Soothing Primitive Minds

Sullivan is correct that intolerance is very real, but he’s wrong that present conditions are “very reminiscent of totalitarian states.” There is a substantial difference between state censorship—enforced at gunpoint—and the professional and social intolerance that dominates illiberal institutions. The East German Stasi would leave your body in a ditch. That’s a different universe of oppression compared to the harms woke America inflicts on its victims today..

Yeah… No. I’m not a specialist on the Stasi but in the USSR there were no bodies in ditches after 1924 and no bodies anywhere after 1953. The society didn’t stop being totalitarian because the purges ended, though.

This obsession with the state as the only possible source of totalitarianism reminds me of the old joke about a WWII partisan who kept blowing up trains 50 years after the war ended.

Yes, the US is infinitely better than Stalin’s USSR. Yippee. That doesn’t mean totalitarian tendencies aren’t very present here. There’s also a lot of ignorance in the quoted analysis. After 1953 Soviet people had no fear of gunpoint or ditches. It was not part of the Soviet reality, and anybody who claims otherwise is an idiot. They were afraid of what that anonymous Berkeley professor (or whoever authored his letter) is afraid of. They were afraid of what I’m afraid of today.

All of these inane and uninformed stories about gunpoints and ditches are meant to soothe primitive minds.

3 thoughts on “Soothing Primitive Minds”

  1. This scene from “The Lives of Others” almost always gives me a stomach ache because I remember that reality. This is pretty much the reality of today’s USA. Just replace Honecker with any of the “woke” preferred group.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do know a bit about the Stasi and I have never heard of people winding up in ditches. There were deaths and mass graves at Stasi prisons in the early 50s, but after that they shifted to obsessive spying and psychological torture. People disappeared into secret prisons and they did lots of incredibly messed up stuff, but they didn’t just run around murdering people in the streets. One thing they did do was sell political prisoners to the West Germans. I believe it was something like 35,ooo prisoners from the 60s to the 80s at an average price of 40,000 DM per prisoner. Killing people would have been bad for that business.

    While we are on the Stasi, one of the enduring Stasi injustices has been perpetuated by the West German legal system. Pregnant women who wound up in Stasi prisons had their babies taken away and given for adoption to high ranking party and Stasi officials. After reunification those women went to court to find their children and reclaim them, the courts decided to keep the adoption records sealed because it might upset the children to know what happened to their birth mothers. It’s been 30 years and the only way these people can find their children is through an organisation that takes DNA samples from the mothers and from people who know they were adopted in East Germany and tries to find matches.

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