If the American society is constantly torn apart by ideological confrontations, why is it so hard for some Americans to imagine that people in other countries can be just as divided?
Any society, even the freest democracy, has likely autocrats willing to take advantage of others, latent victims willing to give up freedom in exchange for entitlements, and budding free people willing to resist tyranny and defend their liberties. The ratio of these groups in each country may be different, but no nation is ever unanimous — despite all assurances to the contrary by dictators who claim to speak for all people.
Statist regimes need unanimity to justify their existence. If a government’s survival depends on unanimity, it will inevitably end up repressing free speech. That alone makes statism an unacceptable form of government. Any government’s claim to speak for all people automatically makes it a suspect, just as unanimous voting is a symptom of tyranny.
The unanimity of the Soviet people was a myth. Measuring internal opposition in the absence of freedom may be impossible, but the trickle of dissidents and defectors should have been a good clue. Yet the Western media unquestionably repeated the regime’s official lie that all Soviet people were united behind the Communist Party and its policies.
As false data leads to false conclusions, benevolent Western intellectuals often shrugged off the Soviet tyranny as “the choice of the people,” explaining it away with outlandish nonsense like “the mysterious Russian character” or “the collectivist nature of the Slavic soul,” which was a patent absurdity, especially considering that not all people in the Eastern Bloc were Russians or even Slavs. The same thinking prompted less benign people to demonize all Russians, imagining them as lazy and bloodthirsty brutes. Ironically, the latter opinion I mostly heard from elitist champions of the collectivist utopia, who despised the USSR for giving communism a bad name by having turned such a beautiful idea into a monstrosity due to some alleged ethnic deficiency.
Apparently they believe it could have worked with a “better” ethnic group!
As a rule, these intellectuals religiously challenged every bit of their own capitalist system, but the one thing they didn’t challenge was the myth that the Soviet government spoke for its people, acted in their interests, and had their unanimous support. “I hope the Russians love their children too,” crooned Sting, as if there was any connection between what the Russians loved and what the Soviet government did. Further showing a lack of any sense, Sting claimed in the same song that he didn’t believe Reagan, that “there is no monopoly in common sense,” that “we share the same biology regardless of ideology,” and “there’s no such thing as a winnable war.” In other words, all things being relative and all people being mindless biological units anyway, the free world might as well give in to the tyrants ruling over a gigantic gulag, whose voiceless inmates, Sting hoped, loved their children.
This wouldn’t be so pathetic if many Western politicians didn’t follow similar logic and form similar opinions — exactly what the myth of the Soviet “unanimity” was meant to accomplish.