A United Front Against Bullshit
February 6, 2008
There was a great Marxist called Lenin
Who did two or three million men in
That’s a lot to have done in
But where he did one in,
That grand Marxist Stalin did ten in.
A limerick of Robert Conquest’s, one of the few intellectuals to see through the Communist/Trotskyist romanticism, and one of the very few to call others out on their rationalizations and qualifications. His first book, not including poetry, was called “Common Sense About Russia,” a title that well reflects his long career (he’s now 90, and still writing).
“A few years ago Conquest said to me that the old distinctions between left and right had become irrelevant to him, adding very mildly that fools and knaves of all kinds needed to be opposed and that what was really needed was “a United Front Against Bullshit.” “
The book that should have completely overwhelmed left’s romanticizing of the Soviet Union (and Communism) was The Great Terror, but in 1968 the far left was happy to plug their ears, close their eyes and ballyhoo any totalitarian dictator that styled himself red and sang the praises of the wretched while devising their wretchedness.
When his publisher wanted an new title for the book after the fall of communism, Conquest suggested “The Great Terror: I Told You so You Fucking Fools.”Unfortunately, in a more humble moment he accepted “A Reassessment,” which was, after the Soviet archives were opened, more of a confirmation and vindication than a reassessment.
The book to read though is Reflections on a Ravaged Century.
Paul Berman – the man whose writing about “the Neanderthal remnants of the 30’s” got fool and knave Michael Moore canned from Mother Jones – updates the United Front to include Islamism and masterful prose in his primer on the ideas of death, “Terror and Liberalism.” The best non-fiction I’ve read:
Martin Amis exposes the suckers – particularly his best friend Hitchens – and praises Conquest – his father’s good friend – in Koba the Dread. This is a book written for anyone who flinched when I wrote the left romanticized Communism – they did, and do.
Bonus Conquest limerick:
First you get puking and mewling
Then very pissed off with your schooling
Then fucks and then fights
Then judging chaps’ rights
Then sitting in slippers–then drooling
A summary of the Seven Ages of Man…Pretty good, huh?