One of the dangers of youth is their experience only stretches as far back as their parents & to some degree their teachers memories.
If you are like an average kid, particularly in an internet & video game world you don’t gain a big interest in politics or current events until you reach at least 12 and even then comes the joys of puberty where you begin to discover the opposite sex which likely would delay it further.
Now if your parents or grandparents have such an interest you might start a tad early and have the benefit of their stories which might cause you to dig but in the end your direct experience in the realities of the world likely doesn’t go back beyond say age 10.
I’ve debated a lot of young liberals in their 20’s 30’s born during the late Reagan to Early Clinton Years whose first memories of anything political are the prosperity of the late Clinton years or 9/11. Their grandparents are baby boomers and their parents children of the 60 or 70’s and their professors & textbooks are written by the successors of the 60’s radicals who stormed the educational system post Vietnam.
I was born in 1963 but my parents were born in 1921 & 1924, my grandparents were born in the late 1800’s and my oldest sibling was born in 1948. Because of this I gained a perspective on coming to America without the ability to read, write or speak the language (from my Grandmother), the great depression (my mother picked dandelions from the front line to boil greens) , Prohibition (my grandfather made his own wine & had to hide it) World War 2 (my father served in the pacific) and the cold war of the 50’s. When I was a kid my brothers were subject to the Vietnam draft and when I was 10 the Watergate hearings were in full swing and I was hooked.
Now if I & my parents & grandparents were born 25 years later my memories & perspectives would be totally different at age 10 the Clinton impeachment would be going on, My parents would not have known the depression & World War 2, I’d have no memory of the Cold war and if there was any military service involved in the family it would have been in Vietnam.
And just as important the histories I would have had in school & the books I would have been taught from would be of the same hand as the young radicals of today I currently debate.
That age and those experiences give me a perception on the realities of poverty, war and communism that a younger person lacks.
Which brings us to Stacy McCain and his debate with the young and ignorant Jesse Myerson on the evils of communism.
Stacy is 2 years older than me with a history of service in his family that he honors. I’ve crashed in his old house and like own home it’s a cornucopia of books and knowledge (only Mike Rogers of Granite Grok has a more impressive collection that I’ve seen) and more importantly those books were well-worn from reading and reference.
Stacy not only has a memory of the cold war but the perspective and knowledge to back it up so when someone foolishly speaks of Communism as a positive good and of the mass murdering soviets as not true representatives he brings you this:
“[T]here is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terror.”
– Karl Marx, 1848
A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is … And the victorious party must maintain its rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionaries.”
– Friedrich Engels, 1872
Mind you these aren’t the quotes of a Lenin or a Trotsky (which Stacy supplies as well) nor the quotes of a Stalin or a Mao who outdid both of them in mass slaughter. These are the words from the founders of the idea of communism themselves who can not be presumed to be false representatives of the philosophy they founded. As Stacy puts it.
Communism’s explicit and enthusiastic embrace of violent “revolutionary terror” is among the many facts that self-described communist Jesse Myerson seeks to ignore or evade in pretending to correct our “huge misconceptions about communism.”.
That misconception is easily cleared if you speak to someone who visited Soviet Russia in the old days such as Roger Simon whose leftist beliefs at the time of his trip didn’t stop him from seeing what was right before his eyes:
Lefty though I was, however, it didn’t stop me from seeing the USSR, almost from arrival, as a giant jail. Minders, i.e., spies, were everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE. It was practically the national occupation. It was how they solved their unemployment problem.
I remember sitting in the lobby of the Hotel Cosmos, a decaying pseudo-futurist joint replete with model sputniks for chandeliers, when Laura Grimaldi, the Italian delegate, leaned over to me and said, “Watch this.” (We had been talking about the plethora of spies.) She then proceeded to stand and walk across the huge lobby toward the rest rooms. Three babushka ladies with brooms and buckets, each one in separate corners of the room, immediately stopped what they were doing, propped their brooms against the wall, and headed after her straight into the ladies’ room. As soon as Laura was finished, they followed her out again and duly resumed sweeping. It was sort of like a silent comedy, but it was the Soviet Union in a nutshell.
It’s no coincidence that she would now be a member of the tea party because as opposed to the fantasy version of Communism that Mr. Myerson advances in Communism as Stacy Point out…
not only do the rich people lose their wealth, but everybody else is doomed to hopeless poverty and — oh, yes, by the way — your communist rulers might decide to kill you and a few million other people, just so nobody forgets who’s in charge…
…Did I mention that Jesse Myerson’s original claim to fame was as “media coordinator” for Occupy Wall Street?
Nor is it a surprise that Clara would be on the opposite side of Mr. Myerson after all Communism is all about class struggle and Myerson knows about the upper classes:
Why do these neo-communists always have to attend elite private schools? Jesse Myerson attended Bard College (annual tuition $45,730) where he majored in theater and “human rights studies.”
Why would Myerson pay so much to attend an elite school in Annandale when, a half-hour drive away in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess Community College boasts that it offers “the lowest tuition in New York state,” just $3,200 a year? After a couple years getting your associate’s degree at DCC, then you could transfer to a SUNY campus — say, Albany, about an hour’s drive from Annandale — where annual tuition is $5,800.
Although I don’t know if Bard College requires any math classes to get a degree in human rights, by my calculations, the difference in tuition between attending Bard ($182,920 for four years) and going the DCC/SUNY-Albany route ($18,000) is $164,920.
Saving yourself $164,920 in tuition might not put you into the 1%, but it sure will buy a lot of rice and beans, so . . .
Why did Jesse Myerson go to Bard? Because he’s better than you.
To some degree given his youth and education Mr. Myerson lack of knowledge is to be expected. At his age he wouldn’t have visited a communist state at the height of its oppression like a Roger Simon. But he was certainly around to see this CNN story from last month:)
BBC journalist Martin Patience lived up to his name today. While covering the trial of Chinese activist Xu Zhiyong in Beijing, Patience was harassed by police officers and plainclothes thugs. But he kept his cool and continued with his live shot.
and this video
and this tweet
Manhandled, detained, and equipment broken near Xu Zhiyong trial. More details to follow
— David McKenzie (@McKenzieCNN) January 22, 2014
He might not have been old enough to have worked with someone who escaped Soviet Russia as I did in my first post college job but he is certainly young enough to meet someone who survived the Tiananmen Square protests after they were ruthlessly crushed or perhaps seen this video on YouTube of the live coverage.
and Clara Csiong was sitting right in front of the Capital in Sept 2010. I was blogging for less than a year when I found her, surely a person published in Salon or on National TV could to or at least like Stacy McCain who was also there post on or watch her interview.
This is one of the reasons why I engage with young Dominic Nanni. He is still a graduate student currently on the Myerson path which is devoid of this perspective but I have hope he can be made to see communism as it was is and always will be.
As for Mr. Myerson’s ignorance as a professional it’s not to be excused and if he can get by Stacy’s barbs it’s something that can be mended by exposure to the facts that Stacy and to a lesser extent I have provided….
…unless of course it is not ignorance, but just battlefield preparation that he is engaging in. He may in fact actually know the true history of Communism, oppression and murder and as an elite pushing for that system trusts that he will be one of those whose job is to remind the rest of us who is in charge.
That’s the difference between the ignorant and the evil.
Update: Did I actually mention the evils of communism without bringing up Cuba, here are two blasts from this blog’s past that Myerson might have missed
In private, the functionaries appeared open, tolerant and desirous of deep reforms that would include the political arena. One of them even admitted that a multiparty system and free elections were essential for society to truly advance toward modernity — even if the communists lost power.
But as soon as someone else joined the conversation or the journalists appeared, the officials reprised the most inflexible and Stalinist orthodox discourse, parroting the official script without leaving out a single comma. It was a painful spectacle.
This is the most telling thing of all, that the people are repressed is not news, but that the government functionaries live in fear says everything. They know where they will end up if they seem to be deviating, even slightly from the Communist line.
Cuba is one of the few countries in the world that prohibits its citizens from leaving without government permission, a violation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Because Cuba’s athletic teams compete internationally the participants are constantly shadowed by members of Cuba’s state security apparatus. The primary objective of Cuban state security is to prevent defections which embarrass the Castro regime and deplete the country of athletic talent.
Because nothing says “Communism is great” like having to guard your national team when it travels in case they run away.
and just last year Dec 4th 2013 Fausta reminded us the arrest machine goes on
Cuba’s Communist regime continues to oppress its people – with 761 political arrests just last month – it extorts and jails foreigners, and it’s our hemisphere’s go-to place for sex tourism with minors.
Oppression isn’t a bug of failed communism, it’s a feature of it done right.
Update 2: Somehow this post was listed as “private” fixed.
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