October 7, 2017

SPRINGTIME FOR STALIN, or the Pinch in the High Castle:

The Times has been running a series on Communism called “The Red Century.” It’s really, really weird. At times, it feels like the greatest high-brow trolling effort in recorded history. Some of the headlines read like they were plucked from the reject pile at The Onion. I particularly enjoyed “Why Women Had Better Sex Under Socialism.” One wonders what all the women who had to service their prison guards for a crust of bread would think about that. With the exception of one essay by Harvey Klehr, the upshot seems to be an effort to rehabilitate Communism for a certain kind of New York Times liberal who desperately needs to cling to the belief that he was on the right side of an argument he lost.

The tone is less “Communism was awesome” and more “Well, we sophisticated people understand it was a mixed bag, so let’s focus on the bright spots.” E.g., Mao’s collectivization liberated women from domestic service and put them to work in factories (that is the millions of women who weren’t killed in the process).

To understand how morally repugnant this series is, just imagine the 2017 in a Philip K. Dick-style multiverse where the Times ran a series on the misunderstood historic joys of national socialism, rather than international socialism. If “Why Women Had Better Sex Under National Socialism” would earn an author an instant rejection slip* and lifetime banning, it’s just bizarre that the Gray Lady would green-light this series.

* Accompanied by a note suggesting he go write for Vox