A couple of years ago, I linked to a pair of articles that taken together, indicated that a fair number of modern Russians and Germans are nostalgic for their darkest periods–their 20th century murderous totalitarian past. In response, I wrote:
Part of the challenge of freedom is that it involves the messy vitality of individualism. And a big part of the attraction of totalitarianism is its order. Long before he entered the Oval Office, Ronald Reagan knew the Soviet Union was a third world economy hiding behind an enormous and powerful military. It’s easy to look at millions of hulking men in black boots and assume that their force equals the sum total of a nation’s vitality. And there’s obvious order in those images (see: Riefenstahl, Leni).
They’re seductive surfaces, even though what was under them was so rotten. And its obvious that even as the former Russian, East German–and even West German people and their leaders struggle with moving forward, their dark, but ordered pasts can be an awfully attractive alternative.
Ed Morrissey notes that such dark nostalgic sentiments certainly aren’t isolated to the West, especially when there’s a much more recently deposed totalitarian leftist and his orderly caked-in-blood abattoir to moon over.