For the Cause

This post reminded me of how when the archives started to get open back in the late 1980s, and we discovered, to our great shock, that all of those Communist leaders who confessed to being German and Japanese spies during the public trials of the 1930s weren’t making their confessions under duress. They weren’t tortured or mistreated in any way. Other people were tortured horrifically but these party leaders weren’t. 

They thought that if the party arrested them and required them to confess to treason, there must have been some higher cause or reason that made it all good. They marched to their deaths after having libeled themselves and condemned their families to torture and eventual execution. Yet they were convinced it was the right thing to do because the party required it and the party can’t be wrong. 

Because the feeling of having a larger purpose is too seductive. 

The Red Century

It’s the sad destiny of all progressive movements that gangs of wily opportunists easily master the progressive lingo of the day and begin to destroy the movement from within under the guise of fighting for purity among the ranks. 

The first to fall are always the most earnest believers because they genuinely care for the cause and can be easily convinced that they are the source of all sorts of harm. First, they engage in public acts of renunciation and self-shaming. But that’s never enough, so they always get destroyed or expelled. 

The last left standing are the coldest, most cynical bastards who believe in nothing but their own advancement. They terrorize the less cynical members of the movement into compliance, and gradually the movement becomes its own exact opposite. Champions of the working class turn into rich exploitative bastards. The defenders of the indigenous burn indigenous villages. Feminists cheer the subjection of women. 

Progressive movements are almost never defeated by outside enemies. They are destroyed from within because of their peculiar nature of dependence on words.