Brown v. Red revisited

Alan E. Brain at a Samizdata discussion:

They [the Nazis] Raped Knowledge. They Defiled Science. Like the Stalinists, they took the finest aspirations of the human soul and corrupted them.

I’d change that to “unlike the Nazis, the Bolsheviks took the finest… and corrupted them.” Hitler mostly exploited sentiments and instincts that were either dubious (nationalism), or negative (sore pride) or ugly (ethnic hatred). Lenin sure did play on class hatred a lot, but he and Stalin were particularly good at exploiting–and thus defiling noble and lofty aspirations and values: thirst for freedom, hatred for injustice, willingness to work hard for a better future, sacrifice in defending one’s cause and country, etc.

With every transcendent value so discredited, what is to prevail but cynicism? What other form of social organization is to be expected but dog-eat-dog ‘capitalism’? It should come as a pleasant surprise that lots of Russians have not given up on the basic values that make society possible, although those who have are frighteningly overrepresented among the nouveaux riches of Russia.

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