Sunday, November 3, 2019

Russians Warn About Political Correctness in America

Rod Dreher 
Please read this carefully, it will prepare you if things reach the point of no return---and provide a clue as to when it will be time to leave.

Rod Dreher is writing a book based on the idea that emigres from the USSR and Soviet-bloc countries are sensing the coming of a soft totalitarianism in the West. And to both fight it and prepare for it, he is seeking out the advice of Christians who endured the hard totalitarianism of Communist rule.

He is currently in Russia and is writing on his blog what he has learned there:
"I’m already shocked by the totalitarianism that already exists in the West, within social opinion,” said the gulag survivor. “Someone makes some kind of announcement that’s not up to progressive social standards, and immediately there’s a quarantine zone around them. It gets to the point just in order to be understood you have to constantly simplify, in order not to hurt or offend anyone.”
That was the first thing he said to me, and it brought me to the edge of my chair. When a man who has suffered what Sasha Ogorodnikov has suffered under totalitarianism tells you that he sees signs of a new version of it emerging in the West, you had better pay attention.
Of course everything in the Soviet Union was much rougher, he said, so you have to be careful drawing parallels.
Later, we met the Russian historian and anti-cult activist Alexander Dvorkin for dinner at a Georgian restaurant. In our conversation, Dvorkin, who spent a lot of time in the United States as a younger man, and who was baptized into Orthodox Christianity there, said that he has grown sad to observe how quickly Christianity is fading in America. That, and how powerful political correctness has become.
“People in America believe all this stuff in earnest,” he said. “At least in the Soviet Union, people might have said things, but they didn’t believe any of it..."
As we talked about political correctness, Dvorkin said that American liberals make a huge mistake by not speaking out against illiberal progressives. In pre-revolutionary Russia, he said, the number of hardcore left-wing radicals was relatively small. But
there was a much larger group of intellectuals who said, yes, those Bolsheviks really are some crazy guys, but we can’t criticize them, because they are against a lot of the bad things going on in Russia, just like we are. Even when the Socialist Revolutionaries were killing innocent people in their attempts to assassinate Czarist officials, liberals still wouldn’t criticize them.
 In Soviet life, there was a difference between what people believed, what they said, and what they did. Said Popkov, “I wanted to speak what was on my mind, and live according to my real values. Soviet man was divided against himself. There’s a well-known joke from those days that expressed this feeling well: ‘I haven’t read Boris Pasternak, but I denounce him anyway.'”
Sipko was around ten years old when the state first charged his father with a crime — for preaching — and sentenced him to five years in eastern Siberia.
"I was probably 10 years old when they first brought charges against him, and sentenced him for five years, for preaching. They sent him to prison in eastern Siberia for five years."
 Vakhtang Mikeladze is the son of Evgeni Mikeladze, a well-known Georgian orchestral conductor, and the grandson of the first secretary of the Communist Party for the entire Caucasus region. As an Old Bolshevik, Vakhtang’s grandfather was personally acquainted with Lenin.

In 1938, Stalin’s Great Terror reached his family. Today, the state symphony in Georgia bears the name of his father, but in 1938, he was a criminal in the hands of the NKVD, the forerunner of the KGB. He was blindfolded for interrogation, but according to a story that Stalin’s daughter later told, Evgeni Mikeladze said aloud that he knew Lavrenti Beria, who was overseeing the Terror in the Caucasus (and who would soon rise to head the NKVD), was present in the room.

“Comrade Beria, you know I’m not guilty,” said the conductor. When Beria demanded to know how the conductor knew he was there, Mikeladze responded that he recognized Beria’s voice.

An enraged Beria ordered his interrogators to shove blades into the conductor’s ears to make him deaf. Later, the NKVD shot him.

Vakhtang’s grandmother died under interrogation. His mother spent 19 years in the gulag. He and his orphaned sister were raised by their aunt. When he was 15 and his sister Tina was 17, the KGB came for them. They were charged with the crime of being a member of the family of a traitor to the Motherland.
 “Totalitarianism usually comes at four in the morning,” said [Vakhtangsaid], in a memorable phrase. “They would always come at 4 am to arrest people. When everyone is heavily sleeping.”
 We headed out to the far southern edge of Moscow, and then caught a bus for even further out. Our destination was the Church of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, a sanctuary built next to a Stalinist killing field sometimes called the Russian Golgotha. In the field, called the Butovo firing range, the Communists murdered 21,000 political prisoners in a 14-month period between 1937 and 1938, at the height of Stalin’s Great Terror. They buried their bodies there. At least 1,000 of them are known to have been martyred for their Orthodox faith. The nearby church glorifies not only them, but all those murdered by the Bolsheviks — including the Romanov family...
Yesterday, October 30, was in Russia a national holiday: the Day of Remembrance of those killed in political repressions.
When Matthew and I finally arrived at the big white New Martyrs church, the liturgy of commemoration had ended, and worshipers had migrated into the field surrounded by woods to stand in the wet snow and take turns reading aloud the names of those murdered there. It would take them many hours.
Beyond them was a long rectangular walk, modeled in part on the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, DC. You pass along a granite wall on which you see the names of all those murdered on that field in a particular month. In the grassy area surrounded by the path are some mugshots of some prisoners who were later shot there. The eyes of these men and women say everything: calm resignation in some; defiance in others; disbelief that this is how one’s life is going to end, and so forth.
Standing at an exhibit at the edge of the field, looking at a tally of the number of dead killed each day, a Russian man struck up a conversation with us. He was there because his grandfather had been murdered by Stalin for telling people on the collective farm where he lived and worked to save their own houses in a fire, not the farm. Someone told the authorities, and that was the end of Vladimir Alexandrovich’s grandfather. On this spot they killed the priest of his church back then, and also the man who held the door at the church. 
“And for what?” said Vladimir Alexandrovich, not expecting an answer.
Speaking to him in Russian, Matthew told him what my new book was about. When I told him that people are losing their jobs in the US over political issues, he said, “That’s a bad sign.”
“History always repeats, one way or another,” he said, heavily.
Read Dreher's full journal here.



  1. Interesting how Sasha Ogotodnikov refers to simplification in order not to offend. Are the technicalities of freedom, including freedom of speech and more so free markets, more complex than socialism? Or have humans always been more inclined toward socialism so require less explanation of it to be convinced that it is better than freedom?

    IMO the explanation of freedom can be simplified using the NAP. Most people advocating for socialist ideas agree with the NAP but have not thought through either the socialist ideas or the NAP. If they are prompted to think through these concepts they will have to defend the initiation of coercion that is inevitable to enact socialist policies.

    This defense of initiation of coercion has been simplified by making villains of those that they disagree with. It becomes okay to abandon the NAP if they are dealing with a NAZI and anyone else that they have not designated a victim.

  2. This is why we need an 'Adolf Pinochet' to take care of these people before they get us first. At this point some of them are lunatics that really need to be physically removed from society.

    1. You're either being ironic, or you completely don't get it.