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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Osama - the Latest Trotsky

Slate has an interesting article on Leon Trotsky, an embodiment of the still delusional liberals that Leon Trotsky's Soviet Empire would have been less brutal than Stalin's and more egalitarian. The article is an essay reproduction from Clive James's Cultural Amnesia - a collection of essays.

Clive provides the convenient lie that left wing intellectuals and our own communists parties still espouse.

After being murdered at Stalin's orders, Lev Davidovich Bronstein, alias Leon Trotsky (1879–1940), lived on for decades as the unassailable hero of aesthetically minded progressives who wished to persuade themselves that there could be a vegetarian version of communism. Trotsky could write and orate, he loved women, and he presented enough of a threat to the established Soviet power structure that it should want to track him down to his hiding place in Mexico and rub him out. It followed, or seemed to follow, that Trotsky must have embodied a more human version of the historic force that sacrificed innocent people to egalitarian principle: a version that would sacrifice fewer of them, in a nicer way.

And of the current Trotsky followers in the western world who shout oppression at every instance of their life:

Trotsky's idea of permanent revolution will always be attractive to the kind of romantic who believes that he is being oppressed by global capitalism when he maxes out his credit card. But the idea was already a dead loss before Trotsky was driven into exile in 1929. He lost the struggle against Stalin not because he was less ruthless but because he was less wily.

Trotsky did not call for a nobler and better Soviet egalitarianism, but a more efficient one. Mao seems to have taken note to pursue his own cultural revolution in China following Soviet egalitarian experiments.

The same capacity for tacit endorsement is shown by Trotsky's admirers, who even today persist in seeing him as some sort of liberal democrat; or, if not as that, then as a true champion of the working class; or anyway, and at the very worst, as one of those large-hearted Old Bolsheviks who might have made the Soviet Union some kind of successfully egalitarian society had they prevailed. But when it became clear that the vast crime called the collectivization of agriculture would involve a massacre of the peasantry, Trotsky's only criticism was that Stalin's campaign was not sufficiently "militarized." He meant that the peasants weren't being massacred fast enough.

The humanist makes a big mistake in supposing that a literary talent automatically ameliorates the aggressive instinct.

This we see practically every day - a novelist becomes a human rights activist calling for a communist mandate; a poet has the right to say utter nonsense with no justification what so ever - but these folks are above reproach and are apparently needed to show a better way to the society.

Clive James then briefly compares Osama bin Laden to Trotsky and the similarities between them are striking and so are the similarities between Trotsky followers and Osama sympathizers:

Osama Bin Laden has several of Trotsky's characteristics. According to students of Arabic, he commands his native language with vibrant fluency, giving a thrilling sense of its historic depth; he can lead a simple life and make it look enviably stylish, as if asceticism were a luxury; and above all, he can inspire the young to dedicate their lives to an ideal. If the ideals of the caliphate tend to become more elusive on close examination, so did the ideals of communism: but they needed to be incarnated for that very reason. Trotsky lived on after Stalin, and to some extent is still alive today, not because young people want the world he wanted: a phantasm that not even he could define. What they want is to be him. [Don't idealize Leon Trotsky - Clive James]

And this the real danger of Osama - not the terror attacks that he envisions, plans, and executes, but people wanting to be him in future.