It's really not Britisher Douglas Murray's fault. He just happened to blunder onto the pages of the wrong American magazine, National Review, to ponder the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. In an essay titled, "The Russian Revolution, 100 Years On: Its Enduring Allure and Menace," Murray asks himself why it is, 100 million deaths later, that Communism is not held in the same disrepute as Nazism. Noticing whitewash all around, he writes: "While everybody knows the stories of the good anti-Nazis from more than seven decades ago, the heroes of anti-Communism are becoming forgotten."
Too true -- but no small thanks to the biases enforced by National Review, which, I note in the spirit of full disclosure, ran five (5) attacks on my own American Betrayal, a book that explores this same paradox, and even "names names" of some of those same forgotten "heroes of anti-Communism." (For newcomers shocked by NR's malignant obsession, I will note also the book received praise from such lights as Vladimir Bukovsky, Angelo Codevilla, Edward Jay Epstein, M. Stanton Evans, Newt Gingrich, and others, which, of course, doesn't make it bullet-proof, but affords protection from any bald-faced lies by the so-called "standard-bearer of conservatism.")
In his essay, Murray is dismayed by our campuses, where students "are loosened up," and throws up his hands over our politics, where Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren (over here), Jeremy Corbyn (over there) are well-received "exponents" of what he curiously calls "the concepts of solidarity, equality, and other benign spillages from the Marxist-Communist worldview." He notes: "How hard they have worked, these people."
Who are they, these people? I doublechecked to make sure. He seems to be referring to a string of Labor Party politicians, a Stalinist reporter and historian, Justin Trudeau ... almost as if the epic subversion of the West and all of its institutions somehow happened in a fair and square fight at the ballot box.
It's hard to imagine Murray believes such a thing; however, it is also the case that the editors' choice of "sidebars" to accompany his main Red Anniverary feature displays a similarly blinkered perspective. These sidebars include: four paragraphs on Solzhenitsyn by Anne Applebaum; three paragraphs on Koestler's Darkness at Noon by David Pryce-Jones; three paragraphs (and a lede sentence) on Vasily Grossman by Noah Rothman; four paragraphs on Vaclav Havel by Roger Scruton; and four paragraphs on Leskek Kolakowski by Applebaum's husband, Radoslaw Sikorski. Giants or notables, all -- Russian, German, Czech, and Polish -- but not a single entry on an American anti-Communist, or, for that matter, American Communist. It is almost as if the Russian Revolution didn't very much happen to America as well.
There are many ways to cover its centennial, and this non-American way is one of them. However, it is interesting to consider the lack of consciousness of domestic history such a choice reveals. NR's 1917 package conveys the impression that America was wholly spared the poisonous ideological onslaught; as if there were no "Red Networks," no "Red Scare," no unhealed civil war over the very existence of Moscow-directed intelligence armies, which in effect, had turned Washington, DC into "occupied" territory by the beginning of World War II. Meanwhile, Soviet agents, ideological Communists, fellow travellers, Fabians, and their force-multiplying dupes spent the past century (and more) steadily boring into every other Western institution, from churches to schools and across the culture, seeking to replicate, in varying degrees, the Russian Revolution. (In all too many ways, they were successful.) It is here, in the study of domestic Marxist subversion, where we may find the clues to the Marxist takeover of our institutions, from both without and within. Without such study, it remains outside our ken, as we see in Murray's failure to offer answers as to why Communism remains a lodestar; why the great anti-Communists have been shunted into the darkness. Certainly, they have been in this salient case at National Review.
It would be one thing to come across such an checkered overview of history in the guest-columns of the "Red Century," the New York Times running hagiography on Communism. But National Review was founded in large part to promote anti-Communism, and once even employed as editors two of our greatest expositors of domestic Communist subversion: Whittaker Chambers (1901-1961), whose Witness stands as the most vivid chronicle of Soviet networks of spies and agents of influence in Washington, DC; and M. Stanton Evans (1934-2015), whose Blacklisted by History shattered half-a-century of lies and slander about the nation's greatest anti-Communist legislator, Sen. Joseph McCarthy, with a painstaking work based on newfound and newly released records.
What happened? I suppose National Review's domestic anti-Communism ran dry by the time Blacklisted by History appeared in 2007 and its editors decided it was a perfectly good idea to run a mendacious and sloppy hit piece on this epic, painstaking work written by the sloppy and mendacious ex-Communist Ron Radosh, who, what a coincidence, would later lead off the anti-American Betrayal disinformation campaign for David Horowitz's Frontpage.
Funny how this always goes. But once again, it's quite clear that there's very little left on the right.