People often mistakenly think that during Stalinism everybody lived in terror. But that’s not true.
Stalinism was s very happy time for the majority. A very, very happy time. A lot of great stuff was happening. Technological advances, the quality of life improved dramatically. People were having fun.
This idea about a terrorized population, cowering in fear of being dragged to the GULAG, it’s all a fantasy. Nobody expected to be dragged away because that only happened to bad people who deserved it.
If you ever had a chance to talk to regular people who lived during the Stalin era, you’d see that the talk of labor camps and torture chambers leaves them sincerely befuddled. “Yeah, well, maybe a few people, but they were bad!”
What Stalinism took away is what most people are glad to relinquish. The main power tool of dictatorships isn’t pain. It’s pleasure. They press the pleasure buttons that turn us into obedient, happy cattle and relieve the load of responsibility.
When the Soviet Union fell, after an initial spell of excitement I can’t tell you how many people wished for it to come back. The plentiful food and pretty clothes didn’t compensate for the loss of the sweet, sweet lack of freedom.
I’m not saying there will be Stalinism in the US. There won’t be. But there will be sweet, sweet unfreedom.