An ambitious and challenging rereading of twentieth-century history, The Devil in History is most illuminating in showing that parallels between the two totalitarian experiments existed from the beginning. Tismaneanu confesses to being baffled by what he describes as “the still amazing infatuation of important intellectuals with the communist Utopia”. “It is no longer possible to maintain and defend a relatively benign Lenin”, he writes, “whose ideas were viciously distorted by the sociopath Stalin.” Unlike Stalin, Lenin showed no signs of psychopathology. Rather than being an expression of paranoia, methodical violence and pedagogic terror were integral features of Bolshevik doctrine. By their own account, Lenin and his followers acted on the basis of the belief that some human groups had to be destroyed in order to realize the potential of humanity. These facts continue to be ignored by many who consider themselves liberals, and it is worth asking why.
Saturday, January 05, 2013
… Communism, Fascism and liberals now | TLS. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)