, this is just about the only example of an actually achieved communist utopia.

Of course it did not last, and it seems obvious to me now that it could not last, was a brief transition - but leave that aside: my point is that it is this vision which motivates the Left.

What a paltry thing!

What kind of a person could think this worth a revolution?

I suppose the answer is some kind of person who is eaten-up by an extraordinarily potent mixture of resentment and shame - resentment at those above, shame with respect to those below; such that the only solution is that kind of wallowing in equal comradeship, and to be able to live in this way becomes more important than anything else - more important than life itself, and the hope of getting to this kind of society is what justifies open-ended tyranny, terror, manipulation, propaganda, and destruction, destruction, destruction...



dearieme said...

Not just paltry, but patently untrue.

"General and private ... still met as equals": balls; the first commands, the second obeys.

I'm a great fan of Orwell's writing but that doesn't mean that I must accept uncritically his every word.

JP said...

All the chaos, death, and destruction is always in vain. The insipid condition of absolute equality is inevitably superseded, sooner or later, by distinctions of rank and privilege. The Grand Duke is executed, the People's Commissar replaces him.

Jonathan C said...

God's Heaven is a hierarchy, where I suspect no two will be equal. Every seat in Heaven will be a pleasant one, and nobody will resent their place, but some will be elevated far, far above others.

It astounds me too that anyone would visualize utopia as a place where everyone is equal. I think it takes a strong dose of the sin of Envy to distort one's thinking that deeply.

Of course, modern liberals speak as if it were self-evident that equality is a great ideal. They almost preach explicitly that Envy is a Virtue, but they don't use the word "envy". It's one of the most obvious examples of the moral inversion of modernism.

The Crow said...

When there is nothing to strive for, what is there left?
Even leftists need something to strive for: the state of stasis in having nothing to strive for.

tgj said...

Obedience is difficult, and resentment sells. It's like a bubble. Everyone thinks they can time the market. Then they die telling themselves that they did it all for their fellow man. Which they did.