As the left surges back, Marxism’s bloody legacy is covered up, by Roger Scruton.
Our school curriculum dwells incessantly on the Holocaust. Several states have made denial of it into a crime, and museums and monuments to the victims of Nazism and fascism exist all across the continent.
But communism’s millions of victims are remembered hardly at all. One standard history of modern times, widely used in our schools, praises the Russian Revolution as aiming at ‘the complete destruction of the Russian and European bourgeoisie’, necessary for ‘the victory of socialism’. This history (Eric Hobsbawm’s Age of Extremes) does not mention the abolition of the law courts, or the establishment of the Cheka (the secret police), or the vicious expropriations that destroyed the Russian economy, or the mass starvation inflicted on the Ukrainian peasants.
It is inadmissible for a historian to write in any but disgusted terms of the Nazi destruction of the Jews; but the equally cruel ‘destruction of the bourgeoisie’ can be described in terms of unqualified approval.
The term ‘bourgeoisie’ is a technicality of the Marxist theory. But it has a real human reference, and that reference is you and me. We who own property, deal in markets, collect salaries, have spouses and children, and live by the ordinary day-to-day morality of neighbourliness, are the people whom Lenin set out to destroy. We are the targets of resentment, and Marxism is the theory of that resentment.
One thing we should surely learn from the Russian revolution is that resentment is always on the lookout for the theories that will justify it. … The real purpose of politics is not to express resentment but to contain and conciliate it. …
What difference does it make that one focused its resentment on the Jews, the other on the bourgeoisie, when the primary aim was in both cases the mass murder of their victims?
As the Momentum movement seduces more and more people towards historical oblivion and utopian exultancy, the need for a programme of public education about these matters is ever more urgent. But I fear that it may be too late.
hat-tip Stephen Neil