Ignorance of History Is No Excuse for Current Events
In response to criticisms of police actions against student demonstrators during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Mayor Richard J. Daley famously declared, "The policeman isn't there to create disorder; the policeman is there to preserve disorder." That's not a typo; Mayor Daley was prone to such gaffes. But it does raise the topic, pertinent to 2020, of clashes between citizens and police and the differences between order and disorder.
In 2020, protestors and police around the world have clashed in places as disparate as Seattle and Hong Kong. Each side views the other as, at best, impediments to a proper and just social order, and at worst, instigators of disorder and injustice. In judging so, they both assume the existence of a moral order that justifies their own actions and that shows their opponents' moral compass to be defective. Morality is at issue.
What may appear to be a very stable social order may in fact be deeply and morally disordered. The Soviet Union was a highly ordered society, but Stalin's murderous communist regime violated the humanity of its citizens, depriving them of life and liberty by brute force. The Marxist-socialist order was fundamentally inhumane and disordered, and, despite claims to the contrary, any honest examination of its record would confirm that verdict.
In the early 1930s, Western elites were divided in their opinions about the new Soviet socialist "experiment." Amazingly, tens of thousands of Americans, some hurting from the Great Depression, moved to the Soviet Union to participate in what they saw as a promising new social order. The true story about them is told by Tim Tzouliadis in The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin's Russia (Penguin Books, 2008) and in the 2002 documentary film Amerikantsi: The Lost Victims of Stalin (at Prime Video, aka Cover Up Amerikants). Few of these Americans ever returned; the majority eventually were executed or sent to the gulag by Stalin.
If only those Americans had known the truth about Marxist ideology and its implementation under Stalin! Yet facts were discovered and known, but ignored. New York Times reporter Walter Duranty, who covered the Soviet Union the 1930s, admitted that he covered up and suppressed the evidence of Stalin's crimes, including the starvation of perhaps as many as ten million Ukrainians. Yet for his reporting on Russia he was given a Pulitzer Prize.
Even today, the factual record of Marxism is ignored or downplayed by many university professors, who applaud (and sometimes join) protesters who unwittingly support Marxist organizers and are ignorant of Marxism's true track record. An organization calling itself Black Lives Matter, instigator of many of the 2020 protests that have quickly turned disorderly and violent, is admittedly a Marxist-inspired, anti-traditional-family organization that seeks to create disorder for the sake of a new social order of its own making.
Salvo editors and writers believe in a deep, created moral order by which we can judge human actions. Sadly, today's opponents of the traditional Judeo-Christian moral order increasingly refuse to participate in discussion and debate about the moral order. They absurdly assert that using rational argument, logic, and evidence is oppressive, aggressive, abusive, or even violent. Some call appeals to logic and facts "white" and seek to "cancel" those who reason in this way. They think facts do not matter and can be ignored, which can only increase the amount of ignorance in the world.
Salvo is published to fight against ignorance and to raise the level of debate. Whether on matters societal, sexual, or scientific, we endeavor to appeal with good reason to the moral order of things.James M. Kushiner
is the executive editor of Salvo and Touchstone magazines.This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #54, Fall 2020 Copyright © 2021 Salvo | www.salvomag.com https://salvomag.com/article/salvo54/marxism-morality