If you were ever to meet an honest socialist, you could ask him a fundamental question: how do you get one group of people to surrender their property to another group of people? The answer would be simple: fear. When fear is an instrument of policy, the deadening moral effect is horrendous.
For years the cruelty of one group of socialists has been successfully exploited in fictional literature and film; that would be the National Socialist Party of Germany, the Nazis. On the other hand Hollywood and the literary establishment have been curiously silent about perhaps the most prominent other socialist regime, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Now, however, a flurry of recent stories have appeared about many aspects of the Russian culture shaped by the brutal Communist machine. Perhaps the need for a good dramatic evil force has overwhelmed even Hollywood’s and the literary establishment’s latent sympathy for the leftist experiment of Communism.
In any event, the excellent recently released movie “The Way Back” with Ed Harris is a moving description of how a few prisoners of a Soviet Siberian gulag, desperate to avoid what appears to be a certain brutal death, escape and walk 4,000 miles to freedom in India.
On the literary scene, in “Drawings from the Gulag”, the secret sketches made by a guard who spent 40 years at various Soviet labor camps chronicles the casual violence, calculated cruelty, back breaking labor, and death in the gulags. Also the classic “Gulag Archipelago” by Alexander Solzhenitsyn cannot be forgotten. These works, together with “Kolyma Tales”, “Journey into the Whirlwind”, “My Testimony”, and “Faithful Ruslan” are reviewed in an article entitled “A World Behind Barbed Wire” in the Wall Street Journal, which notes that children of “enemies of the people” were often incarcerated right along with their parents.
A different but parallel aspect of Russian society is the treatment of citizens near the Chernobyl melt-down site. “Callous indifference” is the short description. It is stated that “Soviet leaders practically made contempt for suffering and moral concerns a foundation for their philosophy of rule.”
In still another context the inhuman treatment of Russian army troops is described in the article “Russia’s Fading Army Fights Losing Battle to Reform Itself”. See also our previous article “Why Socialists Make Great Dictators”.
Of course fear can be induced gradually. In fact small incremental steps is the way to go – fewer pesky objections that way. The first step is to enact rules which have criminal consequences, even though they are not adopted by any legislative body. That way you can nail anyone you want, since no one can avoid doing something wrong. The Dodd-Frank financial overhaul is a good example. A mountain of rules is growing as we speak. The regulations for implementing Dodd-Frank has already produced over 3,500 pages, more than the average reader could cover in a month of 40 hour weeks. And every rule presumably has a criminal penalty for violation.
The next step in governmental controlled atmosphere of fear is the creeping criminalization of business practices, such as Sarbanes Oxley legislation creates criminal penalties related to accounting practices. The criminal penalties in the Obamacare’s mountain of regulations is another case in point. Also keep an eye out for continuing news stories of criminal prosecutions of business executives. Another promising method is the use of governmental agencies such as the NLRB to force business such as Boeing to get government permission to do anything, such as build a new plant in a right to work state such a South Carolina.
Selective enforcement of the law is also a must, as in Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement that the Justice Department would not enforce the Defense of Marriage Act. That way you can select just who you want to intimidate.
President Obama’s recent talk about going after oil speculators and “root out cases of fraud and manipulation” is good. This despite the universal agreement among economists that the devalued U.S. dollar is the primary cause of oil’s price spike.
Of course more direct intimidation also helps. Union thugs occupying and trashing state capital buildings to intimidate lawmakers comes to mind.
Finally and perhaps most importantly is the demonization of groups you want to target. Heard anything about “millionaires and billionaires” lately? This despite the fact that confiscating all of their incomes would not come close to solving the debt issue. Never mind, once the class hatred is stirred up no one will complain when the tax increases trickle down to the rest of the tax payers, all to the benefit of the non-tax payers, who still can be counted on as voters.