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Post 0

Tuesday, March 1, 2005 - 8:53amSanction this postReply
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This is an excellent post. It is amazing how concepts that appear to be self evident, must be repeated again and again. I lay the blame for an inabilty to make judgements at the feet of "thinkers' such as Eco and Derrida.



Post 1

Tuesday, March 1, 2005 - 9:35amSanction this postReply
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Bravo!

How odd it is that after so much real world experience from the Soviet Union to Cambodia to present day South America and Africa that the  point even needs to be made.  It only tends to prove your point, I suppose.

Well said.




Post 2

Tuesday, March 1, 2005 - 3:19pmSanction this postReply
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Well, this leads to the ultimate problem, why everyone knows and fears NAZIs, but everyone plays down Communism.
It's exactly the very problem you described. Nobody knows much about the holocaust and the prisons of old Soviet Russia, but everyone knows about Auschwitz and its horrors, about the German Genozide, about the "Endlösung"-plan of Hitler's dirty little helpers.

My only answer to this is, that probably the horrors of Communism are never to be so evident as the horror of Germany, because Russia has never been invaded by any democratic country. So, there was never as much media coverage about the horrors of Communist Russia, than about NAZI Germany. There movies about Auschwitz, the Schindler-movie and there are the "impressive" performances by Hitler. Stalin wasn't as public about such things to the West and there has never been much coverage about him in the same way as with Hitler.
Those are the fundamental differences that could explain the difference in percetion of Communism and National-Socialism.

The picture of communists that comes to everyones mind, today, is the picture of some drunken/stoned youths sitting in a dirty apartment with a Che Guevara poster at the wall. The picture of National-Socialism, however, is still that of a well-organized group of rude evil-looking statist ready to purge the Earth of anyone opposed to them. The pictures that those words invoke in the general public are very different and those pictures make us feel safer with Communism.
Perhaps everything would be different, if Soviet Russia and the United States had made contact and fought a direct war against each other. Maybe, this would have changed the attitude towards Communism instead of playing it down...

@McCarthyism:

Although Communism was bad, a witch-hunt against alleged Communists is not the answer to anything. If one person amongst those marked on the blackmailing lists was not-guilty, then the whole action becomes obsolete, because you can't sacrifice individuals for a cause that might help, or might not. The danger from the inside was less likely to be dangerous, than the threat from abroad.
If you can't even persuade your own people from believing into your cause, then how can your way be the truth? McCarthy ultimately took a way that involved the premise that Freedom and Liberty were not to be perceived by common men. How else is it justifiable that you had to protect your own people inside the country? What could the Communists possibly  have done?
Nothing, which means as much as the US has done within Soviet Russia. Only time showed the Communist population that they didn't like communism. It doesn't matter that McCarthy might have had the best interest, he had no right, nor the moral obligation to act as he did, because he only invoked unreal uneasiness. The same thing that had been evoked after 9/11, the hatred against all Muslimes...




Post 3

Wednesday, March 2, 2005 - 4:44amSanction this postReply
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 ... there was never as much media coverage about the horrors of Communist Russia, than about NAZI Germany. There movies about Auschwitz, the Schindler-movie ...

The main reason for this is that it suits the agenda of the media establishment to downplay the moral condemnation of Communism because the entire Left movement, from extreme to moderate, shares the same collectivist moral premise.

 

I would dearly love to see movies come out about the horrors of Communism. The perfect movie would be something like the Black Book of Communism converted into one giant, emotive moral condemnation.  This would shove the moral premises of the Left right down their throats.




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Post 4

Wednesday, March 2, 2005 - 8:36amSanction this postReply
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Tibor,

Regarding McCarthyism:

Should Americans passively turn over and let Bush strike some of their liberties with his "patriot act" - just because they see the larger black and white issue of muslim terrorism vs. western civilisation? Or should they try to defend their liberty? I say they should defend their civil liberties.

You say that critics of McCarthyism want to distract from the black and white issues of communism vs. capitalism, but then you say they also see things in terms of black and white - just differently. Yes indeed they do, even if inconsistency, they recognize the difference between right and wrong. And two wrongs do not make a right. A wrong is not righted, not even with McCarthyism.




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Post 5

Wednesday, March 2, 2005 - 9:11amSanction this postReply
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Marcus,
For a different reading of the history of 'McCarthyism' you might wish to see Ann Coulter's book, Treason.
(Yes, I too abhor her religious views and find much to disagree with in her articles. Nevertheless, I
believe she did her homework.  Judge for yourself.)




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Post 6

Wednesday, March 2, 2005 - 1:32pmSanction this postReply
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I am with Marcus, here, McCarthyism diverted the energy of fighting Communism and caused a climate of fear that was not helping at all. It reminded me a bit of old Soviet Russia. When the commitees met and voted for the person, who was most in need of something, they also reported those of alleged crimes.
Although it was a tad bit different during McCarthyism, it encouraged the same "Art" of Spying and distrust.

Weren't liberties the very reason, why the US stood against Communist Russia?
By abolishing those liberties, the US would have become the same as Russia on human rights. Even if some dissident pro-Communists worked in the US, this may not lead to a restriction of the citizens civil rights.
The very reason, why the Patriot Act was a NeoCon brainchild, rather than a Conservative/Republican idea.




Post 7

Wednesday, March 2, 2005 - 10:10pmSanction this postReply
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I have much to say about this topic. Perhaps will have time to write something tomorrow...

For anybody interested in movies depicting some aspects of life in Communist country, I recommend To Live, directed by Zhang Yimou. It is THE best film from the famed Chinese director, IMHO. It is interesting though that none of the comments on Amazon that I read emphasizes the evil of Communism. 




Post 8

Thursday, March 3, 2005 - 2:56amSanction this postReply
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Well, I think that is because many people just watch a movie and don't try to analyize it, or perhaps they thought it is a fantasy fable of something long gone. Either way, it is ignorant to the roots of movies. People don't see the reality of Communism, because they tend to see only the alluding principles on the surface, but tend to ignore Communist countries and facts in favor of the ideals they thought to be misapplied.
At least, that is the description that would give them credit to be ignorant and stupid, rather than evil in their core ;)




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Post 9

Thursday, March 3, 2005 - 7:00pmSanction this postReply
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Jeff -  Ann Coulter?  Treason?  Even people like David Horowitz and Ron Radash said she went over the edge with that book. I made my thoughts clear on this issue on a thread in the "quotes" section about "McCarthy" and the "HUAC" (i.e. even though there were was soviet infiltration, no good came of the McCarthy/HUAC debacle). 

One subject that did come up in that discussion and only received a slight treatment:  is it acceptable to surrender some civil liberties in the pursuit of greater security.   Tony Blair said something to this affect not to long ago.  Alec Mouhibian echoed this sentiment in the the thread I referenced in the above paragraph.  And here Mr Machen seems to intimate that some abuse of civil liberties may be acceptable when he wraps up his article with "Communism is bad and those who saw it as such were right, even if not all ways of dealing with it were sound, proper." 

I'm interested in hearing what others think about this subject.  Is it acceptable to give up some civil liberties in the pursuit of safety?

pax
Abby





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Post 10

Friday, March 4, 2005 - 12:21amSanction this postReply
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Abby, I think it is essential to be very specific about what the benefits to our security will be and the impact of the loss of those particular freedoms.  In many cases people have died to preserve those rights and it is an insult to treat the matter lightly.
Most of us are not lawyers,it is complex stuff and different in every nation.  My own view is that I would rather accept a few terrorist attacks every year than abolish rights we have had for hundreds of years.  I have been very near to three IRA bombs in my life and that didn't change my opinion so whats new?




Post 11

Friday, March 4, 2005 - 2:50amSanction this postReply
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Let's take the very real example of the United States. There was a hype about the new security guidelines on airports and planes. But guess what, after several checks by NGO's the conclusion was, that the new restrictions did change nothing at all. I can personally support that, because I walked into a plane with a knife in my hand-baggage and nobody tried to stop me.
If this is the kind of security that results from Patriot Act and several other measures, I don't need them.
They only offer psychologic help at the expanse of numerous liberties.




Post 12

Friday, March 4, 2005 - 3:43amSanction this postReply
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Yes- and the ending result will be to have East Germany security, to be 'effective'...



Post 13

Friday, March 4, 2005 - 4:09amSanction this postReply
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Well, yes, Eastern Germany was very protective about its citizens. If you ever have the chance to be in Berlin, go to Hohen Schönhausen and take a look around this beautiful mental/psychological facility and the nice words the former inhabitants can tell you about it.
That's security I never want to have, but which I eventually get if things continue this wa.




Post 14

Friday, March 4, 2005 - 4:22amSanction this postReply
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There was a great Marxist called Lenin
Who did two or three million men in
That's a lot to have done in
But where he did one in,
that grand Marxist Stalin did ten in.

Robert Conquest




Post 15

Friday, March 4, 2005 - 4:30amSanction this postReply
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Stalin was just more efficient in his interpretation of Marxism (although many will argue that it is not Marxism, but Communism or Stalinism).
I always think that the philosophic and ideologic crime lies with Lenin, but the facist crime is truly Stalins. He defined what can turn a tyrant into a genocidal Hero. (They even today have statues of Stalin or regarding him as a masterpiece of their history?).
Stalin and Lenin were most impressive men, because they were like Giants compared to Hitler.
They were stealthy about their deeds. Stalin even got the democracies to support him in World War II. And they are still not as hated as Hitler in contemporary society.
So, you can say they are impressive, but very very evil men and you may never disconnect those two or you brainwash their image.




Post 16

Friday, March 4, 2005 - 8:04amSanction this postReply
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Abby,
(I liked Young Frankenstein, too.)

With no intended sarcasm or disrespect, is a question mark an argument?  Perhaps it was just a gentle nudge to suggest I re-think my position or reflect again on what I was actually suggesting.  And perhaps you didn't mean to suggest a subtle argument from authority when you present David Horowitz' reaction.  Maybe it was something like 'if even the Right think she was wrong, she was (probably) wrong.'  That doesn't strike as persuasive either.

I'm certainly not an expert on the subject, but from the modest amount of reading I've done (combined with my own recollections and those of my older siblings, acquaintences, etc -- most of whom are definitely not 'on the Right'), the standard (dare I say Leftist?) interpretation of those events doesn't jibe with actual history.

But I will attempt to find your discussion on the subject and consider the matter further.




Post 17

Friday, March 4, 2005 - 8:10amSanction this postReply
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'Civil liberties vs. security' strikes me as a false alternative.

If you don't view 'liberty' as 'anything I feel like doing' nor 'security' as 'someone is stopping me from doing what I want, in order to protect me or others', there is no conflict.

I acknowledge that, in the real world (particularly one where individual freedom and rights are already ill-understood and often constrained), dealing with real problems is sometimes very difficult.  I don't pretend to have solved them.

But, once you discard the false alternative you are 'freer' to seek the solutions.




Post 18

Friday, March 4, 2005 - 9:59amSanction this postReply
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Should we give up some liberties for security? Obviously. The idea that we would not have a tax-financed military during the Cold War would have been absurd. However, our strength derived from our tradition of liberty. With a few exceptions it is counter-productive to violate rights to ensure security.



Post 19

Friday, March 4, 2005 - 12:04pmSanction this postReply
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Also, how do you want to persuade someone of the value of liberty, when you discard liberty, because others threaten you.

If there were a theat you could pinpoint to some place or some enemy, then I could understand that security measures would help. (Or if someone showed me, that the meassures actually worked!)
But the reason the Patriot Act and several followers were loaded on our backs, was to protect us from terrorism. The problem with terrorism is that you cannot locate it easily, especially when the terrorists gather in multiple nations over the globe under numerous pseudonyms.
Nothing speaks against acting whenever there is a real threat, but as long as it is shadowy and cannot be located to some place, or time, there is no use in taking precautions that limit civil liberties (or even dismiss civil rights for some people !).




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