Ed Driscoll

Fascism with a Human Face

I already quoted Joseph Epstein’s excellent profile of Susan Sontag in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, but the whole thing is well worth of your time. This passage in particular sticks out:

Some might think Sontag’s renunciation of communism an exception to this record of nearly perfect political foolishness. In a 1982 speech at New York’s Town Hall, she announced that communism was no more than “fascism with a human face.” The remark drove bien-pensants up the (still standing Berlin) wall. Others who had fallen for the dream of communism had got off the train as long as 50 years earlier. And whatever can Sontag have meant by “a human face” to describe a monstrous system of government that in Russia, Eastern Europe, China and Cambodia slaughtered scores of millions of people?

I think can answer that — there’s the human face put on communism by Jane Fonda, sitting on an anti-aircraft cannon in North Vietnam in 1972. There’s the human face put on communism by producers Peter Davis and Bert Schneider at the 1975 Academy Awards, when they read aloud — to a standing ovation — a congratulatory telegram from North Vietnam on their anti-Vietnam War documentary, Hearts and Minds. There’s the gnomish Stalinist Pete Seeger. And then there’s Sontag’s own visage, which was remarkably photogenic in her earliest days — “intellectual cheesecake,” as Epstein describes her.

Sure communism was “fascism with a human face” — Hollywood and the left worked very hard to put it there.