Many of our dear readers may have noticed that this year marks the hundredth anniversary of the plague of communism being released upon the world. As we look back the the October Revolution of 1917 and how the Red Menace afflicted the 20th century, we ought to recall the significant factors which led to the fall of the Russian Tsar Nicolas II. In doing so, the American reader will be surprised about how the political landscape of turn of the 20th century Russia recalls present day America.
Yours truly first became interested in the similarities between Russia and America while reading Leftism: From De Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse by Eric von Kuehnelt-Leddhin. (If you want a deep understanding of the roots of Leftist politics in the French Revolution and its history up to the mid-twentieth century, there is no better book.) He recalls a series of meetings between MacArthur and a Russian leader. They were quite cordial, and MacArthur one day remarked about how friendly the Russian was towards him:
“The Soviet leader made no reply for the moment, then he drew his chair closer to the table and from a matchbox he took four matches which he placed methodically on the table, each match about an inch from the next and parallel to it. Then he said, ‘Now, this first match is what you call “Capitalism”; the second is what you call “Democracy”; the third is what you call “Socialism”; and the fourth is what you call “Communism”.
“He paused a moment, and then, looking up at the American, said, ‘Now, I like your country, because it is moving straight down the line from capitalism through the others to communism.'” (p. 335)
He forgot to add that after communism follows hell.
Kuehnelt-Leddhin’s discussion of Russia also struck me by his description of how well the Russia of the Tsars was doing. Sure, the government was autocratic, staged pogroms against the Jews, and censored free speech. Yet, the world of Russian letters was flourishing, the country boasted universities of renown, the serfs had been liberated, and Russia herself was respected as a European power. (Though, the image of military power was undermined by the poor results of the Russo-Japanese War.) Under these conditions, the Westernizers and Slavophiles fought for the soul of Russia.
It is very easy to compare Liberals to the Westernizers: as the Westernizers wanted Russia to conform to the liberal societies of Europe, Liberals wish for America to imitate the socialist systems of European countries. Slavophiles, on the other hand, loved the unique genius of Russia and her people and wished to keep the status roughly the same or to induce Russians to more fully embrace the Orthodox faith and Russian traditions. The connection the Slavophiles have to American Conservatives is plain as day.
Also, one major connection our Liberals have to the Westernizers lies in that Liberals fall into two camps: individualists and collectivists. There were plenty of Westernizers who wished to imitate Western Europe’s success, but they lost to the followers of Karl Marx. Ivan Turgenev stands as a type of the more moderate Westernizer. Modern Conservatives who have marked the Leftist tendency to eat their own will find it fascinating that Ivan Turgenev was forced into exile due to the hatred his book Fathers and Sons inspired. The hatred was not inspired in the hearts of the Slavophiles but Turgenev’s fellow Westernizers! The book accurately portrayed the new breed of men, the nihilists, who began to spring up in Russia in the mid-19th century.
Curiously, many Slavophiles, especially Fyodor Dostoyevsky, loved the book, and Turgenev credits Dostoyevsky as being one of only two reviewers to understand his novel. Dostoyevsky, himself a former Westernizer, gives credit to Pushkin as the first Russian to describe the malady of nihilism:
Pushkin, with his profound insight, his genius, and his fully Russian heart, was the first to detect and exhibit the chief symptoms of the sickness of our intellectual society, uprooted from the soil and raised above the people. He exhibited and set in relief before us our negative type, the disturbed and unsatisfied man, who can believe neither in his own country nor in its powers, who finally denies Russia and himself (that is, his own society, his own intellectual station, raised from our native soil), who does not want to work with others, who suffers sincerely. (From “Pushkin” in Dostoyevsky’s Journal)
The same kind of person can be seen in American Marxists, Leftist students, and San Francisco Liberals. And, I would like to highlight San Francisco Liberals. They represent the collectivist liberal, i.e. the socialist or communist mentioned above, and differ from individualist liberals (Shall I call them “New York Liberals”?) in that the collectivists want to scrap America entirely. They see America not as the individualist liberals see it–as something needing reform–but as something inherently evil which must be destroyed and replaced. And, we had better watch out, because the San Francisco Liberals have thoroughly bested their New York rivals, who now often join the Right wing of politics or live in terror of their more rabid comrades.
“Terror” is the right word. European Leftists have the practice of doxing conservatives and Liberals who have broken ranks. By “doxing,” I refer to the practice of gathering personal information and disseminating it with the purpose of deluging the victim with angry phone calls, hate mail, and verbally abusing the victims on their own property. Furthermore, groups like Antifa do physically attack their opponents: they even attack police. This group is becoming more prevalent in America, and have often used weapons in order to harm peaceful conservative and Alt-Right protesters in California.
Riots and violence are another thing contemporary America has in common with Pre-Revolutionary Russia. These sprung up during the election campaign of 2016 and have persisted into Donald Trump’s presidency. Will we one day have our own Bloody Sunday–as occurred in St. Petersburg on January 22, 1905? I hope not. My main hope is for America to return to its roots in the American Revolution and in Christianity. Would that Americans with zeal pro Deo et patria overcome those who rage adverso Deum et patriam.