I opened my Twitter feed and, excitedly, noticed that someone had penned an article titled 100 Years Later, Bolshevism is Back. And We Should Be Worried.
At first I was shocked. " Has Thomas Sowell stormed the Washington Post and hijacked their online edition at gunpoint? " I asked myself, nodding in disbelief.
Then I was excited. " Perhaps Foucault, Derrida, Marcuse and all that ilk infesting the universities and the leftist media was only a nightmare! " I exclaimed, elbowing pop-up windows to make my way into the article.
It was all a scam, though.
It was, after all, Anne Applebaum and, an even more blatant giveaway, the Washington Post. Remember the Washington Post? Yes, those guys who, together with the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times, instead of doing their job and pursue the leads of the CIA involvement with the Contras and the cocaine trade, worked to protect the powerful and chose to badger Gary Webb into suicide. At least a dude at Los Angeles Times had the decency to accept guilt and apologize. But not the Washington Post. And it didn't get better with time, mind you, as they went from journalism thugs to the media toy of a robber baron.
It is evident that Applebaum read "10 Days That Shook the World" (available for free here). Reed was evidently partisan but he was a true journalist; while Applebaum either understands history quite poorly or, as I am more prone to think, she tries to be more Catholic than the Pope. Here I was, expecting to read an interesting act of intellectual tightrope walking linking the undemocratic maneuvers by the Bolshevist thugs with the current extremists, but to no avail. Applebaum jumps through hoops to draw a line between Trotsky, Lenin and Stalin with... Farage, Trump, and Le Pen. After going through Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky's peripheral role in the dawn of the October Revolution and their plotting for violent seizure of power through rallying against bourgeois democracy, Applebaum treats the Marxists of today as 3 sad dudes at a bar, powerless, incapable of violence, and, overall, true white doves standing in the fringes of society while unable to hold any power or produce a revolution.
Anne: are you out of your freaking mind? Or are you just a charlatan? Nearly half of millennials prefer socialism over capitalism, as per recent polls. And do you know why that is? Because Marxists hold power where it matters the most and they're experts at propaganda. When Nikita Khrushchev came out clean about the horrors of Soviet extermination and when their tanks rolled over Hungary, the Marxists of the 1960s were heartbroken, lost, and desperate. Among them, people like Foucault and Derrida took Marxism and stripped off its positivism and rigor, adding some psychologism and a heavy dose of relativism, while keeping its hatred for individualist liberalism (in the European not the American sense of the word). It wasn't about class struggle anymore but about ethnic, racial and sexual groups, everyone clenched in a power struggle in which all interpretations were valid and the truth was relative. Even though the predictions by Marx failed one after the other, both economically and morally, the aforementioned Neomarxists kept their hatred for their enemy, the Enlightenment. Take Marcuse, for example, who intellectually stirred up the plague of Marxist-inspired bombings in the 70s by posh, white kids from the University of Berkeley, i.e. the Weather Underground and the like. He went through pains to keep Marxism alive, reaching the ridiculous extreme of saying that, as the conditions of living of the working class improved under capitalism, those blue collar ignorants were now "oppressed by affluence". As nuts as he was, though, he had great foresight and he declared that his murderous ideology wasn't dead but it was to revive in universities all over the Western world. And he was damn right because it did.
What you see today happening in the governments of Canada, the universities of the United States, and the police forces of Britain, is far from a joke. Applebaum brushes aside, either with malice or with appalling ignorance, the reign of terror of the surveillance state zealously kept by the thought police, i.e. far left ideologues occupying positions of power both in academia and government. There is an actual war on free speech and free thought, with real, physical and legal consequences whenever anyone dares to contest either the Lenins or the Marxism of today. You know the sacred cows and "trigger words", don't you? e.g. cultural appropriation, oppression by the cis white patriarchy, gender fluidity, micro-aggressions, Islamophobia, safe spaces, nazi punching, antifa, Title IX extrajudicial proceedings, rape culture, etc.
But no, for Applebaum the danger is not there. For her Marxists have no power and no longer "sketch beautiful pictures of an impossible future". In her mind, the Bolshevist of today are Donald Trump, Viktor Orban, Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen and Jaroslaw Kaczynski. One thing she gets kind of right (or right-ish), in that those characters have little to do with the right that has been part of Western politics since World War II, detached from mainstream conservative parties. But her emphasis on giving a free pass to the far left and focusing on the demagogues of today paint her in full body as the emperor with invisible new clothes. Applebaum either doesn't know, or doesn't want to know, the true ideological warfare that is happening today, revealing a willful or involuntary ignorance about history.
What she is calling the new Bolshevist movement is nothing but the reverse of the coin she seems to peddle. It is the same collectivism (the one that she gives a free pass) but running through a different current. One has to study just a tiny bit about the interwar period in Germany to realize that the Fascists and the Communists had (and still have) tremendous similarities, key among them their common enemy: liberalism (again in the European sense of the word). Each of the two utopia peddlers jockeyed for the title of true protector of the masses from its own ideological horse, but united, like bickering siamese twins, by the umbilical chord of hatred against anyone who embraced the ideals of the Enlightenment, i.e. reason as the main source of legitimacy, progress and authority, liberty, secularism, and constitutional order.
Take these quotes from Applebaum's piece, for example. and you will see what I mean:
"By contrast, the neo-Bolsheviks of the new right or alt-right do not want to conserve or to preserve what exists. They are not Burkeans but radicals who want to overthrow existing institutions." Gee, that applies to the overthrowing of the Western values by any sociology or gender studies teacher of *any* liberal arts college.
Or how about this? "To an extraordinary degree, they have adopted Lenin’s refusal to compromise, his anti-democratic elevation of some social groups over others and his hateful attacks on his “illegitimate” opponents." Hilarious, because when reading that I can see in my mind the images of Antifa and snowflakes picketing Ben Shapiro at the University of Wisconsin.
Another jewel from Applebaum: "Like their predecessors, the neo-Bolsheviks are also liars." Funny, because it suffices to read the Twitter feed of New Real Peer Review to find countless "academics" denying hardcore science in order to advance their fantasy world of social constructionism, that is: blatant misinformation and propaganda.
And this baby right here: "Finally, and most painfully, there is a hint, and sometimes more than a hint, of a reviving appreciation among the neo-Bolsheviks for the cleansing possibilities of violence." A genuine gold nugget for which, mind you, I will just leave here one of the videos of the Berkeley riots.
In short, I must say that I am not surprised by The Washington Post being partisan here, mostly taking into account its ideological stance and its known disregard for balanced journalism. But, sincerely, I expected a better effort from someone with the credentials paraded by Anne Applebaum. There is nothing wrong with having political leanings. However, ignorantly (or maliciously) cherrypicking history and lazily tweaking facts to peddle a dangerously fanatical ideology, even if it is in order to fight other ideologues, is unbecoming of a professor and editor.