Then again, I was sort of put in the middle of it after I posted a link to, and an excerpt from, an article in City Journal by Claire Berlinksi. Over the weekend I noticed a trackback to my post from Pajamas Media. Ron Rodash took issue with Berlinksi’s article, and with conservative bloggers for spreading it around. (At least I was in good company – The Wall Street Journal published an excerpt in their “Notable and Quotable” column.) Rodash and Berlinski appear to be on the same side of the political spectrum, or at least on the same side of history, as they agree that the brutal history of communism is something that needs to be taught.
I haven’t talked to any experts or academics. I’m not an expert. I found Berlinki’s article to be both interesting and infuriating and I thought you would, too. Rodash also found it interesting and infuriating, but for different reasons. I’ll leave it to you to read Berlinski’s article, Rodash’s response, and Berlinksi’s answer to Rodash’s criticism. In a nutshell, Berlinski talked to two Russian dissidents who have in their possession Soviet era documents that nobody is interested in. Rodash believes those documents are already available to the public. Berlinski retorts that portions have been redacted from what has been made public. Rodash also believes Berlinksi smeared Jonathan Brent, the former editorial director of Yale University Press. (She did not.)
I think Berlinski acquitted herself quite well in her answer to Rodash. The bigger issue is that there still is a stunning lack of knowledge regarding the atrocities of the Soviets, and all communists for that matter. There’s also a stunning lack of knowledge about those who covered for them, or coveted their power. The ideology of communism, when put into practice, has been the cause of pain, suffering and death everywhere it’s been tried.
What does the average American know about communism or the Cold War? They know that the USSR had nuclear weapons and so did we. They know the threat of mutual destruction kept either side from using those weapons. They know about some kook named Joe McCarthy who called people communists. They know that the US is mean to that nice fella in Cuba, Fidel Castro and the Vietnam War wasn’t worth fighting. They wear Che Guevara t-shirts because it’s cool. In short, most Americans know what the left controlling academia and the entertainment industry want them to know. They don’t know that communism destroys individuals – individuals like you or me. Individuals like your dad, your aunt or your best friend. When the “greater good” is at stake individuals are expendable.
How many millions of books have been published since the fall of the USSR? And how many of those books tell the truth about communism? How many universities or high schools teach that history? How many movies have you seen about the horrible United States government or military? And how many movies have you seen about the nightmares of communism?
I’m glad Ms. Berlinski published her essay A Hidden History of Evil. I hope others follow suit. The old saying “those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it” still holds true. Perhaps if Mr. Rodash feels so strongly about it, he can get the folks at Pajamas Media to hire a translator to translate the documents of Pavel Stroilov and Vladimir Bukovsky and put this issue to rest once and for all. Who knows, maybe we all might learn something and they may make a few bucks in the process.