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What Does the Totalitarian Temperament Look Like?

This excerpt from page 4 of PJ columnist Ion Mihai Pacepa's memoir Red Horizons introduces a familiar monster.

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April 29, 2013 - 7:45 am


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Consistent with man's fallen nature, I think most people are as nice as they have to be. There are a few saints, perhaps, who would have a hard time being nasty, and perhaps a few (more?) sociopaths who would have a hard time being nice, no matter what. But most of us are forced to put up a facade of "niceness" in order to get our lives squared away. Some of us have a harder time with that than most.

Having all the political power means not needing the facade. He becomes Rousseau's "free man", unbound by the chains that bind others. Rousseau saw that as a good thing. He did not understand human nature very well.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's been said that the only man in a dictatorship who is free is the one at the top; everyone else is in constant fear that he will be the next victim of the dictator.

How ironic then that Stalin, one of the bloodiest of all the dictators who ever lived, was in constant fear of being overthrown. He even feared HIMSELF, once confiding in Beria, the last of his chiefs of the secret police, that he (Stalin), feared that he (Stalin) was plotting against himself!

Of course, he didn't just fear his own plots, he feared many others too. His personal bodyguard numbered 500 people. He insisted that draperies never go all the way to the floor since full-length drapes could hide an assassin. His secret police investigated millions of Soviet citizens relentlessly for any suspicion of disloyalty and executed many of them outright, condemning the rest to the Gulag, all in an effort to stamp out threats to the regime. The vast majority of the plots found by the secret police were figments of Stalin's imagination but he slaughtered the supposed plotters mercilessly.

In a great example of "what goes around, comes around", his terrified minions finally had their revenge when Stalin had a major stroke on March 1, 1953. When his guards discovered that Stalin had had the stroke, his Politburo cronies were summoned. Stalin was conscious and was able to move his arms but he'd lost the power of speech. Rather than rushing him to a hospital, his minions essentially kept everyone but the inner circle away and let him die, slowly, over the next 4 days. It seems clear that they didn't want to do anything that might enable him to recover only to sweep them away in another of his purges.

It might be said that this was one of the first documented uses of a health care "death panel" in a socialist country....
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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