Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Appeal of Communism

Why was Soviet communism so popular among the elites in the West, in spite of its dismal record of ruined economies and murdered masses?  J. M. Bochenski argued that it was precisely its dogmatism and confidence in opposition to the relativism and skepticism of the West that attracted many disillusioned Westerners to its creed.  It also made appeal to a heroic ethic, in which good inevitably triumphs over evil.  These appeals are clearly illustrated in the following passage (that I have attempted to translate as accurately as possible) from Grundlagen des Marxismus-Leninismus from 1960, which was a German translation used in East Germany of the official book published by the Soviet Union, the purpose of which was to lay out the fundamental ideas of Marxism-Leninism.  This passage comes from the Introduction:

“While faith in Man and the destiny of civilization lies in a hopeless crisis in the bourgeois ideology of the West, the Marxist-Leninist worldview awakens in us the passion to engage in a noble battle for high social ideals.

Everyone who adopts this worldview will not only be deeply convinced that the cause of the workers is just, but also that the victory of socialism across the entire world is historically necessary.  Armed with the worldview of Marxism-Leninism, you become strong, politically steadfast, and principled.  You win an unshakeable conviction that gives you the strength to overcome any challenge.

Millions of people across the globe have already drawn the high ideals for their behavior, as well as the necessary energy for their realization, from the inexhaustible well of Marxism-Leninism.

Is it worthy for a modern, thinking person to live without a progressive worldview, or to content himself with the beggar’s soup of inferior pseudo-worldviews?

It is decidedly better to strive for a mastery of the fundamentals of the Marxist-Leninist worldview so that you may develop intellectually and emerge victorious in the battle against the imperialist enemies of humanity.”

The original German:

“Während in der bürgerlichen Ideologie des Westens der Glaube an den Menschen und an das Geschick der Zivilisation in einer hoffnungslosen Krise liegt, weckt die marxistisch-leninistische Weltanschauung in den Menschen das Streben nach edlem Kampf für hohe soziale Ideale.

Jeder, der sich diese Weltanschauung zu eigen macht, wird nicht nur zutiefst davon überzeugt, daβ die Sache der Arbeiter gerecht ist, sondern auch davon, daβ der Sieg des Sozialismus in der ganzen Welt historisch notwendig ist.  Mit der Weltanschauung des Marxismus-Leninismus ausgerüstet, wird der Mensch stark, politisch standhaft und prinzipienfest.  Er erwirbt eine unerschütterliche Überzeugung, die ihm die Kraft verleiht, jegliche Prüfungen zu bestehen.

Millionen Menschen auf dem Erdball haben bereits aus dem unerschöpflichen Quell des Marxismus-Leninismus die hohen Ideale ihres Handelns und die für deren Verwirklichung notwendige Energie geschöpft.

Ist es eines modernen, denkenden Menschen würdig, ohne fortschrittliche Weltanschauung zu leben oder sich mit den geistigen Bettelsuppen minderwertiger Pseudoweltanschauungen zu begnügen?

Es ist entschieden besser, sich um die Aneignung der Grundlagen der marxistisch-leninistischen Weltanschauung zu mühen, um geistig zu wachsen und die imperialistischen Menschheitsfeinde im Kampf zu besiegen.”

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