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. 

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2 thoughts on “For the Cause”

  1. This genuinely makes me think that the implied good outcome of your last post – wily opportunists never come, the movement continues to be composed of true believers – is either impossible, or horrid in some different way. What can you build on self delusion?

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  2. I’d have to go back and look to see which big names were tortured and which were not. We do know that General Mikhail Tukhachevsky was tortured because his confession had his blood stains on it. But, he was a top military man not a top party man.

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