An important point to remember about Bolshevism is that it was not an ideology, but a method. The ideology was Marxism. Adjusted to circumstance and extended as Leninism, it was Marxist-Leninism. Bolshevism was about how they pursued the revolution and how they ruled after it. The name itself, which means “majority,” contrasted with the minority “Mensheviks,” the designations arising from an intra-party squabble (within the existing Russian Social Democratic Labor Party) about the basis for membership in the party and the guidance of the revolution.
The Bolsheviks won that fight, as they went on to win many more, and it came to be that if there were those that the Bolsheviks despised and against whom they sought vengeance even more than on the Russian royalty, it was the Mensheviks…and the Socialist Revolutionaries, and the Bundists, and the mere liberals, all of whom in one manner or another had advocated policies of compromise with each other in pursuit of reform or revolution and extension of the February Revolution of 1917.
About many things – matters of ideology and policy – the Bolsheviks were ever changeable (and rationalizing) in the face of events and circumstance: brute material and economic reality, it became fittingly apparent to them, is an unconquerable disputant in historical debate. But about two matters the Bolsheviks were unchanging and immoveable. First, whatever was the party line at any time (no matter what it had been yesterday or would come to be tomorrow) was absolutely and indisputably true. Second, compromise with anyone outside the party who differed with Bolshevik truth was an unforgivable sin. To advocate compromise with anyone who differed was an unforgiveable sin. No characteristic has ever more consistently represented the Bolshevik frame of mind.
Last week, in the midst of my perpetual web surfing – hanging ten and ducking under the curl – I came across an old appearance of Christopher Hitchens on C-Span. This was in the 80s, before he had become a human totem and when he still fancied himself some kind of kind of Trotskyist. Ah, how young he looked, almost as young as I was, and managed to provoke (sacré bleu!) the ire of some listeners, one of whom called in to criticize and insult him. What delicious pleasure the pre-Hitch Hitchens took, with his weak puckish smile, informing his abuser that among all the calumnies she had hurled at him, none, for a Troskyist, was worse than “liberal,” liberals, where he came from, being regarded as “weak compromisers.”
So it is ever thus with the fanatic true believer, who would rather tear down to its studs and foundation the whole edifice then compromise with the compromised in the service of what they perceive to be a falling architecture. The Bolsheviks never sought to reform Russia. They wished to overturn it, to tear it down, to begin again. They wanted revolution. They didn’t care if Russia was defeated in the First World War. They wanted out of the war, the whole imperialist sham fought for the profit of the capitalist and that further enslaved the working class. Let the walls come tumbling down. We’ll tear them down.
Of course, part of the complexity of considering the Russian Revolution within context and without the benefit of historical hindsight is that Czarist Russia was, indeed, a tyranny deserving of overthrow. And despite their attitudes toward the Russian Revolution, it isn’t exactly that Americans aren’t partial to a little overthrow themselves. King George was not a dysfunctional institution. He was a tyrant. It helps, always, in the consideration of drastic measures, to perceive the extreme circumstances that call for them. If there is not, then, real tyranny or real violence (justifiably met, are they not, with violence in return?) then we can fudge a little or a lot with metaphorical tyranny and violence, and the distinctions among them all can become oh, so theoretically fuzzy, don’t you think? So, said Marxist educational theorist Paolo Freire, in The Pedagogy of the Oppressed,
Any situation in which some individuals prevent others from engaging in the process of inquiry is one of violence. [Emphasis added]
I know I felt assaulted when one of my professors droned on, didn’t you?
And now here is Daniel Horowitz at Redstate in a post titled “What is the End Game for Big Government?” [Emphasis added]
Over the last 75 years, and especially during the past decade, liberals have methodically constructed an incorrigible edifice of tyranny. Their magnum opus, the federal government, has foisted $14.4 trillion in debt and $100 trillion in unfunded obligations on our families; it has promulgated $1.75 trillion in regulatory burdens on our job creators, it has sucked out millions of jobs and trillions in income growth from the “little guy.” Most important, it has revoked an INCALCULABLE measure of liberty from everyone. [Emphasis added]
Sheeit. Topple that? I’m down with it.
“The moment of truth has arrived,” said Tom Trento, National Security Chairman for the Tea Party National Convention and a director of the Tea Party Founding Fathers. “In their contest with President Obama, House Republicans are either going to prove themselves strong bull elephants who got big cuts and reforms, or wimpy RINOs who sold-out the Tea Party and the American people for peanuts.” In Tea Party parlance, “RINO” means “Republican-In-Name-Only.”
For RINO, by the way, read Menshevik.
And back at Redstate, here’s its eminence verte, quoting the man whose collected wisdom I know I always turn to for desperate counsel:
Senator Helms once said, “Compromise, hell! That’s what has happened to us all down the line — and that’s the very cause of our woes. If freedom is right and tyranny is wrong, why should those who believe in freedom treat it as if it were a roll of bologna to be bartered a slice at a time?”
And just to put a very fine point on it:
I’ve gotten lots of calls about compromise this weekend. Senators have called. Congressmen have called. Staffers have called.
I try not to be too committal on these calls because I like to have a bit of time to think.
Here’s my response: don’t compromise.
- Washington’s Magical Thinking – Tea Party Nation (gds44.wordpress.com)
- Wall Street Journal Denounces the “Tea Party Hobbits” | The Intersection (blogs.discovermagazine.com)
- McCain rounds on ‘Tea Party hobbits’ in budget debate (msnbc.msn.com)
- Christine O’Donnell Returns To Defend Tea Party; Advises GOP To Abstain From Debt Crisis Compromise (mediaite.com)
- The Anguish of The Communist Ideal in Russia (socyberty.com)
- IBD: Boehner 1.1 beats nothing at all (hotair.com)