Stalin, Hitler, or McCarthy?

I’ve been looking at the parallels of the cancel culture, riots, and looting of today in the U.S. to other times and places in history.

Numerous times I’ve mentioned Gulag Archipelago both on this blog and in private conversation with my children and others. The survivors of those times wrote of the truth not being “politically correct” and to speak the truth could result you being “reeducated”, sent to a slave labor camp, or being executed. But, as far as I know, they lacked the riots, thuggish mobs, and looting.

In Nazi Germany the removal of all Jews from government jobs and universities warrants at least a mention. The Brown Shirts, thuggish mobs, and looting ignored by the government certainly are a good match for what we are seeing today in some locations. But the removal of people from their jobs wasn’t because of their political beliefs and/or speech.

After reading Bari Weiss’s letter of resignation from the New York Times (via email from Paul K. and Reason Magazine which has a good article on the topic) another potential parallel was brought to my attention. From Weiss’s letter* (emphasis added):

The paper of record is, more and more, the record of those living in a distant galaxy, one whose concerns are profoundly removed from the lives of most people. This is a galaxy in which, to choose just a few recent examples, the Soviet space program is lauded for its “diversity”; the doxxing of teenagers in the name of justice is condoned; and the worst caste systems in human history includes the United States alongside Nazi Germany.

Even now, I am confident that most people at The Times do not hold these views. Yet they are cowed by those who do. Why? Perhaps because they believe the ultimate goal is righteous. Perhaps because they believe that they will be granted protection if they nod along as the coin of our realm—language—is degraded in service to an ever-shifting laundry list of right causes. Perhaps because there are millions of unemployed people in this country and they feel lucky to have a job in a contracting industry.

Or perhaps it is because they know that, nowadays, standing up for principle at the paper does not win plaudits. It puts a target on your back. Too wise to post on Slack, they write to me privately about the “new McCarthyism” that has taken root at the paper of record.

McCarthyism certainly cost a lot of people their jobs (watch The Front, if for nothing other than the credits at the end which are incredibly sobering). And it was about political correctness of a type. But the thuggish mobs, riots, and looting are missing as well as the political persuasion of the villains being anti-Marxist rather than pro-Marist as we have in the circumstances of today.

The fictional dystopia of 1984 could be considered a match in many ways but it takes place deep in the depths of the fierce suppression of speech, written word, and even many thoughts are forbidden. Something closer to our present circumstance and non-fictional is preferable.

I’m left with less than great matches. Sunday evening I suggested to my children they read Gulag Archipelago. Kim eagerly asked for the spelling but Jaime protested that unless it offered a solution then she didn’t want to get even more depressed and upset by our current situation. That’s a valid point. And furthermore, without great parallels how can I shed light on what to expect next or what to suggest as a remedy? And then there are so many variables such as our technology lending itself to vastly superior suppression of free speech than the previous examples. On the other side of that coin is that same technology also can also be a tool for the enabling of free speech and punishment of the evil doers. And, of course, 100s of millions of guns and billions of rounds of ammunition in the possession of the persecuted also is a variable not present in any of the historical scenarios.

The McCarthyism parallel is by far the least tragic of the outcomes, but it is also the worst match so I’m going to dismiss it.

The conclusion am am left with is that the all the reasonably good historical parallels lead to really bad situations. We must do our best to avoid going in that direction.

I keep thinking that with more and more evidence such as Weiss’s letter, the lessons learned from CHAZ/CHOP, and the continuing destruction in other cities, Portland Oregon in particular, that there is a good chance of a political turn around in the November elections. We should work at making a political solution the most likely outcome while ensuring a 2nd Amendment solution is a last resort and crystal clear that if needed it will be used and will be overwhelming successful.

* I intended to extract a paragraph of the letter for a QOTD but nearly every paragraph would have qualified. I would like to suggest you read the entire letter.


29 thoughts on “Stalin, Hitler, or McCarthy?

  1. One Huge difference is that McCarthy was right. This time the roles are reversed, and it’s the Marxists are on the offensive. I cannot recommend Hoffer’s “The True Believer” enough. It’s short, but it explains mass movements like what we have now well. Difference being this one is not natural, just AstroTruf, but it’s going through the same patterns. (yeesh, I really need to finish my post on this). The hysteria is being whipped up and pushed because the gals behind it want people to emote, not think critically, not stop and think. They want action and emotion to drown out thought. It’s not a perfect parallels, but the political mobs and riots by the Brownshirts in the 30s is not far off. The making an enemy public, personalizing it, requiring slogans be said and repeated often (sieg heil! / Black lives matter! are memetically almost interchangeable). Intimidation. Loss of jobs over wrong-think. Isolating scapegoats, telling people who are not doing well they are the victims of THEM (Jews / whites), promoting people not for competence but ideological purity, massive hypocrisy, constant propaganda, compulsory schooling, rewriting history, etc. A lot more similarities than they’d like you to know.

    They recruit / prey on the incompetent, stupid, lazy, and poorly educated, and promote them by how vigorously they name other people to be hurt (the denunciation), or clap for the Dear Leader (to mix a metaphor) . Hysteria and fear are promoted, so the strong are uncertain. The mob makes sure some of the strong are taken down, to make everyone scared. They WANT people living paycheck to paycheck, because they are easy to cow into line, to remain silent while the radicals chant. Meanwhile, <a href=""Lincoln Project co-founder John Weaver registered as a foreign agent of Russia last year.

    If I knew nothing about Q Anon, I’d be seriously worried. Civil war (a la Spanish Civil War, mostly likely) would be unavoidable within the next twenty years, and politically appointed engineers with the right skin tone and sexual orientation can’t build (or even maintain) bridges as well as people hired because of their competence. But with the mass arrest (now up to ~182k) of the instigators in the offing, awaiting in the wings, I’m more hopeful.With Trump and Q-Anon, civil war will either happen a whole lot sooner, but with better intel on the enemy within, or be put off for a great deal longer than the 2030s.

  2. McCarthy was absolutely correct. McCarthy was pro-America. Instead of losing their jobs, the Communists should have lost their heads.

    Always remember who it was that told you McCarthy was bad.

    • He was correct about there being lots of communists in the U.S. and even them being in sensitive places. Those committing crimes by acting against U.S. interests should have been fired/prosecuted/executed as per the severity of their crimes.

      Those whose job was a script writer for sit-coms, they should have the same protections under the First Amendment as any other person with weird beliefs. Those are the cancel culture victims I was referring to.

      • Posit; the script.writers control the culture, and the culture determines the political trajectory of a nation.

        • Are you saying it should be against the law for someone to write and tell a story in which Marxism is portrayed in a favorable light? If so, then a similar law would also be acceptable which made it illegal to portray a polytheist religion in favorable light, correct? If so, then what is the limit on what restrictions the government may place on acceptable story telling? All religions except that practiced by the Fellowship of Fundamental Bible and Evangelical Methodist Churches?

          I say the First Amendment is the limit. And the First Amendment protects people wishing to associate with other Marxists and portraying Marxism in a favorable light. As soon as said Marxists advocate for laws which would infringe upon the rights of others, such as attempts to implement one or more facets of “to everyone according to their need, from everyone according to their ability” then 18 USC 240 and/or 241 may apply because they are conspiring to violate properties rights and/or the 13th Amendment.

          • I have always supported free speech, all sorts of speech. But I’m slowly having to admit that there will always be blasphemy laws. When the deeply religious are in charge, it will be the traditional sort, where contravening the Bible (the inquisition, for example), or taking Allah’s name in vain (sharia law, for example), will be punishable by religious courts. In the modern leftist run totalitarian-wanna-be states, saying things like men and women are different, not all races have equal IQ and potential, or saying that the nuclear family is the best way to raise a child is heresy against Marxist dogma, and you must be silenced, un-personed, disemployed, shouted down, deplatformed, and attacked. The left has absolutely ZERO problem being hypocritical about shutting down YOUR free speech, while championing free speech for themselves. “Hate speech” laws are nothing more than a type of blasphemy law.

            So, that being stipulated, the only question becomes “what sort of speech shall be suppressed?” To start with I’d vote for lies, fraud, and rewriting history upon anything other than new and objectively verifiable facts, which will shut down most Marxists.

          • No, I don’t think that is “only question”. The question I would ask is, “What practical and principled steps can we take to get closer to the ideal?”

          • That’s what I mean. the Venn diagram of practical, effective, and principled doesn’t seem to have a lot of overlap. The principled action just mean we lose slower. The practical is…. rather ugly. And that’s why I said if you stipulate that language control WILL be used by whoever has the power to cajole / coerce others, the biggest / only question is how do you use it to support the greatest effective freedom for the most productive and rational members of society, so western civilization can continue.

      • So, how’s that culture war working out for you?
        You’ll have plenty of time to adjust your bow tie as you wait 6′ apart from each other on the way to the cattle cars.

        An attack upon my culture is an attack upon my people.

        • And how to do think the culture war should be fought? Should there be laws against creating fictional stories about the “benefits” of Marxism? Or should that be handled via free market solutions?

          • How well have the free market solutions worked thus far. They have left our people enperiled in our countries. When an assailant accosts you with a broken bottle, are you bound by Queensbury rules? A principal not reciprocated is not one to be observed in the particular context. One need not submit to white erasure based on said principal not observed be antiwhites.

  3. “The conclusion am am left with is that the all the reasonably good historical parallels lead to really bad situations. We must do our best to avoid going in that direction.”

    I have concluded similarly to the first sentence. I think it’s too late to “avoid going in that direction” however.

    • Yep, I suspect its too late, in fact, it may be way too late.

      This morning our granddaughter (age 7) said that she was a racist because she is white because that’s what the TV said. And my cousin’s adult children in Oklahoma are far left as well (he is a conservative minster).

      Perhaps we have had our civil war and now are in reconstruction. I hope not, but if we are, then I hope that victory was declared too soon and other ‘solutions’ will appear if we have the will.

      • The QOTD I have scheduled for Saturday morning may offer a solution. It requires reading a book which is in my queue but I haven’t started.

      • Please read Going Free by No White Guilt. It may provided a way to save your granddaughter’s life.

  4. None of the examples are good fits because as Mark Twain said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, it rhymes.” I think we’re getting a sort of Chinese menu from all your examples; one from Gulag Archipelago, one from the Brown Shirts, one from McCarthy, one from 1984. America is unique just as Germany and Russia, so we get a unique collection of events reminding us of totalitarian events in the past.

  5. For me the best way to understand it, Is as a tactical battlefield. Just like building a better bomb.
    Take all the best expertise. History, human nature/knowledge. And use it for the worse possible outcome? For the other side, of course.
    Evil seems to be using all the lessons of history and applying them toward our destruction.
    We’ve been remarkable in resisting the 100 years putsch of communism.(Our guns/rights.) But they have won big against our children. And time is not our friend. The silver lining being communism has the shortest life span of all human societal inventions.

  6. History never exactly repeats itself but it always rhymes. You don’t need an exact parallel in order to see well enough the trajectory we”re on. Mostly all you need to know is the identity, motivation and character of the enemy.

    Of course it won’t do you any good to know the details and address of the particular cliff we’re being driven over, or exactly how far you have to fall before you’re splattered on the rocks below, unless you also have the exact details of the solution to the problem. Some would point you to the New Testament, but I would suggest you start with the book of Isaiah. It presents the entire narrative.

  7. Closest analogue I can come up with is 1916-1917 Russia.

    Cheetoh is Czar Nicholas II.

    Biden is Alexander Kerensky.

    Hilarity ensues.

  8. To me the solution lies in the understanding of human nature. And human nature in politics. As our forefathers warned us. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. So toward whom/what must we be vigilant? Politics and politicians From Nimrod to Pelosi. They are the problem. And always will be.
    Joe’s right. Free speech in an individual, means little. When they run for office is when the dynamic changes. And that is when our forefathers use to act. Tar and feathers come to mind.
    Someone spouting communist crap down on the corner isn’t going very far. That same person as county commissioner is the problem. If your neighbor said.
    I don’t like you having guns. OK, that’s your right to not like something, so what?I’m going to take them way from you. Enter politics. Fight should be on.
    The first ten amendments are trigger warnings to individuals that politics has enter the sanctuary. Time to act.
    Then comes the hard part. Get on the cattle car? Or be the first to rush the guards?

  9. The Gulag Archipelago does indeed have a solution to the problem:

    “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”

    The solution isn’t to run and hide and hope they’ll miss you. The solution is to attack. To fight back, to expose. To do to them what they would do unto you. NY Times reporter doxxes a teenager? Doxx the reporter.

    The reason why this happens is because the people who do it feel they can do so with impunity. When there is a significant risk to them acting outside of the normal rules, they’ll follow the rules.

    • I fully agree. And this is why I’m thrilled they have been advocating for the defunding/abolishing of the police. Having the police on our side is a big win. Constitutional/Red political jurisdictions will become safe, secure, and prosperous as high quality cops seek jobs where they are appreciated. This drives the market price down and enables more policing (if necessary). The Marxist jurisdictions are left with low quality cops and inadequate staffing. This decreases safety, security, and prosperity in those areas. The contrast will help educate people.

      • So in our local case Belveue grows and Seattle dies like a lot of other large Marxist cities. Those who can will vote with their feet and leave the city a decadent shadow of itself. In fact, it seems that Seattle is late to party. For many cities, the decline started years ago with ‘white flight’.

        There are some signs that this is already happening. My son says construction jobs are moving to Belveue and he started a new job there this week. His last job in Settle was mothballing one of the 40 stories towers the same towers he has been helping to build for years.

        I once asked him if he ever had any desire to live in Seattle so he would not have such a long commute. He said hell no. Even before COVID and the Marxist riots, he considered the city unlivable.

      • What did Soltzhenitsyn say in his other major work about the type of people the communists were?

      • The thing with defunding the police is that the good ones will be let go, and the ones that get hired won’t simply be “low quality,” they will be bluecaps. /GulagRef . They will be part of teh cabal / gang / seditious insurgency wearing the skin suit of legal and righteous authority. And the local DAs and Pols will back them up in their actions, because they are also part of the criminal conspiracy. Sadly, as people flee they will take their voting patterns with them, and the toxic waste and debts will follow with them. Not sure the best way to deal with that, other than something like requiring residence for 5 years before you can vote. Or maybe 10. Maybe two generations. Something. But stopping the stupid from spreading must be a priority.

  10. Michelle Malkin was attacked on stage today by Antifa in Colorado. She was participating in a support the police rally. The police who were there to protect the rally did nothing to stop it, and did not arrest anyone.

    Antifa is rapidly wearing out my patience. It is good they dress the way they do, it makes a fine uniform.

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