Are They Writing New Playbooks or Dusting Off Old Ones?

Quote of the Day

When I try to explain wokeness to my older friends and family, I tell them to think of Stalinism. It all fits. Instead of gulags, we have social death, cancellation. Of course, the old Stalinism is worse, but not much different.

Umut Özkirimli
May 30, 2023
Cancelled: The Left Way Back from Woke

Via Why wokeness has pitched the left into crisis (

I’ve read that the phrase “politically correct” came from the Stalin era.

I’ve often wondered if modern day socialists/communists are rediscovering the old methods independently or if they have dusted off the old playbooks with a great yearning to turn the pages and reach the parts about sending people to the gulags and open pits for the mass burials.


23 thoughts on “Are They Writing New Playbooks or Dusting Off Old Ones?

  1. James Lindsey traces the line pretty directly through their “thought leaders” in academia and elsewhere from Marx to the DEI wokesters of today. Yes, they are the same people, just with evolving methods and terms and targets. As always, each next generation has to (re)learn the ideas of the past.

  2. I read somewhere (too lazy to look it up) that the origin of the phrase during the Stalinist era was somebody in a Soviet bureau trying to write a report. The actual facts would have landed them in a gulag or firing squad, and so they blatantly lied.

    1st bureaucrat: “But Comrade, that is factually incorrect.”
    2nd bureaucrat: “Da, Comrade. But it is politically correct!”

    So it must be born in mind that anything that is politically correct, or today’s “woke”, is logically probable to be factually INCORRECT.

  3. “Instead of gulags, we have social death, cancellation. Of course, the old Stalinism is worse, but not much different.”

    This is the kind of comment that makes my eyes roll all the way to the back of my head. The idea that getting cancelled on social media (which isn’t, btw, “social death,” as many “cancelled” people can tell you) is anything even remotely like dying in a gulag after having spent a few years being tortured is so bereft of any actual experience or perspective as to make the speaker seem like a complete clown.

    “One of these things is not like the other.”

    • It is a slippery slope.

      Being fired from your job and not being able to find another in the same field because you donated money to a disfavored politician or engaged in “microaggression” against favored minorities has a life changing impact. A Gulag and death equivalent? No. A motivation and technique equivalent? Yes.

      The basic evil is that diversity of thought is not allowed. And when some people get a taste of that power, they become nearly insatiable. The purity of thought they demand becomes extreme, and the punishment of violations becomes extreme as well.

      Read about the Chinese Red Guard, Pol Pot, as well as the USSR experience with it.

      • Part of the reason it’s a slippery slope is the willingness of folks on both sides to use hyperbole and make unreasonable comparisons, thereby turning each other into monsters. Rhetorical devices have power, and when thrown around like hand grenades cause a lot of unnecessary damage. Saying that getting people kicked off Twitter is the same as having their limbs crushed by a gulag torture team makes language pretty much useless, and removes reasoned argument as a tool. And if we lose the ability to solve conflicts via language, all we’re left with is violence. Seems like a bad plan to me.

        • Agreed. Remember when Donald Trump was “literally Hitler” to the Left?

          That kind of language and unreasonable comparison goes beyond hyperbole; it lessens the historical importance of actual Hitler, the Nazi Party, WWII, the Holocaust, etc. It’s right up there with Ilhan Omar referring to 9/11 as “some people did something”. It makes the significance of the “something” less than what it was and should be.

          Words mean things — more than the simple definition, “meaning” includes the emotional weight and lived experience — and hyperbole of this nature dilutes and weakens the meaning. When we say “Holocaust”, for example, you know what it is, but beyond that, you feel the word in your gut; that emotional/visceral response is part of the meaning. But if every injustice were referred to as some kind of “Holocaust” — if every black man shot by police were part of a “Black Holocaust”, if every gang shooting were part of a “Ghetto Holocaust”, if every overdose death were part of a “Drug Holocaust” — then the word’s original meaning gets diluted and lost.

          (We can discuss how the dilution of the language is an intentional effort by the Left, but that’s outside the scope here.)

          Far from it for me to say they can’t make those comparisons — else free speech itself becomes less than what it should be — but I will loudly and repeatedly say they shouldn’t.

          • According to the post-modernists, words really don’t mean things, it’s all just an open self-referential question.

            One of the tragedies of the modern left is all the lingering post-modernism left in its veins. Derrida started it, Foucault made it a fetish, and now we’ve got a least 2 generations who haven’t the faintest idea how to deal with reality. Gonna take at least one of those generations dying off before it starts to get better.

  4. Hmmm. I don’t think I’ll fight against ‘gun control’ anymore. Instead, I’ll fight against subversion of my civil rights.
    Nor will I fight to stop ‘assault weapon bans’. Instead, I will fight to ensure access to our civil liberties for all marginalized communities. Like the AR-15 owners’ community or the standard capacity magazine community….

    I’ve just become a social justice warrior!

    • I’ve always known you had it in you to be an SJW champion, you were just waiting for the right time!

      • Social Justice flows from the barrel of a gun, apparently.

        Which makes sense, because “Social Justice” needs the word “social” to distinguish itself from actual justice. It’s just political power.

        An SJW is just a wannabe tyrant that will be an actual tyrant if they’re afforded any amount of power.

        The same people will tell you that ‘racism’ isn’t ‘prejudicial behavior based on perceived racial or ethnic differences’, but rather that plus power. Thus, the lack of power means that [fill-in-blank] group can’t be ‘racist’, or better, only [broadly-defined disfavored category that doesn’t include the speaker] group can be ‘racist’. For those that would make that claim, I have a simple question: if you were given power, what would you do with it relative to the ‘racism’ problem? Would that use of power involve different applications based on the perceived racial or ethnic differences of whom it is applied to? If so, that would be racism, and you would be racist. In order for such a person not to be racist, it is therefore absolutely imperative that such a person, with such espoused beliefs and such announced intentions, never be allowed to have any amount of power. That would be a determination not based on their immutable identity, but on their objectively observable behavior, or as Rev Dr King would call it, the “content of their character”. QED.

        • Soooo….just for clarity, this being the internet…I used to work with Mike and was only jokingly calling him an SJW. In case that wasn’t clear….

  5. I’m thinking we should start calling communists, straight up, “Cannibals”. Cause the special thing about political correctness is its willingness to eat its own. No matter how useful an idiot you are, or have been to the cause.
    They will eat you alive.
    Not that they can’t, don’t, or won’t to someone outside their circle. But, it’s truly amazing to watch them feed on their own.
    It seems to me they somehow don’t need a playbook, per se, in they seem to just program in an intellectual bypass to reason and logic. And the NPC naturally comes to the same conclusions about any given situation.
    Unfortunately for us our future course is bringing us and our loved ones. into contact with all three at once.
    Comminism, Cannibalism, and the bypassing of reason and logic.

    • “Sure as death and taxes: liberals eating their own.” I forget who to attribute that quote to, but it’s a good one.

      Brian Eno put it slightly differently: “There are many futures and only one status quo. This is why conservatives mostly agree and radicals always argue.”

      • The status quo includes the fences as they exist. To paraphrase G.K. Chesterton, “Don’t cut the fence until you know why it was erected in the first place.” This was shown to humorous effect in the second Episode of “Band of Brothers.”
        “Who told you to cut that fence?”
        (As the cows walk through HQ.)
        “General Taylor, sir.”
        “General Taylor is in London.”

      • But what do you do when the status quo is dysfunctional or even deadly. For conservatives to accept the status quo while leftists are constantly pushing the envelope is what leads to the ratchet effect. Conservatives need to push back and hence become radicals of a different sort.

  6. We don’t have gulags…..yet. But rest assured….it’s part of the lefts plans.

  7. John Schussler;
    “Part of the reason it’s a slippery slope is the willingness of folks on both sides to use hyperbole and make unreasonable comparisons, thereby turning each other into monsters.”
    But which one has actually been the monster of real close human history?
    Cause one ain’t hyperbole.
    Hitler is a thing because of ADL propaganda. Bad, but nowhere near Stalin, and barely a third after Mao.
    One’s hyperbole, and the other isn’t.
    White nationalism is why we have negroes and American Indians in this country right?
    Where would they be in China as the enemy of communism? Talk to any Wegeres lately? (I can’t spell that name. Probably why Xi locked them all up?), Kulaks, landlords, people that wanted to cook their own food in Cambodia?
    It ain’t hyperbole when their trying to use Sal Alinsky’s, accuse the other guy of what you’re doing, bullshit.
    There is no reasonable comparison to be made.
    And now that Biden doesn’t stand a chance at re-election?
    Were about to find out which is which.

    • There are plenty of reasonable comparisons to be made. The Crusades. The Spanish Inquisition. The multitudes of Holy Wars… Wikipedia has an entire article on Christians being monsters:

      And of course the Muslims, some of the most conservative folks around these days (though ironically not always historically) have their Jihads.

      And the Hindus in India are doing what they can to wipe out the Muslims….

      …and so on. There are plenty of examples of conservatives being monsters, so it’s a very reasonable comparison. 20th century progressivism has certainly killed more people, but there are also more people to kill as a function of population growth. I’d be interested to know what the percentages of the populations were for historical pogroms.

      • Of course, the Crusades were a fight against a hostile conquest by Muslims of lands that had been Christian for centuries. It was a fight to retake land from invaders. The Spanish Inquisition was the response by Christians to centuries of enslavement and exploitation by Islamic invaders and the backstabbing Jews who had actively helped the Moors since 711, as the Spanish Jews saw Christians as the worst sort of heretics who sold out and undercut the Jewish faith and took to he opportunity for enslavement, exploitation, payback and revenge.

        Much “Christian violence” has been in response to persecution, violence, and oppression of Christians.

        • That is definitely the first time I’ve ever seen the Spanish Inquisition referred to as a reasonable response by victimized Christians.

          Or am I misunderstanding?

      • Come on John, that wasn’t even a clever dodge. And John, wikipedia? That place is google gemini test ground.
        But thanks for providing us with the most wonderful example of exactly the problem.
        First gets played the Sal Alinsky grabble. (No one’s buying anymore.)
        Then we point out the truth in realtime.
        Then comes obfuscation, equivocation, and trying to move away from the mental pain of being flat-out wrong.
        Don’t hide from the pain bro, embrace it.
        You can do better, were all root’in for ya, buddy.
        Pagroms? Your talking to an Irishman. Ancient history.
        Unless you consider working 35+ years at hard labor to pay welfare for blacks, welfare for “natives”, (as if being here for 400 years I still don’t qualify?) and interest to the banking class. (were pretty sure who owns that.) And watching as criminal aliens get paid more for crossing the border than I did at the highest pay I ever got. Sure you want to keep going on what’s hyperbole and what’s real?

        • Ya, barkeep, I’ll have double of that white privilege, with a toxic masculinity back.
          The f–k’in world is going to starve-out and die without it.

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