Stalin Apologists Lingered on at the New York Times Long After Duranty

New York TimesEarlier, Nick Gillespie took the "Stalin apologists" at the New York Times to task for what constituted a drive-by ideological shooting: wondering why "liberal" Chinese dissident Xia Yeliang, who wants more personal freedom and less government control for his country, would take a job at the "ultraconservative" Cato Institute, which favors more personal freedom and less government control for everybody. He quoted Mediaite's  Andrew Kirell dismantling Times' scribbler Tamar Lewin's bizarre characterization of Cato, and borrowed the "Stalin apologist" line came from the title of a book about Walter Duranty, long the New York Times' representative in the Soviet Union, and a well-known shill for the brutal communist regime. But you don't have to go back that far to find a soft spot at the Times for brutal regimes.

On April 12, 1990, while communism was collapsing throughout much of the world and the reality of its crimes becoming undeniable to even the worst red-flag-waving dumbshit cheerleaders, the gray lady ran a weird piece about a financially struggling Los Angeles retirement home full of aging communists. Under the bizarrely off-key headline, "Political Idealists Trying to Hold Back the Night," came the tale of old lefties watching the curtains drawn on their preferred political system.

Waldemar Hille joined the Communist Party 48 years ago believing that the movement would create a more compassionate and humane America.

Today, as Communism falters in Europe, the 82-year-old Mr. Hille is fighting to preserve ''an important people's institution,'' a retirement home for political activists....

Mr. Hille, a pianist who worked with the singers Paul Robeson and Pete Seeger (and was blacklisted along with them in the McCarthy era), now considers himself a ''humanist'' more than a Communist. But he remains critical of the American system.

''Organized capitalism is an evil thing in itself,'' he said in an interview in a shady courtyard of the Spanish-style residence home. ''It's profits versus people.'' He feels the changes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union are good ''if they reflect the will of the people.'' He is sure his hero, Lenin, would have approved.

German-American BundUnited States Holocaust Memorial ArchivesCan you imagine a similarly misty-eyed treatment of a bunch of gray-haired German-American Bundists? Can you imagine such a piece appearing at a hypothetical moment when millions of people were escaping the oppression of collapsing Nazi regimes?

Granted, none of the people quoted in the article explicitly endorsed Stalin, but a taste for Lenin instead is like a preference for Goering or Mussolini over Hitler. You really don't get points for that.

Yes, that article appeared in 1990, but that was at a particularly inopportune moment to sympathetically profile aging champions of fading totalitarianism, and decades after the newspaper should have learned from Duranty's crimes.

Which is why any ideological criticism from the New York Times needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt—preferably a grain that hasn't been extracted from a mine by political prisoners.

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  • Sevo||

    "Today, as Communism falters in Europe, the 82-year-old Mr. Hille is fighting to preserve ''an important people's institution,'' a retirement home for political activists..."

    The USSR managed to develop quite a few of those, variously called 'graveyards', 'mass graves' or the 'gulag'.

  • tarran||

    I have to take exception to this...

    I have no problem with the NY Times taking a wertfrei approach to individuals it reports on. One would hope they treated a wider range of people with the kid gloves that it gives commies.

    And adopt a more skeptical stance to people who draw salaries out of bank accounts filled from our taxes.

  • Duke||

    Granted, none of the people quoted in the article explicitly endorsed Stalin, but a taste for Lenin instead is like a preference for Goering or Mussolini over Hitler.

    Stalin was a devout Leninist so to support the former is to support the latter.

  • tarran||

    ... not quite...

    Lenin was an idealist. Granted, he had to back down and allow the New Economic Program after the implementation of his ideals caused instant economic collapse, but they existed nonetheless.

    Stalin had no ideals; he just murderously pursued power.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Stalin certainly had some ideals, although they were overshadowed by his paranoia.

  • John||

    Lenin was just as big of a murderer as Stalin. He just died before he was able to kill as many people. But the security apparatus and gulag system that Stalin used to murder and enslave so many was built by Lenin.

    There was nothing idealistic about Lenin. It was pathetic two bit intellectual wannabe obsessed with his own self importance and his desire to exact his revenge on humanity for not properly recognizing his genius. In some ways Lenin was worse than Stalin. Stalin was just a two bit criminal and sociopath opportunist. In other circumstances Stalin would have just been a some petty mafia capo or corrupt government official. Lenin in contrast was a real monster. His ambitions were always about mass murder.

  • tarran||

    Lenin was just as big of a murderer as Stalin.

    Oh, I don't disagree. It was Lenin who promoted Stalin! Lenin didn't promote Stalin for being a warm and cuddly guy.

    I'm just arguing that Lenin had ideals; nasty ideals that caused untold misery when implemented; nasty ideals that failed despite the wholesale murders and pogroms Lenin ordered to ruthlessly support them.

    Other than total power in his hands, I've never seen any evidence that Stalin really had an ideology per se. I could be wrong, I haven't ever engaged in a really systematic reading of Soviet history.

  • BakedPenguin||

    "Say what you want about the tenets of universal socialism, at least it's an ethos."

  • PapayaSF||

    Stalin wrote quite a bit about Communism, in addition to being a poet in his youth. His "works" are 14 volumes, and Amazon says his "selected works" is 660 pages.

  • tarran||

    Wow! You learn something new every day.

  • Sevo||

    tarran|2.11.14 @ 12:38PM|#
    "... not quite...
    Lenin was an idealist."

    Richard Pipes disagrees strongly; according to the Russian Revolution, Lenin was simply a power-grabbing cynic who used lies and misdirection to keep himself in power.

  • Drunketarian||

    Easy solution: the best communist is a dead communist.

  • Zeb||

    Unless Pipes could read minds, I don't think we can be certain what motivated Lenin.
    Let's just all agree that communists are pieces of shit.

  • Sevo||

    Zeb|2.11.14 @ 1:32PM|#
    "Unless Pipes could read minds, I don't think we can be certain what motivated Lenin."

    He quotes sufficient instances of Lenin's hypocrisy and just plain cruelty to require mind reading.
    Neither Stalin nor Hitler left any doubt, and if you read Pipes, I can't see a difference.
    I agree with your characterization, but the 'why' needs comment: They are, universally, cynical, cruel power whores, mouthing some fantasy.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Lenin was an idealist.

    Only if by "idealist", you mean "blood-thirsty, power-grubbing thug".

    Lenin was the shithead who decided to subdue the peasants by starving them to death.

    -jcr

  • Duke||

    Stalin was one of Lenin’s proteges and a “true believer” in Leninism and wished to carry out his policies to the end. I just read a thick book by a history prof on the very subject.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Looking at Mr. Lewin's other columns, I would suggest that he is just ignorant and informed his appraisal of Cato based on the NYT's coverage of them.

  • Jeff R.||

    Actually, Lewin is a 'she,' sort of:

    http://www.uvm.edu/conferences.....tml#tlewin

    Note the typical crusading leftist bio there, though:

    Ms. Lewin was a contributor to the Pulitzer Prize-winning series, "How Race is Lived In America," in 2000 and the "Class Matters" series in 2005. Ms. Lewin joined The Times in 1982 as a financial reporter, with the column "Business and the Law," which appeared bi-weekly in the business section. In 1987, she moved to the national desk and has since covered social policy issues, health, aging, family and gender issues, and most recently, education.

    Keep up the great work, comrade!

  • GILMORE||

    What, the fat dude, or the bald dude?

    Is this one of those "Chelsea" things again?

  • PD Scott||

    Is it just me or does she look oddly like Ben Franklin?

  • Hugh Akston||

    I'm sorta confused by this post, Tooch. Are you impugning Lewin for something his employer published 24 years ago? Why even bring up the NYT at all? Lewin's dumbass comparison is the issue here.

  • Sevo||

    Hugh Akston|2.11.14 @ 12:35PM|#
    "I'm sorta confused by this post, Tooch. Are you impugning Lewin for something his employer published 24 years ago?"

    I read it as evidence that the NYT has consistently hired and published apologists for communists in general, and the USSR in particular.
    I think that's a valid point.

  • Killaz||

    It's an institution to institution comparison. In other words, 2Chilly is demonstrating that the Cato Institution is a far more respectable organization to be associated with than the NYT. Sorry your proglodyte pals get pissed when the kid gloves come off, but you need to get over it, and figure out to which side you belong.

  • ||

    I don't think Hugh's "side" is really in question here.

  • Killaz||

    Yeah, but it would be nice if would stop bullshitting us about it. The pussyfooting is annoying.

  • ||

    Have you not been reading Hugh's posts for...years and years?

  • Killaz||

    Nah. He hasn't made an impression one way or another. The only assumption I make is if he posting on a site dedicated to libertarianism he either has some sympathies with it or is in whole evil. Given I tend to notice those who are irredeemable, I ruled that out.

  • ||

    Hugh is irredeemable, but that's because he loves Glee. Still.

  • Killaz||

    Glee? Is that still on? I thought one of the actors killed himself with a highball of heroin when they canceled it.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Hugh's name seems unlikely for a statist, unless it's a total troll, which I think would be a difficult label to apply based on his comments hereabouts.

  • SugarFree||

    Hugh is a Typical Libertarian.

  • Killaz||

    Hugh is a Typical Libertarian.

    Splitting hairs that drive everyone else crazy?

  • SugarFree||

    Splitting hairs that drive everyone else crazy?

    The Typical Libertarian

    one of us, one of us, one of us, one of us, one of us, one of us, one of us, one of us, one of us, one of us, one of us,

  • Killaz||

    I generally trust handsome people over ever one else, and that guy has the mug of an ubermensh no matter the words that are put in his mouth.

  • Killaz||

    Who but a total troll or a nutcase would complain about 2chilly and Gillespie tactics here as being out of bounds? Who but an obtuse leftist dimwit would not see the claim of Cato being 'ultraconservative' as anything but an insult?

  • ||

    Dude, you are seriously barking up the wrong tree. Go read past articles; you will find Hugh all over them. I don't know why you don't have a bead on what his deal is--it's mystifying me--but you are way off base here.

  • Killaz||

    Hugh Akston|2.11.14 @ 12:35PM|#

    I'm sorta confused by this post, Tooch. Are you impugning Lewin for something his employer published 24 years ago? Why even bring up the NYT at all? Lewin's dumbass comparison is the issue here.

    If there is a sarc tag there, it is written on a microdick.

  • Zeb||

    Who but a total troll or a nutcase would complain about 2chilly and Gillespie tactics here as being out of bounds?

    Where the fuck have you been? Some regular, solidly libertarian commenter does that at least once a day on here.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I'm playing the long game tovarisch, uh, I mean friend.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, yes, of course, Hugh is actually a communist. No one disputes that. But he's a libertarian communist operating under a Five-Year New Libertarian Plan.

  • Killaz||

    It all makes sense, now. You're Canadian?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Me? No, can't abide them, myself. Splitters who undertip Florida's working waitstaff.

  • Killaz||

    No, not you. You're obviously an American. Hugh.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Oh, yeah, he's Canadian. A Canadian communist. He talks funny, if you listen to him long enough.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Don't listen to ProLib, he doesn't know what he's talking aboot.

  • Killaz||

    Okay. I may have been harsh there. Not blaming the paymaster for the product struck my as hardcore trolling. In a broader context, this might make some sense, but I would be lying to you if I said I understood it.

  • Pro Libertate||

    See, here you hit upon a deeper truth. No one understands Hugh, not even himself.

  • Bobarian||

    I think he killed himself because they tried to renew it.

    /rimshot

  • Hugh Akston||

    But the problem isn't that Lewin thinks Cato is disreputable. It's that he has no clue what Cato even is. So Tooch calling out his employer as pinkos is kind of a weird counter.

    The rest of your response I'm just going to assume is a parody, because otherwise wtf.

  • Killaz||

    Me playing defense here? You are out of your goddamned mind.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I find your bizarre non sequiturs intriguing. Please continue.

  • Killaz||

    I'm not jumping into that hole you dug for yourself. There is only room for one.

  • GILMORE||

    "So Tooch calling out his employer as pinkos is kind of a weird counter"

    THESE ACCUSATIONS OF LEFTIST BIAS ARE COMPLETELY UNFOUNDED AND BASELESS!

    "After Castro seized power, on July 16, 1959 the New York Times front page
    carried a story by Herbert L. Matthews:

    ""This is not a Communist revolution in any sense of the word and there are no Communists in positions of control. This is the overwhelming consensus among Cubans...

    There seem to be very few in Cuba - and one need have no hesitation in saying this - who believe Fidel Castro is a Communist, is under Communist influence or is a dupe of communism..."

    "##When on March 8, 1983 Ronald Regan called the Soviet Union where people were routinely sent to Gulags an “Evil Empire”, a prominent liberal intellectual Anthony Lewis of the New York Times commented two days later that the speech was “primitive...simplistic theology"...

    See, but they do every now and then mention thing like, the Sandinistas weren't *completely* awesome! Then of course liberals call them a puppet of the bourgeoisie and they move on.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    the bizarrely off-key headline, "Political Idealists Trying to Hold Back the Night,"

    Don't you get it? They were idealists.

    THEY MEANT WELL.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Hitler had ideals too, yet people are always picking on him.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, just like Jesus when he told Peter to slaughter everyone who wasn't perfectly Christian with a rock. Or Gandhi when he rounded up the British and the Muslims and put them into death camps.

  • anon||

    Or FDR when he rounded up japs. You know, just in case.

  • Brett L||

    Except that your example happened.

  • Bobarian||

    And in all the other examples, someone involved had ideals.

  • Harvard||

    {Yes, just like Jesus when he told Peter to slaughter everyone who wasn't perfectly Christian with a rock}

    You can reference that scripture, right?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    ''Organized capitalism is an evil thing in itself,'' he said in an interview in a shady courtyard of the Spanish-style residence home. ''It's profits versus people.''

    "You know- MORONS."

  • Pro Libertate||

    I could live with a media that had a general bias against people with power over others, provided that they understood the hierarchy of the danger of such people. Portraying CEOs as more dangerous than government officials is not only absurd, it's insane.

  • Brett L||

    But Robocop!

  • Pro Libertate||

    If your view of, well, anything is formed by movies, you need to reconsider your sources of information.

  • anon||

    You mean Robocop isn't going to save Detroit?

    Fuck, maybe we should consider nuking it.

  • Brett L||

    I had an argument with an honest-to-god PhD in Library Sciences about AGW in which he cited The Day After Tomorrow, and got angry when I mocked him.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You should've cited The Empire Strikes Back, noting the frozen tundra that was Hoth.

  • ||

    You were arguing with NutraSweet's husband?!?

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's clone-husband--remember your manners.

  • SugarFree||

    Hardly. PhD in Library Science means you want to teach LIS. Charging money to instruct someone in library theory in the current job market is straight-up fraud in my book.

  • ||

    No one said you had good taste in husbands, NutraSweet.

  • Brett L||

    Honestly, I think he's working in an elementary school library and trying desperately to get a "real" academic job. Its like watching some guy playing single A ball, coaching t-ball and dreaming of going to the majors. But given how reflexively Daily Show-Huffpo Front Page orthodox he is, I'm unsurprised to find out that nobody thinks he would add to their program.

  • Sudden||

    Why you would even converse with someone who pursued a PhD in Library Science eludes me...

  • Brett L||

    Long story short, he was a friend of a friend while he was in grad school and during the big flap about Duck Dynasty he was just posting the latest orthodox column on the matter, so I tweaked him by saying he might try the original source material instead of relying on people who are writing to annoy. It went over so well (and by that I mean poorly) that I've taken to poking him in the eye whenever he gets too uppity about professing last night's Daily Show as his most deeply held beliefs. Because it pisses him off and I'm kind of a dick, so I enjoy that.

  • John||

    We care about people Brooks. That is why we are going to have to shoot you. You should be proud to die for the greater good.

  • GILMORE||

    Can you imagine a similarly misty-eyed treatment of a bunch of gray-haired German-American Bundists?

    As noted, there's a Mr Show sketch for *everything* =

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....s#t=01m05s

  • ||

    Waldemar Hille joined the Communist Party 48 years ago believing that the movement would create a more compassionate and humane America.

    The perfect example of how to these types, (stated) intentions are everything, and results mean nothing. It's a disturbing personality type, as they explicitly and wholeheartedly reject all reality.

    Also, it's repulsive how apologists for communism and all its evils are still completely socially acceptable. Once again: intentions!

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    Mother of 2 has to work two jobs because the father isn't around?

    CAPITALISM HAS FAILED!!!

    Socialist regime murders tens of millions of people either directly or through famines triggered by insane policies?

    Excessive and unfortunate, but the ideas were right and should not be discounted.

  • Brett L||

    Well, its not like they were good people. Old
    Russian/Ukranian men, not New Soviet Men

  • Sevo||

    Grand Moff Serious Man|2.11.14 @ 12:50PM|#
    "Mother of 2 has to work two jobs because the father isn't around?
    CAPITALISM HAS FAILED!!!"

    Yeah, the Bolshies would have just shot all three! COMMUNISM WORKS!!!

  • anon||

    "Mother of 2 has to work two jobs because the father isn't around?
    CAPITALISM HAS FAILED!!!"

    What part of "It's not my fucking problem your mother's a whore and can't figure out how to use birth control effectively" do you not understand?

  • Jordan||

    Socialist regime murders tens of millions of people either directly or through famines triggered by insane policies?

    If you like your life, you can keep it. Unless your life is inadequate.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Maybe what we need is a Hogan's Heroes, only with prisoners in a Soviet-era (preferably Stalin-era) gulag, to help deliver the message. Funny, like Hogan's Heroes, with one dark caveat--all the main characters slowly, and not so slowly at times, die. Probably should engage TV screenwriter, George Martin.

  • ||

    Game of PWNs?

  • Pro Libertate||

    No, Starkovich's Heroes. Starkovich is the head prisoner and is actually a CIA agent (so deep that the Soviets don't realize it, even though they did exile him). Played by, hmmm, I know, Sean Bean.

  • ||

    So he dies halfway through the first season? I mean, it is Sean Bean*.

    * not counting the Sharpe series

  • Pro Libertate||

    The number of times he survives the movie/TV series other than Sharpe can likely be counted on one hand. In fact, I'm having trouble remembering one.

    Wait, he wasn't killed in Ronin, was he?

  • ||

    No, but he was summarily dismissed for being a fraud, so that's close. Let's call it a half death.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Half death it is.

    Eureka! I have it! Troy! Not dead!

  • anon||

    That'd be a really short TV series. Everyone would be executed after the first episode.

  • Pro Libertate||

    No, my understanding is that the gulags generally just worked/starved workers to death. So the show can maintain some character continuity each season, maybe with a few characters surviving the whole series. Not Starkovich, though. He dies in the finale.

  • ||

    Not just worked/starved to death. They sometimes were more proactive.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yeah, I know. That's why I said "generally." We'll execute some characters, too. Maybe at a, er, Red Sledding.

  • Brett L||

    Can it be like the Flashman scene where he tosses the chick out of the sleigh to the wolves? Now that's a series waiting to happen. Flashy running around the 19th century and getting the kit off of hotties of every ethnicity.

  • Pro Libertate||

    No, but you hit on an important point: Starkovich's Heroes has to be on HBO. With Russian actresses actually purchased from Russia for authenticity.

  • Snark Plissken||

    I didn't like this one bit. Don't misunderstand me - I'm as true-blue a Briton as the next man, and I'm not unwilling to serve the old place in return for my pay, provided it don't entail too much discomfort or expense. But I draw the line where my hide is concerned - among the many things I'm not prepared to do for my country is die, especially at the end of a rope trailing from a Cossack's saddle, or with his lance up my innards. The thought of abandoning this snug retreat, where I was feeding full, drinking well, and rogering my captivity happily away, and going careering off through the snow-fast Russian wilderness, with those devils howling after me - and all so that we could report this crazy scheme to Raglan! It was mad. Anyway, what did I care for India? I'd sooner we had it than the Russians, of course, and if the intelligence could have been conveyed safely to Raglan (who'd have promptly forgotten it, or sent an army to Greenland by mistake, like as not) I'd have done it like a shot. But I draw the line at risks that aren't necessary to my own well-being. That's why I'm eighty years old today, while Scud East has been mouldering underground at Cawnpore this forty-odd years.
  • Brett L||

    You know what I'm talking about Snark. Every conceivable shade and coloring of hottie would end up naked by the 4th season of Flashman, from darkest to lightest in both hair and skin-tone. Many of whom were powerful and/or dangerous. Fuckit, I'm just gonna email HBO direct on this.

  • waffles||

    “After we’ll fuck this scoundrel’s ass through, he’ll be quick to remember how to make sabotage against Soviet regime and party in university with his cybernetics!”

    Awe. Just dumbstruck awe.

  • anon||

    "Well, your honor, I didn't intend to rape her at the time. I just kinda slipped it in while she wasn't looking."

  • John||

    They are insane Episiarch. They believe in horrific ideas completley at odds with reality and it causes them to do incredibly evil things all the while thinking they are doing the highest good.

    If you were prone to believe such things, it would make you believe in the super natural. If there really were demons and evil spirits who roamed the earth throwing spells on humans, their victims would look and act like this.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    You mean Sam and Dean are real?

  • anon||

    You assumed they weren't?

  • ||

    DON'T TALK SHIT ABOUT SAM AND DEAN

  • anon||

    Sasquatch is too whiny, but I like Dean ok.

  • anon||

    Imagine my joy when Crowley and Dean teamed up for an episode!

  • ||

    They really need to wrap up the series. This season is kind of weak. I've said that before and they've come back, but what are we in, season 9 now?

  • Killaz||

    They should have planned to end it all in Chicago in what was it, Season 5. That as a good finale, and to have made it mean something in the story arch would have been a better legacy for the show.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Or what? You'll gank me?

  • ||

    I have the knife and the Colt. Try me.

  • JD the elder||

    I could forgive someone who joined the CP before WWII, because there was less history to look back on at that point.

    48 years ago? In 1966? Joining the CP in 1966 meant you were willfully blind at best.

  • Calidissident||

    The article was written in 1990, so he joined presumably in 1942. Still an idiot for holding onto those beliefs all those years.

  • Zeb||

    Also, it's repulsive how apologists for communism and all its evils are still completely socially acceptable.

    That's what really gets me. How are Communists not considered right along side of Nazis as history's greatest monsters? I suppose where the Nazis went wrong was targeting specific ethnic groups for mass murder, where the commies were more equal opportunity mass murderers.

    But, yeah, how the crap does someone wearing a Che t-shirt not get the same reaction as someone with a Nazi swastika on?

  • ||

    Because a large number of people we share the planet with are sociopathic depraved pieces of shit.

  • Sudden||

    The perfect example of how to these types, (stated) intentions are everything, and results mean nothing

    While this is true, it is also a useful thing to understand when you're trying to bang a naive progressive chick without compromising your ideals. You merely state your position from a consequentialist/utilitarian perspective instead of a first principles one. "No, I don't support eviscerating the welfare state because it is theft to steal from me, I wish to eviscerate it because it hurts the people it alleges to help." (admittedly, I wanna smash the state for both reasons, but I know my audience).

  • Drunketarian||

    the movement would create a more compassionate and humane America.

    With People's Courts, Commissars, and Gulags - which, of course, would be wonderfully compassionate if death by starvation or a bullet to the back of the head is your idea of tough love.

  • Raven Nation||

    And in case we've already forgotten:

    http://hotair.com/archives/201.....periments/

  • GILMORE||

    ""Mommy, what does 'Pivotal' mean?""

  • ||

    Progressives have, it seems, expropriated the term 'liberalism.' I say expropriated because I don't think they're the same. Progs literally loathe personal liberty; there is no personal moral agent in their calculations whereas you will find a pulse of this sentiments - however weak, among liberals. If only we could. Just. Reach. Them.

    Another word leftists co-opt is 'humanist.' I hear guys like Asner go on about humanism but is it 'humanism?'

    From my recollections of humanism during the Renaissance, it was rooted in the individualism. It was a reaction to a God-centric world and brought things down to a human level making man at the center of things.

    That being said, I don't know if the great thinkers or artists of that time would be "left" or "right" today and so I sure as hell don't understand how people can claim to be a 'humanist' in in reality they're just your run of the mill progressive - or worse...

  • ||

    'this sentiment.'

  • ||

    'when in reality.' Damn. World's worst self-editor.

    /points at self.

  • anon||

    Damn. World's worst self-editor.

    /points at self.

    I laughed at the redundancy in your criticism.

  • anon||

    Come on, Rufus, we cover this like every other day.

  • ||

    Lib/prog I've seen.

    Not humanism. At least, that I saw.

  • anon||

    I think Hayek covered the "humanist" back in the early 40's.

  • John||

    Progressives are the opposite of humanist. A humanist believes that man is the center of the universe and human life and well being the most important end within it.

    Progressives are antihumanist. They see material ends, be it an ideal society or some kind of ideal state of nature, as more important than individual lives. A humanist would never endorse killing someone or sacrificing human well being to create a better society or to preserve some state of nature. A progressive would.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I've actually been quite offended by conservatives pejoratively using the term in attacking leftists as anti-religion. Humanism and the Enlightenment that followed are the foundation of our political, legal, and economic systems, not to mention the basis of much of our culture, though that influence is all fading, of course.

    It also, incidentally, played no small role in the birth of protestantism, which is humanist in the sense that it tends to emphasize the direct relationship of individuals with God, rather than through the Church as intermediary.

  • John||

    Yes. There is nothing humanist about socialism or communist and nothing necessarily sinister about the term "secular humanist". You could argue that the founders were secular humanists. And Christianity is most certainly a humanist religion in the sense that it views man as created in God's image and by extension the ultimate good on earth. There is a very good argument to be made that the West is humanist thanks to the Judeo Christian tradition.

    But like many terms, the progressives have commandeered it for their own uses and destroyed its actual meaning.

  • SugarFree||

    Most conservatives use "humanist" as a stand-in insult for "atheist." The actual meaning of the word doesn't matter to them.

    Of course, "secular humanists" often are atheists, but they are not strictly interchangeable concepts.

  • John||

    No they are not. And I would argue that it is impossible to be a real secular humanist and also be a socialist or communist.

    But in fairness to conservatives, Progressives have latched onto the term "secular humanist" like they did the term "liberal" and destroyed its meaning making it a stand in for Prog ideology as a way of concealing its actual nature.

    Progressives as I explained above are anything but humanist. But they have taken ownership of the term to hide that fact.

  • Raven Nation||

    When I teach freshman World Civ and talk about humanism I make a point to tell them that 15th century humanism is not the same as secular humanism.

  • ||

    Go on, RN.

    And where do you teach?

  • Raven Nation||

    "Second tier" state university. Freshman World Civ in a midwest/Great Plains state. Point out to students that the one of the goals of humanists like Erasmus was to free people from the structure of the church so they could approach God as individuals.

    I place 18th century thinkers like Voltaire in a different group who see Christianity as destructive. And, then, truly secular humanism comes in late 19th century when intellectuals basically abandon religion.

    World Civ, so a lot of big picture, generalization.

  • John||

    Are you full time or an adjunct RN?

  • Raven Nation||

    Full time, tenured.

  • ||

    Hey, more of a prof than the guy in the WH.

  • Raven Nation||

    Heh, heh, heh.

  • ||

    What would be cool is to play a prank on Shreek or Tony where we lure them into this discussion and you grade them.

  • John||

    You lucky bastard. Please forgive those of us who would loved to have lived a life teaching a subject we love but instead opted to be a working stiff loathing you with envy.

    I need to get off my ass and go be an adjunct somewhere at night just for the fun of doing it. Already having a job would make me immune to academic politics and happily willing to teach for short money and no future.

  • sarcasmic||

    Depends on how humanist is defined.

    I think of progressives as humanists. They worship government, right? Yet they are also confuse government and society. They believe that nonsense about government is us and we are government because it's a government of the people. Since they treat government as god, and they believe government to be the people, they worship themselves. Thus, as self worshipers, they're humanists.

  • John||

    But they will happily sacrifice human life and human ends to achieve non human ends like Utopia or preserving nature. Environmentalism is profoundly anti-human.

    I think the humanism necessarily involves a commitment to concepts like "dignity" and "human life" that transcend the material world. No humanist would say that it is okay to murder someone just because the utilitarian calculation says doing so makes the world a better place. But Progressives absolutely would do that. Or to put it in less provocative terms, a humanist would say that people should be treated equally under the law by virtue of their being human. A progressive would say that equality under the law only matters in so far as it achieves equal results in the material world. So if treating you unequally is what is necessary to get a better result, then Progressives will treat you unequally. A humanist never would.

  • sarcasmic||

    Like I said, depends on how it is defined. If you define humanism as individualism, then yes your point stands. Take individualism out of it, and you could think of progressives as humanists. Because they do worship people.

  • John||

    They worship People with a capital "P". Actual people as in the individual are at best tools to be used for the greater good or at worst contemptible obstacles to be eliminated. It is their ultimate contempt for the individual that makes Progressives anti human in what I see as the real sense of the word.

  • Sevo||

    ..."Take individualism out of it, and you could think of progressives as humanists. Because they do worship people."

    I don't thing so. I think they worship the fantasy of what society could be if only....
    And I think that's an important difference. Take Upton Sinclair:
    "Maybe it cost a million lives - maybe it cost five million lives [...] There has never been in human history a great social change without killing".
    The actual people are irrelevant to his vision of society.

  • John||

    Yeah Sevo. Like everything they say, Progressives stated commitment to people is completely the opposite of the truth.

  • ||

    Hm. Sarc, I thought the whole point (and failure) of progessivism was that they only 'worshiped' people to the extent they were subservient to the collective? They don't 'worship' people as individuals.

    Like I said off the top, humanism was above all about the individual but I have no clue how that would manifest itself today. Maybe it would "branch" off into different subsets as we seem to collectively be alluding to.

  • John||

    What Rufus said. The opposite of humanism is utilitarianism.

  • SugarFree||

    Yes, progressives don't worship people, they worship The People. People are just components of The People. You might loose a little blood, or need to cut off an gangrenous hand--but that's OK as long as The People survive.

  • Pro Libertate||

    If necessary, all individuals may die to promote the will of the People.

  • ||

    And what would this 'The People' look like in a sci-fi, noir, B-flick?

  • John||

    Rufus, The People would look like the Pod People in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Provided Pod People vote correctly, this is an acceptable strategy for many leftists.

  • SugarFree||

    And what would this 'The People' look like in a sci-fi, noir, B-flick?

    "In The Hills, The Cities"

  • Pro Libertate||

    Humanism was, in large part, about elevating the individual and making religions, states, whatever based on groupings of individuals, not viewing abstractions like the Church or the government. And, of course, it's supposed to be based on science and reason more than faith and emotion, though it didn't explicitly rule out faith and emotion from everything.

  • ||

    This is 'more' humanism - and it points to John's comment - regarding euthanasia.

    http://www.newswire.ca/en/stor.....f-montreal

  • Brett L||

    Meanwhile, the Lizard People us Popular Mechanics to discredit those in the know as being as crazy as moon-deniers.

  • Sevo||

    Those guys at IJ beat down the state one more time:
    "Arlington, Va.—Today, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the IRS had no legal authority to impose a nationwide licensing scheme on tax-return preparers."
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....p-lawsuit/

  • John||

    Awesome!!

  • ||

    joe from Lowell says:
    September 16th, 2010 at 9:38 am
    Matt,

    Don’t get suckered by the IJ. They seize on cute, fuzzy poster boys in order to push radical changes to the law in the service of corporate deregulation.

    “Simply put, the government is not allowed to require people to get a license in order to talk.”

    Simply put, this outfit is committed to eliminating the distinction between commercial speech and individual speech.
  • ||

    I wonder which shitty cowardly handle is joe lurking under?

  • ||

    Nah, he's too busy with his kickball league.

  • ||

    There's volleyball too. Do you think he gets to use a stool? You know, to equalize things?

  • John||

    Maybe they let him use platform shoes or make it against the rules for the other players to jump. That way Joe won't be othered for his height.

    But I bet he sticks mostly to kick ball.

  • ||

    You know he joined these leagues in an attempt to meet chicks, right? Because nothing gets chicks hot like a 5'2" grown man playing dodgeball.

  • John||

    Well, in the Prog circles of greater Boston, that may be as good as the options get for chicks.

  • Sevo||

    "Simply put, this outfit is committed to eliminating the distinction between commercial speech and individual speech."

    First, I'll bet he thought there was a difference and then he thought it was important.
    Hey, Joe! Up yours!

  • John||

    One thing about Joe, he never worried about his mask slipping and showing just what a nasty little fuck he and all Progressives really are. Joe let it all hang out.

  • ||

    Actually, I don't think joe really understood when he was mask-slipping. It's part of his depraved personality. Half the mask-slipping he did was like the IJ comment above; he was regurgitating TEAM BLUE talking points without an inkling of how it actually sounded. joe is a true footsoldier; he just does what he's told.

  • ||

    joe is a true footsoldier

    He's not really one foot tall. Give the poor little guy a break.

  • John||

    Yeah, that is true. The nastiness was just the air he breathed. He wasn't even aware that it was nasty.

    You wonder how shit like the Gulags and the Killing Fields happened. Then you look at someone like Joe. I could totally see him pushing paper and sending millions to their deaths. He would never have the balls to pull the trigger himself. But he would do everything necessary to enable to more honest sociopaths to pull the triggers.

    Joe from Lowell, a study in the banality of evil. It pathetic little followers like him that enable horrific acts of evil to occur.

  • JW||

    Joe from Lowell, a study in the banality of evil. It pathetic little followers like him that enable horrific acts of evil to occur.

    This.

    Sniveling cunts, one and all.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Wasn't "Sniveling Cunt" a Who song?

  • John||

    If it wasn't, it should have been.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Behind a sniveling cunt.
    Sniveling cunt--it's a put on.

  • Tonio||

    Liberty seems to be doing well in the courts, recently. Now if only we had some executives and legislators...

  • Sevo||

    Well, and maybe a Chief justice...

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's too taxing.

  • ||

    But, you don't get it!

    Communism was well-intentioned!

    The Nazis were just racist and evil!

  • John||

    Trying to build a better Germany by killing the Jews and lesser races is evil Hazel.

    Trying to build a world Utopia by murdering those who come from the wrong economic classes or possess the wrong political consciousness is just well meaning efforts to create social justice that got a little out of control because the people doing it were under constant attack by the forces of capitalism and reaction.

    Can't you see the difference Hazel?

  • Drake||

    They did it out of love!

  • tarran||

    Often glossed over is the fact that the Commies were trying to build a better world by killing Jews.

  • John||

    That was only after the evil Stalin ruined it.

    Yes, "bourgeois" is nothing but a less crude way of saying "Jew". More importantly, both Nazis and Communists believed in the concept of collective guilt and that the way to create a better society was to eliminate entire classes of people from it. To both it didn't matter what you personally did, you were by virtue of being part of an undesirable class guilty and subject to extermination. That the Nazis defined the undesirable classes by race and the Communists by economic class is a matter of taste. The underlying principle is the same in both cases.

  • D. M. Michell||

    Let's see, Nazis murdered between 10 and 12 million people during WWII. The communists of all stripes throughout the 20th Century killed approximately 100 million people. Yes, New York Times, give kudos to the communists. They are the biggest winners in murdering innocent men, women, and children.

  • Duelles||

    I would say that I am disappointed with some of humanity! but then these pro Leninist, communist shills are not human in the the most humane sense of the word.

  • MSimon||

    ''Organized capitalism is an evil thing in itself,'' he said in an interview in a shady courtyard of the Spanish-style residence home. ''It's profits versus people.''

    I'd like to see a country where everyone operated at a loss. A people's country.

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