The Politically Incorrect Show - 07/11/2001
It's the 84th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia today. Time to reflect on the irony of the fact that, though it was eventually repudiated in what became the Soviet Union, Bolshevism flourishes in the year 2001 in a purportedly anti-communist country like New Zealand. See yesterday's editorial about Kiwibank. But tiny turds of excrement like Kiwibank are not what I want to talk about today. At least, not directly. Today I want to survey the big picture.
The Communist Manifesto was published in 1848. 69 years later, a handful of men conducted a revolution in its name. Their regime was soon to cover one sixth of the globe. It was a revolution & a regime of ideas. Its leaders, Lenin, Stalin & Trotsky, could dissertate fluently & intelligently on dialectical materialism, the "materialist conception of history," the theory of surplus value, etc..
In the realm of ideas, they had no opposition. They railed against the bourgeois "selfishness" that capitalism thrived upon. U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower admitted quite candidly that, when confronted face to face by a Soviet luminary with the anti-selfishness argument, he had no answer. He & the rest of the civilised world were in the habit of repairing to Christianity to make their case against Communism. But Christianity was also anti-selfishness - so what answer COULD they have?
Then along came Ayn Rand, a refugee from the Bolshevik revolution. Possessed of one of the greatest conceptual minds in history, she tumbled to the fact that the whole anti-selfishness thing was a sordid con-game. She realised that another, entire philosophical revolution was necessary if the Bolsheviks - & all other preachers & practitioners of collectivism, including Christians & democrats - were ever to be fought successfully. She rejected the conventional view of selfishness - riding roughshod over the rights of others & generally being an asshole - as, logically, one side of the altruist coin: if we're here to sacrifice ourselves, then there must be some - the assholes - TO WHOM we must sacrifice. She offered instead a GENUINE selfishness - living by one's own judgement for one's own sake, recognising by a process of logic based on observation the right of others to do the same. She highlighted the fact that THIS - as opposed to sacrifices made at the point of an asshole's gun - is GENUINE benevolence, & that it alone can save civilisation.
Her ideas have not yet had 69 years to germinate. It's possible that they never will, given that, as her philosophy identifies, human beings have free will (contrary to the determinism of the Bolsheviks). That they might not germinate doesn't make them wrong. It simply means that, at a time when the sacrifice-mongers - in their Muslim guise, now - have never been more lethal or strident, we who know she was right have to strive even harder to prove it. Nothing less than the future of civilisation is at stake.
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