I find myself in a quandary writing this blog post. On the one hand, I have to agree with H. L. Mencken's famous caution:
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
I don't want to discuss or propagate imaginary hobgoblins on this blog. On the other hand, I've been discussing the current political turmoil in this country with several friends, some born here, others, like myself, immigrants who've seen and experienced a lot beyond America's borders. It worries me that what the first group largely regard as "political hobgoblins" are taken much more seriously by those of us who've had wider experience.
Almost uniformly, those born here, particularly those who've never worked or served abroad, believe that extremist views on both the left and the right of US politics are just that - views. They'll never become reality, because Americans will never allow that. On the other hand, those of us born and raised abroad - particularly those who've experienced violent revolution, particularly of the Communist variety - think differently. In most of the countries we knew, locals would have thought and said the same as those Americans . . . until the unimaginable happened, and the extremists gained power. Once they had, that was all she wrote. They imposed their will with fire and sword (or the modern equivalent, machetes) - and with guns, too.
There also seems to be widespread misunderstanding about Nazism and Fascism on the one hand, and Communism in its various incarnations - Leninism, Stalinism, Trotskyism, Maoism, etc. - on the other. These ideologies have far more in common with each other than not. All are extremist; all are at root collectivist; all are at root socialist. (I'm always baffled by Americans who insist that Nazis were somehow right-wingers. The very name of their organization is the National Socialist Party! One would think that would be enough of a clue, but no, it's not . . .)
When you see people and groups whose aims include some or most of the aims of the ideologies mentioned in the previous paragraph, you may be sure that the implementation of those aims will - I repeat, will - involve the same measures those ideologies and their adherents have used in the past, including violence, mass incarceration, torture, genocide, democide, and crimes against humanity. The number of examples from the 20th century is legion. To name just a few:
- The Soviet Red Terror;
- The Soviet Holodomor;
- The Soviet Gulags;
- The Nazi Holocaust;
- The Chinese Campaign to Suppress Counter-Revolutionaries;
- The Great Chinese Famine;
- The Chinese Cultural Revolution;
- The Cambodian Genocide;
- The Ethiopian Red Terror;
- Socialist death squads in Venezuela (from this week's headlines);
- and far too many more to list here (see this list as one example, or here's another one).
Those "major" atrocities were accompanied by countless "minor" ones, in Africa, in Europe, and elsewhere. I can remember novelist Sarah Hoyt and I sitting in a restaurant in Colorado some years ago, nodding in shared sorrow and horror at our memories of some of the excesses of the Carnation Revolution in Portugal (which she experienced) and its effects on Portuguese colonies in Africa (which I saw at first hand). I fear our respective spouses thought we were both rather boring, reliving the past . . . but to us, that past was - and still is - measured in blood. It's not a laughing matter. The legacy of such atrocities is their influence upon today's politicians and revolutionaries, who are just as aggressive as their forebears. Want an example? Here's Julius Malema, an extremist South African politician, telling his followers (and others) the facts of life from an African Communist perspective.
His historical "facts" are wrong, as are his current motives, but you'll never persuade him of that, of course.
What I'm leading up to, in all this discussion, is that we need to be aware of how badly extremism overseas, particularly Communist extremism, has turned out for those upon whom it was imposed. We have, in the USA, people who prattle on about "democratic socialism" and "anti-fascism" and the like. Most of them are, at root, hardline extremists who want to impose Communism (by whatever name they prefer to call it) on this country and its people. If you doubt that, consider American revolutionaries of the 1960's and their aims.
For a more recent interview with Mr. Grathwohl, see here. It's eye-opening.
Today's American extremists are the ideological descendants of those 1960's activists. Indeed, many of the latter are today college professors, who've used their positions to radicalize a whole new generation of students. They're also what's produced Antifa and other such organizations.
What happens when such ideological extremists take over? There's plenty of evidence in history. The following six articles are themselves "extremist" in the sense that they're written from a right-wing perspective, on a site I don't trust in general, and to which I wouldn't normally link. Nevertheless, the facts they offer about left-wing extremism are historically correct. They should serve as a warning to us that no country is immune from such threats. By all means, understand that they're unlikely; but "unlikely" does not mean "impossible". There are, today, individuals and organizations in these United States who want to bring such atrocities to this country as well. They are actively working to expand their reach in this country, cloaking their intentions beneath political slogans.
WARNING: The following links contain factual discussion (including photographs) of atrocities committed by extremists around the world. They are very disturbing, and definitely not for children or the squeamish. If you wish to follow the links, do so with this in mind.
The links are:
- What the Progressive Socialist Liberals have in store for Conservatives, Part 1.
- Ditto, Part 2.
- Ditto, Part 3.
- Ditto, Part 4.
- Ditto, Part 5.
- Ditto, Part 6.
There are probably those who'll think I've gone off the deep end by providing those links, and dismiss me as just another nut-case who's jumping at shadows. Sadly, I'm not. As those of you who've read this blog for some years will understand, I've seen this at first hand, on far too many occasions. It was real in Africa; it was real in the killing fields of Cambodia; it was real in the Gulags, or the concentration camps, or the Great Leap Forward; and there are those who want to make it real in the United States, too. If you doubt that, you're living in cloud cuckoo land. Those of us who've seen the reality of extremism overseas live under no such delusions.
When we see many policies advocated by the left-wing, progressive element in US politics, we see these ideologies writ large. For example, we see tactics such as encouraging unrestricted illegal alien invasion, rejection of voter identification, etc. as recipes for voter fraud, designed to ensure that those with such views can come to power irrespective of the true will of the American people . . . and we fear for our nation's future if they're allowed to succeed - because, once they succeed, they will make sure they entrench their position so strongly that it may take a revolution to remove them from power.
I don't say it's likely to happen here, but there are those who want it to happen here. We need to be aware of that, and aware of the reality underlying their honeyed explanations of pseudo-socialism that they bandy about so freely. We also need to be aware that they're using our traditions of free speech and free association to actively build organizations that will take away those traditions and rights, given half a chance. The current censorship and "deplatforming" efforts by the progressive left against all who don't share their opinions are a good example of how this begins. At present, it's largely pressure exerted through social media organizations. If those people came to power, how long do you think it would be before that pressure became law, and was implemented throughout everyday life?
Food for thought, isn't it?