Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Despite the abject accounts of Marxist “progressive” historians, the catastrophic events associated with the rise of the left are clear beyond all doubts—from the unprecedented savagery of Robespierre’s Reign of Terror to the fanaticism and obscene murderousness of the Communist regime under Lenin and Stalin, to Khmer Rouge Cambodia and Red China. Courtois estimates the global total of Communism’s innocent victims at between 85 and 100 million in the twentieth century. During the two years of the Great Purge alone, the NKVD [Secret Police the Soviet Union] executed 850,000 victims under the notorious Section 58 of their Communist penal code. But as Robespierre famously said, “You can’t make an omelette without cracking a few eggs.” Stalin said the same thing.
Santayana’s quote at the top of this article is totally relevant to today’s politics where Democrats are debating amongst themselves for the title “Champion of the Left.” In a funny, but not-so-funny PragerU video, people on the streets of New York City were asked whether or not a statement read by PragerU Host Ami Horowitz stemmed from the “Communist Manifesto” or the Democratic Party’s platform.
In the latest media offering to the American people, Donald Trump has been cast to play the roles originally played by King Louis XVI and Czar Nicholas II. Unfortunately for the studio, the ratings for their TV sitcom “The Mueller Show Trial” have fallen off as of late. But for the first two years of the Trump presidency the gullible general public tuned in for every twist and turn in the longest running, most boring sitcom ever aired on TV. But the slightest possibility of seeing Trump guillotined (okay, carted off to prison) kept them glued to their favorite device.
Make no mistake about it. The Mueller investigation was a show trial in the long tradition of the left. Stalin would have likely regarded it as a bit beneath his standards because Trump wasn’t guillotined, but it had a lot of the same ingredients. As Mark Levin noted, “There was no reply by the president that was permitted, no contrary witnesses, no contrary documents, no contrary evidence, no cross-examinations, no challenges of any type.”
Despite the fact that Mueller’s investigation into the alleged Trump-Russian collusion dominated CNN (and MSM in general) headlines since before Trump’s election, there was not a mention of Mueller by the CNN hosts of the Democratic debates in Detroit. After all that reporting they simply pretended nothing had happened. Of course, in a very real sense nothing did. None of the charges made against Trump or his associates that were related to any sort of collusion panned out. No evidence of collusion has ever been uncovered. Even the initial premise for the investigation and certainly its long, tired run were dubious at best. After two years of their “investigative journalism”, we now learn that Mueller himself was merely a puppet of a political witchhunt controlled by Anti-Trump Democrats, notably Andrew Weissman. MSM journalists never bothered to uncover or disclose the basic fact that the Mueller investigation was dominated by some very partisan Democrats.
And no one seemed to notice that the obscure Logan Act, never enforced in its 218 years of existence, became the pretext “to entangle the new administration in a criminal investigation as soon as it walked in the door of the White House.”
Attorney Robert Barnes when asked about the campaign of leaks designed to damage the Trump administration by remnants of the Obama administration, said:
The worst thing ever accused concerning Nixon was about using private resources to try to illegally spy on people. Here you had Obama’s people using the NSA to spy on his adversaries, and apparently include the CIA, the FBI, and members of the Department of Justice in that loop, in a manner that was not approved of by any court, that was not approved by even a FISA court – the special court that monitors certain kinds of surveillance.
Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy agrees, opining recently in National Review:
Mueller’s investigation is a semblance of law-enforcement disguising the brute reality that Trump is being punished for winning the election and defying Obama policy. We are on the record long ago calling for an end to this travesty of an investigation. Mueller should be fired, Comey reprimanded, and the investigation, which has now gone on for 1-1/2 years with nothing to show, shut down. More and more, it looks as if this has nothing to do with justice, and everything to do with a group of rogue bureaucrats trying to get Trump impeached.
Mueller’s attack on the American justice system was not just a “unique circumstance,” it was one of the worst prosecutorial abuses in American history. Mueller’s decision to publicly air “allegations” after not finding enough evidence, was part and parcel to his prosecutorial abuse. Worse yet, in the process, Mueller ludicrously and dangerously turned all of American justice on its head by concluding he could not “exonerate” President Trump.
Trump is presumed guilty rather than presumed innocent. For example, according to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, the “takehome” message from Mueller’s testimony is “a second term for Trump or a prison term for Trump? Trump was not exonerated in the investigation by Mueller and stands vulnerable to indictment the second he leaves office.”
But under questioning, Special Counsel Robert Mueller stated that he cannot name even one case in which the Justice Department decided an individual was not exonerated because their innocence had not been proven. Indeed, no American should ever have to be proven innocent rather than presumed so. Unlike Soviet show trials, the presumption of innocence is the most basic principle of the American justice system and is taught in every high school (or used to be) and every American citizen knows this (or used to know it).
Life under Robespierre and Stalin meant the relentless threat of anonymous charges, secret investigations, and public executions. We face similar threats today. If they are more subtle than the guillotine, they are equally ominous with respect to freedoms that Americans have long taken for granted. The great authors of the twentieth century have provided us with a chilling forecast and new adjectives: Orwellian and Kafkaesque.
Orwell on campus
Speech codes, anonymous charges, secret investigations and mob rule routinely threaten academic freedom on campus and have created dismal conditions for American students entering the Academy. The term Orwellian has taken on a new relevance, together with many of his neologisms, including thought police, doublethink, newspeak, and thoughtcrime
Orwell’s Thought Police and their pursuit of thoughtcrime were based on the methods used by leftist totalitarian states and ideologies of the twentieth century. While we may think of 1984 as a work of fiction, countless people were executed, or imprisoned for thoughtcrime during the twentieth century in leftwing totalitarian regimes. The Thought Police are the secret police of the novel 1984. It is their job to uncover and punish thoughtcrime. The Thought Police use surveillance and psychological monitoring to find and eliminate members of society who challenge the party’s ideology. Sound familiar?
The Thought Police are relentlessly vigilant in the US today in government, the MSM, the entertainment industry, and on American campuses, wherever speech is suppressed and citizens prevented from voicing opinions which are deemed politically incorrect or which others find offensive.
Technology played a significant part in the detection of thoughtcrime in 1984 with the ubiquitous telescreens which could both inform the government, and misinform citizens. The citizens of Oceania are watched by the Thought Police through their telescreens. Every movement, reflex, facial expression, and reaction is measured by this system, monitored by the Ministry of Love. Because of this constant surveillance, the Thought Police and the Ministry of Love become universally feared by anyone who is capable (or felt by the Party to be capable) of thoughtcrime.
In the US, a new and costly bureaucratic structure has been added to every American university which invites students to anonymously report faculty, staff, or peers to campus diversity officials for “bias” infractions along with actual prohibited behavior like discrimination or harassment. Typically a bias incident, “is a state of mind, tendency, or inclination that impacts our behaviors and perceptions of others (either positively or negatively) based upon preconceived notions.” Bias can occur “intentionally or unintentionally,” and “can be directed toward an attitude, an individual, or group” Typically the university defines a bias incident as “an offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by the offender’s bias against a protected class BUT [sic] may not rise to the level of a crime” and explains that “law enforcement investigates hate crimes” while university bureaucrats handle everything else.
Similar to the Committee of Public Safety, university diversity officials have accorded themselves a right to investigate and sanction anyone accused of ‘intentionally or unintentionally’ exhibiting an inappropriate ‘state of mind’ with regards to ‘an attitude, an individual, or group.’ When students are encouraged to report views they dislike as “traumatic” harassment, anti-harassment policies turn into tools of thought suppression.
Even the “Squad” has a precedent in the French Revolution. In 1793 “Les Enragés” were a small number of firebrands known for defending the lower class and expressing the demands of the radical sans-culottes. They played an active role in the Paris uprisings that forced the expulsion of the Girondins from the National Convention, allowing Robespierre to assume full control.
They became associated with the term Enragés (enraged or outrages) for their extremely emotional and angry rhetoric. The Enragés offered women and the working poor a platform to express their dissent. This was typically conveyed through riots, public demonstrations and passionate oratory with proto-feminists in vital positions within the Enragés, including Claire Lacombe and Pauline Léon.
Today’s “Enragés” match the shrill, angry rhetoric of their French predecessors, but with their own distinct 2019 leftist themes screamed out relentlessly on social media. The latest tweets continue an ever-escalating bout of name-calling between the president and the freshman Democratic lawmakers. Ihlan Omar said Trump is using “fascist” rhetoric and told supporters she would continue to be Trump’s “nightmare.”
But as the daily attacks on Trump began to get old and with the Democrat party’s primaries underway, the superficial revolutionary solidarity has given way to vicious attacks within the Democrat ranks. In the manner that Robespierre and his Committee of Public Safety guillotined naïve Girondists, so, too, “the Squad” of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib are now damning Biden and Pelosi as a racists and “ancient regime.”
As Victor Davis Hanson so eloquently put it:
The socialist party has absorbed what is left of the old Democrats. At first, the progressive old guard in Congress, like good Girondists, found the revolutionary carnivores useful in reducing the ranks of the Trumpians, the Tea Party, Reagan Democrats, old Perot voters and the white working class to the inanimate status of “deplorables,” “irredeemables,” “clingers” and “dregs” — and with them, the bigoted, racist, sexist, nativist, classist, homophobic and xenophobic GOP…and the soon-to-be-impeached, deposed, exiled and discredited President Trump.
But revolutionary carnivores are rarely sated. Once they run out of easy hostile targets, they get hungry and as cannibals start to eye their own…Poor, condemned Joe Biden renounced almost everything he once believed in and yet still was reduced metaphorically to screaming for his life on the guillotine stage that he was a revolutionary after all!
All the while, Pelosi, Schumer and a host of old Democrats enjoyed the new energy that was directed against the evil Trump. To revolutionary cheers, 1 million illegal aliens crossed the border in the first six months of 2019. The media-left-wing-celebrity nexus sought to devour Trump by myriad means.
Biden, Pelosi, Sanders, etc. have now become key targets of their beloved identity politics, what we might call “reverse intersectionality.” What were they, along with their friends in the media and the academy, thinking when they harangued nonstop about “white privilege” and the forthcoming irrelevancy of old, white folks? That thereby, they had purchased exemptions from the very executioners whom they had helped create? But revolutionary carnivores are rarely sated. Once they run out of easy hostile targets, they get hungry and as cannibals start to eye their own. We have already seen that autophagy in the initial primary debates in which all the major Democratic presidential candidates shouted out the most outlandish agendas possible in a desperate effort to ensure that no rival could possibly pose more to their left. Poor, condemned Joe Biden renounced almost everything he once believed in and yet still was reduced metaphorically to screaming for his life on the guillotine stage that he was a revolutionary after all!
But even as today’s Enragés attempt to dethrone the old progressives, they inadvertently empower Trump and make his second term more than just a remote possibility. After all, what intelligent American would ever willingly embrace open borders, the ludicrous Green New Deal, the packing of the Supreme Court, the abolition of the Electoral College, extending the franchise to 16-year-olds, cancellation of college debt, free tuition, reparations, or legal infanticide? Without him standing in their way, their bizarro world socialism will bankrupt the country and the new racism of “intersectionality” will polarize it by defining the worth of Americans by the number of victimized groups to which they belong.