Category Archives: Lenin, Vladimir

Bile flowed through Lenin’s veins

Lenin’s prose oozes murder

If, writes Dalrymple, Lenin

was not yet a dictator when he started writing—it was 20 years before he became one—his style was from the first perfectly suited to that of a totalitarian panjandrum for whom debate was treason or worse. To the very slight extent that his prose is readable at all, it is because of the hatred, scorn, and contempt that it breathes from first to last. No one who has read Lenin’s prose will find it at all surprising that one of his favourite literary genres once he achieved power was the death warrant.

Yet

underneath his adamantine exterior there beat a heart of the purest utopian mush. Once the cleansing sea of blood that he spilt had receded, a fairytale world would emerge in which Man would become truly Man (as against what he had been before) and live thenceforth in perfect harmony. How anybody older than 14—let alone someone as intelligent as Lenin—could have believed such a thing is a mystery.

The explicit is the enemy of the voluptuous

Orgies — you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all

Dalrymple notes that an orgy scene is now mandatory in opera productions,

just as doctoral theses in the Soviet Union used to need at least one quotation from Lenin.

Viewing the compulsory orgy scene in a production of Rigoletto (Giuseppe Verdi; first performed 1861), Dalrymple observes that orgies these days

are staged literally rather than suggestively.

It is as if, he says,

the ageing audience has to be reminded of what sex is.

Moreover, he points out, they are done up

like a tableau of Richard von Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis [1886].

Richard von Krafft-Ebing, author of the dirtiest book ever written

‘Der unerwartet große buchhändlerische Erfolg ist wohl der beste Beweis dafür, daß es auch Der unzählige Unglückliche gibt, die in dem sonst nur Männern der Wissenschaft gewidmeten Buche Aufklärung und Trost hinsichtlich rätselhafter Erscheinungen ihrer eigenen Vita sexualis suchen und finden.’

Pitiless monster

Had it not been, writes Dalrymple,

for the cataclysmic First World War, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov would have remained as he should have remained: an obscure, exiled scribbler of dull, intolerant, and hate-filled political pamphlets, with no chance to put his fathomless misanthropy into practice.

He adds:

No man was ever more a stranger to pity.

Theodore is priceless

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New York: Horace Liveright, 1928

Faithful friend of the Soviet Union

Strolling in Amsterdam, Dalrymple finds that

there are some excellent second-hand bookshops.

At one of them he picks up

an irresistible book entitled Dreiser Looks At Russia. It ends with the unintentionally hilarious words:

Sleep well, Ilitch, father of a new and possibly — how shall we say? — world-altering force. How fortunate, you, its chosen if martyred instrument. How fortunate indeed.

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Theodore Dreiser: ‘a friend of the Soviet Union because he is a friend of Man, a champion of the democratic masses everywhere’

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Our Ilitch: ‘only the humanity of his spirit, enveloping aura-wise, could have evoked in those underprivileged millions the necessary faith in, if not an understanding of, his immense wisdom and human charity’

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Sleep well, Ilitch

Sleep of the righteous: Ilitch in his mausoleum

Charitable and wise

Ilitch the charitable and wise

'Chosen if martyred instrument of the world-altering force. How fortunate are the Russian masses!'

Ilitch the chosen one, the martyr

'Father of a new and possibly — how shall we say? — world-altering force'

Radiant Ilitch: ‘father of a new and possibly — how shall we say? — world-altering force’

‘Lenin, his Russia, the humanithy and justice which at last, and fully, he introduced into its government and statecraft, will succeed. The social illustration which he provided and which his associates and followers have since carried to its present great power and beauty will never be lost on future generations'

Power and beauty: ‘his Russia, the humanity and justice which at last, and fully, he introduced into its government and statecraft, will succeed. The social illustration which he provided and which his associates and followers have since carried to its present great power and beauty will never be lost on future generations’

The Russian masses, Dreiser wrote, ‘are determined never again to be enslaved. I do not doubt the outcome. Lenin, his Soviet empire, will triumph’

Ilitch triumphant: ‘the Russian masses are determined never again to be enslaved. I do not doubt the outcome. His Soviet empire will triumph’

When he was in Russia in 1927-28 in Russia Dreiser saw 'peasants and mechanics, women and men, kneeling here and there in worship, if not prayer, before Ilitch's candle-lighted bust, or standing uncovered with bowed heads before it, feeling him to be, as I assumed (and truly enough in my judgment), their saviour'

Ilitch the saviour: ‘I saw peasants and mechanics, women and men, kneeling here and there in worship, if not prayer, before his candle-lighted bust, or standing uncovered with bowed heads before it, feeling him to be, as I assumed (and truly enough in my judgment), their saviour’

All that is necessary for ugliness to prosper is for artists to reject beauty

Our view of the world, writes Dalrymple,

has become so politicised that we think that the unembarrassed celebration of beauty is a sign of insensibility to suffering and that exclusively to focus on the world’s deformations, its horrors, is in itself a sign of compassion.

Lenin, Dalrymple reminds us, abjured music, to which he was sensitive, because it made him feel well-disposed to the people around him, and he thought it would be necessary to kill so many of them.

Lenin, Dalrymple reminds us, abjured music, to which he was sensitive, because it made him feel well-disposed to the people around him, and he thought it would be necessary to kill so many of them

The Gramscian Islamists

Allahu akbar!

Allahu akbar!

It would be simplistic, writes Dalrymple, to ascribe the violence of Muslim fundamentalists

to Islam itself, by citing those verses from the Koran that seem to justify or even require it. Selective quotation does not explain why extremism is the province of the young, and why, for example, the first generation of Muslim immigrants to Britain (and elsewhere) were not at all attracted to it.

Even in Islamic countries, fundamentalists

are not mediæval throwbacks, however they may see themselves. They derive their ideas, even if they do not acknowledge it, at least as much from Lenin, Gramsci, and Mao as from Mohammed. They claim to want to return to seventh-century Arabia, but this is no more realistic or sincere than the wish of Victorian admirers of the Gothic to return to the Middle Ages.

Most Muslims in Britain, Dalrymple points out, are of Pakistani origin.

They were encouraged to come to Britain largely as a source of cheap labour, to prop up declining industries that had not adapted to the modern economy. But no labour in Britain could ever be cheap enough, without technological superiority, to compete successfully with labour in much poorer and cheaper countries. Originally, the idea was that the imported labour would be shipped back home if ever it became surplus to requirements. The opposite happened: each immigrant established a beachhead for others.

The immigrants

tended to congregate in certain areas, and they often met with hostility. Their children, growing up in virtual ghettoes, were neither fully of the host country nor fully of their parents’ culture. They were betwixt and between, in effect left to develop their own culture. Insofar as they encountered the hostility of the surrounding society, they developed resentments.

The Muslims were not the only immigrants to Britain.

There were Sikhs and Hindus as well, who fared much better, on the whole: their rates of unemployment are much lower than Muslims’ (indeed, lower than their white contemporaries’); they are underrepresented in prison, unlike Muslims, who are increasingly overrepresented; and they never developed any propensity to violence.

Islamism

provides a utopian and violent ideology of the kind that appeals to disgruntled young men facing all of the existential difficulties of youth. Moreover, Islamic society provides young men with another incentive for Islamism: the maintenance of the domination of women.

The British government

promoted ‘leaders’ of the Muslims, thus giving a golden opportunity to fundamentalists to establish themselves as controllers of government funds and to establish networks of patronage. Not knowing what it was doing, the British government spread Islamic fundamentalism.

Multiculturalism

has been another unwitting ally of Muslim extremism. Multiculturalism has created an informal system, like the late Ottoman empire’s millet system, in which various groups receive their privileges but are expected to live separately and distinctly from everyone else. This serves to prevent the various groups from developing any common identity and stimulates the ascent of political entrepreneurs whose power depends on the maintenance, aggravation, and inflammation of supposed grievances. Islamists are political entrepreneurs with a plausible doctrinal reason for violence. They are now able to extract from society the kind of respect that street muggers demand, and multiculturalism has become the ideological wing of sheer cowardice.

The airline hijacker fêted by SOAS

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Warm friendship: SOAS and the PFLP

Arguably Britain’s two most important taxpayer-funded places of higher learning in their respective fields are the London School of Economics, which is of especially high repute in view of its championing of the revered Muammar Gaddafi’s democratic leadership of Libya during a difficult period for that country, and the School of Oriental and African Studies, noted for its championing of Arab liberationists in general.

It would be petty-minded, writes Dalrymple, to carp that the presence at the latter institution of Leila Khaled, the prominent terrorist and leading member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, to address a meeting of students

undermines Britain’s claim of iron commitment

to the anti-terrorist cause, for after all,

consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

The anti-Zionist heroine Khaled pointed out to the packed SOAS meeting a fact that the students will no doubt have absorbed from SOAS professors of protestology, namely that there are no suicide bombers, only freedom fighters.

Dalrymple comments:

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Smile, you may die soon: Leila Khaled has devoted her life to peace, terrorism and liberation

The eagerness with which SOAS invited Khaled is both alarming and depressingly unsurprising. The trahison des clercs has to attach itself to something: without betrayal of some ideal or other, many intellectuals would feel bereft of a purpose in life. With the departure of communism from the world stage, Middle Eastern terrorism is an obvious home for those who gain their self-importance by supporting the insupportable. Khaled’s presence in Britain illustrates by analogy the truth of Lenin’s dictum: ‘The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.’

Hitch’s conceit

Deep character flaw

The eternal adolescent

Fashionable Leftism of the kind espoused by the late Christopher Hitchens is not, writes Dalrymple, a case of Lenin’s ‘infantile disorder’ or like a childhood illness such as mumps, but rather

a chronic condition with lingering after-effects and flare-ups. Those who suffer it only very rarely get over it, Hitchens being a good example of one who did not. He could never bring himself to admit that he had for all his life admired and extolled a man who was at least as bad as Stalin, namely Trotsky; and his failure to renounce his choice of maître à penser became in time not just a youthful peccadillo of a clever adolescent who wanted to shock the adults but a symptom of a deep character flaw, a fundamental indifference to important truth.

Evil dwelling

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Dalrymple’s Spiegelgasse perambulation: ‘Here [“der Führer der russischen Revolution”] lodged in spartan conditions.’ The monster was ‘reluctant to spend any party funds on himself: a proof, if any were needed, that there are worse vices than simony, peculation, and defalcation of funds’.

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‘One of the students asked me what I was reading…’

Leo the liar, hypocrite and grotesque egotist

Screen Shot 2013-04-21 at 00.22.07Screen Shot 2013-04-21 at 00.34.43Lenin’s ‘little brother of the revolution’ was, to put it mildly, a deeply irresponsible man, Dalrymple points out (from 2:10).