Perilous parallels

“I was born and raised in the Soviet Union, and I’m frankly stunned by how similar some of these developments are to the way Soviet propaganda operated.”1

“You will not be able to predict what will be held against you tomorrow…You have no idea what completely normal thing you do today, or say today, will be used against you to destroy you. This is what people in the Soviet Union saw. We know how this works.”2

“People will have to live through it first to understand…Any time I try to explain current events and their meaning to my friends or acquaintances, I am met with blank stares or downright nonsense.”3

Americans who have lived under Communist regimes should be on every evening newscast…every night of the week. They have been watching and warning, seeing and speaking about the dangerous track the United States of America is currently on. But too few of us are paying attention.

We ignore them to our own peril.

I’m taking a few posts to highlight some of what author Rod Dreher urges Americans to see and take seriously in his book Live Not By Lies. So consider the following evidences he provides of parallels between 20th century communism in Eastern Europe and 21st century America.

  • Justice is spoken of and promoted in terms of groups instead of individuals: oppressed and oppressors, proletariat and bourgeoisie, LGBTQs and Christians, blacks and whites.4
  • Noncomformity in thought, speech, or behavior is met with retribution, often severe. And you never know when something that was inoffensive yesterday becomes cause for condemnation today.5
  • Religion is the enemy and religious values and practices are characterized as merely designed to control and subjugate the masses.6
  • Intellectuals in large numbers had rejected religion which left a void that communist ideology filled.7
  • The state or the prevailing ideology is presented as the sole source of truth, but is actually built on and sustained by lies. Fear of retaliation meant one had to deny reality. “The heresy of heresies was common sense,” as George Orwell wrote in Nineteen Eighty-Four.8
  • Russia’s Marxist revolutionaries claimed they were the ones following the “science,” no matter how unscientific their views were.9
  • Artists and writers rejected cultural norms and morals as a way of “demonstrating contempt for established hierarchies, institutions, and ways of thinking.” All manners of perversion and sexual license were embraced and celebrated. Dreher quotes another author’s research of Satan as a Romantic hero in the years leading up to the Bolshevik Revolution: “The sensualism of the age was in a very intimate sense demonic.”10

There are more scary similarities between Eastern European communism and the preconditions to it in the previous century and the rise of progressive ideology in America today. As Dreher writes, “The parallels between a declining United States and prerevolutionary Russia are not exact, but they are unnervingly close.”11

I’ll continue with more of them in my next post. In the meantime…go get this book.

1 Rod Dreher, Live Not By Lies (New York City: Sentinel, 2020), xii.

2 Dreher, Live Not By Lies, xv.

3 Dreher, Live Not By Lies, xvi.

4 Dreher, Live Not By Lies, xi.

5 Dreher, Live Not By Lies, xii.

6 Dreher, Live Not By Lies, xiii

7 Dreher, Live Not By Lies, 9.

8 Dreher, Live Not By Lies, 14-15.

9 Dreher, Live Not By Lies, 43.

10 Dreher, Live Not By Lies, 35.

11 Dreher, Live Not By Lies, 29.