How come we are so slow to learn from history?

Yesterday I started reading a book. I’m a bit of a book worm really. I read and read and read. I have a list of books and I can’t seem to reduce the lead of about 100 that is always in front of me. The book I am reading now is by Anne Applebaum and it is called “Red Famine- Stalin’s War on the Ukraine”.

It is so gripping I couldn’t put it down and I read till 4 am in the morning. Every book you read you get ideas, and they fly into your mind, and spread, and create further thoughts, and doubts and fears, and hope. Red Famine taught me so much and also confirmed much of what I already know. Throughout history, the left, and communists in particular, have been cruel inhuman bastards.

Red Famine is basically the story of the deliberately created grain and food shortages the people of Ukraine suffered, (millions died of starvation) but it also tells how Stalin’s Russian communist elite used every trick in the book to control and crush peasants and workers in the country. And the most starkly obvious lesson is that all those tricks Stalin and his henchmen used, are still being used today, and shockingly, its the free west where most of this trickery is taking place.

The methods are far more sophisticated of course, and far less obvious, and there’s nothing like the terror that was always there as a backup, but fear still plays a big part today as it did back then.

Russian communists in league with their comrades in the Ukraine used psyops. They used propaganda. Waves and waves of propaganda. Transmitted mainly by the govt controlled media, but also by communist domination of culture and arts, control of the education system, and always backed up by the secret service and politicized police forces. See the parallels?

Their main strategy was the elimination of everyone who opposed communism, or Stalin’s ideas as transmitted down through his long chains of command. Such people were sorted into classes, and all of these classes had names that designated them as non-persons.

“Kulak” is one of the most well known of these names or classes. All you had to do to be classified as a Kulak, and have all your possession stolen by the state, your land and business taken, your wife sent to one gulag while you were sent to another gulag, and your kids were separated from their sisters and brothers and placed with other families, was to disagree in some small way with communism.

There were attempts to justify these measures, and mostly they consisted of false charges. (It reminded me of Twitter, and how so many so called “right wingers” were suddenly banned in New Zealand. I was one of them. I received a message from Twitter stating I had been convicted of crimes (spamming) and my account was closed.)

There were stories of “educated” Moscow elites (the twentyfive thousanders) sent in teams to the country towns to lecture peasants and workers and to identify and arrest dissenters.

So many were young woman, cruel and dedicated, and its shocking how their verbatim speeches in the book were so similar to the rhetoric of the young women leaving our education system today and lecturing us on “global warming” and other social ills.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. The similarities between what happened back then in the Ukraine as Stalin struggled to keep the population under control by means of propaganda, psyops and fear, and what is happening today in the free west were so shocking and stark.

Why can’t we learn from history? If we could, the communists would never get a foothold in our societies ever.

Some excerpts from the book follow-

One of the people gripped by this revolutionary fervour was Lev Kopelev, a Twenty-Five Thousander who played an unusual role in the history of Soviet letters. Kopelev was born in Kyivto an educated Jewish family, studied in Kharkiv, spoke Ukrainian as well as Russian, but identified himself as ‘Soviet’.

Much later, in 1945, he was arrested and sent to the Gulag. He survived, befriended the writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, became a model for one of Solzhenitsyn’s characters, wrote powerful memoirs of his own, and became a prominent dissident. But in 1929 he was a true believer:

With the rest of my generation, I firmly believed that the ends justified the means. Our great goal was the universal triumph of Communism, and for the sake of the goal everything was permissible -to lie, to steal, to destroy hundreds of thousands and even millions of people, all those who were hindering our work or could hinder it, everyone who stood in the way. And to hesitate or doubt about all this was to give in to ‘intellectual squeamishness’ and ‘stupid liberalism’, the attributes of people who ‘could not see the forest for the trees’

He was not alone. In 1929, Maurice Hindus, the American socialist, received a letter from a Russian friend, Nadya, who did not yet have the benefit of Kopelev’s hindsight. She wrote in a state of ecstatic excitement:

I am off in villages with a group of other brigadiers, organizing kolkhozy. It is a tremendous job, but we are making amazing progress. I am confident that in time not a peasant will remain on his own land. We shall yet smash the last vestiges of capitalism and forever rid ourselves of exploitation. The very air here is afire with a new spirit and a new energy.