Darkness at Noon stands as an unequaled fictional portrayal of the nightmare politics of our time. Its hero is an aging revolutionary, imprisoned and psychologically tortured by the Party to which he has dedicated his life. As the pressure to confess preposterous crimes increases, he relives a career that embodies the terrible ironies and human betrayals of a totalitarian movement masking itself as an instrument of deliverance. Almost unbearably vivid in its depiction of one man’s solitary agony, it asks questions about ends and means that have relevance not only for the past but for the perilous present. It is —- as the Times Literary Supplement has declared —- “A remarkable book, a grimly fascinating interpretation of the logic of the Russian Revolution, indeed of all revolutionary dictatorships, and at the same time a tense and subtly intellectualized drama.”
Darkness at Noon
[I finished listening to this book last Saturday. It was haunting.
If you think Gulag Archipelago, Nineteen Eighty Four, and Animal Farm have something important to say you will find Darkness at Noon at or near the top of that list in the same genre.
It’s a novel, first published in 1940, but it was based on interviews with numerous real people within the USSR during the 1920s and 1930s. The main character is a composite of several real people.
There were a couple of things which really jarred me. One was there was a time, early on during the purges, that political criminals were arrested and sent to prisons which were more like resorts of beautiful gardens and lawns where they could be counseled about their errors of their ways. These “prisons” had better living conditions than the environments most of prisoners came from. This reminded me of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler thinking that if he just talked to the rioters they would see the error of their ways, and the similar beliefs of the people behind the “defund the police” movement. Apparently the socialist mind cannot, at least initially, comprehend that people could be opposed to implementing the socialist utopia. The alternative is for me to believe the people of today, instead of independently arriving at the same mindset, have a playbook/script they are following and haven’t read the complete book yet to see how it’s really done.
The other thing that really stuck with me was how they got confessions. The confessions came from interrogations which lasted several days or even a month. The prisoner was confronted with evidence that was mostly true but the interpretation was twisted in some way that perhaps didn’t matter all that much in the present context. After sleep deprivation and hours of grilling the prisoner would sign the confession of the slightly twisted interpretation. Then a new piece of evidence would be presented. Again it would be twisted in the same direction as the previous evidence the prisoner had already signed off on. Eventually they would sign off on that one too. The process would continue like this until a complete narrative leading to the conclusion that the prisoner was such of a mindset that it was obvious they could not have had any other motive than the assassination of “Number 1” when they briefly spoke to the cook at the café where “Number 1” was to get his food a week later.
And, of course, as I have pointed out before, the every tightening of the purity tests that made a loyal, decorated, party member on one day into a saboteur the next week.
Today in our country, the mindset of the political left is racing down the same path as Russia of just over 100 years ago. They may believe they are “progressives” leading the world to new utopia, but that belief and mindset is a regression to that of the turn of the 20th century on a different continent. And, again, the destination is not utopia. It is dystopian nightmare of terror.—Joe]
These are the people who dismiss “slippery slope” arguments as they lead us down the primrose path.
It’s only a fallacy where one or more of the links doesn’t hold, or where there is some kind of limiting principle which is upheld.
Never trust a utopian, of any variety. For the amount of good they think they are going to produce, they’ll built a mountain of skulls. That’s where the hoped for ends justify any means, allegedly ‘necessary’ or not.
Your conclusions on methods used to obtain confessions is interesting. As it parallels the use of communist propaganda.
The aim of which was not only to twist an event to the party line. But also add a lie obvious enough for you to see. In a manner that forced you to accept it. Even as such.
The object wasn’t so much that you knew it was a lie, but that you felt powerless. Helpless against something ignorant and obviously wrong.
We’ve watched this same play book being used from every facet of our society for 50 years or better. Much more so through the comm-tech of today.
The truly amazing thing to me is it’s failure rate. And the insanity of pushing it in the first place.
Hopefully the children of the future will classify the quest for power as a mental disorder. Just as our forefathers tried to warn us. “The PURSUIT of money is the root of all evil.”
An important corollary: No one should agree to a lie, however small.
There goal is not just to get you to say “there are five lights,” but to actually believe it.
They want you to say it and believe it, because many of them already do, and if you join them they know they are not the baddies.
Perhaps relevant? CNN has a long list of books “to make sense of the Capitol riot”. Here are a few of them:
“Stupid Wars: A Citizen’s Guide to Botched Putsches, Failed Coups, Inane Invasions, and Ridiculous Revolutions” by Ed Strosser and Michael Prince
A humorous look at epic fails in historical upheavals, putsches, and coups. Looking through a sardonic lens can help us process events that were quite serious and devastating.
“How to Get Rid of a President: History’s Guide to Removing Unpopular, Unable, or Unfit Chief Executives” by David Priess
From the calumny and chaos of John Tyler’s presidency to Andrew Johnson’s drunken swearing-in, the conduct of several Presidents have been less-than stellar.
“Will He Go?: Trump and the Looming Election Meltdown in 2020” by Lawrence Douglas
This book by legal scholar Lawrence Douglas, published in May 2020, addresses what turned out to be the very real fear of a less-than-peaceful transition of power by the 45th president.
“Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump” by David A. Neiwert
This 2017 book reports on the beliefs and conspiracy theories of the so-called ‘alt-right,’ offshoot of conservatism that mix racism, white nationalism, anti-Semitism and populism.
And many more. It seems that everyone is entitled to their own facts.
prisoners were kept in cold dank basement. nude, in the seeping water and cold. devoid of all body hair. confined in a small room in which they could not lie on the floor, and in which sitting was not comfortable …. no chair. the ceiling was too high to reach. from it hung a single light bulb, very bright, which was on constantly.
the personality structure and integrity of the prisoner was broken, over time. prisoners were brought out as described, before an interrogator who was immaculately dressed, and very polite. physical torture was not used much, just the social isolation and utter sense of worthlessness was enough to break the most hardened prisoner, over time. and, the interrogator had all the time in the world.
the truth is, the prisoner had no chance, because he was convicted of his own ideals and beliefs turned against him, and not some other “enemy of the state,” who elimination the prisoner had himself performed. now, it was just him who was the target of …. , well, himself.
it is a good book.
a lot of the persons so treated were members of the com-intern, communist agitators in foreign countries, were leftists were especially targeted for agitation. they were summoned home by stalin, to rid the communists of contamination of commitment by western “values.” they were not ignorant of their fate. and, it was probably not “un-contemplated” many years prior.
a good book. i read it first nearly 50 years ago, in college, as i was educated by a university of chicago graduate student, ardently conservative.
he said, watch for this.
That QOTD is such a perfect representation of the Ignatian doctrine, purpose and method, even in its language, that I find it very impressive. So many can be so immersed in it and yet have no idea as to what “it” is. Apparently all the trees are blocking our view of the forest.
If you understood the strategies, tactics and ultimate purpose of the Jesuit order, you’d have the missing pieces to the puzzle which you’ve presented here. You’d be able, not only to define and characterize, but to understand Marx, Lenin, and the Progressive, globalist movement at large. But be careful. It’s a look into evil itself.
They do indeed believe that they are the soldiers, the means to the very salvation of Mankind, which is why they’re so casual, even enthusiastic, about destroying anything, any system, construct, idea or people, which stands in their way.
Quite apart from any of the assertions of secularism (which is a ruse), they see their mission as a “holy” one. Therefore anything which threatens the mission (the very salvation of Man), MUST be annihilated. Even if it means annihilating all of civilization, it’s a necessary step toward “peace”, and toward living in harmony with nature, etc., etc.
They’ll even tell you; while it may at first “appear authoritarian”, it is a necessary step toward what is to follow, which will be beautiful, amazing, it will alter the very cosmos, it will last forever, and we will be like gods.
So don’t think for a second that any pleas for your rights, or for decency, or compassion, for life itself, or any other argument you can make, will ever phase them in the slightest. They’re working toward eternal salvation, which so far overshadows anything you can come up with that you’re essentially a gnat hovering over their freeway. Do you slow down for gnats?
I think it was an old post were you said your brother said that communism works as long as the right people are in charge. That it only failed because the wrong people were running it. Well they are in charge and they think they are the right people.
Ex-brother-in-law in regards to Marxism. But, yes.
Read this long ago. Inspired me to re-read.
Another interesting book which includes an eyewitness account of the 1938 show trials is “Eastern Approaches” by Fitzroy Maclean. At the time Maclean was a young junior assistant functionary with the British Foreign Office who spent his free time trying to travel to places in the Soviet Union where he knew he could not get permission to go. He was surprisingly successful at it and provides quite an account of traveling with NKVD agents “secretly” but obviously following him.
After his time in the USSR he ran around the North African desert for a while with the SAS, then became Winston Churchill’s liaison officer to Tito in Yugoslavia.
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