Cathy Young on the Left’s Soft Spot For Communism

CommunismThe motives behind
the reluctance of the left, including many liberals, to fully
acknowledge communism’s evil are stated with startling candor by
the late leftist writer/journalist Daniel Singer in a 1999 essay in
The Nation reviewing The Black Book of Communism,
the monumental study of communist terror and repression compiled by
a team of historians. Such a one-sided account, Singer
lamented—missing the good bits such as “enthusiasm, construction,
the spread of education and social advancement”—makes it impossible
to understand why so many Western leftists were drawn to communism
and willing to overlook its crimes. Besides, he wrote, communism’s
record of atrocity was being used to discredit “the possibility of
radical transformation” and force people to resign themselves to
the status quo. In other words: coming to grips with communism’s
true nature makes the Western left look bad and discourages the
quest for utopia. For all the revelations of its bloody crimes,
writes Cathy Young, the romanticized view of communism as a failed
but noble venture has yet to get a stake through the heart.

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from Hit & Run

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