Category Archives: communist countries

Clap for 🙏🏻Our NHS🙏🏻

👏🏻Claptrap👏🏻

Every Thursday at 8pm in England, people are required to lean out of their windows and applaud. Dalrymple does not join in. He writes:

I find the gesture empty and kitsch, as well as mildly intimidating. If you do not join in, does it mean that you do not appreciate the health workers and are therefore not a decent, grateful person?

He has noticed a tendency for the applause

to last longer, and for people to add ululations. I am a little reminded of the speeches of communist leaders, when it was hazardous to be the first to cease to applaud.

Western intellectuals and the Maoist tyranny

Communist dictatorships, Dalrymple points out,

were at their most popular among Western intellectuals while they still had the courage of their brutality. Once they settled down to grey, everyday oppression and relatively minor acts of violent repression (judged by their own former standards), they ceased to attract the extravagant praises of those intellectuals who, in their own countries, regarded as intolerable even the slightest derogation from their absolute freedom of expression.

It is as if, he says,

not dreams but totalitarian famines and massacres acted as the Freudian wish-fulfilment of these Western intellectuals. They spoke of illimitable freedom, but desired unlimited power.

Mao Zedong, Dalrymple notes,

was the blank page or screen upon which they could project the fantasies that they thought beautiful.

China

was a long way off, its hundreds of millions of peasants inscrutable but known to be impoverished and oppressed by history; its culture was impenetrable to Westerners without many years of dedicated and mind-consuming study.

Western sinologists,

almost to a man, upheld the Maoist version of the world, some of them for fear of losing their access to China if they did not, and thereby created the impression that Maoism was intellectually and morally respectable. And so perfect conditions were laid for the most willing and total suspension of disbelief.

Mao’s Thoughts

— that is to say, clichés, platitudes, and lies — were treated by intelligent and educated people as if they were more profound, and contained more mental and spiritual sustenance, than Pascal’s.

As so often before,

mere reality as experienced by scores of millions of people was of little interest to intellectuals by comparison with the schemata in their minds and their own self-conception. ‘Let the heavens fall so long as I feel good about myself’ was their motto.

Western intellectuals’ grisly infatuation with tyrants

Dalrymple explains that Paul Hollander has had

a long interest in political deception and self-deception — not surprising in someone with first-hand experience of both the Nazis and the Communists in his native Hungary.

In 1981 Hollander published

his classic study of Western intellectuals who travelled, mainly on severely guided tours, to communist countries, principally Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, and Castro’s Cuba.

The intellectuals had returned

with glowing accounts of the new (and better) worlds under construction there. The contrast between their accounts and reality would have been funny had reality itself not been so terrible.

Citius, Altius, Fortius, Hermaphroditus

Screen Shot 2016-08-13 at 22.51.33Dalrymple reminds us that in the 1960s,

medical cytologists were called in to determine the sex of female athletes suspected of being men. The careers of the Press sisters of the Soviet Union, so successful at the Rome Olympics, came to a mysterious end when such tests became routine.

He also points out that doctors

acted as advisers to the sporting authorities in the communist countries when they were determined that their young female gymnasts should dominate the sport. The activities of those doctors were ethically little better than medical participation in torture.

Dalrymple’s own objection, however, to these deformities is different:

that to devote one’s life to, say, throwing a javelin a fraction of an inch further than anyone else has ever thrown it is a deformation of the soul.