Tuesday, November 10

In hindsight, the horrors of the socialist empires (Soviet Socialist, National Socialist) seem like the obvious, logical conclusions of the dreams of their leaders. Bryan Caplan shares one remarkable author (and some of his own thoughts) who was able to predict with uncanny accuracy the configuration of such planned societies before their emergence.

Meanwhile, yesterday, America’s paper of record published a long winded, typically opaque opinion by “theorist” rock-star Slavoj Zizek lamenting the situation of those central and eastern European countries who struggle with political change, development, and the crime of “anti-communism.” Arguing by association, implication, and innuendo, but never logic or history, he fills his writing with the passive voice and implies laughable moral equivalents (the censorship of McCarthyism and murderousness of Stalinism).

He eventually leads the reader to lament a man driven to suicide from a failed collective farming experiment in Bolivia, a man who lines earlier was noted for “enforcing” (Zizek’s own term) collectivization on Ukraine, leading to 10s of millions dead by “terror-famine” (Try reading The Harvest of Sorrow for a detailed account that will depress you for a season).

To break it down, he plays the reader for sympathy for a Soviet Eichmann , an ugly and morally dishonest enterprise, though one imagines he thinks himself clever for it.

The continued endorsement of such lines of thought – support for the myth that the socialist states were ever not murderous, the fantasy of socialism without coercion, smart sounding Marxist piffle – remains only possible for those who choose to ignore the history that is still so close, still alive in millions who lived through it, those who pretend that a society completely organized could be anything but coercive.