It’s difficult to even broach this topic without causing some eye rolls, because of how completely many people living in western democracies have been softened to communism in a variety of ways without realizing it was happening.
The mental image we have when we hear speech critical of communism is a crusty, grumpy, out of touch old man ranting about commies putting fluoride in drinking water to corrupt his vital essence or something. That is not by accident.
I am not a crusty, grumpy, out of touch old man. I am 36 at the time of this writing. I voted for Obama twice. I did not vote for Trump. I am for universal healthcare, gay marriage and I have no religious beliefs.
What I am is a critical thinker who has made a lifelong habit of deconstructing attempts at social conditioning I’ve been subjected to at various points during my education.
This is how I left Christianity, deconstructing loaded language and bad reasoning used to keep us in the fold when I attended private Christian schools as a boy. This specific sort of skepticism is one communists approve of. Not so much when the same microscope is turned back on them.
To such people, critical thinking is a tool meant to subvert their opponents and gain new recruits. Then to be shelved for good, having performed it’s only useful function.
It is never, under any circumstances, to be applied to the Good Guys™. For example, we’re meant to identify traditional gender roles as socially constructed. But not the dozen or so alternative genders invented by critical theorists, which somehow aren’t.
One of the tactics employed at the private Christian school I attended was to frame evolutionary biology as being an inspiration for the Nazi regime, and justification for their eugenic policies, including the mass murder of disabled persons and the “racially unfit”.
This framed anybody who dared to defend evolution as an apologist for mass murder. Unfairly so, as eugenics is not evolution but animal husbandry applied to humans, and the Nazi regime in fact rejected much of classical Darwinian evolution by natural selection, despite being social Darwinists of a sort.
I was the only student who had ever disputed the disinformation fed to us about evolution to make us reject it. So as you might imagine I felt singled out and attacked by this presentation. Indeed there were many narrowed eyes on me, as if I did not already feel sufficiently ostracized.
I next encountered this strategy of false association when I was in college. In a class ostensibly unconnected to politics or economics, a thought experiment was proposed by the professor.
In this thought experiment, there is a river, a man who owns a boat, a woman who lives on one side of the river and her aged father who lives on the other. A storm causes the river to flood, endangering her father who cannot get away.
The man with the boat owns the only vessel able to cross the river. The woman asks him if she can use the boat. He assents, under the condition that she sleep with him.
The question then posed to us was whether the man with the boat is justified in leveraging his ownership of the boat under emergency conditions to sexually extort the woman. Everybody said no. I was the only one who said yes.
Naturally this made me an object of ire. Women in particular looked at me as though I were mentally delayed or evil. Exactly the intended effect of the thought experiment, it will not surprise you to learn.
The thought experiment is really questioning whether private property should be a thing. Whether ownership is absolute or whether possessions should be seized and made available to those with the greatest need.
However had the question been framed that way, most would not have answered the way they did. It was instead framed as an extremely contrived situation which has never happened in real life, the details of which were carefully designed to steer the audience to a particular conclusion for emotional reasons.
Namely, it made out anybody who defended private property to be a rapist, or creep of some related kind. Human beings understandably have very powerful and deeply held feelings about sex and sexual autonomy. By re-centering the question around that topic, it exploited those feelings to turn the audience against the principle of property ownership.
I could not articulate this at the time. I only knew something was fishy and that the thought experiment was designed in a slanted way. Fumbling for words, I wound up coming across as either a creep, a contrarian or both. Again, not by accident.
The phrase “Communist subversion” sounds inherently antiquated. A relic of the McCarthy era. A great deal of propagandizing has been done to cultivate this impression, but the truth is, communist subversion never went away. It just took subtler and subtler forms.
In this way, communist ideals were communicated to myself and other students over and over, without using the C word anywhere. It was not presented to us as political ideology, but simply “how to be a good person”.
In this way we could be gradually molded into communists without ever self-identifying as such. Without ever realizing the ideals we’d absorbed were in fact communist ideals. Like fish who do not see the water they’re in.
This has been ongoing for many decades and is the principle reason why the American public by and large does not have the same viscerally negative reaction to the hammer and sickle that they do to the swastika.
This is why the American public knows every detail of the holocaust, but none of the details of the holodomor. Odds are good few even know that word and many would assume it’s holocaust related.
Communist governments killed 100 million during the 20th century. Yet communist iconography is not considered offensive. Sympathy with communism and defenses of communism are not career destroying, often the opposite is true depending on the culture of the state you’re working in.
This is because American education produces a finished product of a person who comes out of the gate holding all the same ideals as communists, making them sympathetic to the goals of communism and thus likely to rationalize the mass killings ordered by communist governments.
This is how the Nazi government killed 11 million and Communist governments killed 100 million, but the former is reviled as the apex of evil and the latter is regarded as well intentioned, misunderstood, or by tankies as innocent actors whose crimes are exaggerated.
I did not encounter my first tankie until I was perhaps twenty. It was shocking to me hearing an ostensibly sane and sensitive human being downplay and shrug off mass killings, finding ways through various tricks of argument to whittle down the death count as much as possible. Often the very same arguments holocaust deniers use to reduce the 11 million figure to one they hope will be less appalling.
In both cases they are wrong to believe that reducing the death count will somehow make these government ordered extermination events less objectionable. Only someone to whom human life is an unimportant obstacle to political supremacy could imagine that getting 11 million down to 10 million would make the public say “oh, okay, Nazis weren’t so bad”.
But these same people are then swayed by those very same arguments when used in defense of communism instead. Powerful compartmentalization happening here. From disputing whether the holodomor was deliberately engineered to engaging in whataboutism, comparing deaths caused by corporations in exploited countries to organized executions in government death camps.
It is only possible to make sense of how someone could behave this way when you understand that there is a level of political commitment where truth is removed from it’s throne and put on a shelf. Regarded no longer as the highest ideal and an end in itself, but as a tool to be gotten out when useful and shelved when not.
This thinking is also the basis of common faith promoting lies. Fraudulent stories of, say, children who glimpsed heaven on the operating table, the location of the remains of Noah’s Ark, or human footprints inside of dinosaur footprints supposedly proving a young Earth.
In most cases I am convinced the faculty promulgating these lies among the student body knew full well they weren’t true. But they had a goal they felt was more important than truth; ensuring our salvation. If one believes that eternal torture awaits anybody who dies unbelieving, they will compromise or sacrifice all other ideals in order to ensure you instead go to your grave with your faith intact.
This is the mindset responsible for concocting the thought experiment involving the man with the boat. It is a mindset which regards truth as being of secondary importance to achieving a hypothetical utopian outcome that requires mass indoctrination.
It is a cliche most probably would assume came from Fox News or some similar dubious outlet that universities employ a great many communist or communist sympathizing professors, whose experience with tenure and research stipends inclines them towards the belief that communism is viable.
I wish I’d had my phone out and recording when a substitute professor entered the classroom and announced that he was a communist. Despite the class, once again, being unrelated to politics or economics. He proceeded to make the entire lesson into a promotion of communism.
Once again, I was the only one who saw anything amiss and spoke up to argue with him. Eventually the scorn of other students who just wanted the lesson over with quieted me. But it was exactly the stereotype you might hear from an over the top conservative media outlet and which progressive media personalities would scoff at, assuming no such event could ever occur in reality.
Well, it did. It was also not the only experience of that type that I had at college. An ecology class was unexpectedly turned into a lesson about the critical theorist’s perspective of gender by an intersexed teacher who took it upon herself to ensure that we all shared her belief that sex itself is a spectrum, not a binary.
This was a strange thing to hear in a class where the course material often invoked evolution, being that human evolution has relied upon genetic recombination that occurs during heterosexual intercourse. A problematic hate fact in the minds of certain groups, that nature itself should validate PIV intercourse as a critical mechanism for the evolution of our species.
The same bad reasoning was employed all over again, at this point so familiar to my ear I could see it coming miles away. The statistics for the number of intersexed persons was inflated, yet still within the margin expected of a medical complication rather than the third of humanity it ought to be if sex really were a smooth spectrum rather than a binary with a vanishingly small number of outliers.
Also unexamined, as intended, was the unspoken attempt to extrapolate the existence of legitimately intersexed people to validate the womanhood of transwomen who are not intersexed, merely dysphoric.
Of course once again it was framed as a victim/oppressor situation as a way to villainize anybody who challenged the claims involved. Should it be that easy for a movement with beliefs contrary to science to persuade us to make an exception in their case, and teach their unscientific beliefs in educational environments where, say, creationism is (rightly) not allowed?
I have written at length about this before, but creationists do not appreciate the comparison because they believe in the validity of their own claims and regard LGBT persons as sinful. Trans advocates also do not appreciate the comparison because they know creationism is scientifically false but labor under the delusion that their own beliefs are scientifically valid.
I have had this argument a great many times, and it always goes the same way. Articles validating the existence of gender dysphoria are presented as though they validate the claim that dysphoric persons are not biologically distinct from the sex they identify as.
This sometimes comes as a shock to my interlocutor who often hasn’t even read the studies, but copied and pasted them from a list of citations on a Tumblr blog under the good faith assumption that they actually said what the blog’s author claimed.
The other persistent assumption is that left wing politics are the same thing as science. That all elements of left wing ideology are scientific, and as such, critical theory must be scientifically supported because it is left wing.
So deep rooted is this conceit that you will witness sincere shock from people who present these arguments upon learning for the first time that they are nothing but smoke and mirrors, realizing suddenly that they were lied to by people they trusted.
…Only to moments later transition into face-saving mode, digging in their heels and seeking some sort of resolution to the argument wherein you are nevertheless a shameful person and they are virtuous, if not adequately prepared.
There is always some sort of bait and switch or similar sleight of hand involved. Like clockwork. If it’s not one lie it’s another, told by people who uncritically trust sources of information that identify with their religion, or political cause. Under the assumption that these are Good People™ who would never mislead them.
Useful idiots, in the employ of propagandists who long ago renounced the central importance of truth except where it is useful to them. I owe a great deal of who I am today to these encounters. They were very educational indeed, if not in the manner intended.
Follow me for more like this! And why not read one of my stories?