Rather than admit the obvious truth that she was guilty — a conclusion made by the U.S. Court of Appeals, which noted that “her guilt is plain,” and confirmed by the Venona releases in the past decade — Socolov justifies her acts by implying that she does not believe that her mother was a spy, but that even if she was, she was doing it to “bring an age of peace and justice and an equal share for all,” as well as the abolishing of class and color lines!
One must ask: how? By spying for Joseph Stalin, who murdered millions of his own subjects and who embarked on a vicious and murderous campaign of anti-Semitism in the final years of his life? This is the same Stalin who was waging an expansionist foreign policy that led to the decades-long Cold War with the West and was trying to create the fall of Western governments in France and Italy in order to spread the Soviet empire.
Coplon was not acting as a deluded American Communist who tried to organize labor unions and break the color bar in the South, but as an American spy for the Soviet Union. By making her argument, Socolov does not seem to realize she is actually saying that both actions are one and the same. Communists did both, and their motives are what must count, not the result of their actions.
Then Socolov says that the point is that her mother did not define this as espionage! In other words, a criminal act is not what everyone says it is if the criminal defines it differently. And remember, her motives were good — she wanted a better world! One can excuse anything that way. The Nazis believed in the racial inferiority of non-Aryans, and believed science proved that Jews were not humans but vermin. They were wrong, but they only thought in acting on those beliefs that they were doing good for humanity. (I know, I’ve committed the unpardonable sin for the Left of equating wonderful Communism with evil Nazism.)
And that final sentence of Socolov: “If you feel that what you’re doing answers to a higher ideal, it’s not treason.” The great British author Rebecca West once titled her book about Western spies for the Soviets The New Meaning of Treason. She would have seen Socolov and others as the essential Western dupes: naïve do-gooders who are willing to serve tyranny or justify those who do so by the standards they establish themselves for their apologetics.
The problem is that they were and are wrong. Their higher ideal was the liberation of the graveyard, and the society of the guillotine. Those who in this day and age have still not learned that lesson are nothing less than pathetic. They are not useful idiots — but simply idiots.