Mirroring Ms. West’s occasional (deserved) shredding of National Review is something of an earned right by now. The mag’s strange irrelevance (since Donald of Orange ascended a throne they were so sure he didn’t deserve and could never win) continues bouncing down the road to oblivion. But who on board that tumbrel cares? They’re all the equivalent of trust-funders, untethered from the need for any robust journalism. Surely their fervently anti-Communist founder rests uneasy in his grave.
[The two bolded paragraphs in Ms. West’s essay are my emphasis. Minor formatting changes are mine, also.]
National Review Looks at the Communist Century … and Blinks
by Diana West
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 my 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.”) [See the American Betrayal Archives —D]
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 Anniversary 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.