Western academics have never shown much interest in studying Communism beyond the abstract and theoretical. The fall of the Soviet Union opened up 70 years of classified documents and files for their inspection, which they have largely ignored. Perhaps it’s because they’re afraid of what they might find, such as the infamous Venona Files declassified after the fall of the Soviet Union, and which essentially affirm Joe McCarthy’s so-called paranoia about KGB infiltration into American institutions and society. Alger Hiss was a spy. True, ol’ tail-gunner Joe may have gotten some names wrong, and he implicated a few innocent people, but he was onto something. The documents prove it. Unsurprisingly, therefore, Western academics largely ignore the treasure trove placed at their disposal in the post-Soviet era. The crimes and atrocities of the 20th Century committed in the name of Communism and Atheism have largely been ignored by Academia and their pop culture missionaries in Hollywood and the Media. I believe the reason for this is their fear that it would reflect negatively on the Western Left, and thereby strengthen the Right. They don’t want the Right to use “Stalin” against them the way they use “Hitler” against the Right. It’s not an accident, therefore, that Stalin is absent in an iconic sense from the Western psyche (even after 50 years of cold war), while the name “Hitler” has been mythologized as the embodiment of all that is depraved and evil in the world. In this way they get to call you “Hitler” and “Nazi”, and you get to call them…Well, nothing. Thus, Stalin, despite a body count far exceeding that of the Nazis, does not hold a candle to Der Fuehrer in the evil department. The result is that even after nearly 50 years of Cold War with the Soviet Union, and despite most of their files thrown open for all to inspect for nearly 20 years now, academic interest in communism/marxism continues to be relegated to the theoretical, not the historical.
A Hidden History of Evil
In the world’s collective consciousness, the word “Nazi” is synonymous with evil. It is widely understood that the Nazis’ ideology—nationalism, anti-Semitism, the autarkic ethnic state, the Führer principle—led directly to the furnaces of Auschwitz. It is not nearly as well understood that Communism led just as inexorably, everywhere on the globe where it was applied, to starvation, torture, and slave-labor camps. Nor is it widely acknowledged that Communism was responsible for the deaths of some 150 million human beings during the twentieth century. The world remains inexplicably indifferent and uncurious about the deadliest ideology in history.
For evidence of this indifference, consider the unread Soviet archives. Pavel Stroilov, a Russian exile in London, has on his computer 50,000 unpublished, untranslated, top-secret Kremlin documents, mostly dating from the close of the Cold War. He stole them in 2003 and fled Russia. Within living memory, they would have been worth millions to the CIA; they surely tell a story about Communism and its collapse that the world needs to know. Yet he can’t get anyone to house them in a reputable library, publish them, or fund their translation. In fact, he can’t get anyone to take much interest in them at all.
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