We can see where this is going, if we let it
What Russia’s young artists, intellectuals, and cultural elite hoped for and expected was the end of autocracy, class division, and religion, and the advent of a world of liberalism, equality, and secularism. What they got instead was dictatorship, gulags, and the extermination of free speech and expression. Communists had sold their ideology to gullible optimists as the fullest version of the thing every modern person wanted: Progress.1Rod Dreher (emphasis mine)
A popular meme theme on social media these days contrasts how something started with how it’s going, often depicting unintended and undesirable consequences. Like the one above with the famous image of the 1967 Boston Marathon official attempting to eject the first woman to run it, juxtaposed with one representing the sad state of women’s sports today being destroyed by transgender ideology.
As socialism and communism have gotten a foothold in this country, many have been warning of the undesirable consequences they have historically led to, no matter how good the intentions that got them started. Rod Dreher’s recent book Live Not By Lies is a very readable, very informative, very practical manual for all who are wise enough and willing to see where what has started in America is going to go, if we let it. It’s so powerful and so needed right now that I’ve been taking a few posts to highlight just some of his research, insight, and advice. I strongly suggest you get and read the book for yourself.
Dreher makes clear and convincing connections between 20th century communist regimes in Eastern Europe and 21st century pre-totalitarianism conditions and ideologies in the US, some of which I’ve already covered. Here are a few more.
- Communist thought held that humanity is inevitably progressing towards a better future when equality and justice will be achieved, and that the Communist Party was leading the way. So to oppose them was to oppose progress, hinder the realization of utopia, and “align themselves with greed, backwardness, bigotry, and all manner of injustice.” This gave legitimacy and even nobility to quashing the opposition by whatever means necessary.2
- With its shared sense of purpose, hope, and community, communism fulfilled a religious longing among those who had rejected traditional religion. It also bred “an electrifying bond of contempt” towards anyone who differed from or questioned its religious claims.3
- Differences in ideology or beliefs were condemned as thoughtcrimes and various conspiracies were invented with which to accuse, silence and punish opponents. “By their very nature” accusation was tantamount to guilt and the accused could be unaccountably bullied and penalized by the self-righteous ideologues because no proof was necessary. Think “hate crimes” today…racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc.4
- The previously hidden files of East Germany’s secret police which were opened to historians after the fall of the Berlin Wall revealed that “vast numbers of East German citizens, with no prompting by the government, volunteered negative information about their friends and neighbors.” We see this today with regard to COVID mandates, but Dreher wrote a whole chapter on the ease with which negative information can be collected and used against us today because of our embrace of technological conveniences like “smart” speakers and TVs. He says, “The rapidly growing power of information technology and its ubiquitous presence in daily life immensely magnifies the ability of those who control institutions to shape society according to their ideals.”5
Dreher not only provides substantial evidence that the US is experiencing an attempted totalitarian takeover, but also practical steps to resist and triumph over it. But to be victorious, the call to action must be heard and heeded by ever greater numbers of freedom-loving Americans.
Please, get yourself a copy of Live Not By Lies. We’ve got a country to save.
1 Rod Dreher, Live Not By Lies (New York City: Sentinel, 2020), 48.
2 Dreher, Live Not By Lies, 49.
3 Dreher, Live Not By Lies, 54-55
4 Dreher, Live Not By Lies, 57.
5 Dreher, Live Not By Lies, 70-71.