The End of TSAR, er Lenin (The State and Revolution, Pt. 5)

dead leninThe End of TSAR, er Lenin

(The State and Revolution, Pt. 5)

We’ve come to the end of Lenin’s The State and Revolution. I wish I could say it’s been fun but, well, nope. Can’t say it and won’t say it. However, it has been necessary. As we’ve seen, so much of what good ole Vladimir said back in 1917 has become political dogma. No, not in Russia or Europe (although it has) but here. It slowly crept in over the years but, if you look at the 2016 presidential campaign, it is there front and center. We heard major candidates talking about redistribution of wealth. We heard the calls for the oppressed to rise up against their oppressors. There was more but it’s too early and I haven’t had enough coffee to be able to rehash them without feeling sick – and very, very angry.

There is one good thing, if you can call it that, to what we heard in the last election. Those candidates spouting Lenin at us are the types of socialists he hated. They are the type he condemned in the last full chapter of TSAR: the ones who cherry-picked portions of Marx and Engels and talked the talk but didn’t walk the walk. (Not that he necessarily did either, but he was different. He was the only one who knew what Marx and Engels meant and he was the first to tell you.)

He’d have lined Bernie up with all the bourgeois because Sanders wasn’t advocating the violent overthrow of the government. He’d have laughed at Clinton for being inept and nothing more than the bourgeois she condemned. The very fact they are part of the government he knew had to be violently destroyed would have painted a huge target on their backs in his eyes.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t undo the damage they, and those like them, have done with their rhetoric. They spout all these ideas that appear so wonderful in sound bite but that are, in reality, untenable and a foundation of socialist philosophy (universal healthcare, free college education for all, etc.) I know very few people who won’t admit the healthcare industry needs major reform and who wouldn’t like medical care to be affordable for all. However, putting it in the hands of the government – which universal healthcare eventually does – is a very bad idea because it will eventually put healthcare decisions in the hands of politicians. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my treatment being approved or disapproved based on what the national budget needs might be.

It is the same with education. When we start relying totally on the government for not just our primary education but for college education as well, we give the government our tacit agreement to let it tell us what we should study and what our career field should be. All those homeschoolers would get to say goodbye to their education preference. We would all be using government resources and following the government line. Nope, not something I want for my kids or grandkids. How about you?

But, whether Bernie and company are what Lenin would have called true socialists or not, they have learned from the “master”. Lenin knew what to say to not only agitate the masses but to connect with them. He recognized their concerns and played on them. Obama was a master at doing the same thing. Bernie, for some reason, was as well in the last election cycle – at least when it came to young voters and those not yet able to vote. What the liberals didn’t expect was for Trump to be able to do so as well. He simply spoke to a different part of the populace.

So, this last chapter of TSAR is Lenin’s condemnation of several well-known socialists of his time. As he’d done previously in TSAR, he took their words and then interpreted, twisted and mangled them to fit his own narrative. Specifically, pointing out how they had sold out Marx and Engels and weren’t real socialists and that, under their plans, socialism and then communism would never occur. In other words, he was setting himself up as the lone voice of not just knowledge but power when it came to socialism/communism.

He phrased it in terms of the “question of the relation of both the state to the social revolution and the social revolution to the state, like the question of revolution generally, engaged the minds of the leading theoreticians and publicists of the Second International (1889– 1914) very little.” (TSAR, p. 93) He accused them of actually evading the question or, worse, failing to notice the question. This, he wrote, led to “an evasiveness which worked to the advantage of opportunism and fostered it – resulted in a distortion of Marxism and in its complete vulgarization.” (TSAR, p. 93)

What follows are several pages of carefully chosen quotes from the so-called offending interpretations of Marx and Engels. Then Lenin jumps in with his interpretation and condemnation. “Marx, as we have seen, meant that the working class must smash, break or shatter (Sprengung, explosion, being the expression used by Engels) the entire state machine.” (TSAR, p. 96) This declaration by Lenin is based on his interpretation that others believed the socialist revolution could be successful without an “excessive revolutionary zeal when seizing power.” According to Lenin, “[a] cruder and more hideous distortion of Marx’s idea is inconceivable.” (TSAR, p. 96)

So, we’re back to his Lenin-Hulk smash, grab power! Ideology.

“The point is not about opposition or about political struggle in general but revolution.” (TSAR, p. 104) In other words, political opposition or struggle, the use of the existing political system to gain your objectives is no longer enough. In fact, according to Lenin, it won’t work. The political system – and remember, that also includes our infrastructure and corporate structure – must be overthrown and those in power must be destroyed. Don’t forget how he spent the majority of TSAR discussing how the proletariat revolution would become the proletariat dictatorship until all opposition was destroyed. Only once everyone walked and thought in lockstep with the leadership could the socialist revolution continue toward first true socialism and then communism.

“Revolution consists in the proletariat destroying the ‘apparatus of administration’ and the whole state machine, replacing it with a new one consisting of the armed workers.”(TSAR, p. 104)

The whole state machine.

Think about that. As much as we sometimes rail against our government, or aspects of it, this is all-inclusive. We’re not just talking about on the federal level but all the way down to the local level. Note also how Lenin never really answers how the gaps that occur will be filled. I’m not so much worried about in the government. There will always be politicians, even if they are good little socialists (looks in Bernie’s direction). But what about in the corporate world? Despite everything Lenin says about the workers coming together to run their factories, we know how well that went over, don’t we? The worker on the floor doesn’t know how to run the shipping department or inventory or do the books. So, managers are needed but where are they to come from?

The answer’s simple and one Lenin didn’t want anyone looking too closely at. They came from the new oppressing class and their sole job was to oppress everyone – bourgeois or proletariat alike, anyone who didn’t produce at the proper level and who didn’t believe in the correct way.

Revolution consists in the proletariat destroying the ‘apparatus of administration’ and the whole state machine, replacing it with a new one consisting of the armed workers. (TSAR, p. 104)

If that statement alone doesn’t bring you up short and make you think twice about how wonderful socialism sounds, it should. A true “people’s state” wouldn’t require armed workers. It would be cooperative. It would be supportive. It would NOT be oppressive. Yet that is exactly what Lenin says it will be, at least to begin. Note, too, he initially says this beginning phase is a passing one and then, as TSAR progresses, he hedges and hedges even more about how long it will take. Look at history to see it is such a slow progression from armed revolution to proletariat dictatorship to socialist society that 100 years wasn’t enough to move out of the dictatorship phase. In fact, if possible, we are seeing that phase entrenching itself as if it doesn’t want to erode into a true socialistic state.

Gee, who would have thought? (Yes, sarcasm is high here.)

Revolution consists not in the new class commanding and governing with the aid of the old state machine but in its smashing this machine and commanding and governing with the aid of a new machine. (TSAR, p. 104)

So, rise up, brothers and sisters, listen to my promises. Just don’t look too closely when my armed forces place their boots on your necks after you’ve helped us overthrow the government. Trust us, brothers and sisters, you’ll learn to love it. It is for your own good. I promise. Some day – possibly in a far away galaxy – the true socialist state will evolve and you will have been the first step toward it. Honor your role and listen to your betters. We are one, brothers and sisters, but some of us are more equal than others. Bow down to the new state and apparatchik. I – we – know what is best, comrades.


But we shall move on to a break with these traitors to socialism and shall fight for the complete destruction of the old state machine in order that the armed proletariat itself should become the government. (TSAR, p. 107)

Wait, what? The proletariat becomes the government? So, he confirms one class replaces the other as the ruler. Hmmm.

This isn’t new. He’s been saying this throughout the book. However, he usually didn’t say it quite as openly or without a great deal of lawyer double-speak. It is a reminder that this book was never meant to be a handbook for the average person and especially not the average Russian in 1917. Think about how those without college educations would have reacted if Lenin spoke this plainly when stirring them into revolutionary fervor. The faults in his plan, in his view, would have been much easier to spot. Would it have stopped what had already started – and the revolution had been coming for decades – probably not. But it might have altered some of what happened in late 1917 and early 1918 when it comes to the Russian/Soviet governments.

But we shall move on to a break with the opportunists; and the entire conscious proletariat will be with us in the fight not for a ‘shifting of the relation of forces’ but for the overthrow of the bourgeoisie, for the destruction of bourgeois parliamentarianism, for a democratic republic after the type of the Commune or a republic of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, for the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. (TSAR, p. 108)

“Conscious proletariat”, “democratic republic” and “the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat”. Riiight.

What part of “dictatorship” is hard to believe? And what part of human nature not wanting to give up power is so hard to understand?

This is why it is so important we, as conservatives and as libertarians, understand what Lenin and others promoting socialism and communism wrote and what they meant. We have to have a knowledge of history and an understanding of why things happened. We have to be able to not only discuss our beliefs but be able to point to source material to show the fallacies in our opposition’s point of view. If we don’t, we have zero chance of convincing them they need to rethink their position.

Note, I’m not saying we have to go in and tell them they are wrong. That is the surest way of getting them to dig their heels in and refuse to consider anything we say. No, we have to take a page out of Lenin’s book and convince them. That starts with them looking at their position and possibly recognizing there are weaknesses to it. We point out alternatives. We show them current or historical trends that undermine their points. In short, we avoid the knee-jerk reaction and we force them to do the one thing they haven’t been doing – think.

We have a perfect opportunity to do so right now. The Bernites of the world want us to sink into socialism because they feel it is the perfect world. We’d all be beautiful and equal and sit around the fire and sing Kumbaya while manna falls from the sky because none of us would know how to operate the factories or plow the fields, etc. Yet, they avoid looking at the reality of what socialism and communism have done to those countries that have “embraced” it.

For those with any memory or knowledge of the Cold War, the Soviet Union was the great evil. Even if Stalin was long in his grave by the time we entered school, the threat of the Soviet Union was very real. The media today paints Russia as the greatest threat to our nation after our president. How often have we heard Putin – another Vladimir (maybe it’s something about the name. Think about it. Vlad the Impaler, Vladimir Lenin, Vladimir Putin) is doing everything he can to corrupt our elections, etc? (And nothing about how Obama tried the same with one of our own allies.) Yet, that same media and those politicians advocate the socialist principles Putin represents.

But be prepared. The other side will say Putin isn’t a true socialist/communist. Then they’ll point out they want the “good parts” of socialism but not the bad. They want universal healthcare and government paid education. But they have no clue how to pay for these – or what the potential consequences of them are. They will tell you with one breath they want less government and then, in the next, they are willing to turn their health and education over to Big Brother.

So, ask the hard questions but have your own answers – and facts – ready. Hit them in the face with not only the reality of where socialism and communism are in today’s world when it comes to that “withering away” of the state. Make them think about what their heroes – Lenin, Marx and Engels, among others – actually said. Don’t argue and don’t make them dig their heels in. Remember, these folks are the ones who want safe spaces and who don’t understand the concept of consequences. We have to educate them and, even if we fail where they are concerned, we have our children and grandchildren to worry about. We educate them and we give them the best weapon of all – the ability to think for themselves and recognize bull shit when they see or hear it.

Lenin was, if nothing else, a master manipulator. But he was one in the right place at the right time, at least for his own purposes. Our challenge today is not that we will face another Lenin, especially not here in the US. It is that the socialist ideas have been slowly infiltrating our government for years. Our job – our duty – is to recognize them, stop the slide and repair the damage to our country. I’m willing and ready to take up the challenge. Are you?

[For raising the tone of this blog — ATH is culture! — and helping me with the exposing of the roots of the current mess — in her case with more facts! — if you decide to  send the woman a drink–  And her Amazon author page is here -SAH]

106 thoughts on “The End of TSAR, er Lenin (The State and Revolution, Pt. 5)

  1. One is most pleased to be reminded that Lenin did come to an end, now if only we might see that, for once and for all, his influence will have run its course.

    1. I totally agree. The one tactic we that doesn’t work is to sit back and wait for the idiots to realize on their own that what he espoused is a bad, very bad idea. While I’m sure a number of readers here have actually read Lenin, Marx and Engels, even Mao and some of the others, the majority of Americans haven’t. That number is even smaller if you look at how many have read them in the native language of the author and not through the various translations that aren’t always accurate. That is why it is so important we increase not only our own education of the other side’s founding documents, etc., but that we make sure we question the other side about those foundations and their understanding of them.

  2. who wouldn’t like medical care to be affordable for all.

    I wouldn’t. The only way to make it “affordable to all” would be to dilute it down to band-aids and aspirin, and they’d probably run out of those.

    1. I’d settle for getting external shareholders out of the health insurance business. (As opposed to “internal” types, folk who are beneficiaries of the insurance themselves. Think of USAA and how its members are the shareholders, so there’s no incentive to maximize profits over benefits.)

    2. There you go, being logical again. I agree with you when you apply reality to dream. However, the dream is nice and that is why it appeals to so many folks. The problem is they don’t look at “insignificant” things like cost, administration, availability, etc. Nor do they look at how socialized medicine works in most of those countries that have adopted it.

    3. There you go again–trying to think logically while the rest of us are absorbing all the good vibrations. We won’t *dilute* it! We’ll just make it–


      FOR ALL!

      Let those words sink into your heart. Let their soothing tones fill you with peace and comfort and righteous satisfaction. Picture the happy children growing up without fear of sickness due to their poverty and the greed of bourgeois doctors and their corporate-monster allies.

      What are a few facts in the face of such beauty?

      1. There is no excuse for spoiling beautiful memes such as “No one should have to die for lack of health care” with such churlish questions as “Who is going to pay the doctors, nurses, pharmacies, technicians, etc. etc. and how much and for how long?” or “if the government pays for it all, everything, where does it get its money?” or “who gets to decide when the patient is going to die anyway in spite of everything doctors can do?”

        1. It’s simple. They want and can’t wrap head around scarcity. They are mad because there is no real entry level in the country anymore, costs have exploded and the ‘good old days’ are not here.

          The answer to the first one is simple. Make it a requirement of their license. The ones that are just starting or are early enough that they cannot retire or are in the generation where retirement is a pipe dream will have no choice but to either leave practice or follow the edicts. And between med school tuition and loans and the natural aversion to change you’ll still have a good coterie of slave…er….compliant docs.

          Any type of national system will have to have the cost limits. Some will be for what the system will pay out, e.g. 500 MRI per month, some will be defined cost (We don’t care the drug costs $.50 per dose. You will give it to us at $.40 or else), others will be age(At some point you just get the pain pill turned up and “go to sleep”), and others will be status (What party do you vote for).

          1. They want and can’t wrap head around scarcity.
            Funny thing is…
            They have a belief in scarcity when it comes to wealth – there is only so much, so if someone has more it must be taken from them to increase yours.
            But, they have no concept of scarcity when it comes to produced goods/services and harvested/mined/etc. resources.

            It’s totally bass-ackwards from reality.

            1. In part because there are relatively few good jobs available they tend to end up in retail so that they see others spending and think they have been stolen from. In one fashion they are right, but by the govt, not (just) by industry.

      2. Yes. In 2008 our health insurance costs were about 15% of our income. By 2016 they were so affordable, they were more than we actually made.

        Apparently I lack the intelligence to understand how I am benefiting from that…

        1. But just think about the people your insurance payments would be helping get their metformin and tenth ER visit for diabetic complications this month (My sympathy disappears after the second time in a month barring significant extenuating circumstances and effort on their part).

          The ‘middle class’ in the view of the socialists is the rafts of government functionaries. The people that work at businesses are unseen or pitied as fools while those that own the businesses are rich of course. This middle class made out well if there was proper bribage…er…contributions made to politicians to give them platinum health care.

    4. That’s far from the only issue.

      Look at how many socialized medicine systems have adopted a ‘murder the sick’ rationing system.

      Another major issue is the problem of information and decision time, as can be shown in the bathroom model of socialized medicine. Diet and excretion have a significant impact on health, and were an important part of medicine in ancient times. You read of kings dying of digestive issues.

      So let’s suppose that I am smarter, and that this means I know better than someone about when they need to go to the bathroom. Consider the cases where I am in charge of toilet times for one, ten, a hundred and thousand people. How much of a hassle is it for me, and how much incentive do I have to keep it pain free? How much /can/ I care about that? The federal government approach is to have a policy, maybe subdivided by category, that people are required to comply with. Three hundred million divided by a thousand is a third of a million, the size of the bottom layer of bureaucracy if each bureaucrat schedules pissing for a thousand. As you increases the number each bureaucrat is responsible for, who they are less capable of caring about, you decrease the size of the bureaucracy, which makes it more potentially accountable to the voters by way of the politicians. A larger lower level requires larger numbers of middle management, and middle management layers among which accountability can be lost.

      Federal socialized medicine for everyone is only advocated for by evil people and by people who haven’t run the numbers, and done due diligence gaming out what it might look like, and how well it might work. The latter, especially when combined with emotional appeals and a demand for urgency, might be seen as mentally ill and in need of involuntary institutionalization. 🙂

    5. Funny thing is, “Affordable for All” probably SHOULD be possible; but like with all things the progressive left does, when they SAY “Affordable for All” what they really want is more government. More government is EXACTLY THE WRONG DIRECTION to go if one really wants “Affordable for All”.

      So here is what (might) work. The government gets and keeps their grubby paws out of it. And I don’t mean a little bit, I mean all the way out. That way, hospitals can not only become more profitable, they will be subject to marketing and competition pressures. Competition brings prices down.

      Now, I admit I’m not a economic genius, but I’m pretty sure what we are currently doing just plain isn’t working. When government subsidizes, prices go up (see colleges and universities). When government overly regulates, prices go up (see.. well everything). When there is competition, prices go down (I’m sure the gas station on the corner would LIKE to charge $10 a gallon, but the gas station on the opposite corner would just sell at $9.50 and put them out of business).

      1. I am not going to get into it in depth because a) it’s been like, thirty years, since I did the curse work and b) accounting, amiright?, but as I recall the accounting rules for non-profits and hospitals — both of which employ an entire different set of rules than regular businesses — one of the craziest restrictions was that hospitals were not allowed to track unpaid bills as a separate expense and write them off the way they would, say, an allowance for doubtful accounts.

        No, they had to estimate what they would not be able to correct in the course of the coming year then assign that as overhead to all billing. Similarly, their pricing is no more open and transparent than we find at colleges and universities. They have different billing rates contracted for different insurers and, to take one example, Medicaid billing is simply calculated at marginal cost — the cost of doing one more procedure — rather than fully distributed cost, which would include depreciation, administrative costs, and other overhead. So that if forty percent of a hospital’s operating revenue comes from Medicaid and unbillable – charitable – work, the other sixty percent – private insurance, private pay – must carry one hundred percent of overhead.

        Except, of course, the private insurers have negotiated a steep discount to have the hospital in their list of approved service providers.

        As I said, that was thirty some years ago but I doubt the smart money would be on it having become less of a Charlie Foxtrot in the intervening years.

        Let’s not even touch upon the cost of compliance with Obamacare’s “Digital Record-keeping” boondoggle, shall we? A LOT of money got flushed down the digital drain of Silicon Valley over that.

  3. whether Bernie and company are what Lenin would have called true socialists or not

    I believe his term for them was “Useful idiots.”

      1. Bernie seems like regular socialist, look at how much his wife and him have enriched themselves with public money. Nomenclatura always end up with lots of wealth and other perks in socialist societies while they turn their country into sh*thole.

        1. Ah yes. The more equal among the equals. Which is why it is so important we point out these inconsistencies to the idiots spouting doctrine out like pablum.

          1. Unfortunately, resistance to inconsistencies is part and parcel of the whole “socialism” meme.

            Most folks think they are pretty good, more or less. It’s hard to live any other way, even those of us who accept sin as a fundamental part of the human condition (or words that mean the same, without the religious context). Most folks also have an impulse to charity… and darker impulses to control, self-gratification, and retaliation when we perceive we’ve been harmed. Socialism appeals to all of those factors at once.

            So people excuse the little bad things that “must happen” for the revolution to come and paradise to ensue. Only the little bad things get bigger, and never, ever stop until someone steps in and stops them. Cue mass graves. And everyone knows those are bad things, of course, so they must have been doing it wrong. *shakes head* In the immortal words of Mister T, “I pity the fool(s).”

            It is very, very difficult for the average person to recognize true evil. At least it seems that way to me. If it wears a pleasing mask and has nice things to say that make you nod your head, why, they must not be so bad after all. If it were plain as a black hat to all and sundry it would be easier. If those who followed such evil were all simply vile, it would be simpler still.

            As bad as that is, there are no greater foes to socialism than those who’ve had to live under it, then escaped to find a better life. People really don’t like being lied to. Betrayed. And the lies don’t really get much bigger than the lies the socialist tells. We are lucky to have such people with us, who can point out every flaw, tear down every concealing lie, so folks can see the decrepit foundation of bones it is all built on.

        2. Kinda the interesting thing I see with Manchin. Maybe he isn’t gold plated yet but daughter dearest driving epipens thru the roof should have been called from the rooftops, especially since it was a function of patent (Almost any method using a spring loaded needle to inject epi was called an infringement IIRC) and law that required it.

            1. And he didn’t pick up on why people were facepalming and staring at him saying ‘Really? Did you just hear yourself? REALLY!?!” No, he reiterated that he is a nationalist Socialist.

              1. A Jew of a certain age, no less.

                That cemented my thinking of his as having a single digit IQ

    1. I’ve noticed over the years that collectivists and individualists respond differently upon encountering an idiot:

      Collectivist: How can I make good use of this idiot?

      Individualist: How can I make this idiot less idiotic?

  4. In other words, he was setting himself up as the lone voice of not just knowledge but power when it came to socialism/communism.

    One blogger who often blogs about gender issues and Christianity (from a very traditionalist, conservative point of view) often points out a rhetorical tactic that many men use called “the only real man in the room”. The idea is to point out the failings of other men, thereby implying that you’re the only one who really measures up. It’s the same tactic Lenin is using here: tear down others so that you look better. The very essence of the crab bucket.

    1. Exactly. It was the only way Lenin could discredit the other “socialist” leaders at the time. It is also very effective in gathering followers who aren’t satisfied with what the current leadership offers. As I said, Lenin was an excellent mani0pulator.

  5. All communists or socialist ideologues, the true believers, almost all suffer from Cluster A or B personality disorders. My father is a communist, and I met a few of his comrades over the years and what unites them is they all lead unpleasant lives and they are angry 24/7.

    If communists were sincere about helping poor people, they would look to northern Europe and their policies of money redistribution. Scandi countries rate high on economic freedom because they are aware wealth needs to be created before government takes it. Many services are private but paid for by the state and it keeps admin bloat to a minimum.

    Socialists we seem to produce in Anglo countries are ambitious middle class types but without any discernable talents and all they care about is power and overpaid cushy government jobs where not much is expected.

    1. Somehow an ideology of “Smash the system and take people’s stuff” seems oddly inconsistent with “peace on earth and goodwill to men”.

      1. That’s because the oppressors *owe* them. Creating a business, investing in it, keeping it operating and profitable, that counts for nothing. What’s important is that those profits were extracted from the labor of the workers, and rightfully belong to those workers. The capitalists provide no added value; they’re just parasites on the working class.

    2. Partly. We also have a sizeable chunk of authoritarian wannabes that find it socially acceptable.

  6. I well remember reading Lenin’s purple prose for class at university, it is tough slog to read communist nonsense.

      1. Marx was a slog for me in any language. I think because you have to keep his definitions in mind when you read the text, not just the customary meanings of the words. That and I think his ideas are lousy, to put it mildly.

        1. I didn’t read him in the original language but, in English, everything you say is absolutely right. And don’t you just love it when they have their own definitions for terms?

          1. Once I was having a debate with someone I knew who is very left-leaning, and she got very upset and acted all sorts of scornful and disdainful when I referred to the dictionary to explain one of the terms we were arguing over– like the dictionary was not authoritative because it didn’t define the term the way she was using it.

            1. the dictionary was not authoritative because it didn’t define the term the way she was using it.

              Because it is always a good day to use this quote.

            2. Actually it eas probably because you were being a smug pedant, throwing mere definitions in her face as she tried to elevate your soul. See my explanation of “affordable health care,” above.

              See also Thomas Sowell’s A CONFLICT OF VISIONS. A lot of these misunderstandings (the ones that *aren’t* deliberate, cynical lies) are directly traceable to his “unconstrained vision”–the idea that human perfection is possible. If it’s possible, then not demanding it is *morally wrong*; and logical objections can only be sophistry from an evil mind. That’s why they answer logical objections by impugning your motives. The mere fact that you are objecting shows that you are a villain, fighting against the Truth because you somehow gain something from the sufferings of others. It’s not that you think the Better Tomorrow is impossible–it’s that you BENEFIT from the Evil Today! That’s the ONLY possible explanation!

              This is one reason why arguing with such people is so often a waste of time. Either your interlocutor is deliberately obscuring your motives a la Lenin, or they have already concluded all your arguments are lies before you’ve finished the first sentence. For reasons that follow directly from their first principles.

              It has been pointed out here that you argue with such a person not for *his* benefit, but in hopes of persuading bystanders. This is true. But remember–many if not most of them, in this day and age, will be starting with the same premises as his. Don’t get your hopes up too much.

              The real question, I fear, is, “How do I persuade him that his *first principles* are wrong?” Not terribly encouraging, but if you come up with an answer, you have a much better shot at making a difference.

  7. I’m 2/3 of the way through McMeekin’s _The Russian Revolution_. It is 1918 and the Red Terror has begun. War Communism is about to be applied, Stalin is still just lurking in the background and Lenin and Trotsky are the primary leaders. It’s been very educational, but very depressing since I know how the story ends.

    If you want an interesting read, look at the one and two-star reviews for Anne Applebaum’s _Red Famine_. A die-hard Leninist wrote a long rebuttal using Leninist writings (and without having read the book). There’s another rebuttal from someone who seems to be a Great Russian Nationalist, possibly pro-Stalin. (I love Applebaum’s work, but I wish she’d pick less depressing topics!)

  8. Please give Amanda a hand, and possibly a drink for suffering through this twaddle.

      1. If you want a break from political screeds, how about Buzz Aldrin’s Mission to Mars? Or something else in the science of space sphere of knowledge? Would probably appeal to most of the sci-fi geeks hanging out here. =)

        If you feel like swimming in the election kool-aid some more, I’d find your take on the Brazile book interesting.

      2. Heinlein’s A Tramp Royale for a book of his almost no one has read. Non fiction as well so fits with the series.

        1. I found a copy at a giant remainders sale in the Outer Banks while on vacation in the mid-90’s. It is definitely an interesting read, and a fascinating look at a milieu that has disappeared.

      3. It is not something I would ordnarily recommend, being a movie, but National Review’s film critics Kyle Smith and Armond White have already pointed at The Young Karl Marx as worth attention.

        “Peck’s bio-pic could be retitled “Karl Marx, Superhero,” because it essentially follows the origin-myth pattern of comic-book movies.” — Armond White, NRO

        WARNING: have barf bag at the ready before watching that trailer!

        In select theaters February 23. Available on Digital Platforms March 6.

        In the mid-1800s, after decades of the scientific and economic march of the Industrial Revolution has created an age of both new prosperity and new problems, a 26-year-old writer, researcher and radical named Karl Marx embarks, with his wife Jenny, on the road to exile. In Paris in 1844 they meet young Friedrich Engels, the well-to-do son of a factory owner whose studies and research has exposed the poor wages and worse conditions of the new English working class who operate looms, printing presses and other engines of industry that enrich their owners while punishing laborers.

        The smooth and sophisticated – but equally revolutionary and radical – Engels brings his research, help and resources to provide Marx with the missing piece to the puzzle that composes his new vision of the world. Together, between censorship and police raids, riots and political upheavals, they will preside over the birth of the labor movement turning far-flung and unorganized idealists and dreamers into a united force with a common goal.

        The organizations they create and ideas they put forward will grow into the most complete philosophical and political transformation of the world since the Renaissance – started, against all expectations, by two brilliant, insolent and sharp-witted young men whose writings, works and ideas were embraced by revolutionaries even as they were corrupted by dictators.

        As director Raoul Peck himself puts it, “Before they’d even reached the age of thirty, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels had undoubtedly started to change the world – for better or worse …”

      4. *starts thumping my tin cup on the table, rousing others*
        Space! Space!
        Space, space, space, space, SPACE!

  9. It would NOT be oppressive.
    And yet, this means Lenin grasped human nature better than modern progressives, since he appeared to know that you couldn’t just appeal to everyone’s angelic natures and *poof!* magical transition to paradise.

    1. Apparently, what he expected to everyone to believe is that you could appeal to everyone’s demonic nature and *poof!* magical transition to paradise.

      1. Well, again, he’s arguing for a bloody and hard slog to that paradise, involving lots of forcing people into a way of life that greases the cogs of said ‘paradise’. Not the magical transition and easy living that our socialists seem to believe in.

        Maybe our ringleaders also believe it will be bloody and hard, and it’s just the useful idiots that believe the unicorn and skittles promise. But it certainly seems lots of the ringleaders also believe in the unicorns and skittles.

  10. A friend of mine went to Russia on business from time to time. I asked if he could get me a bust of Lenin. He finally found one; he said they’re pretty rare now.

    It’s interesting how Soviet iconography changed over the years. Vladimir Ilych was a short dumpy guy. Over the years, he got… streamlined. A *lot*… Late Soviet artwork didn’t strictly follow the pictures of Lenin from the teens or ’20s.

    Several times I had people look at the bust as ask who it was supposed to be.

    “It’s a Romulan from an obscure Trek episode.”

    “Oh.” (loses interest)

    [why did I want a bust of Lenin? So it could sit next to the bust of Churchill, of course…]

    [yes, I’m the same guy who told his co-workers Gregg shorthand was Minbari script]

    1. Lenin’s tomb is really spooky. Many (most?) Russians don’t believe it is still him in it. He is short, but not stocky.

  11. It occurs to me that with AI and distributed everything, it just might be possible for (most of) the State to wither away.

  12. According to modern Marxist, Lenin was the pure light of the Socialist Future, but his kind and gentle revolution was usurped by the brutal Stalin, who also exiled the benign Trotsky. In the end the Soviet Union was the first of the “not real communism” states.

    Yet, looking at the words of Lenin, it’s pretty clear old Joe Steel was just following in VI’s footsteps.

      1. Maybe. The Russians will tolerate, even love a tyrant.
        They cannot abide a weak ruler. Poor Nicky was a weak man trying to ape the autocratic methods of his rough & tough father, and just didn’t have the ability to pull it off.

          1. True, it’s hard to see how they could have been any worse off.
            Unless the Other Leading Brand of Socialist get involved.

    1. You blew my mind with the “kind and gentle revolution”. And you’re right. Today’s socialist — or wannabe socialist — have clue zero what Lenin actually advocated.

    2. And Trotsky, the architect of the Red Army, was perfectly fine with Lenin’s actions when Trotsky believed he would be the one to do them next.

      Only when it was clear that Djugashvili would be running things did Bronstein suddenly discover that “state captialism” was bad.

  13. Cough* I’ll just leave this here, shall I?

    From The Mouths of Babes Comes a Great Deal of Nonsense.
    By Sarah Hoyt
    There is something broken in the brain of humans. All humans, going back as far as we can tell. Call it being built on the frame of a great ape, or call it, if you’re inclined that way religiously, the result of the Fall. Or as a friend of mine puts it “the Fall was worse than we thought.”

    This particular flaw in reasoning is that children know best.

    In the course of my degree, I read countless Medieval ballads in which the children at the breast spoke up and identified the true king. This kind of thought persuaded kings and church that the Children’s Crusade would have a peculiar power.

    Our entire culture went mad-crazy for the young people in the sixties, something that also ties into the Romantics’ idea that the savage, untutored, and unsophisticated was naturally better.

    Now, I could sort of understand that in the framework of a deeply religious culture, in which, because untutored and natural, children – like birds and the weather – could serve as voices of the gods or God.

    I do not understand its persistence in the modern day and amid the atheistic left. And yet, it is omnipresent in everything, from their political views to their propaganda, to their valuing of the mad and savage.

    Take these innocent children being used by the leftist gun grabbers. …

    1. I was in HS in the 70’s when a teacher urged us to write to our representatives advocating this issue or that. I refused and took the loss to my grade, because I hadn’t studied the issue myself and wasn’t so sure I agreed with the position the teacher recommended.

      1. Somewhat related- one of the requirement for Citizenship in the Nation Merit Badge is writing a letter to an elected representative on an issue the Scout wants to address. We don’t tell them what to write about of who to write, but it has to written AND mailed. I’ve seen well reasoned well thought out letters to stuff that’s cringeworthy… remembering it’s their letter, not mine. I don’t let them say anywhere in it- “I’m writing this letter as a requirement….”

        1. Don’t remember which citizenship merit badge has the requirement (there are 3, & it has been 15+ years since the kid did them), but attending a hometown public meeting is a requirement. At the time the state was doing the “no child left behind”, or equivalent, & what the reactions were to the requirements. I got so tired of just hearing from teachers so I decided to speak up (FYI I hate, HATE, public speaking despite Toastmasters). My take, “does not matter what you do, we will monitor, correct, & supplement, as needed; for others who won’t or can’t do that, not my problem, my kid’s education is my problem.” (narrow minded, I know 🙂 ) FWIW, not particularly rich, even for our area, just had different priorities (International travel was NOT part of the extra, didn’t have passports plus $$$ lacking). Kid had a few classmates who were in the latter position that benefited from the bring a friend along excursions, we knew would never be reciprocated, didn’t matter.

      2. I much prefer what my 11th grade history teacher did. Realizing some of us were bored with having yet another course on the American Revolution, she checked in our books and handed us new material to study. That material included the John Birch Society’s Blue Book, the founding documents for the League of Nations (and we had to advocate whether it or the UN was better), the Communist Manifesto, Mean Kampf. We LEARNED in that class, something I can’t say about a lot of my high school and college classes.

    2. It’s the whole noble savage idea–that civilization and society are corrupting. Therefore, the less exposure someone has to either, the more moral they are–and among civilized people, children have been involved in civilization for the least amount of time.

    3. Also, you can get them to vote for Leftist for a couple of elections cycles, before real life hits.

  14. I know very few people who won’t admit the healthcare industry needs major reform

    The only reform it needs is to get the government totally out of the business. The feds are 99% the cause of all the problems the American medical system has….

    1. Oh, I don’t know I’d put it that high. There’s plenty of state mandates, as well, mucking things up.

  15. Without reading the rest yet, I had to react to this part:

    There is one good thing, if you can call it that, to what we heard in the last election. Those candidates spouting Lenin at us are the types of socialists he hated. They are the type he condemned in the last full chapter of TSAR: the ones who cherry-picked portions of Marx and Engels and talked the talk but didn’t walk the walk. (Not that he necessarily did either, but he was different. He was the only one who knew what Marx and Engels meant and he was the first to tell you.)

    So he was no different really from the modern day followers of his thrice-damned half-baked beliefs.

    1. Nope. He just gets the credit for being the first, and for starting the Soviet Union. (Except, as it turns out, Trotsky was the one on the ground in Petrograd doing most of the work of trying to keep things going between July and October, after the Provisional Government put a price on all the Communist Party leaders’ heads.)

      1. Yep. Lenin was comfortable in Sweden (iirc). When he did return to Russia, he did it via Germany, an enemy of the state, and that’s why the government was able to raise questions about whether he was a foreign spy.

    1. Hayek wrote thicker books, so in book-to-book combat he offers a serious advantage.

      The Road to Serfdom: 320 pages
      The State and Revolution: 103 pages

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