When a new book came out, the great C. S. Lewis would first seek out an old one on the same subject. That’s good advice for embattled Americans. In fact, twoold books address what is happening today with rare perception.
Regent College Publishing has reissued The Green Stick and The Infernal Grove, the two volumes of Chronicles of Wasted Time by Malcolm Muggeridge. Paul Johnson called it one of the great autobiographies of our time, which might be an understatement. Wisdom and wit leap off the pages, and there’s even a news hook: Russia has invaded Ukraine and that has happened before.
As the Moscow correspondent for the Guardian, Muggeridge broke the story of Stalin’s planned famine inflicted on Ukraine in 1932-1933. In articles published in late March 1933, Muggeridge wrote, “there is not only famine, but a state of war, a military occupation.” The journalist described “abandoned villages, absence of livestock, neglected fields, famished frightened people,” and in one scene, “peasants with hands tied behind their backs being loaded into cattle-trucks at gunpoint.”
For these reports, Muggeridge was widely vilified and became something of a pariah. Contrast the treatment of the New York Times’ Walter Duranty, the worst liar Muggeridge encountered in all his years of journalism. Duranty contended that there was no famine and that all was well under Stalin’s collectivization plan. Muggeridge’s Guardian colleague F. A. Voigt revealed the truth about the plan, which continued through the 1930s.
Voigt went on to author Unto Caesar, published in 1938, just after the Anschluss. Muggeridge called it “the most powerful and perceptive political work of our time.” Though long out of print, this work is once again relevant. Voigt deconstructs Marxism like few others and charts the best kept secret on the Left: the similarities between Soviet Marxism and German National Socialism.
Marxism “is not a theory at all,” Voigt explains. “It is a myth, or, in modern terms ‘ideology.’” Marx was not a philosopher and “in Russia, where Marxism has all the coercive instruments of the modern state at its disposal, there is no such thing as philosophy.”
Marxism is a denial of all but pragmatic thought and in all Marxian literature there is no evidence for the “dialectic process,” which is “simply assumed.” Under the dialectic, history has stopped and “oppression, poverty, wars, injustice, crime all belong to the past.”
Neither a philosopher or scientist, the Marxist is a “believer” in a secular religion, which in power amounts to “the armed idolatry that threatens to overwhelm us all.” Marxism and National Socialism “are not opposites, but are fundamentally akin, in a religious as well as in a secular sense. Both are messianic and socialistic. Both reject the Christian knowledge that all are under sin and both see in good and evil principles of class or race. Both are despotic in their methods and their mentality. Both have enthroned the modern Caesar, collective man, the implacable enemy of the individual soul.”
As Voigt explains, “National Socialism would have been inconceivable without Marxism. To understand contemporary secular religions, it is necessary to understand Marxism, which was the first of these religions to achieve a widespread domination over the souls of men.” Marxism “has led to Fascism and National Socialism because, in all essentials, it is Fascism and National Socialism.”
In similar style, the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939 confirmed to Muggeridge that “Bolshevism and National Socialism were the same thing, except one was a Slav version and the other Teutonic.”
During the Stalin-Hitler Pact, as Muggeridge recalls, the Soviet GPU, forerunner to the KGB, “handed over to the Gestapo, German-Jewish Communists who had taken refuge in the USSR, with Soviet and Nazi officers jointly checking the lists.”
That exchange, at the Brest-Litovsk Bridge, is a matter of history. Voigt outlines other commonalities of Marxism and National Socialism that command attention in present-day America.
“The racial principle, the central doctrine of National Socialism, has as little philosophic or scientific validity as the dialectical materialism of the Marxists.” The Marxist “really believes that Marxism is ‘scientific.’ The National Socialist really believes that the racial principle has something to do with serious biology.”
Both National Socialism and Marxism, “engender a personal hatred, not only of the abstractions ‘capitalism’ and ‘Judaism,’ but of the individual capitalist and the individual Jew, a hatred that often finds expression in gross, calumniatory caricature. There is a very striking resemblance between the bestial creatures who play the part of typical capitalists in Russian ‘revolutionary’ films, and the Jew, as caricatured in the pages of the infamous anti-Semitic periodical, the Stürmer.”
As Voigt notes, no expression of the Marxian vocabulary “is more derisive than ‘petit bourgeois,’ ‘kleinbürger,’ ‘kleiner Mann,’ or ‘little man,’ denoting the ‘small shopkeeper’ or other humble persons of the ‘lower middle’ class.” For these types, the Marxist feels “far greater hated” because the little man is worse than the counterrevolutionary. “He is unrevolutionary, and to be unrevolutionary is, in the eyes of the Marxist, to be a kind of leper.” The so-called “bourgeois,” Voigt notes, “is quite unimpressed by the Marxian ‘dialectic’ and has no intention of becoming a proletarian”.
In similar style, the “kulaks” Stalin was starving to death in Ukraine were small, independent farmers not impressed by Stalin’s collectivization campaign. As American journalist Anna Louise Strong noted in I Change Worlds, Stalin set out to eliminate the kulaks “as a class.” The Ukraine famine was an offensive of the Red Terror, which set the stage for the National Socialists’ Brown Terror.
“That the individual has rights of his own, even the right to live,” notes Voigt, “has no meaning at all to Lenin and Hitler.” The Communist, like the National Socialist, “must know that most of the blood they mean to shed and have shed is innocent blood. But they are completely indifferent to the shedding of blood, whether guilty or innocent. The sanctity of human life is to them a piece of religious sentimentality, a conception that is dangerous as well as contemptible. Never for a moment do they feel the slightest misgiving over the essential horror of their own messianic vision.”
In November of 1938, some six months after the publication of Unto Caesar, the National Socialists launched the Kristallnacht, violent attacks on Jewish shops across Germany, which then included Austria. National Socialist propaganda minister Josef Goebbels pitched the violence as “spontaneous demonstrations” and police conveniently looked the other way.
Jump ahead to the summer of 2020 in the United States of America.
After the death of the criminal George Floyd in police custody, Marxist militias Antifa and Black Lives Matter launched riots in more than 200 cities. The mob violence targeted independent shops and businesses, which had nothing to do with the death of Floyd. These were the sort of middle-class shopkeepers vilified by National Socialists and Marxists alike, in the same style as Jews in Nazi literature. The targets of Marxists and National Socialists remain the same.
When retired African-American policeman David Dorn sought to protect a shop, rioters gunned him down and live-streamed his execution. Dorn’s black life didn’t matter, and in 2020 there were nearly 5,000 more homicides nationwide than in 2019. For Marxists and National Socialists, individuals have no individual rights, including the right to live. So for the Marxist-National Socialist axis, at any time and in any place, the shedding of innocent blood is not a problem.
The mob violence also caused billions in property damage, but the American Kristallnacht did not draw a response from federal and state authorities, even though the blackshirts targeted federal buildings and police stations. In effect, this was a reign of terror but the vaunted FBI kept its distance.
The leadership of the FBI tried to take down duly-elected President Donald Trump. He sought to make the nation “great again,” but that goes against the Marxist contention that America was never great, which Governor Andrew Cuomo also contended, and that the past is nothing but a chronicle of oppression. So down came the statues of American founders and reformers, fueled by the notion that the United States of American was founded solely for the promotion of slavery.
That was the contention of the 1619 Project and “critical” race theory, which is nothing more than standard-brand racism. As CRT contends, people of pallor (“whites”) are inherently racist, whatever they have or have not done. CRT also holds the people of pallor responsible for all past actions by people who look like them. “White supremacists,” “domestic terrorists,” and “violent extremists” are code for anyone less than worshipful of the Biden Junta, and anyone who sees any merit in America before the arrival of the composite character David Garrow described in Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama.
Obama’s beloved mentor, Frank Marshall Davis was a longtime Communist Party USA member who spent much of his life defending an all-white Soviet dictatorship. The CPUSA contended that blacks were not real Americans and sought to create a separate nation in the south, a kind of black-belt apartheid. Also in play are the black nationalists of the Nation of Islam, headed by Louis Farrakhan.
As the late Stanley Crouch noted in “Nationalism of Fools,” this group holds that “the white man was a devil ‘grafted’ from black people in an evil genetic experiment by a mad, pumpkin-headed scientist named Yacub. That experiment took place 6000 years ago. Now the white man was doomed, sentenced to destruction by Allah.” And so on.
Jewish and civil-rights leaders have denounced the movement as anti-Semitic but the Nation of Islam escaped criticism from the composite character, who was on good terms with Farrakhan. President Obama invited Black Lives Matter leaders to the White House multiple times, even after black racist Micah Johnson assassinated five Dallas police officers in 2016. That comes as no surprise since the BLM icon is Joanne Chesimard, the criminal, cop killer and fugitive now known as Assata Shakur.
In similar style last June, Joe Biden hosted BLM bosses at the White House. Biden has never called out Farrakhan and the Delaware Democrat believes that Antifa is only “an idea, not an organization.” During the 2020 debates, Biden famously claimed “Hitler invaded Europe,” so he is doubtless ignorant of the way National Socialist ideas became an organization and a movement.
Those racist National Socialist ideas now merge with Marxist class hatred in a kind of domestic Nazi-Soviet Pact. That axis of hatred, a belch from the 1930s, guarantees conflict in America, particularly with an election looming and conflict surging abroad. The 1939 Pact, which Voigt and Muggeridge both saw coming, launched World War II. A China-Russia military alliance could bring on something much more destructive.
A two-front conflict of that magnitude would be trouble for a nation headed by, in Conrad Black’s phrase, a “waxworks effigy of a president.” That might be too kind. Joe Biden thinks the rulers of a genocidal Communist dictatorship are “not bad folks” and has financial entanglements of his own with the Chinese Communist regime through son Hunter. Joe Biden allegedly commands a military weakened by “woke” ideology and geared to fight “climate change.”
China is stomping out freedom in Hong Kong and menaces Taiwan as never before. Russia has invaded Ukraine, where Stalin starved millions to death in a planned famine, denied by Walter Duranty of the New York Times.
Malcolm Muggeridge, who broke the story, served as an intelligence agent in Mozambique, where he was able to arrange the capture of a Nazi submarine that had been menacing Allied shipping in the Indian Ocean. Muggeridge also served as a liaison with De Gaulle’s Free French forces and was awarded the Croix de Guerre and Legion d’Honneur.
He wrote about it in The Infernal Grove, well worth attention in 2022. So is The Thirties, which Muggeridge completed in the early days of World War II. His Something Beautiful for God, book and documentary, helped introduce Mother Teresa to the world. The author should also be remembered for breaking the story of the Ukraine famine.
In 2022, there’s a famine in the land for truth and justice, but for the New York Times all is well. Inflation loots the savings of the people. Energy costs and crime are surging but infant formula is in short supply. The ruling junta quashes free speech, vilifies the people, and supports violent groups that menace lives and property.
That sounds like the sort of armed idolatry F. A. Voigt described in Unto Caesar, a powerful and perceptive work for our time. New books are coming out by the day, but it’s always wise to pick up a couple old ones.
This article was also published in American Greatness