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The God that Failed: Communism

April 27, 2018

The adversary, simply for daring to contradict, at once became a traitor, an opportunist, a hireling. An adversary in good faith is inconceivable to the Russian Communists. What an aberration of conscience this is, for so-called materialists and rationalists absolutely in their polemics to uphold the primacy of morals over intelligence! To find a comparable infatuation one has to go back to the Inquisition.

This is a quote from the book, the God that failed, in the section by Ignazio Silone from Italy. The book is about people who believed in the values of communism, only to later become disillusioned by them, around the world war 2, cold war era. I think it is interesting as there are some parallels between this era and the rising polarisation now between left and right wing. Basic principles of free and reasonable discussion are undermined by partisan politics. There can be no criticism without being an enemy. No debate on disputed points, only agreement and subordination to what the central authority claims is the official opinion and doctrine.

We really need to see how important it is that we resurrect a concept of reason suitable for our era. We cannot rely on technology, on experts. We have to be able to reason ourselves in public forums without resorting to violence and tribal identities. Civilisation requires this of us, as does democracy. The new demagoguery of the media and politics and its polarisation of us into angry, dissatisfied atomised units must be resisted in the name of basic human values for the sake of our communities, our culture, and our future existence as civilised beings.

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